You are sure to see one of Mullica Hill’s newest Moms volunteering at the schools, cheering from the sidelines of the soccer fields, or going on long runs through town. Rita Jassal is a Long Island native putting down new roots in our small town, raising her three daughters and launching her new business.
From Long Island To Mullica Hill
Rita and Peter moved to Mullica Hill just this past August of 2014. Their daughters Sara, age 5, and Chelsea, age 7, are in Harrison Township School while Katelynn, age 9, is a fourth grader at Pleasant Valley. How did these New Yorkers find themselves in a quaint farming town? The impetus for their move was Peter’s job. An anestheologist for Vineland Hospital, Peter needed to be in closer proximity to his practice. They heard about Mullica Hill through his boss, who also lives in town. “The most important thing to me was the school district for our kids,” Rita says. After researching the schools, she knew this was the right town for her family. Though, the new environment was a big change for this Long Island native.
Though Rita was born in India, her entire family relocated to the U.S. when she was only 8 years old. “I don’t remember much of India,” she admits. Her extended family still live here in the states. Rita grew up, attended high school and college on Long Island. Though she considers herself “very American,” she still maintains many core Indian traditions, cultures, and rituals. She practices the religion and traditions of the Punjabi people, and her girls attend what she refers to as “Indian School” to stay connected with their heritage.
A Long History In Women’s Fashion and Retail
Rita began working in the retail and fashion industry starting at the age of 16, when she helped out at her parents retail stores in New York. “I did the buying, fashion and merchandising,” she says. Her father owned a clothing store in Brooklyn, did the large flea markets, and through the years owned several other businesses around the City. After college, Rita continued her career in retail at a variety of popular women’s department stores in New York City.
At 28 years old, Rita travelled to India to meet her husband in a marriage that was arranged by her parents, as per traditional Indian custom. She flew to India to meet Peter and they hit it off. She spent a short time in India getting to know each other and planning their wedding. Then, she and her husband came back to America to live permanently. There is no doubt when you see the two of them that they are a perfect couple who mutually support and respect one another and love being parents to their adorable girls.
As newlyweds, they came right back to Long Island where Rita had established a life and a successful career. Peter opened a chriopractic office in Brooklyn and enjoyed much success. “But, his dream was to become an M.D.,” Rita says. She encouraged him to follow his dream because she knew it would always be a regret for him if he didn’t. She was willing to dig in and make whatever sacrifices they needed to for him to achieve this dream. “He went to medical school and I worked full time at Macy’s,” she says. Throughout the long and rigorous road to become a medical doctor, Rita was the primary breadwinner for their growing family.
Becoming A ‘Mompreneur’
After Peter graduated and embarked on a career as a successful Anesthesiologist, Rita wanted to spend time at home raising her three girls. “For the kids, I retired [from retail management],” she says. Yet, her passion for women’s fashion and her entreprenurial talent remained. She started toying with the idea of creating a career where she could still be around to go on class field trips and take her kids to activities. “I thought, if I could do my business at home, that would be a wonderful thing.”
“I always had the idea… I have the background in retail… I always liked jewelry,” she says. “Fashion jewelry is always in style. Every woman loves jewelry!” With a little inspiration, a little passion, and a lot of hard work and drive, her jewelry business was born. Named after her children (Katelynn, Chelsea, and Sara), Rita launched kcsJewel this past Fall and is enjoying her new business venture and all the opportunity it offers. Customers can purchase on her website and at her Amazon store. Rita and kcsJewels were at the SoHo Fashion Show and will be at the MOMS Club Vendor Fair this November. “I also do house parties,” she says. “I bring the wine and the jewelry, you invite the guests and we have a great girls night in.”
If you see the Jassal family around town, say hello and welcome them to “the neighborhood!” You will quickly find that this warm, energetic and friendly family will become your newest friends.
by: Alicia DiFabio, Psy.D.