Our Friday column asks our members about their favorite tool, software, article of clothing, shoes on set, favorite scriptwriting software, etc.
Jean Criss – Media & Fashion Entrepreneur and Author
By January Green
Looking for inspiration during these turbulent times? Whether you’re on the verge of making a career transition, the front lines of a personal battle or yearning for a creative spark, deep dive into Jean Criss’ life and ventures across 30+ years of media and marketing – a testament to what we can all achieve with unwavering grit & a healthy dose of curiosity.
What tools helped you transition from leading a media services agency to creating intimate apparel?
Moving my business to Office365 apps has increased my productivity. Smart devices and disciplined multi-tasking as a leader are important management qualities. Email and calendar features are how I manage my day-to-day creative list management and prioritize workloads.
During trying times when people are most creative and innovative, I turned a horrific journey with breast cancer into inspiration and ideation. I went through years of surgical recovery, then a corporate layoff and a contentious divorce. As women do, we put our energy into work and family to keep our mind, body, and spirit in a healthy place.
As a single working mom, I became an author of a trilogy series. I wrote about my life, widowhood, divorce, entrepreneurship, and the pursuit of happiness, and put my energy into media, tech and fashion innovation. My Pain Woke Me Up is a three-part trilogy, self-published with colorful and humorous titles BLISS!, Legal Injustice and LIVE Your Dreams.
Now I focus on turning bitter grapefruits into sweet ‘ole lemonade — taking my business to new levels. Doing this has been exhilarating, something I always dreamed of as an entrepreneur. Follow your heart and do what’s right for you. I’ve become more independent as a working woman entrepreneur – motivated and inspired to pay it forward. My tenure in corporate helped me launch these businesses and learn from my heart. I spread my wings and took it upon myself to do more. I feel this was the intention in life.
I volunteer for women’s and philanthropic organizations. Breast cancer is an important cause for me with the long hardships I’ve experienced over recent years. Today I give back and rock survivors’ worlds with the innovation of a contemporary post-surgical line for women and men. CRISSCROSSIntimates.com designs make you “Feel Confident, Look Beautiful or Handsome” throughout any stage or phase of breast recovery. I started designing from my hospital bed. Created a USPTO utility-patented collection of undergarments: bras, panties, hospital gowns, medical scrubs, men’s and more, from B2B to Hollywood in our first two years, with accredited award-winning designs. We started with a SoHo soft launch (2014) and now sell via e-commerce (2017) with more to follow (investment deck).
Fashion continues to be one of my passions along with the beat of media and tech. I innovated YouGOMobile a universal smart mobile device for professionals on the GO! Compatible with most US/B or C charging devices. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for funding or licensing.
In what ways can a wardrobe team benefit from CRISSCROSS Intimates for actresses/actors?
I designed a revolutionary intimate apparel line, one that’s not traditional. Magnets are used for an easy-wrap bra closure and other unique design features. In recent years in fashion wardrobe, magnets have been used especially in Broadway theater. For example, the live TV production of Grease used them to quickly change costumes between sets. Magnets are secure and effective. For undergarments, they work the same. Take a look here. I was even named “The Magnet Chic!” by Jene Luciani, author and TV celeb who loved this innovation.
As a breast cancer survivor, what survival tools do you use to help those battling illness or facing personal hardships?
Well, I took my media and tech experience to Susan G. Komen and got involved. I became a Board Member, corporate sponsor, raised funds, co-chaired gala events, created and appeared in PSAs, volunteered, exhibited, etc. I gave back while I focused on mental health and physical recovery. I find writing to be therapeutic and enjoy staying close to the pulse of media and marketing as with our NYWIFT Communications Committee.
What inspired you to manage multiple businesses and what is essential for women in film, television and in between?
As an innovator, we learn to grow, start one business discipline and expand our horizons from there. I didn’t plan to launch three companies but it just happened. Jean Criss Media was my first business creative venture, Crisscross and YouGO followed suit. I learned to spread my wings across multiple industries and test my skills sets from 30+ years in corporate sales and marketing. It has paid off with my innovation at an all-time high – I just love it.
Recap: NYWIFT Talks with Julie Taymor and Kimberly Guerrero About “The Glorias” and Getting Out the Vote
NYWIFT blogger Kristin Reiber Harris reflects on our powerful conversation with the team behind The Glorias, including Julie Taymor's creative process, the celebration of Native voices, and how we as women live in constant dialogue with our former selves.READ MORE
The second part of Christina Kiely's two-part interview with All In: The Fight for Democracy co-director Lisa Cortés, conducted on Zoom in anticipation of her participation at the NYWIFT 2020 Creative Workforce Summit: Documentary Makers, Industry and Funders in Conversation next week.READ MORE
All In: The Fight for Democracy is the essential new documentary the LA Times called “an eloquent history lesson on voting rights.” Co-directed by Lisa Cortés and Liz Garbus, the film tells the painful history of voter suppression in America as it traces the story of gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and her 2018 run in Georgia. Oscar-nominated producer NYWIFT Member Lisa Cortés (Precious, The Apollo, Remix: Hip Hop X Fashion) joined NYWIFT Board Member Christina Kiely to discuss All In: The Fight for Democracy, why it matters so much right now, how they pulled it off during the pandemic, and why Stacey Abrams’s story needed to be the spine of the film – apart from the fact that we love her.READ MORE
All In: If you haven’t seen All In: The Fight for Democracy yet on Amazon, do it – it’s a must-see, especially now. Filmmakers Liz...READ MORE