We had the good fortune of connecting with Emily Green and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emily, putting aside the decision to work for yourself, what other decisions were critical to your success?
When I started my business, I was actually living in Peru. I ended up living there for ten years. I can’t imagine how different my designs and relationships to all my suppliers would be if I didn’t have that daily, face-to-face contact. Most artisan-made brands that I know do not actually live in the place they produce and I think that had a profound impact on every aspect of my business.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I come from a very talented family of artists. I have always been surrounded by creativity, but I was never able to draw or paint like my sister, mother, uncle, or grandmother. Instead, I would find beautiful things and piece them together, such as decoupaging. My approach to design for my business is similar. I first focus on the yarns that are available and choose based on color, thickness, and texture. I then gather data to guide my designs such as trends, sales data, and retailer feedback. Next, I create the framework for the collection by choosing styles that have the right colors and merchandise nicely together. After the concepts are built out, I have to decide on the individual stitches that will make up the design. That is when I work with our artisan partners through collaborative design. I present my ideas to the knitters and I give them a lot of freedom to try out different ways to achieve the concept. Sometimes the design comes out completely different from what I was envisioning, but I have learned to be completely open to that process. I believe that by having the artisan partners more involved with the process, they feel more ownership and pride in their work and this is what sets the brand apart.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am based in Austin and there is no shortage of fun things to do around the city, but I much prefer to be outside. I would probably spend a weekend camping and hiking at Inks Lake followed by a tour of the Longhorn Caverns. There are little cafes nearby where you can get a taste of the country life. I also love the Austin Public Library and a walk around Lady Bird Lake. For drinks, I would head to the Treaty Oak Distillery for live music and a place to roam for the kids. I also like the Wildflower Center for a fun afternoon with little kids.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I owe my success to so many people, but I would like to give a special shoutout to Penny Peters. She has been my mentor and biggest fan. When trade shows were still happening, I would fly to New York and stay at her house. She would get to preview all the new collections, sitting together on her living room floor. Over the years, she has given me feedback on color stories for my designs, the brand story, how to work with artisans, the website, operations, strategy, and everything that my business entails. She is the person I call when I need advice on tough situations and has always had such an interesting perspective.