In Conversation with Elle Wang of Emilia George

Elle Wang_Blog Header

Describe your business in a few words?

Emilia George is redefining the traditional concept of maternity wear by providing mothers-to-be with professional silhouettes in sustainable eco-fabrics from niche producers around the globe.

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

When I recognized a huge gap in the market for professional workwear that was also sustainable for expecting mothers, I was inspired to create a line of professional mom-wear with thoughtful details using innovative, sustainable fabrics to empower women. Pregnancy is a beautiful moment when femininity is blossoming, but expectant (and postpartum) women informal work environments are often forced to sacrifice quality, comfort, and style.

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

I am currently still the Strategist for Partnerships, Business Development, and Stakeholder Management at the United Nations in New York City!

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

Absolutely, 100%, yes! My father is a self-made entrepreneur and his own journey has inspired me my whole life. It does take a certain personality to want to become an entrepreneur because it’s not champagne and strawberries for a very long time. I always knew I could take it as long as I’m building something that combines my passion and positive social impact.

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

I first tried following a typical digital marketing strategy, using ads on social media and email campaigns, but unfortunately it didn’t go as well as we wanted. When COVID hit, we completely stopped all digital ads and pivoted to organized webinars. I wanted to offer pregnant women relevant resources and insider knowledge from doulas, OB/GYNs and other parenting experts that could speak to the challenges pregnant women face, especially during a pandemic.

This really helped target my audience in a better and much more meaningful way. We’re now utilizing some print ads, but have been very selective and strategic in our methods and the outlets we choose. We’re also planning to start advertising on pregnancy apps soon.

We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?

My biggest mistake was having no patience at the beginning, and jumping on exciting opportunities without doing my research. About a week after our launch, I decided to sponsor a fancy mom event and it was a disaster. I should have paused, attended the event as a guest, and looked into opportunities for the following year. Instead, I barely got half of what the organizers promised and the other vendors and I had to request for them to rectify the issue.

Now, I always tell myself and other entrepreneurs to pause and let your brand grow organically at the beginning so you can avoid wasting time and money. 

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

I’m most proud of my success in building successful wholesaler channels and relationships so quickly within the industry, because I started with absolutely no contacts in fashion. I began cold calling and messaging buyers on LinkedIn, hoping someone would be kind enough to point me in the right direction. 

Because of my persistence I’m now in Neiman Marcus and scored a huge contract with the National Institute of Health to make masks for their employees, which is incredibly rewarding. 

When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?

Our team just started expanding. My go-to interview question is, “What kind of work do you find boring?” We can’t like 100% of any job, so it’s like matchmaking for me to find that ideal candidate who is not going to consider what they will do boring. It’s OK if one needs to grow into a role, but it’s hard for one to grow passion out of boredom. That’s very important for me to build my dream team.

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

COVID-19 has created a lot of stress for business owners, myself included, but I remain so grateful for my health, and how we’ve been able to utilize our resources to produce sustainable face masks for consumers, several preschools, and the NIH!

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

My immediate goal is to get Emilia George into relevant stores, namely Nordstrom and Saks. 

Over the next several years, I want to create a sense of community among moms and translate that into something physical after COVID, because I believe businesses should have some sort of social impact and provide services that go beyond just transactions. When it’s safe, I’d love to meet potential customers in person and organize mom-friendly and kid-friendly events to provide a wholesome and mutually beneficial community.

I also have plans to begin investing in more startups created by mompreneurs. There is incredible strength in someone who can multitask and go after their passion, and I want to do my best to help other moms jumpstart what they want to pursue! We will fund mompreneurs’ efforts via Mother.Funder by Emilia George®, and we will soon announce our very first investment in a startup that is built by a group of awesome moms and dads! 

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

Pivot and continue. Don’t be afraid to change your course temporarily. The path to success is always zig-zagging, and you never know which turn could be meaningful. You simply have to keep going so that you can arrive somewhere.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

Let people do the job they are hired for. This was definitely a lesson I had to learn more than once because of the little Type A/Control Freak inside me. When I first opened Emilia George’s social media accounts, I wanted to work with this amazing mom/fashion blogger and hire her to manage our social media. I messed up by questioning her — asking her to explain why she follows and tags certain people, what her strategies were to do this or that, etc. before really seeing what she could do for Emilia George. It wasn’t long before we had to stop this collaboration — amicably thankfully! It was definitely a good lesson for me in handing over control of certain aspects of my business.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

I started small and stayed nimble from the beginning, and it’s helped us manage financial distress that came from lack of sales. We pivoted to making face masks when there was a shortage and donated to schools, daycares and other people in need. It’s helped us stay humble, determined, and made us even stronger.

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

Absolutely, and it’s why I’m successful. I’m not afraid to ask for help and delegate tasks. It’s important to know your limit and respect your own boundaries.

I know so many women, especially mompreneurs, who have such strong will and care for others, but sometimes they shoulder everything on their own. I’m always in awe of their strength, but I feel asking for help has been helping me to juggle everything — my day job, being Founder and CEO of a clothing startup, being a mom to a toddler and being pregnant. 

I ask my collaborators to step in at events on my behalf when I can’t shake a headache. I ask my husband to help take care of our son when I feel completely exhausted. I ask my boss for some additional flexibility when I feel working during certain hours is the most productive for me. I ask my vendors for discounts, and I ask my customers to be more patient about fulfillment speed during COVID. I never try to overextend my limits. I consider it a very helpful approach in order for me to survive and thrive even during times when I felt nothing was going my way. I strongly recommend this to other female leaders.

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

I actually auditioned for a reality show about “second chances” earlier this year, but production was halted due to the pandemic!

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

  • Make a list.
  • Stay laser-focused and don’t get distracted on a whim. Easier said than done, but if something comes up during your day and it’s not urgent, pause and reassess today’s priorities.
  • Take frequent, short breaks. Recognize when you’re feeling burnt out and take a breath.

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

I have a responsibility to inspire other women who are considering an entrepreneurial journey.

Share it!

Posted in
Tags

Leave a Comment





Randi Shinder on how SBLA explores the intersection of science and beauty to create skincare products that address universal aging concerns

Describe your business in a few words? SBLA uses the intersection of science and beauty to create skincare products that address universal aging concerns. The non-invasive wand-delivery-system skincare line is clinically proven to build collagen, smooth, lift and tighten the skin while targeting the most fragile areas of the face and neck to deliver a…

How Heather Ouida and her co-founders are amplifying women’s voices in the gaming industry through the*gameHERs

Describe your business in a few words? The*gameHERs is a media platform and social networking community that connects, supports and amplifies women who game and who work in the gaming industry. Our mission is to advance the role, voice, image, and power of all women, femme-identifying and non-binary gamers who are comfortable in spaces that…

Creating a smarter swaddle with Hindi Zeidman through her company The Ollie World

Describe your business in a few words? It all started with an amazing infant named Oliver. I was a single foster parent and he was my foster son. When he came to me he was on the verge of being labeled failure-to-thrive because he struggled with the basics of eating and sleeping. He was also…

Jen Fuller on how Etta Loves delivers both babies’ cognitive development and calmness for parents through uniquely-designed baby products

Describe your business in a few words? Etta Loves baby essentials are uniquely designed with science to support babies’ visual and cognitive development, delivering wonder for babies and calm for parents in the everyday. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I had an idea that I couldn’t ignore when my…

How Jessica Jackson is achieving better sleep for both parents and their babies through The Mookabee Swaddle

Describe your business in a few words? The Mookabee Swaddle is committed to helping babies (and ultimately their parents!) achieve better sleep by utilizing the proven power of a parent’s scent. 10% of all profits are donated to Saving Mothers- a non profit dedicated to improving maternal health worldwide. What made you take the leap…

Stacie Stanley on empowering women through her swimwear brand STAYkini™

Describe your business in a few words? STAYkini™ is a swimwear revolution created to empower women through high-quality, backless, strapless swimwear that lets us move freely and soak up the sun while avoiding unwanted tan lines and accidental exposure. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I had the idea for…

Healing Trauma and Getting In Touch With Your Power with Kimberly Ann Johnson, Author of Call Of The Wild

What made you take the leap to start your own business? I’ve always worked for myself (beside when I waited tables and a brief foray into public school teaching). But I took the leap from a calling to a career when I became a mother. What was your background prior to starting your own business?…

How Nicole Boyd used her maternity leave to create Prept, a personal style and beauty help service delivered to consumers virtually so that everyone can feel Prept

Describe your business in a few words? Prept is an on-demand style + beauty concierge that matches women in need of style/beauty help to experts that can help in an affordable, personalized, and digital way. What made you take the leap to start your own business? Having TIME OFF from my corporate job while on…

Daniela Schiliro & Heather Kamback on co-founding inBodi Swim, a swimwear brand inspired by different places of the world the duo has traveled together

Describe your business in a few words? Each collection of inBodi Swim has been thoughtfully created based on different places around the world that we’ve been fortunate enough to see and experience. Along with the environments, colors, textures, cultures of each place; we are most inspired by the unique beauty that each and every woman…

Women Making Bold Moves In Business

Your next read: Ali Kriegsman, co-founder of Bulletin, has released her debut book How To Build A Goddamn Empire. We can’t wait to check it out!  🎉 An exciting partnership: Rocksbox, founded by Meaghan Rose, was acquired by Signet Jewelers, making their $1B service business goal that much closer. 🎉 Top sellers: The Jills Zeder Group, a women-led…

Jasmine Carter on how her own obsession for engagement rings led her to create Balacia, a custom bridal jewelry brand that allows shoppers to create the engagement and wedding rings of their dreams

Describe your business in a few words? Balacia is a custom bridal jewelry brand allowing shoppers to create the engagement and wedding rings of their dreams within their budget. We use diamonds, moissanite, and gemstones so buyers have endless options for colors, shapes, and sizes for their rings. In addition to rings, we also make…

How Julianne Fraser is creating meaningful dialogues with Dialogue New York, a global digital marketing consultancy that specializes in influencer marketing

Describe your business in a few words? Dialogue New York is a global digital marketing consultancy, that specializes in building influencer marketing strategies for luxury and lifestyle brands. What made you take the leap to start your own business? Over the last decade, I’ve watched as the Wild, Wild West of Influencer Marketing took shape,…

Tiffany Buzzatto on pioneering unbottled, undiluted, and uncomplicated slow beauty with her brand DEW MIGHTY

Describe DEW MIGHTY in a few words? We are pioneering unbottled, undiluted, and uncomplicated slow beauty. We plan to always deliver effective skin care products without fillers, sans water, free of nasty ingredients, and without plastic or trashy packaging to always USE LESS. DEW MORE™ What made you take the leap to start your own…

Molly Fienning on how Red Clay turned her into a hot sauce fanatic and CEO

Describe your business in a few words? Red Clay is a cold-pressed, made-for-foodies hot sauce and hot honey brand, named “Tabasco for the 21st century” by Food and Wine Magazine and “a hot honey to elevate your meal” by The New York Times. Crafted by a talented Southern chef, we focus on delicious flavor, sustainably-sourced…

Jhoanna Marissa, founder of WILLA Creative Agency, on creating her dream women-led digital creative agency in the fashion and lifestyle space

Describe WILLA Creative Agency in a few words? A digital-first creative agency working with beauty, fashion and lifestyle brands. What made you take the leap to start your own business? Not being able to find my dream job. I wanted to work in the digital e-commerce space specifically in beauty and fashion. And back when…