Emily Gimmel is no stranger to style and trendsetting. The Founder and Creative Director for GRACESHIP spent 10 years working with some of the most famous and influential people on the planet. An entertainment TV reporter and personality, Emily’s has appeared on billboards in Times Square, The View, Entertainment Tonight, CNN, US Weekly, InTouch Weekly, SOAPnet, The Speed Channel, 702.tv and reported for a number of major local TV stations. An expert in entertainment and lifestyle coverage, Emily developed a keen eye for style by covering the biggest fashion and culture events in the world. She’s interviewed pop culture icons such as Eva Longoria, Kim Kardashian, Jeremy Piven, Donald Trump, T.I., and James Denton, just to name a few.
Today Emily is the chief architect behind GRACESHIP’s fresh, innovative product line. The brand is mastering the women’s computer bag market with fashionable and functional computer bags catering to professional women. Emily is passionate about creating bold, yet refined pieces that complement the lifestyle of today’s modern females. She believes the key to great design lies within the balance of simplicity and the subtle art of detail with her line of chic and stylish laptop bags designed exclusively for women combining the specs of a laptop bag with the swank of a purse.
MO: What inspired you to launch GRACESHIP?
Emily: Every computer bag seemed too masculine, too sporty or just tacky! I began visualizing the perfect product that could enhance my mobile lifestyle and my wardrobe. I wanted something I could carry both to the office or to drinks and dinner. Soon I found myself quitting my TV career, moving home and setting out to design, create and sell my own brand. I’ve always enjoyed enlightening and connecting with people and creating things, whether it is stories or products. But being able to do it on my terms to tell my story was a dream of mine. At GRACESHIP, I create products for women going places, figuratively and literally.
MO: Where do you look for inspiration?
Emily: Really just by living life. When I was little I would make my parents take me to open houses because I was enthralled with the architecture and interior design of houses. Also, traveling and experiencing new cultures and traditions different than my own. They can wonderfully shape how each of us view beauty and style. I personally use all the products that I sell, and I find this to be very inspirational to improve and innovate the GRACESHIP brand. I realize what works and what doesn’t, giving me the ability to improve the merchandise for others.
MO: How important is social media to your marketing and brand awareness strategy?
Emily: The social media revolution is a major reason why I began my business in the first place. I saw an opportunity to merge my experience in storytelling and persuasion while fulfilling a need in the market to create a successful company. Social media was a catalyst in making that happen. Today, brands have the ability to become the most powerful and profitable media companies in the world, and that makes it an exciting time to be in business.
MO: Can you elaborate on how your biggest challenge was also your biggest accomplishment?
Emily: The idea is definitely the easy part, when it comes to starting a business. Creating a product out of thin air and bringing it into tangible light with no experience was the biggest challenge I have ever endured in my life. But after overcoming all the obstacles of a product and company development, all the hard work pays off when your dream finally becomes a reality. Nothing is more gratifying than the feeling you get after generating your first sale. It is incredibly fulfilling to know that people want to pay you money for your idea.
MO: Have you always had an entrepreneurial spirit?
Emily: I’ve always been one to make things happen instead of waiting for things to happen. I’ve just always had the drive and will to succeed. Even when I was little I was a miniature capitalist. I remember being six or seven and going door to door requesting to clean neighbor’s houses for money. Growing up I was always the top Girl Scout cookie seller each year. I love that I wasn’t afraid to always go after what I wanted and break new ground.
MO: What insights or lessons have you learned from your customers as the company has grown and evolved?
Emily: I’ve learned a ton of lessons! I think the most important one is to never underestimate the value of customer service. In today’s economy there are an infinite amount of options to buy a certain product. Advertising is always thrown at you. From billboards to Pandora commercials, consumers are getting hit constantly with advertising messages everywhere they go. However, a majority of advertising is not engaging or relational. In a hectic world, people ultimately want a real relationship. They want to understand and get to know who they are buying from. Phone calls and personal emails can do wonders for getting to know potential customers. The more engaged the person feels about the brand, the more confident they feel in their purchase and the more memorable the experience becomes.
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