Inc.: We mentioned Room for Improvement, your new book due out on Mother's Day, in the How I Did It piece. How does that fit in with your mission to provide solutions for women?

Barbara K: First of all, the book is not a coffee table book. It's an inspirational tool to show women how easy and rewarding self-reliance is -- and tells them how to accomplish it. The book can serve as a stand-alone how-to book, but it really works best when it's complimented with the tool kits. As soon as someone picks it up, they'll realize it's going to be one of those books that ends up having folded pages, paint satins and little notes written all through it.

Inc.: Describe what it's like to work at Barbara K Enterprises and for Barbara K.

Barbara K: My employees are the most important part of Barbara K. I can't do this alone. We actually built our offices with Barbara K tools. We wanted it to be very open and free. Functional, yet stylish. I want what every employer in the world probably wants -- my employees to have a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day and to have fun during the journey. I hope they get that here. As for working for me, I'm a little of a Jekyll and Hyde. On a personal level, I'm so easygoing and carefree, but when it comes to business, well, it's business. I try to be the perfect mixture, but I do get stressed out sometimes. It's just part of the flow.

Inc.: There are a lot of other tool kits out there that say "Made For Women" on them. How do Barbara K products differ?

Barbara K: I always say: "Don't keep with the times, change with the times." I think those other tool kits are made by men for women. They did their best, but I know the frustrations women experience when they go to Home Depot. I know how intimidating and difficult it is to even know what questions to ask. I understand what women go through when they find themselves not even knowing where to start when they have to solve a problem around the house. More and more women are responsible for fixing things around the house. It's all about having the right tools, and the know-how and confidence to use them. The sense of accomplishment is such a snowball effect.

Inc.: You're a single-mom, CEO of a multi-million dollar company, author and TV personality. How do you find time to dedicate so much to each endeavor?

Barbara K: I was born and raised in the Bronx, so I'm used to a hectic pace. I spend as much time as possible with my son, Zachary. He comes to the office every day after school and hangs around and draws up tools -- I just place him in an environment where he can be creative. The first step in the creative process is putting whatever it is in your head on paper. He's learned that. I also love to go to the beach and surf with him. He loves the water so much, just like I did when I was his age. A lot of people say that kids drain their energy but with Zack, he just makes me feel so alive. His energy is so contagious.

Inc.: So what's next on the horizon for Barbara K?

Barbara K: With the book coming out around Mother's Day, that's going to keep me pretty busy. We also have some licensing agreements coming out as well as a TV show with a major network in the works. As far as what's next, I really want to tackle the electronics market. That's another area I feel is in need of a woman's touch.

Published on: May 6, 2005