Jen Bilik, Our Founder
Jen Bilik founded Knock Knock in 2002. Twenty years later, in 2022, she sold the company to Union Square & Co., the publishing division of Barnes & Noble. Jen continues to serve as a consultant to the brand. Personally, she looks forward to lying fallow for a while to see what new endeavors bubble up.
Jen started Knock Knock out of a desire to write and design at the same time, uniting her longtime activities in the verbal and visual realms. Much of Knock Knock arose from being a maker. Growing up handy in Berkeley, California, Jen sewed and quilted and plied all manner of art and craft with her mother and learned carpentry and engineering principles from her father. After attending the University of Michigan as a double major in English literature and film studies, Jen decamped to New York City to work in publishing, specializing in coffee-table books at the advent of the desktop publishing revolution, with stimulating exposure to editing, copywriting, graphic design, printing, and manufacturing.
In 1998, now working as a freelance editor and writer, Jen moved to Los Angeles to ponder how she might make her own mark. A few years and a million head scratches later, Knock Knock was born as a way to play with paper and wit. An instant success, the brand made a huge splash in the marketplace with a pioneering voice, look, and sensibility. Jen is also exceedingly proud of cultivating an in-house creative team to take the baton of conceptualizing and writing Knock Knock products after doing it largely herself for the first five years.
Jen has authored twenty-plus books and decks as well as thousands of products. She has traveled the world as a sought-after speaker on both the business and creative sides of the company. In 2018, Jen spearheaded Knock Knock’s acquisition of Em & Friends, which now also hangs its hat with Union Square & Co. Because dogs are the best of us, it’s important to note that Maisie, Knock Knock’s founding mascot, died in 2002, and Paco, her successor, in 2021. In April 2020, Jen left her adopted hometown of Venice Beach to return to Berkeley and now lives there with her husband, Brian, and their newish dog, Oona.
- “The Most Fascinating People in L.A.” LA Weekly
- “The Way I Work: Jen Bilik of Knock Knock.” Inc.
- “The Wit That Breeds Wisdom.” The New York Times
- “Procrastination is Start-Up’s Key to Success.” The Wall Street Journal
- Featured guest on Design Observer’s Design Matters with Debbie Millman
- “Inside the Studio: Knock Knock.” The Dieline
See more Jen Bilik press here.