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You are here: Home > "KK" - Wristies' Inventor

About KK Gregory, Inventor of Wristies®

How did it all begin?

KK Gregory signing Wristies trademark applicationOn a cold and snowy winter's day, 10 year old KK Gregory was out building a snow fort when her wrists started to hurt because they were cold and wet.  She remedied the problem by inventing Wristies, and wore them under her coat and mittens.  She tested the invention with her scout troop who encouraged her to make more.  She applied for a patent, trademarked the name, and started a company!  Wristies are taking the world by storm (excuse the pun) with people wearing Wristies for all sorts of reasons.  Mostly people like them because they just help them keep warmer.

If you have specific questions about the business, please e-mail your request to kk@wristies.com.

KK, the young inventor

KK building the snowfortAs the inventor of Wristies, my childhood was not like most kids.  My mom and I went to meetings with the patent attorney, shopped for fabrics and met with companies like Turtle Fur to write License and Sale agreements.  I really loved learning so much about business at such a young age.  The hardest part for me back then was being taken seriously.  Imagine a woman walking into a meeting with her 12-year-old daughter, most people would turn to my mom and assume she couldn’t find a babysitter.  This is when I would stand up a little straighter, look them in the eye and firmly shake hands, introduced as the inventor.  With a little professionalism and confidence they took us seriously and we started to write some orders! 


     Along the way we made appearances on Oprah, the Today Show (shown right) and various books and newspapers around the world.  Having so much attention at such a young age was difficult for me.  When I would go to school, kids would tease KK at the Today Show 1998me and my younger brother.  Parents, business acquaintances, family, would all tell me it was jealousy, but when you’re a kid that’s a hard one to grasp.  Regardless of the names they called or the not-so-funny things they said, I deeply enjoyed sharing the story of entrepreneurship as a little girl with her mom, to schools and businesses.  We would get the most incredible letters expressing gratitude and respect that was nothing less than humbling.  This kind of support from the people that we were talking to was a big motivating force for both my mother and me.  The reason that Oprah’s crew came to Bedford Massachusetts, was because it wasn’t about the money.  I loved helping to inspire other people, especially girls, to find someone who believes in you and your idea (like my mom) and go for it!  Neither of us had a business degree or certificate saying we were able to be businesswomen.  We just learned along the way, asking advice from those who had been through it and are now happy to pass that mentoring spirit to other small businesses.


    Through high school, I found rock climbing to be another exceptional way of escaping the “high school drama” and a wonderful way to express my own strength and grace.  I competed within New England and was undefeated for several years.  In 2001 I made the US Climbing Team and went to the World Cup in Imst, Austria.  Goals have always been very helpful for me in business, life and climbing.  Set them high, get there and then make another one!  Next was to see the world. 


Years of Learning and Exploring

   Those who have followed this little story, may have noticed an 8 year hiatus, where I was not as active with Wristies.  When I was just about done with high school, I had already been “in business” for 8 years.  Nearly half my life!  I wanted to go to college and learn about new and different things.  I graduated from the Honor’s Program at Southern New Hampshire University with a major in Humanities, concentration in Video Production and three minors: Philosophy, Environmental Studies and Math.  Yes, I am proud to say that I am a nerd! 


   After college I moved to Bishop, California where I climbed a lot and worked as leadKK Gregory with Paulie, EMHE videographer, editor, and commercial director for Sierra Wave TV33, the local RSN station.  That was fun!  If I really wanted to travel and get into television production, I needed to move south to LA.  So that’s what I did!  I was based in LA as the Design Coordinator for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.  I traveled with the design team (Ty, Paige, Paulie and the best crew!) to build houses in nine states and a church in New Orleans.  After Extreme, I wanted to stay in one town for more than two weeks so I worked as Postproduction Coordinator in LA for Bunim Murray Productions. 


   After working in Production I finally had the opportunity to travel.  I first journeyed to Australia for 5 weeks.   There, I traced the journey of my Great-Great Grandfather Miho Baccich who wasKK in Australia with friends shipwrecked off the northwestern coast and survived with the help of the Aborigines (The story is chronicled in the book, The Wreck of the Barque Stephano written by my Great Uncle, Gustave Rathe).  You can see decedents of the tribe who rescued Miho along with me and my traveling buddies in the photo to the left.  This trip changed my life and really brought to the forefront how important family, friends and heritage are.  Needless to say, I officially had the travel bug.  I went back to LA to work as a mountain biking and kayaking guide for PV Bike, Hike and Kayak at the Terranea Resort for the summer.  There I learned (and taught) all about the marine biology and ecology of southern California.  That fall I went back on the road and backpacked through Southeast Asia with some friends.  We started in Darwin, Australia, then up to Singapore, Malaysia, KK Gregogry in ThailandThailand and Laos over 6 weeks.  Again, another incredible trip!  The food was unforgettable and the people and culture taught me lessons in patience, appreciation and love of life.  Another goal, complete!  When I got back to the states, I knew it was time to go back to my roots and family, to Kittery Point, Maine and help my mom with Wristies again.  I moved back east, joined the Kittery Fire Department as a volunteer firefighter and bought a house. 


Return to Wristies

KK Gregory and Mom, Sue   My mother and I worked as the best team.  Just like when we first started this business together, 16 years later, in a mill in New Hampshire, we were back at it!  Going to tradeshows, hiring a great staff, coming up with new products and landing sales together.  We had so much fun!  We knew  the other would make a really big sale when a, “WOO HOOO!” was shouted from the other office.  We’d meet in the middle and do a happy dance!  She taught me that success isn’t only measured in the number of sales, but also what you’re giving back.  She encouraged me to continue speaking at schools and helping students and businesses from all over the world who come for advice.  For the year and a half we had after my return, she wasn’t just my mom or my boss, but my best friend and mentor.  In July of 2011, she lost her battle to breast cancer.  We spread her ashes as she wanted on the coast in Maine.  She did an incredible job growing the business.  I hope to make her proud!  I miss her everyday and I know she’s keeping an eye on me.  From a verse she loved about angels, “… we know their presence by the love they create in our hearts.” (Mary Baker Eddy) My mother, Susan Blackwell Gregory created a strong company with a great foundation, as her daughter I hope to one day be the fearless leader she showed me how to be. 

KK Gregory Firefighter

   In January of 2012, I was honored to receive the 2011 Firefighter of the Year Award given by the Kittery Fire Department.  After work and on the weekends, I enjoy helping my community as an active member of the Kittery Fire Department.  Our weekly trainings are both educational and exciting!  On any given Tuesday night, we have both lecture and practice in everything from CPR to operating the jaws of life.  Our community is extremely supportive by donating buildings as a tax write off before they are torn down, for us to train in.  We can use these structurally safe buildings to learn how to vent a roof or breach a wall, even practice search and rescue techniques.  I am proud to be a part of this department, one that values safety, responsibility and camaraderie.

KK Gregory

    Through the early years, to my rich college education, traveling the world and learning how to deal with tragic loss, I am excited to be leading Wristies into the future as a successful and reputable company.  We have a great crew at Wristies; we work hard and have fun!  If you have any questions, suggestions or want to “talk shop,” please feel free to email me anytime.  kk@wristies.com

KK Gregory

Inventor, CEO

Firefighter photo is by Harold Buzzell, myfirepics.com


KK received the following awards and recognitions for her Wristies:

  • 2000 Apex Award, Best use of Polartec®, presented by Malden Mills, Inc. Youngest recipient.
  • 2000 Leading Woman of the Year by the Patriot Trail Girl Scout Council, presented October 26, 1999.
  • 1998 Bedford Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year Award (youngest ever nominated) 
  • 1997 Kids' Hall of Fame, inducted along with 12 other young people from around the world. 
  • 1997 Honorary Finalist, New England Entrepreneur of the Year.  K-K was the youngest ever to be nominated nationwide.  She inspired a new category for the 1998 Awards, "Young Entrepreneur," although they define "young" as "under 30!"