U.S. figure skater and Olympic gold medalist, Kristi Yamaguchi, is not afraid to wear an assortment of hats. Most of us know that she’s an Olympic champion, but she’s also an author, philanthropist, fitness pro, Dancing with the Stars winner, and founder of the Always Dream Foundation, a non-profit that inspires underserved children to reach for their dreams through innovative reading programs.
Currently, Yamaguchi lives out of the spotlight with her husband, former professional ice hockey player, Bret Hedican, and their two daughters, Keara, 10, and Emma, 8, in the San Francisco Bay Area.
We caught up with the 42-year-old to talk about one of her newer ventures, her online clothing brand, Tsu.ya, which she started in 2012. The goal of this fashionable line is to bring comfort and style to the active woman, something we all can appreciate.
So, what inspired you to start your own clothing line? I wanted to start a lifestyle brand that had a purpose to help support the work we do in early literacy with the Always Dream Foundation. Because I have worn active wear for most of my life, it was a natural direction to take.
Who is your target group? Our target group is the woman on the go who never gets a day off. She’s carpooling, active, wears many hats and likes her wardrobe to be on trend, functional and comfortable. It can take her through the day, and all of her activities.
How connected were you in the design process? Very. I bring the direction and inspiration to my designer. I work closely with her on color, story, fabrics, and designs. I like to see feminine details and flattering silhouettes.
Tsu.ya is an interesting name for a clothing line. What’s the meaning behind it? It’s my middle name and my Grandmother’s name. Literal translation is shiny or luster.
You lead a very busy life. How do you balance being a mompreneur, running your own business, with having kids? It takes a village! I have a very supportive husband, parents and in-laws who help me balance everything. I also do my best to prioritize and not bite off more than I can chew. Of course family is first on the list and the rest is icing.
Being that you and your hubby are both athletes do your girls skate or have athletic aspirations? Emma skates recreationally. They both play soccer and do dance.
What fun things do you like to do with your girls? I like to go hiking or to the park, reading, cuddling…
A lot of moms say they are “too busy” to work out. Since you’re a fitness expert what practical advice/tips could you give moms when it comes to fitting exercise into their busy lives? I wish I followed my own tips….it is so hard to make the time. I try to schedule time to meet my friend at the gym to be accountable, work out in the morning when my kids get off to school, or on weekends when everyone else in the house is sleeping in.
What does a typical day look like for Kristi Yamaguchi? I don’t really have a typical day. But if I’m not traveling, I get the kids off to school, work from home or at the office for Tsu.ya, answer emails, pick up around the house, then kids’ activities after school.
Do you have any other business ventures on the horizon? I am working on a 3rd children’s picture book, and my foundation is expanding innovative reading programs into schools in Arizona and Hawaii this coming school year.
What parting words do you have for all the moms out there? Always Dream!
To learn more about Kristi’s clothing line, Tsu.ya, CLICK HERE.