Meet Our CEO & Co-Founder, Kait Margraf Stephens!
After graduating from Georgetown University with a degree in finance and marketing, Kait began a career which spanned across multiple disciplines and equipped her with a diverse set of business skills. She started as an analyst at Blackstone and later became an investment associate at iStar, where she gained experience developing valuation analyses and coordinating strategic projects. Realizing that she had a deep passion for retail, she then pursued an opportunity as a vice president and portfolio manager at PIMCO, where she served as the retail expert for the firm, thinking about omnichannel, the future of retail, and how that applied to the firm’s investment strategy. She also earned a company-wide Innovation Prize in recognition of her trailblazing idea to start an investment fund that was double impact: it made money for investors while also having an altruistic purpose. After a successful three-year career at PIMCO, Kait was admitted to Harvard Business School. Her time at Harvard helped strengthen her foundations in general management and entrepreneurship as well as open the door to an invaluable summer position with Airbnb working in product management and strategy.
At Brij, we’re building the next channel for brands to communicate with their customers – through the physical product.
Making The World A Better Place
In addition to her professional endeavors, Kait has long been driven by a hunger to make the world a better place. Shortly after she graduated from college, Kait founded Hark Society, a nonprofit with the mission of providing out-of-school activities to children in underserved communities. During Kait’s tenure, the foundation raised over $300,000 to fund a financial literacy program, various scholarships, and a number of skills-based mentoring and career programs. The experience that Kait gained through building and leading the Hark Society team was her first foray into entrepreneurship, and she quickly knew it wouldn’t be her last.
While at Harvard Business School, Kait and Zack started Found, a lost-and-found platform that created digital identities for physical products using QR codes. The pandemic, however, brought new challenges in retail that required a slightly different solution to an even bigger problem – a brand’s relationship with their customer began to decay as they managed this changing world and moved toward an omnichannel strategy.
In response to the changing marketplace, Kait and Zack pivoted the company and rebranded to Brij, shifting their principal focus towards helping brands reconnect with their consumers via QR codes. Brij’s one-touch platform enables consumers to seamlessly re-order products and access exclusive content while, in turn, allowing the brands to learn more about who their customer truly is. “At Brij, we’re building the next channel for brands to communicate with their customers – through the physical product,” Kait remarked. “With the simple scan of a QR code, Brij builds a direct relationship between brands and their customers, regardless of the channel they are selling through. We see a world in which our Brij codes are ubiquitous, allowing consumers to have a delightful experience with their favorite products.”