Jen Bilik, Our Founder
Jen Bilik is the founder, owner, and overall head honcho of Knock Knock.
Jen grew up handy in Berkeley, California, quilting with her mother and learning carpentry with her father. After high school, she attended the University of Michigan, where she majored in English literature and film studies, plying her secret arts-and-crafts hobbies on the side.
After college, Jen decamped to New York City and labored variously as a film development intern, apprentice film editor, architectural draftsperson, tutor, babysitter, and newspaper proofreader before accepting an actual salaried job in publishing. Happenstance landed Jen in coffee-table books, exciting mini-productions unto themselves with graphic designers, illustration sources, four-color printing, authors, and copyediting.
While serving as the point person for text on late-breaking books, she inadvertently enjoyed a series of deskside internships in graphic design. After a freelance stint that included editing many books as well as co-authoring two (Todd Oldham: Without Boundaries and Women of Taste: A Collaboration Celebrating Quilt Artists and Chefs), Jen moved to Los Angeles to ponder how she might make her elusive mark. A few years and a million head scratches later, Knock Knock was born out of Jen’s desire to play with paper and wit.
Initially a reluctant businesswoman, Jen has transformed into a celebrated and passionate entrepreneur, taking on speaking engagements about the business side of Knock Knock as often as the creative side. Since part of her life goal has always been to exercise both the right and the left sides of her brain (as business and creativity do), Jen loves not having to choose.
In January 2018, Jen spearheaded Knock Knock’s acquisition of Em & Friends to form the Who’s There Group. . For Jen, the Who’s There family represents a stimulating culmination of many interests—art, craft, business, strategy, printing, writing, coordinating, managing—and she keeps them all well-honed by serving as the company’s CEO and key creative leader. She also keeps her fingers in the product development pot on a regular basis, and has an extra-special knack for finding awesome new voices for Knock Knock to partner up with, creatively speaking
With Knock Knock, Jen and the team seek to create products distinctive in concept, content, and design, immune to the disease of committee homogenization.
In April 2020, during high Covid, Jen moved back to her Berkeley hometown with her husband Brian, her newish dog Oona (mascots Maisie and Paco sadly departed this mortal coil), and the old company ping-pong table that needed a new home.
To request Jen as a speaker, or for more information about upcoming and past speaking engagements, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Los Angeles Review of Books/USC Publishing Workshop, Los Angeles, CA (7/12/18)
- Mom 2.0 Summit, Pasadena, CA (5/4/18)
- 2016 Y Conference, San Diego, CA (4/1/16) See the video
- Thirst DC, Washington, DC (10/22/15) “The Uses and Abuses of Comedic Tension.” See the video
- Her Corner: A Speaker Series, Washington, DC (10/21/15) Keynote speaker, “What I Knew, What I Didn’t Know, What I Wish I’d Known, and What I Knew Later.” See the video
- Marriott Innovation Days, Washington, DC (10/15/15) “To Thine Own Self Be True: Lessons on Collaboration from the Startup World.”
- TYPO SF, San Francisco, CA (4/30/15) “Losing Focus to Find Focus.” See the video
See the full list of Jen’s upcoming and past speaking engagements here.
- “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.