April 12, 2024

Meet Emma Grede, Good American co-founder & SKIMS founding member

She adds: “My view is that I’m a very principled person and I have to be able to go to sleep at night and be like, ‘Am I happy with myself? ’ I really don’t concern myself with everybody else. You’re going to make good decisions and bad decisions, but you’ve got to roll on.

At the end of the day, the company is more than something somebody said, or something somebody did. It’s like an amalgamation. Now I have hundreds of staff that are all relying on me to get up and figure out a way, and that’s what I do every day. ”

At the end of the day, the company is more than something somebody said, or something somebody did. It’s like an amalgamation. Now I have hundreds of staff that are all relying on me to get up and figure out a way, and that’s what I do every day

Emma is also a firm believer in the policy of “fake-it-till-you-make-it”, admitting that when she started Good American she didn’t really know what she was doing: “I was really uncomfortable when I started Good American,” she says, “Despite having worked in fashion for ten years previously, I didn’t know how to run an apparel company. I didn’t know how to bring something to market. I didn’t have any of that experience. I was sort of just sailing through. ” but here she is today, having sailed all the way to the top, turning Good American into the super brand that it is today, shipping globally and stocked at retail giants like Harrods and Selfridges.

Like many millennial women, Emma has been through her fair share of bad bosses, has confessed even being fired and finding herself with a grand total of zero great british pounds in her bank account early days into her career. When asked how she coped, she shares, “When you don’t have much, you have to go back to basics. And you’re like, ‘’What makes me happy? I know how to style a t-shirt in 17 different ways. ’ You don’t have a choice. So when you get down to basics, it’s actually a really good lesson because you realise that you don’t need all that stuff or all those people. ”

“If you’re solving a problem, that’s probably a great way to start a company”

In true E13 energy she continues laughing. “I just want to be for the record here. It’s really nice to have money. But it’s also really good to go through those experiences, because it gave me like a fire in my belly. ”

When it comes to diversity, Emma puts her money where her activism is, and is keen to support Black owned businesses having recently invested in BREAD BEAUTY SUPPLY, a haircare brand founded by Maeva Heim. The brand is quickly gaining traction in the curly hair community and Emma speaks passionately about the brand, “I think that Maeva is amazing. This is a girl that came up through L’Oreal and she’s created an incredible product. When I first met her, it was all about the hair oil and all I could think was… THIS IS INSANE! ” If Emma’s glossy locks are anything to go by: Dear BREAD, please TAKE OUR MONEY!

There’s no balance, but also, I don’t strive for it. I think that it’s really important for women to know that, it takes a lot. I have lots of help around me, but I also don’t pretend that it’s easy or that I wake up, walk around or have some great sense of equilibrium over any bad day sometimes.

Aside from investing Emma’s philanthropy work speaks for itself, when asked about her joining the board of Woman For Woman she says, “It was a conscious decision for me because when you’re doing talent partnerships my life before good American, you’re making a lot of money for people that already have a lot of money. ” At the charity she does fundraising to support female empowerment for the most disenfranchised women in society, including survivors of war in conflict zones, and helping them rebuild their lives.

With all the roles Emma has, I asked how she finds that balance? “There’s no balance,” She replies. “But also, I don’t strive for it. I think that it’s really important for women to know that, it takes a lot. I have lots of help around me, but I also don’t pretend that it’s easy or that I wake up, walk around or have some great sense of equilibrium over any bad day sometimes. ”

Emma confesses that having the SKIMS HQ and her Good American office right next door to each other does make things easier, but she says her biggest trick to get over the guilt of not finding perfect stability is to prioritise. “I am very, very good at prioritising and I say no to a lot of stuff,” She shares. “If I think if something’s not getting me closer to a goal, I just say no to it and that’s where I have to be ruthless! ”

As our time is wrapping up, I ask her if she has any advice for aspiring entrepreneurial women. “It’s a lot of hard work, so be prepared to work really, really hard and be nice to people,” Emma shares. “You can’t underestimate the power of just being a good person, telling the truth, people being able to rely on your word, and treating everybody really, really nicely! ”

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