Recently named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, Jesse Genet has accrued a list of achievements as audacious as it is impressive. She started her first company—a custom t-shirt concern out of her parents’ basement – at age 15. Several years later, while attending ArtCenter’s Product Design program, she founded her second business, Lumi, featuring a proprietary alternative printing process called Inkodye, upgrading from Christmas gift-funding first company to a kickstarter campaign and a stint on TV’s Shark Tank.
People are like, ‘This girl sells boxes or whatever.' But to me, there’s actually a high potential to be useful to other people when you take on a problem other people have overlooked.
Ultimately, Genet and co-founder Stephan Ango (whom she met at ArtCenter) continued to iterate Lumi in response to needs they identified in the marketplace. In 2015 they re-launched Lumi as a full-service customized packaging resource for the growing e-commerce business. This concept immediately sparked interest in Silicon Valley and recently received $9 million in venture capital funding.
Curious to see the results of Genet’s passion and tenacity, I decided to interview Genet on site at Lumi HQ, a sprawling light-filled converted factory near Downtown LA. Like most everything she does, Genet assumes her role as CEO with remarkable grace and ease, offering up piercing insights and effervescent positivity as her staff filled two cavernous rooms busily prototying, operating industrial machines and tapping away in rows of computer stations. Lumi is both upbeat and intensely focused, not unlike Jesse herself.
Throughout their wide-ranging conversation for this week's episode of Change Lab, Jesse and Lorne touch upon the value in persistence, the challenges of running a large company and the value in knowing that no matter how steep the challenge, she knows she’ll get the job done because she’s the person who does “the thing.” That’s just who she is.