Co-founder of THE GREAT on her powerful advice for running a business plus the styling trick she swears by – we should all be doing this!
by Colleen Crivello
SHARE THE LOVE (& THE STYLE)
Emily Current is your quintessential Cali girl, a story-teller and creator with an acclaimed career in partnership with her life-long friend and fellow Mom Crush, Meritt Elliott. As a mother of two, her extensive history in the fashion industry has included everything from celeb styling to co-founding a mega denim brand to penning a book with Rizzoli A Denim Story toher most recent venture as co-founder of THE GREAT – a ready-to-wear collection aimed at making clothes you really want to live in. Therefore, I think you would agree that Emily is one chic powerhouse mama!
Join us for a peek into her charmed LA life as we chat about how powerful it has been to have her bestie as her business partner, advice on trusting your instinct in business and the importance of finding an incredible mentor, plus how she’s managing the transition from one to two kids with a booming business to boot. @emilyandmeritt @thisisthegreat_
On how you got your start as a stylist:We started working with musicians at labels and built a pretty nice portfolio when we were still very young. There weren’t a lot of teams at the time so we defined a solid aesthetic, proved we had a good work ethic and built a nice reputation. Things progressed from there.
A woman/mom leader that inspires you:My mom.She’s brilliant and managed to do it all. If I didn’t have a role model like that I don’t think I would have known all that I could achieve.
As a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?A ballet dancer – and in fact, I was until I started my business with Meritt.
Your experience going from one to two kids:The transition from 1 to 2 has been hard.It’s a constant juggle. My husband and I have to work together a lot to make it all happen. With that said, watching the love my oldest has for the baby makes the challenges disappear. I look forward to watching their friendship and love as the grow up together.
What makes you feel sexy?Vacation.
On meeting the hubs and how he proposed:My husband and I met when we were very young but we didn’t start dating until many years later. He’s a musician and we met through friends. I always knew he was my soul mate even before we were together. He proposed on vacation in Hawaii and it was such a wonderful surprise.
App that most changed your life:#1- Instacart. No more grocery shopping for me! I also love Instagram and Snapchat and the Pedometer on my iPhone.
On the kind of role model you want to be to your kids:I want my kids to see me as hard working, fun and fair. I want them to feel the same unconditional love and support I felt as a child.
The experience of working with your best friend/neighbor for nearly two decades: Meritt and I met in sociology class at UCLA and became fast friends. She’s an enormous part of my life and has informed so much of who I’ve become.To collaborate with someone for this many years has been incredibly rewarding! The biggest joy has been to grow up with someone and to share so many life experiences and hit so many milestones in life together. We have failed and succeeded together. We have celebrated and mourned together. It’s nice to have a friend to be on this life journey with.
How did you and Meritt decide to live on the same block?It just happened serendipitously and now our three year olds play every day together!
What are you wearing if not your own brand:My go to look is jeans with some type of white shirt (anything from a lace Victorian top to a tee shirt) and a red lip.I also love all black everything.I wear THE GREAT or Vintage (or a mix of the two) most days.
Your toddler and baby’s style: My daughter Wallis wears a cotton dress with Chuck Taylor Converse everyday. I love something frilly with something tomboy. For the baby it’s all about comfort and keeping her in something girly so no one thinks she’s a boy. I love little diaper covers with a top or simple cotton jersey pieces.
On finding the perfect jean – what is the secret?The perfect jean makes you feel a certain sort of confident. They make your tops looks cooler and your style more effortless. I love awkward proportions and lived in washes. As much as I love a true rigid vintage jean (I collect them), I’m not afraid to say I also love a high waist skinny with a little bit of stretch as much as the next girl – especially when running around the park with my girl.
Your teenage style was…Baby doll dresses and cowboys boots. 501 jean shorts with a baby tee.Esprit, Gap and Levis.Blossom inspired hats. I was not afraid to try a trend but I still have denim from high school so it must not have been that trendy.
Has your style changed since becoming a mom?My style has become a lot more functional since becoming a mom. Heels have been traded in for flats and I am always on the hunt for interesting sandals, moccasins or oxfords. I’m more inclined to reach for a loose dress or a cute sweatshirt and jeans so I can move, have fun and be a mom.
Every woman should own:The perfect white shirt, vintage Levis and jewelry that is sentimental.
A styling tip or trick that you swear by:I am petite so I swear by my tailor. Changing the hem or the length of the arm can make a world of difference in how flattering something is on me.
Most eccentric piece in your closet:My dad’s jean jacket that he painted Fred Flinstone on the back of in 3rd grade. A beauty tip that instantly refreshes your look:When I’m tired I rely on Kevin Aucoin concealer and a bright lip.
A recentbeauty/health discovery:Coconut oil has taken over my life – I use it as a hair mask, a moisturizer and even on the baby!
Your morning and night skincare regime: AM: I use a gentle cleanser and an oil free moisturizer with SPF under my makeup PM: A gentle cleanser, followed by a glycolic pad and an allover heavy crème. Since I’ve been pregnant and now nursing I don’t use too many chemicals and haven’t been able to use a lot of the things I love like Retinol.
Your fitness routine:My trainer comes to my house at the crack of dawn before anyone is up. I wish my workouts were more varied and they will be again soon. I love Yoga and Ballet classes. It’s just hard for me to fit it in any other way besides early AM with a newborn and a toddler.
After exiting Current/Elliot where did you guys get the idea to launch THE GREAT?We’ve always wanted to do a full multi category collection and be able to express our full creative vision.We love jeans but we feel that they need context and the mix of frilly plus tomboy was truly how we dress. We wanted to be able to give our customer more of a total look andTHE GREAT caters to the girl who lives in jeans – but gives her effortless dresses, lived in knits and vintage lace to wear as well.
On the name:It refers to the idea that the words THE GREAT often appear before or after something significant – a person or an era. This line for us was significant in our next GREAT adventure.
How do you continue to inspire and lead your team?We love the people we work with and believe in teamwork.We like to empower the people we work with and hope we can inspire others, especially young women, that hard work pays off and to reach for the moon.
Next big step for THE GREAT:We certainly hope to add categories and build out a more complete lifestyle.
Love about your work: I love that we have our hands in so many pots and we get to have so many different interesting experience’s in any given week.Also that I get to be creative for my job is a wonderful thing.
First hour in the office each day is spent…I spend the first hour in the office on email but try to set that aside pretty quickly so we can really get to work on the projects in front of us.
Did you raise capital for THE GREAT and if so what is some advice for other women looking to launch a brand/company?We own the company but we have a wonderful advisor, mentor and investor Art Peck.When we started THE GREAT We knew we wanted to own it so the brand message was never diluted and the product was never designed by committee.
Biggest lesson learned in running a business:That you always have to believe in yourself and trust your instinct. There will often be a lot of opinions to consider but knowing when to turn down the noise and trust your vision is important.