In 2005, Susie Crippen co-created the luxury denim line J Brand, and forever changed the course of denim history. You don’t have to own a pair of J Brand’s iconic dark, tapered jeans to know Susie’s work. The term skinny jean? You can thank Susie for that.
The creative visionary has never been afraid to take risks, listen to her intuition or forge the road less traveled. After selling J Brand, she went on to launch, then fold two more fashion lines, leaving her with space to contemplate her next move. After some deep soul work, Susie decided it was time for her most creative leap ever — a move to Africa.
While on Safari a few years back, she fell in love, not only with Africa, but also with her safari guide. Cut to 2020, and she’s living life with her love and calling Kenya her home. She intuitively sold everything (stunning Ojai home and all) and moved continents. It turns out that, for Susie, discovering her soul’s path, meant forging an entirely new one. We recently caught up with Susie to soak up all her worldly wisdom…
You might know me from: J Brand, CRIPPEN or my saucy year and half stint as an irritated waitress at Indochine in LA.
My recent pivot: I sold 98% of my high heels, left California and moved to Northern Kenya with my love, John Reeve Moller.
What I’ve learned about myself: Wow, at 56, that is a book! In a nutshell, I am the source of everything in my life—we all are. Peeling back the layers of who I “thought” I was supposed to be revealed my truest self. When I learned to trust my intuition as the authentic guide of my life, my world blossomed into limitless possibilities.
The most surprising thing I’ve learned about business: A business is people, and your business is a reflection of your leadership skills and your integrity. It will give back based on how you treat people, empower them to create with you and let’s face it…pay them. It takes a village, honor those villagers.
What I know Now about people that I didn’t know then: People will hurt you and you will hurt people—the only path forward is to forgive yourself and forgive others. And forgiveness doesn’t mean you carry on with the relationship if it is time to move on…but forgiveness creates energetic freedom for both parties and the space to create something new in the absence of holding on to toxic energy. Forgiveness is freedom, for you and for them, even if you never see or speak to that person again, they feel it.
What I’ve learned about women: Women are resilient, hard-working and courageous. We have an internal, deep desire to love…and I mean love everything from a gorgeous shoe, to children, to career and now, in this extraordinary time of women, a desire to love other women. Women all over the world are cheering each other on, sharing challenges, building empires or simply making a great chicken pot pie from scratch and getting accolades and spiritual high fives from our sisters, it is utterly inspiring. Acknowledgment from any woman stirs my soul like nothing else.
What I’ve learned about confidence that surprises me the most: Confidence cannot be given to you, it is purely a creation taken on by the individual. Anyone can make the choice to build their confidence, if you believe you are confident, you will be…if you believe you are not confident, you will not be. It is a choice.
I never expected the greatest lesson would be: There is a lesson in everything. One of my teachers, Kasey Crown of Wellsoul Workshops, used to repeat that to me every time I would be heartbroken, angry or stewing in betrayal: What is the lesson in this for you? She would not allow me to be a victim or make it about the other person, and over time I learned to see how my energy was calling in those people and experiences. With some distance and a healthy sense of humor, I was able to take responsibility for my thoughts, actions and my energy to alter who and what I was calling into my life. Cut to, I now live in Kenya with the coolest, funniest and most loving man I have ever known.
What wellness means to me: Wellness means knowing my own heart, trusting my intuitive voice and the practice of being present every day on my own personal path.
I never imagined self-care would mean: Speaking my truth.
The best advice I can give for entrepreneurs: To trust your intuition, create intentions for you and your company and enjoy yourself. If your business is successful be gracious and invest your money wisely. If your business is in trouble, seek mentors and if it is still not working, there is no shame in closing it down and starting over. It may lead to an existence you never dreamed possible.
My latest obsessions: I am not a fan of the word obsession but my current consistent joy comes from being with my two puppies, taking on cooking as an art form and doing absolutely anything with John Reeve Moller.
My current mantra: I live in Africa.