For our very first “Take A Seat ” interview, we wrangled superstar, and entrepreneur extraordinaire, Emily Current, who alongside her business partner Meritt Elliott, co-founded my fave clothing line THE GREAT. and recently EMILY + MERITT. Not only is this interview extra special because it’s our very first, but our team over at AMBER INTERIORS just wrapped up designing Emily’s kitchen and powder room in her brand new home (see the home tour here). We asked Emily all of our burning questions on all things entrepreneurship, fashion, design and home life. Here’s what she had to say.
What was your vision for the kitchen and powder room remodel? And what did you want the re-design to accomplish stylistically?
We bought a 1950s ranch house after it had sat vacant for quite some time. It had lots of quirk that we loved and original details that we wanted to keep, like stone and brick and steel windows, but it also had some neglected and dated areas that needed updating. We love black and white and graphic things but we also love the love and wear of vintage. Since we have known Amber and worked with her before, she totally gets us and our vibe and made it come to life in the kitchen. Its equal parts traditional and timeless, as it is moody and edgy. No detail was spared. Amber loved the original brick and it served as the centerpiece of the whole project. We love how it came together. It feels like it belongs to the house and has been here all along.
What’s a typical day like for you and your family at home?
Pure chaos. Between running my businesses and getting 2 kiddos off for two different schools, it’s a mad house. I get up before anyone else and drink coffee over email. Then, I get myself ready and the kids ready. [My husband] David has become the master of school lunches, which is awesome. We all divide and conquer drop off and I head to our Creative Studio in West Hollywood where my business partner Meritt and I design THE GREAT. and EMILY + MERITT collections. I try to get out of the office early enough to have dinner with kids, and David and I tradeoff who puts each girl down so we get our own special time with each. We love to hang out and watch the Muppets before bedtime!
What’s your favorite room at home and why?
We just moved in a few months ago and I used to be drawn to the dining room with the huge windows onto the garden. But since the kitchen has been finished, I love the corner windows of our breakfast nook. There are butterflies and flowers out the window and it makes me happy.
Moving onto business. We’re obsessed with The Great. Tell us about how the brand has evolved since you and Meritt Elliott launched in 2015?
After our first business Current/Elliott sold to a private equity firm and we left the brand, we felt overwhelmingly inspired to create a collection that wasn’t just denim and reflected the way we loved to dress. Lots of classic, boyish pieces like Army pants, denim, tees, sweatshirts, twill jackets but mixed with feminine silhouettes like white cotton, lace, vintage silk prints and even ruffles. We also were displeased with how the fashion and garment industry was run, and how as two young women, we didn’t fit into it. We knew from our experience in a primarily male run industry that relied heavily on women’s creativity that we could not only set out to make compelling clothing collections but also to build a business infrastructure that we felt aligned with our morals and that supported women and their creativity. It was really important to us, in this second chapter, that we owned the business part and the creative part because each side impacts the other. Since our launch we have seen such an incredible build. We added shoes, kids and even opened a store on Melrose this summer. Come visit!
Where do you find your inspiration when designing for The Great? Does any of that translate into what you wanted for your own home?
We usually find inspiration from vintage and from things we have collected and worn since childhood. Things that never really go out of style — Levis, soft worn out tees and sweats, army jackets and pants, Victorian white pieces, 40s printed dresses, stripes, lace, plaid, stripes. We love playing with color and to play with small nuances in fit and proportion. We like things to feel somewhat familiar and nostalgic and always comfortable and soft.
I think with my home, I subscribe to a lot of the same themes and philosophies. I like army and denim and leather and black and white just as much on my body as in my home. I love striped anything. I want to be in spaces that are lived in and familiar and of course casual and comfortable.
What’s next for you on the career-horizon? Any huge goals you want to check off the list in the upcoming months?
We are building and growing THE GREAT. right now, as well as nurturing our new store with fun activations, shopping events and dinners. We are also building out our EMILY + MERITT brand as the little sister brand to THE GREAT. With more accessible price points and a wider distribution, you can now shop the EMILY + MERITT brand with decor collections at Pottery Barn, PBteen and Pottery Barn Kids, as well as a Paper Collection with At-A-Glance that is available at 3,000 Staples and Office Max stores as well as Amazon. And we just launched a super cute line of tees and sweats on EmilyandMeritt.com.
How do you find your work-life balance? Is that even a thing these days?
I don’t. But I try to keep my heart where my feet are and focus on work when at work and focus on home when at home. I don’t always succeed. We all just do the best we can as a boss, a wife, a mother, a daughter, etc. but it isn’t easy and it is impossible to nail it all the time.
Was there someone that served as a mentor-like person through your entrepreneurial journey?
There have been lots of wise and supportive souls on our journey. But the biggest support I have is that my best friend, Meritt Elliott, has been my decades long business partner. We have lived out our journey into adulthood together and have so many shared experiences building our businesses together. We have celebrated together when exciting things have happened and cried together through loss and challenge. We have kept each other sane and cheered each other on for so long I can’t image doing any of this without her.
What’s the best career (or life) advice you’ve ever received?
For Work: 1) Do less better. 2) Give a quick NO if something isn’t going to happen and a considered and slow YES when you agree to give your time and energy to something. 3) Shorten your emails to only the most essential sentences. No one has time for long pages long emails. Better to pick up the phone if there is that much to say.
For Life: 1) Always be kind and respectful to others. 2) Be fearless.
What’s one item of clothing or accessory that everyone should have?
The perfect grey sweatshirt to pair with jeans, under overalls or even wear over a dress!
Shop girl at Wet Seal.
Michelle Obama or Oprah. Or the two together would be something for the books.
It’s a tie: home and Paris.
Popcorn and a movie on the couch snuggling with the fam.