Walla Walla University
Master's Degree in Occupational Therapy - Loma Linda University
Kristina Moreno was attending college and studying occupational therapy when she decided to switch to retail and design therapy. With a heart that was never quite into health care, she dropped out of college to pursue interior design. Kristina ended up running a boutique in Seattle and moved her way up the fashion ladder from there. She is now the president of Handbago.com. Launched in August 2009, Handbago.com is a fashion marketplace, blog and community dedicated to all things designer handbags. The site's features include an editorial blog, extensive catalog of designer handbags, handbag reviews, giveaways, insight on celebrity style, personal styling tips, sales, events and a fashion video library. Kristina will tell you her hearts stops beating for her Malti-poo, Sophie; her husband's green smoothies and paddle boarding.
A dream can become a reality when you are least expecting it, but sometimes you have to create it for yourself.
How did you discover your current job?
Handbago's CEO Brian Meert and I decided we wanted to run our own online venture where I could take all of my past experience in development and production, fashion PR and sales for footwear and accessories, along with his expertise of website development, online marketing and entertainment PR, and roll it into one business model.
What is your typical day like? What types of things do you do in your job?
My typical day starts with my iPhone and ends with my iPhone. My job consists of heading up the sales, editorial, PR and advertising teams and all that they are currently working on. I do research in regards to trends, the latest handbag collections and establish and maintain relationships with handbag designers. I also try to make myself available to all the handbag designers who reach out to me needing help in growing their business, solving their problems and helping to promote and grow their brands. This is a big part of my job.
What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?
The most rewarding thing about my job is that I get to work with amazing artists who are creating the best arm candy in the world. I also am so lucky because I have the best team ever, and watching them get excited about all the same things I do is so fun. It's really an honor to work with the Handbago Team, and it's because of them that I get to play with handbags every day. The most challenging part of my job is probably the hours. I work about 14 hours a day, 7 days a week, so it's a good thing I love it.
What is the biggest personal sacrifice you have to make because of your job?
I would say that I have really sacrificed all the traditional things I thought I would be doing at 32 ... you know, things like nesting, babies, learning to cook and free weekends to hang with friends. I thought I would be rocking the whole "domestic goddess" thing, but alas, I'm at the office. But it's so worth it, and my job brings me so much satisfaction. I'm still wondering if we can really have it all, and only time will tell.
What is one lesson you've learned in your job that sticks with you?
Be kind, and treat people with respect. You will go so much further when you can make friends with your employees, co-workers and clients. I mean, we aren't saving lives -- we work in fashion -- and there's no reason to take life too seriously.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly females in your industry?
The biggest challenge is to not feel discouraged when you can't do everything perfectly. It's really hard to work a 12-hour day, and then also live the life of a full-time mom/maid/socialite/supermodel/trophy wife. It's about learning to balance your priorities and to forgive yourself if you don't get everything done on your to-do list.
What advice do you have for girls who want to be in your industry?
Get ready to work hard. Fashion is a true commitment. Be open to dipping your fingers into all aspects of the business. Intern in as many places as you can. Network. When they say it's who you know, it's seriously who you know. Develop genuine friendships. People will open doors for you when they like you. Learn how to communicate and connect with others. Never gossip; it always comes back around to bite you in the ass. Never give up when following your dreams.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Running Handbago from Paris, Milan and London.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
For all the girls out there who are looking for their dream: A dream can become a reality when you are least expecting it, but sometimes you have to create it for yourself.