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Worth the Squeeze: Kristin Juszczyk on navigating her own career as an NFL wife

Kristin leaned on her entrepreneurial roots to get her business off the ground - a business that allows her flexibility, while also chasing her passion.

Kyle Juszczyk’s career has been unique. Since hitting the field in the NFL, the standout fuThat’s llback has been with just two teams: the Baltimore Ravens, who drafted him in 2013. Then, in 2017 when he became a free agent, the Niners signed him to a four-year deal that the team just re-upped for another five years. Two teams in nearly nine years isn’t usually the norm for most veteran pros.

Life for professional athletes and their families is hardly “normal” in any way, but Kyle’s wife Kristin has used that (relative) location stability to her advantage in her own career.

“We are bouncing all over the place, and everyone’s life is so different,” said Kristin.

Kristin, raised as a hard worker in a family of entrepreneurs, wanted to dive into a career of her own. She became determined to find one that works for their unique lifestyle, a lifestyle dependent on being flexible in time and location.

“If you’re a woman married to someone in the NFL and you want a career of your own, most of the time, it really has to be something that you are doing on your own,” said Juszczyk. “Most jobs you can’t go in just for football season. A lot of people have homes elsewhere, not where they play for their team, so it’s definitely tough navigation for your career path for the women.”

Early on, it was challenging to navigate for Kristin, too. A licensed real estate agent in Maryland, Kristin toyed with the idea of diving into West Coast real estate.

“I was really able to look myself in the mirror and be like, ‘Okay, what do you want to do? Do you want to go after real estate? Do you want to take this course all over again?’” said Kristin. “It’s state by state, so I’d have to get my license over here.”

Not thrilled with the idea of retaking a real estate license course and exam, Kristin saw an opportunity to dive into a true passion of hers: fashion. She majored in fashion and business at the University of Rhode Island before transferring to Towson University in Baltimore, the city where she later met Kyle.

“Most of the members in my family are all entrepreneurs, starting their own businesses,” said Kristin. “I’ve always had the support from my family and inspiration from my dad and his brothers.”

That turned into what is now Kristin’s boutique Origin. She said it’s online-only because she wanted to understand who her client was and learn how to run a business when she first started out - and also be able to pick up and move if needed. That client is someone who is looking for unique, one-of-a-kind pieces.

“I always say that you don’t go to Origin if you’re just looking for a white tee-shirt and plain leggings,” said Kristin. “You’re going for that signature piece that people ask, ‘Oh my god, where did you get that? That’s so unique.’ That was the overall brand I wanted.”

That brand has taken off. Origin boasts nearly 7000 followers on Instagram, and Kristin herself has nearly 18000, all of it adding up to a strong marketing platform and opportunity to reach her key demographic.

“Instagram has been everything for my business,” said Kristin. “All of the wives have been so supportive of me, and they’ve modeled for me countless times...It really has been so huge with the growth.”

Claire Kittle, George Kittle’s wife, models for Origin

While many of her pieces are geared towards women right now, Kristin hopes to create something for everyone. That will start with her own designs and pieces set to launch next year.

“A lot of my line that I’m coming out with, in my eyes, is very unisex,” said Kristin. “My fashion is very oversized clothing, and even my hoodies that we’re launching are unisex. There are no men’s sizes, and there are no female sizes. It’s just unisex sizing.”

Origin just released a set of hoodies that are Juice-themed, but she hopes they’ll draw eyes from fans and fashionistas all the same. She came up with the idea when her own line of pieces was delayed due to COVID manufacturing hiccups.

“I ended up being like, ‘We should really come out with some hoodies, some hoodies that your fans will buy in representation of you,’ and also people who don’t know Kyle and will think it’s just a cool design.”

The hoodie, which says “the juice was worth the squeeze” on the back, launched this week. And of course, Juice was involved in the process and one of Kristin’s sources of input along the way.

“Kyle’s definitely gotten into fashion a lot since meeting me. He’s been having a lot of fun with it,” said Kristin. “I ask him his opinion on a lot of things, and he’s my model. I always have him try everything on because I need to make sure it looks good on him.”

Kyle has also been a point of inspiration for Kristin, in business and in life.

“He inspires me so much because there is nobody I know that loves his job every single day,” said Kristin. “That man wakes up with a smile on his face, and he comes home with a smile on his makes me want to go after my dreams, too.”

Launching Origin has been her dream, but she said there’s still more to accomplish.

“I just really hope to have my own line coming out spring, fall, and summer and get away from having wholesale clothing and boutique clothing. That’s really where I see myself going,” said Kristin. “My ultimate dream is to have my clothing at Revolve, but we’re taking baby steps.”

That juice, when accomplished, will certainly be worth the squeeze it took to get there.