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Thrive: Jennifer Kurko

One of the08 favorite things that has happened since we’ve started this company is the new friends that we’ve met. There are a few people I’ve connected with that really stick out in my mind – other parents that are not only committed to helping their own children, but to helping others by innovating and sharing new ideas to improve the health and happiness of food allergy families. Jennifer is one such lady. This smart and sassy momma started a cosmetics company with products completely free of the “Big 8” allergens, Kiss Freely. At first I thought “that’s a cool idea, but my son won’t wear makeup.” But then the next thought was “Oh my goodness, how are my own cosmetics affecting him???” I try to not consume his allergens, but hadn’t put much thought into what I was putting on my own face. It was then that I realized how her products really are for more than those with food allergies – it’s for a much larger market as well! I’m going to let Jennifer tell us a bit about herself, her company, and share some tips on favorite products in this week’s Thrive Series.

Both our children have food allergies with our oldest having multiple food allergies (FA). Our food allergy list is dairy, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, beef, flaxseed, sunflower seed and sesame. Not only did we struggle with feeding our FA children but we also ran into issues with bath and body products, which led to the creation of our business, Kiss Freely. At Kiss Freely we create all-natural bath and body products that are free from all eight top allergens and other highly allergic ingredients.

What are five tips, tricks or products that have made your life with food allergies (or just life in general) easier?

1. DO IT YOURSELF

We started making our own lip balms and lotions and turned it into a business! One night at dinner, my oldest suggested that we sell our lip balm. I remember her saying “I can’t be the only one that needs special lip balm.” She was right. And we now offer more than just lip balm. We really like to hear what other FA families need and then we try to create it. We just made a pink eye shadow to match a little girl’s recital costume and eye liner for a teenager.

2. PLAN (AND BAKE) AHEAD

I make large batches of cupcakes and keep them in the freezer. It helps having a safe snack at my fingertips for any celebrations. The school lets us keep some there as well.

3. PLAY DOCTOR

We keep the epi pen trainers with the toy doctor’s kit so the girls can practice giving their stuffed animals injections. It helps take the mystery out of what that experience will be like.

4. SAFE HOUSE

We keep a “free from” house to reduce any mistakes. We also learned how to cook everything from candy corn to bread.

5. TALK ABOUT IT

We talk about food allergies often with friends and family and most importantly with our girls. We role play how to refuse food, how to let someone know if they are not feeling well, and how to respond to a reaction. We also talk about their fears regarding reactions and help them manage that.

Thanks so much for sharing your tips, Jennifer! We really appreciate it.

– Holly

Follow along with Kathy:

kissfreely.com

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