We are #RowanPROUD and we are Rowan Profs! Not exactly sure what a Prof is? It’s our owl mascot, Whoo RU. Read about him here. Our series of alumni spotlight blogs feature Profs who have stayed connected to the Rowan community after graduation. Here we speak with 2004 graduate Kari Janisse, who owns Creative Juices by Kari.
As a young child Kari excitedly made people smile and had a go-getter personality. Few children ask for a unicycle for Christmas but Kari was as a natural performer, willing and eager to start reaching her goals.
“It all began when I was 11 years old at my little sister’s second birthday party. The party was planned at a zoo and was supposed to be outside but it was a terribly rainy so we moved everything … but when we did that, we had nothing planned. Absolutely no entertainment. So I put on a clown costume I had from Halloween and I danced around, played games and just had fun with the kids. The moms came up to me after and loved it, the children loved it and the idea was born. I was 11 years old and I was out doing my own thing.”
She soon found a professional clown mentor and learned skills that would help her start her business. From balloon making, face painting, to networking everything was all-important. Through high school she got more into art and slowly started introducing these skills into her business. Once at Rowan she was able to develop a business plan and really start focusing on her professional growth.
As a fine arts major with a concentration in graphic design at Rowan Kari was able to have creative ideas flow to grow her business. Graphic design, art and core classes all provided her with the tools and skills needed for launching. While the business idea was growing when she graduated in 2004, by 2008 the project officially became her business Creative Juices by Kari.
“I’m able to make my own business cards, my own website and the graphic design courses help. Everything is designed by me. I know I’m in control of all the advertising, the look and the message.”
Things began to come together once networking opportunities and word-of-mouth at Rowan led from one thing to another.
“My name got around and I worked with Julie Peterson, director of Student Enrichment and Family, for a Big Brothers Big Sisters of America event. Through SGA I received an opportunity to make balloon animals for these kids and one thing lead to another and I was getting more jobs.”
Today, Kari’s team of employees provides entertainment to people across the tristate area. Their outgoing personality bring smiles to the community.
“Events coming back to Rowan, such as Homecoming, are some of my favorite. I actually get upset when I have to send a worker out when I can’t cover it.” Just within 10 minutes in costume on campus and you can see her character truly come to life as she effortlessly walks down hallways wearing stilts, making people laugh and smile as she jokes around. “I try to give back where I can whether it’s at Rowan or through my community.”
For five years Kari and her husband hosted a free event where her entertainer friends, face painters, DJ’s, Santa, balloons artists unite for her event Spirit of Giving. To give back one would bring canned food, a winter coat, or toys and in exchange you get entrance to the event for three hours of fun. This is so important to her because it’s an outlet for people to share their art with the public and the community benefits.
As the 10 year anniversary of the launch of her business approaches Kari looks forward to the future and thanks Rowan for their commitment to her success.
You can find her at all sorts of Rowan campus events such as Freshman Move-in Day, Rowan After Hours (RAH) activities, and of course Homecoming.
Have you seen Kari on campus? Let us know in the comments below!
By: Jen Green