It is such an honor to bring an inside peek into the inspiring life of Emily Meyer co-founder of the children’s lifestyle brand Tea Collection. What launched 11 years ago with a small line of baby sweaters and blankets quickly took off winning the hearts of many…with the vision of bringing cultures from around the world into the lives of everyday families. It’s no surprise that they have been on Inc magazines fastest growing private companies list for the last 6 years. On the cutting edge of children’s fashion and social media Emily and her business partner Leigh Rawdon have been blazing trails for women/mothers in business everywhere. A mother of 2 beautiful children, Clement and Georgia, Emily shares with us some of her inspiring secrets on how she seamlessly makes it all work.
Q= How do you juggle family and a successful business? I mean…all of us (women/mothers) want to find balance…is this possible or just a myth?
Yes, we mothers want to find balance, but if “balance” remains mainly a goal for moms, there’s a big problem right there. I mean, do dads want to find balance? To me, every parent who works—female or male—should juggle to some extent. It comes with the territory. I’m lucky. My husband likes to cook, so that helps!
Q= Our theme for March is thinking green…Does organic, green, or eco-friendly make a difference in the things you buy? What about in your business?
Organic groceries and household cleaners are important to me as a parent. For other purchases I consider quality, design and overall environmental impact. With Tea Collection we focus on premium natural fiber fabrics because they feel both soft and luxurious but are durable and easy to care for. We’re looking into organic cotton fabric but we haven’t gone there yet. The cost of cotton worldwide jumped 25% last year, and organic cotton jumped even more. We’re not sure the market is ready for a $50 tee shirt from Tea.
Q= What inspired you to start your business?
Shopper’s frustration. About twelve years ago I went looking for baby clothes for my newborn niece, but all I found was pink-bunny-themed clothing. No offense to pink bunnies, but I wanted something more sophisticated and modern. So I designed a sweater for my niece. That sweater got me thinking about a brand of clothes that kids love but that parents can love, too. I wanted the brand to reflect my values and my love of travel—to celebrate different world cultures and to bring them home.
Q= Starting a business is not easy, especially as a woman. We know it takes cash to make things go…what advice do you have for getting started and finding capital?
Start small. We started Tea Collection with three baby sweaters, mainly paid for with a ten-thousand-dollar investment from a high-school friend of mine who believed in me and my idea for a different kind of clothing company. Those three sweaters sold well enough to attract more investors, but we started small … and we continue to dream big today!
Q= What are three things we may not know about you?
1. In my senior year of high school, I won one of ten scholarships (of nearly two thousand participants) from Sea World by designing uniforms for the staff as an art project.I literally made one of the outfits, wore it and presented to the panel.
2. My favorite snack is tortilla chips & salsa.
3. In my daydreams, I’m a blues singer.
Q= If motherhood had a voice and there was 1 or 2 things you have learned and could share to inspire and help other women/mothers what would it be?
Be the change you want to see. That sounds so cheesy but I’m serious. If you need to leave work at five o’clock to get home to your children, do it. Start a trend. If enough parents do this, then it will soon be seen as normal instead of odd. Also, don’t underestimate the use of time in unconventional ways—some of my best strategic brainstorms and most productive conversations happen when I’m driving home. Commute time can be work time!
Thank you Emily for your creative talent, for not being afraid to go and do and for the inspiring way in which you do it all! Wow I love the excitement and hope you inspire…Dream Big as well as be the change…love it…. chips and salsa are my favorite too! I also completely agree with the use of time in unconventional ways…when I am out and about running kids round, or doing errands…the inspiration always flows. Whether its an idea or answer to a problem, or project I am working on! You gotta love it when it happens!