chrissie and jo on the beach

Interview with FabList Co-Founders Joanne & Chrissie

We like to interview women doing interesting things…and thought, well heck…WE are women doing an interesting thing! So we decided to interview each other so you could get to know a bit more about the women behind FabList.

A bit of backstory:

We met each other decades ago…the first week of grad school (getting our MBAs at UCLA’s Anderson School), when Joanne commented that I smelled like her sister…(I was wearing my Neutrogena sesame body oil which I talk about in my body oil post). A friendship was born over the scent of a product…and now has come full circle as we share products via FabList!

We went our separate ways after grad school, building careers, getting married, and raising families. I moved to Hong Kong and then back to the Bay Area, and Jo went to Chicago and then Seattle. Through the years, we always shared a love of travel, products, design, pop culture, reading, and more. Then finally last year, after years of talking about starting something together around our shared passions of fabulous products and lists, we launched FabList.

 

Chrissie Interviewing Jo:

Joanne is interested and interesting. She loves products, fashion, design, and the royal family. She has worked in advertising and marketing and started/runs her own interior design business, in addition to FabList. She is always up on pop culture and trends and knows what’s ‘in’ and what’s not. She is a list maker, a ‘do-er’, and a connector extraordinaire who can triangulate to someone she knows in common with you within minutes.  She climbs big mountains and hikes long trails.

Jo has a dry sense of humor, is quick to laugh, and is one of a few people who can easily give my husband s**t and make him laugh at it. When she tells me to buy something I don’t question her because she’s always right. I dream of her taking me shopping in Italy (which may finally happen this summer).  She volunteers for great organizations on the sly without making a ‘thing’ of it. She cleans and organizes my fridge, pantry, and shelves when she visits me (unasked). When asked her opinion she’ll be honest and straightforward, whether it’s how something looks on you or how you should manage a life situation. Jo’s the one you want to sit next to at a dinner party. And she is a great friend to start a business with.

Chrissie’s questions for Joanne: 

Jo, How would you describe your style? 

Comfortable, classic, sporty.

What’s the greatest length you’ve gone to to hunt down a product you’ve spotted or heard about? 

I saw a pair of rain boots in Italy that I loved!  I didn’t buy them because I thought they were too expensive and then proceeded to search for them for years.  This was before the internet!  I finally found them in some random store in Venice – like a Shoe Warehouse – and snatched them up. Venice (Italy…not California!) is a great place to find rain boots by the way!!  I don’t think they make them anymore but someone should!

(Note: We had to include a pic so you can understand why she had to track them down!)

Any interesting facts that friends may not know about you? 

I needlepoint, I’m a hospice volunteer, and I love TV game shows like Password, $100,000 Pyramid, The Chase, Jeopardy, and Wheel of Fortune.

What have been some of your favorite recent trips and what’s at the top of your travel bucket list?  Thank you Chrissie for introducing me to Africa!  Time slows down in Africa.  It’s magical.  Bucket List?  Switzerland, South of France, Greenland.  I’m pretty excited about an upcoming trip to Oklahoma City! See here for some of my favorite travel items.

What is your most recent FabFind, be it big or small?

I like this little pill case you turned me on to – it keeps all my go-to pills organized and in one place.  These Flog pants are pretty amazing (thanks Barb M.).  I thought they were going to be awful and then I put them on and now I want them in every color.  Sometimes you have to try things on!

What’s the best gift you ever received?

John (my now husband, then boyfriend) gave me a Kitchen Aid mixmaster when I graduated from business school.  It was really thoughtful because I made bread and cookies every week and this made it so much easier! I learned years later that my roommates were MORTIFIED that he had given me a kitchen appliance!! But he obviously ‘got me’ and I still use it all the time!

What is a simple pleasure?

NYT games – Wordle, Connections, Spelling Bee, and the Crossword. Cleaning Chrissie’s refrigerator!

Any interesting/surprising jobs you’ve held?

Paper delivery girl, window washer, and snow shoveler.   I wrapped gifts one summer at our local department store (Jacobsen’s in Birmingham, Michigan) and I loved that.

What’s an activity that lets you be ‘in the flow’, where time passes unnoticed?

  • Designing floor plans and elevations, selecting fabrics and wallpaper, and putting together schemes for clients.
  • Canva – I could do Canva collages all day long.
  • FabList!

Three clothing items you wear the most (not including pj’s..unless they are really good pj’s!)

You lost your mom a year ago, who was such a force and so important to you. Are there any ‘wisdoms’ that she shared with you that come to mind that you’re willing to share? 

  • “Get dinner figured out first thing in the morning.”
  • “You know what you have, you don’t know what you’re going to get.”
  • I was complaining about my fat legs one time and she said “Stop it, look where those legs have taken you!”

 

Jo Interviewing Chrissie:

You want Chrissie on your team!

Chrissie is a great friend and her friend group begins at birth and is ever-growing.  She has friends from grade school, high school, college, grad school, various neighborhoods, NYC, Hong Kong, and Kenya.  Chrissie shares her friends!  She loves for all of her friends to know one another and be friends!  She’s even friendly with her extended family, in-laws, neighbors, previous co-workers, and travel guides from 40 years ago, etc . . .  She doesn’t just “collect” friends – she grows friendships like no one I know.  She keeps in touch with people.  She’ll call you from the car to say hi. She sends notes.  A gift may just arrive in the mail for no reason.  She is thoughtful.

Chrissie is not afraid to try anything and is up for most anything.  She went away to boarding school, she moved to NYC after college, she went to Kenya and worked for a non-profit, she studied in Hong Kong and moved there after business school.  She ran the Ho Chi Minh Marathon for pete’s sake!  She’s been a successful product marketer and has started a few companies from scratch! (Did you know Chrissie raised millions of dollars and launched a makeover website/company the day her third child was born, co-founded ReBoot Accel which has helped thousands of women re-up their skills and get back into the workplace after taking some years off, and has another website called JamboGuides with shared travel itineraries?)

She loves to travel and she’s one of my favorite travel partners. One of my favorite recent trips with Chrissie was to an island off the Cambodian coast where we stayed at the Bamboo Jam Resort (‘Resort’ is a stretch) because we wanted something reminiscent of a Thailand beach hotel in the 1980’s – cheap and down to earth. I told my daughter where we were and she immediately Googled it, sent me a Trip Advisor photo of our exact bathroom and said she hoped our tetanus was up to date!  It was a dive and we LOVED it.  We love far-flung locals and we don’t mind roughing it.   And FabList is our latest and best adventure together!

 

Jo’s Questions for Chrissie:

How would you describe your style? 

Casual- jeans and tees but with nice jewelry :).  I have an inner hippy as well. Sort of ‘bohemian preppy with a twist’ is what I aspire to, if that’s a thing?!

Where do you get your inspiration?

Anywhere! Friends, online, travel, books – it’s all around! I like to stay as current as I can in what I am reading, watching, using, wearing –  and it’s so fun to share that now with others via FabList.

What have been some of your favorite recent trips and what’s at the top of your travel bucket list?

My favorite trips depend both on location (I prefer off-the-beaten-path locations) and co-travelers. With my family my favorites include self-driving through Namibia, and our recent trip to Sri Lanka was terrific. With couples I loved last year’s trip to Morocco, and with girlfriends, I’ve had epic trips to Kenya, Bhutan, Rwanda and Cambodia in recent years. On the bucket list are Mongolia, Madagascar, and more travels to Africa and Asia.

What’s the greatest length you’ve gone to to hunt down a product you’ve spotted or heard about?

I’m not as good of a sleuth as you are Jo! But I did see some very stylish women shopping at the Goop store in London wearing ponytail holders I loved and ended up finding them from a retailer in Sweden…they are on FabList!  Oh, and last summer I found an amazing cashmere scarf at a boutique in Sun Valley that was so thin, soft, and warm …but also very $$$. Turns out it’s hand-loomed without any seams from the oldest mill in Italy – the brand is called Botto Giuseppe and the scarf line is called Pin1876. I ended up hunting one down (new) on eBay for muuuuch less and had John gift it to me for Xmas!

Any interesting facts that friends may not know about you? 

I’ve never had a cup of coffee. And I ‘visualize’ numbers and calendars/time in an odd way in my head and didn’t realize until college that everyone didn’t ‘see’ things the way I did.  It’s actually got a name – synesthesia (some people with it ‘see’ each number in a different color but I don’t have that part of it).

What is your most recent Fab Find, be it big or small?

I just started using Hanni Splash Salve and Body Oil recently and like them.

What is your secret superpower?

If I do say so myself, I am very good at identifying the exact right size of container to fit leftovers (or anything really…it’s just a skill that’s used most often with leftovers). Not a very helpful superpower if the apocalypse comes, but it is what it is. I’m also very organized, which does come in handy.

Where is your happy place?

The beach. Or any place I can sit looking out at a beautiful horizon of any sort.

What is a simple pleasure?

So many! Drinking my morning chai while reading the paper to start the day after having exercised and showered is a daily one.

Any interesting/surprising jobs you’ve held?

During college I spent a summer painting houses on Martha’s Vineyard, living in a house with 10 other women. My painting career came to an end when I spilled bright blue paint on wall-to-wall beige carpet while painting a front door (the owners were so kind though….wow). That same summer I also waitressed at a dive bar/restaurant where my best tip of the summer was from a group of Hell’s Angels and where one night a fight broke out when our cook smashed a chair over a customer’s head. It was a great summer!

What’s an activity that lets you be ‘in the flow’, where time passes unnoticed?

Editing photos or reading a good book.

Three clothing items you wear the most (not including pj’s..unless they are really good pj’s!)

Jeans, Birkenstocks, white tshirt. Pretty fancy, huh!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

When I was young I remember my mom saying “Make sure to marry your best friend. Romance may come and go but the friendship has to be there forever.” I tell my kids the same thing, also adding that if possible they should travel to a less-developed country with someone before they marry them as they’ll see how their partner handles hardship, how they treat others, how compassionate they are, and who they are at their core.

 

Thanks all!

 

4 thoughts on “Interview with FabList Co-Founders Joanne & Chrissie”

  1. I enjoyed this so much. Thank you for sharing about yourselves and all of your favorite things. I need to try the AG ex boyfriend jean, Joanne. And Switzerland is on my immediate travel list too. Chrissie I will try some of your recommended oil products.
    Linda

  2. I’ve known Chrissie for 27 years and I’m still learning fun new facts about her. She’s truly awesome! And yes, she really does share her friends. I met Joanne last summer on a trip, and I can’t wait for the next one together!

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Picture of Joanne & Chrissie

Joanne & Chrissie

Chrissie and Joanne love discovering, curating and creating. They developed FabList as a place to share their favorite finds with you.

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Picture of Joanne & Chrissie

Joanne & Chrissie

Chrissie and Joanne love discovering, curating and creating. They developed FabList as a place to share their favorite finds with you.

4 thoughts on “Interview with FabList Co-Founders Joanne & Chrissie”

  1. I enjoyed this so much. Thank you for sharing about yourselves and all of your favorite things. I need to try the AG ex boyfriend jean, Joanne. And Switzerland is on my immediate travel list too. Chrissie I will try some of your recommended oil products.
    Linda

  2. I’ve known Chrissie for 27 years and I’m still learning fun new facts about her. She’s truly awesome! And yes, she really does share her friends. I met Joanne last summer on a trip, and I can’t wait for the next one together!

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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