This week on FEW Members' Corner, we would like to introduce you to Emma Wallace, Founder of her eponymous ready-to-wear brand Emma Wallace.
Hi Emma, can you tell us more about your entrepreneurial journey?
I launched the brand several years ago and was able to realise my dream of opening my own store in April last year. My goal is to dress confident, modern and adventurous women in Hong Kong and globally with a collection that is inspired by wanderlust and the love for travel, combined with an East meets West aesthetic.
I have always had a love for designing clothes since I was very young and was taught by my grandmother, whom I used to watch sew and design her own embroideries for soft furnishings around her home. I graduated from Nottingham Trent University in 2005 and went onto work for several UK brands which originally brought me to Hong Kong for sourcing and production. I fell in love with this city and didn’t know it at the time but it would become home.
What inspired you to start your company?
I began designing my collection whilst working as a stylist for show outfits for local celebrities and with this grew my love for using colour, sequins, embellishments and embroidery in my designs. Hong Kong women have a busy family and social life, I wanted to offer these women a unique collection that was different to what they could find in Hong Kong which offers designer and high street brands but not much in between. At Emma Wallace they can find unique prints which are my own designs, well-designed clothes with a twist, for example from basic items like a top but with additional detailing of a tie or embroidery, all the way to evening dresses for cocktail parties. I was inspired to open the store to support the online business, I believe customers still want the experience of in-store shopping, feeling the materials, and speaking to someone real and for us it is important to build a real relationship with our customers. Working directly with our customers means that we can offer custom pieces and free alternation services ensuring that our customers leave with the perfect item.
So far, what's the most challenging part of your journey?
The process of opening a store! There are so many elements that need to come to fruition; from the administration, designing of the store, production of the collection and to the day to day running of the store, dealing with the current collection in store but also designing future collections to keep up with the fashion calendar and cycle. It is all pieces of the bigger picture but all equally important. Now that the store is up and running, the challenge is to ensure that it is successful, not just for myself but my team.
A FEW WORDS OF ADVICE
On running business
Finding the right people to work with to support you on your vision and journey is key. People that are driven for their own success, are motivated and believe in your brand. It's also important to find people who can do the parts of the business that you can’t. It's impossible to grow a business all by yourself, the pressure to know all aspects of your business is too much, and you don’t have to. Having a team with all different skills makes your business stronger and gives you the time to concentrate on what you do best.
My personal success is realising my dream of having my own clothing brand and store. For the brand, successes come from positive customer feedback, being worn by our muses like Coco Rocha and Eunis Chan, influencers and press support - this all goes to show that we are going in the right direction and drives me to continue every day.
Special offer for FEW members:
*Until the end of September, FEW members can receive 20% off on the new A/W19 collection by using the code – FEW20 at www.emma-wallace.com