Everyone, meet Emma May, Founder of SophieGrace Designs—a digitally native clothing brand that’s been doubling its sales year over year since its inception in 2018.
She’s funny, bold, brash, ballsy, outspoken, loyal, opinionated, brave, photogenic and gives zero f*cks. (Thanks Joe.)
This writer has known Emma for nearly 15 years, and I can think of a story to demonstrate each of these qualities. But my favourite thing about her is that she’s a champion of women. She drives our entire gender forward, powerfully, and she does so while flawlessly dressed.
Let’s find out how.
What's your origin story?
I was standing in my closet before a board meeting one day and I realized I was looking for really easy to mix and match work staples. A pencil skirt and a matching blouse. I didn't wear full suits to work like my husband did. I had been wear mix and match looks my whole 20 years as a professional woman and I was surprised that there weren't more brands dedicated to this. So I dreamt up my perfect capsule collection and went from there.
What does your daily routine look like (and how much sleep do you get)?
Caveat - this is my COVID schedule. I am getting back into the habit of going into an office after spending many years in real estate and working out of my car! I get up at 7:30. Catch up on the news ( I worked in politics and law so I am by nature a news junkie.) Have a coffee with MTC oil, get dressed and get to the office by 9am. I work and have calls until 4 ish and then I try and wrap things up so I can fit a walk or workout in before the sun goes down. Go home, spend time with my kid and dogs, workout, order in or cook something, watch a show, more emails and work from 9 to 11ish and then I bath and try to wind down my brain. Non-covid times - I would try and hit events after work, a yoga class, long summer evening walks with friends. But it’s definitely strange times.
Best advice you've ever been given.
Just because you are good at something doesn’t mean you have to do it. I was good at International Trade Law. Zero interest.
What inspires you and keeps you motivated?
New challenges. I’m 50 this year. I get bored when things get too easy. I need to feel like I am always learning something new or pushing myself to tackle a new boundary. I try to keep up with innovations in tech and culture. Balance everything that I have learnt over the years with keeping an open mind. Podcasts are great for this. Even ones that piss me off.
How do you celebrate a really big win?
They always feel anticlimactic to me. I have had many over the years. And that’s an awesome thing but it really reinforces that is the journey that is the gift. Much more than the outcome. Don’t me wrong - I don’t like losing and do whatever I can to avoid it. But usually, after a win, I find my next goal pretty quickly.
The most memorable moment in your company journey so far?
I can’t pick one. I think it is the weekly joy that comes when I read a happy customer’s review. I always get a thill when someone tells me they are enjoying our products. When they feel beautiful or confident because of something we made. Each of those moments is really special to me.
Advice you would give to someone who wants to start a brand/company.
Don’t build what you don’t love. Because it is a lot of work. With a lot of hard days. And if you don’t really enjoy what you are producing or some element of the purpose of it - you will get discouraged. I love creating and making beautiful things. I love making women feel amazing about themselves. But if I was building a company in some other space I am not sure I would have the patience for the bullshit.