Arriving at Emma’s stunning LA home, greeted by a flood of sparkling energy, Emma exudes warmth and beauty. In between her exuberance, she shows us around, giving us the rundown on her amazing career thus far and life as a mom, touching on everything from her role as CEO of ITB Worldwide to how she met her husband (co-founder of Frame Denim) and her most recent venture as co-founder of US-based denim label Good American alongside Khloe Kardashian. Here, she shares why scheduling & gratitude are crucial to her success, the importance of daily rituals, plus life hacks she’s learned (like learning to say no!). @emmagrede
What are some of the challenges of being a CEO of a new business and mom to young kids?
While being a mom is incredibly important to me, I’m also an extremely ambitious person, and I’ve worked very hard to find myself in the professional situation I’m in now. It can be challenging to anticipate my children’s ever-evolving needs (my son Grey is five and my daughter Lola is two and a half) as well as the needs of a budding company which is essentially my third baby. Kids are a great leveler though and help me prioritize what truly matters. No matter what has happened during the day, they bring me back to reality in the most spectacular way, and instantly I realize those are work problems and this is REAL life.
What’s a ritual you do with your kids every day?
While I love the idea of being one of those fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants types, I’m all about rituals. I leave the office at 5pm on the dot every day to catch the end of dinner with my kids, followed by bath time, story time and bedtime—and that’s non-negotiable. While my kids know that I’m not dropping them off at school every day, they do know that I’ll be home with them every night to read and snuggle. As a professional person, it’s imperative to create boundaries and have unwavering cornerstones.
What’s your morning routine?
My mornings are much more flexible and likely the only quiet moment of my day. It’s my time to reflect and think. I get up and head to the gym at 5:30am before my kids wake up and by the time I come home at 7am it’s utter madness! The kids are running around, changing outfits multiple times, and crushing breakfast. Somehow amidst all the chaos, we manage to get out the door and go about our day.
Do you consider fitness and self-care important for moms?
Self-care is essential for everyone, not just moms! I’ve never been one of these people that struggles to find time to look after myself. It’s a priority for me, and I schedule it the same as I would plan a meeting about our store strategy because the better shape I’m in the better I can be for all the people around me.
With all that you have going on, how do you get it all done?
I’ve learned to say no, be selective, ruthlessly prioritize, and surround myself with the best possible people because inevitably you have to outsource decision making to accomplish all the things that need to get done. Learning to say no is something I struggled with for a long time, but it’s enabled me to do more. I can’t do everything myself, nor do I strive to, but knowing I have competent people handling key issues is critical.
Good American is now 2 years old, what’s next?
It’s funny because I always think that at some point things will slow down and I’ll be able to catch up with myself, but they don’t! There are so many exciting programs in the works with GOOD AMERICAN and it’s important that we’re always innovating. Our big initiative at the moment is photographing every single piece of clothing we make on every body size. Typically, if you’re a size 4, then you’re looking at products on a size 00, and often the same if you’re a size 18! We want to do it differently. That being said, alongside these exciting efforts my number one focus is to always stay true to what we do well. I take the same less-is-more approach as I do in life to guard the guiding principles of the brand.
I get asked this question a lot, and without sounding cliche, it comes down to happiness. I am successful in my personal life, as I have two gorgeous children and a husband that I still love madly after ten years. Plus, I get to work with an incredible team and clothes—and I LOVE clothes! I’ve also learned to appreciate the small things and be grateful. I believe gratitude is an attitude, and that’s the way I live my life.
What’s one life hack that you can share with us?
How about more than one?! I can’t say it enough, schedule everything! Plus, don’t set unrealistic expectations with your time, and ask for help! And ultimately know that something has to give because no one “has it all.” For me, that was my social life—I go out with the same three people all the time and not nearly as much as I’d like.
Follow Emma @emmagrede