#BlushBoss: Emma from EMMA KNUDSEN
Name: Emma Knudsen
Current Title/Company: Owner and Designer of Emma Knudsen
Past Education: FdA Fashion Design and Marketing from London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London
What was your first job out of college?
My very first job out of college was at a shop called Oak+Fort in Vancouver’s Gastown. I started out doing sales, and ended up doing a lot of visual merchandising and operational tasks. At the time, it was a small company and I was able to be a part of many different aspects of the business which was great.
What inspired you to start your own company?
I had been working in the industry for about 3 years in a few different sales, merchandising and design roles. I had gone on so many interviews trying to find my “dream job”. It took a lot of people telling me that I wasn’t qualified for positions, I didn’t have enough experience, or generally just assuming I couldn’t do something before even giving me a shot. I wanted to prove to all those people, and myself, that I could do it and that I would have excelled in any one of those positions. Had you asked me this time last year when I would start my own company, I would have said 5-10 years from now but I think sometimes you’re faced with these challenges and it makes you realize what you really want. I should note, I am incredibly lucky as I have the most supportive parents, and they really were the ones who convinced me to finally take that leap.
What advice would you give to Blush Babe readers thinking about starting their own business?
I would say, it is okay to be nervous and overwhelmed. Starting a business can be very unpredictable, time consuming and stressful and that’s completely normal. If it was so easy then everybody would do it! However, prepare to be told no- that is definitely going to happen. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t tons of other solutions- you just have to be open minded.
Additionally, patience is key. Not everything will happen overnight, and be mindful of the fact that what may be a priority to you, may not be a priority to someone else (All facts that I am still trying to wrap my head around haha!) Having said all of that, the positives definitely outweigh any, and all of the negatives. Seeing your vision finally come to fruition is the absolute best feeling.
What was your biggest fear in starting your own business?
The money. I initially wrote off the idea because I assumed I would need a huge loan, and I would never be able to afford all of those start-up costs. But, I managed to re-work my business model and come up with a way to get it done without putting myself in serious debt. Prioritizing and splitting up your expenses is really important, as tempting as it can be to buy everything at once.
Take Blush Babe readers through your journey of developing your clothing line EmmaKnudsen! How did you ensure your company was a success?
I’m not sure I can be called a success yet, but I am definitely working on it! The general development and design of the first collection was the easiest part as I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like. When you first start-up a business you don’t really think about the things like permits, taxes, sourcing supplies etc. That was all definitely a learning curve for me.
I have spent a lot of time running my ideas past friends and family, whose opinions I value. It has helped me work out any kinks in the business and realize what I want my brand to stand for. Since launching, I have been very keen to get any, and all feedback on the collection. My customers are so important to the development of this business. Additionally, because my collection is made-to-order, I have been able to take any feedback I’ve received and immediately make a difference in the product, and the way I’m operating.
What’s your favorite piece from your collection? Why?
Definitely the Lauren Dress. Not only is it named after one of my best friends, who has been such an inspiration and helping hand through this entire process, it also just embodies the brand perfectly. I’ve always been inspired by a very minimalist style, but I am a girly-girl at heart and I think this dress is the perfect marriage of the two.
What were some of the biggest challenges and greatest rewards you faced while starting your business?
I think the biggest challenge is just taking that initial leap. It is really scary and there is a chance it won’t work out, but even if it doesn’t, I know so much more about myself, the industry, and what I am capable of as a designer and businesswoman. The greatest reward has by far been the incredible support I have received from my friends, family and admirers of the collection. When you work so hard on something, to have that kind of feedback is the absolute best feeling.
What does a typical day look like for you?
No two days are the same! Every morning I will prioritize my orders, check in on any orders in-transit, follow up with my customers and then prepare the pieces that need to be constructed that day. After that, it is just a lot of sewing and caffeine!
What is the best moment of your career to date?
By far, the day the collection launched. Nothing can describe that feeling. I was so proud of myself for seeing it through, and having the support I had was just the icing on the cake.
What advice would you give your 22-year-old self?
Well that was only a year ago, but things have definitely changed. A year ago I had just finished working in a position which I thought was going to turn into a “dream job”. When that didn’t happen, I was feeling very insecure in my abilities, stuck and unsure what the future would hold.
If I were to tell myself anything it would be to calm down, to think about what I really want in my career, and not to settle for anything less. My dad always tells me that it will all work out how it is supposed to – I guess he was right! (You should know; I’ll never live that down now that I’ve admitted it!)
Emma is a total #BlushBoss…
What’s your favorite piece in your collection, why?
The Lauren Dress. It is inspired by one of my best friends and it completely embodies the Emma Knudsen brand.
You wish you knew how to…
I wish I had a beautiful singing voice! Believe me, I try. It’s not going to happen.
What is your favorite way to unwind?
Being surrounded with friends and family. They always manage to put my mind at ease and help me relax!
If you could have brunch with three women who would they be?
Ellen DeGeneres, Diane Von Furstenberg and Sophia Amoruso the original #girlboss!
Thank you SO much for stopping by Blush & Camo!
Don’t forget to stop by Emma’s online store by clicking here and using code “BLUSH15” for 15% off your entire purchase!
I am wearing the Charlie Tank and Cora Culotte in today’s featured image!