What inspired you to start your own company?
About twelve years ago I went looking for baby clothes for my newborn niece in Brussels, Belgium, but all I found was pink-bunny-themed clothing. I wanted something more sophisticated and modern (no offense to pink bunnies) and designed a sweater for my niece. That sweater inspired me to envision a collection that celebrates the beauty of world cultures through fashion and lifestyle products.
I called it Tea, because tea the drink is something shared by all cultures - it evokes warmth, wisdom, timelessness - values that I wanted for the collection.
What were your biggest fears and how did you overcome them?
I didn't have a job when we started Tea, so I didn't have much to lose and had everything to gain! My dear family friend asked me, "what have you ever failed at before?"... I couldn't think of any monumental failures ... he said, "See, you can do anything you put your mind to." I had never heard that so convincingly before.
How is Tea Collection set apart from other brands? What makes it extra special?
Everything we design is inspired by a piece of beauty and creativity in this world, every product and collection has context, something greater than itself- so that we may all celebrate it, increasing love and awareness for all cultures.
What have been some favorite experiences you've had through your work with Tea Collection?
Creating a brand, being mindful of the precedent and responsible for the organization's longevity- there are so many analogies to raising a child. And, of course, traveling to some of the most amazing global destinations... and so much more to see!
What are the names and ages of your children?
Clement, 4; Georgia, 2
What are your favorite characteristics of each?
Clement- so curious and loves to play games; Georgia- very independent and loves to sing and dance.
How does an ideal day look for you?
Fuss free children in the morning, following routine including lots of hugs and kisses, with a healthy breakfast all together. A creative day at the office, working on the collection or marketing campaign, with a little brainstorming on growth strategy. Come home, play puzzles and legos with the kids, read books together and then catch up on an episode of Game of Thrones with my husband.
What is your "style uniform?"
Slim cargo pants and a fabulous blouse, sometimes with a cardigan. I have always loved sweaters for being those relaxed, luxurious pieces you can live in. And always a scarf! For night, I add lipstick, a necklace, and a great coat.
What is the perfect date?
My husband and I have the occasional date night at Village Pub in Woodside, CA. If, by a miracle, we get the kids down early, we eat dinner at the dining table together and pretend it's a date night. Just sitting together reminds us how much we love each other- crafting our children's (and our own) experience of family.
What is your favorite moment of your day or week?
Sunday mornings - we stay in our pajamas until 9 or 10am, ride our bikes to the park, have brunch at our favorite cafe in Palo Alto, and go home for a deep nap (the nap part is my favorite part of the day!).
The million dollar question: how do you do it all? Tell us a bit about balancing your family life with your successful career!
Be the change you want to see. 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!
Do you have any tips for women starting their own small businesses to help bring them to the next level?
Know what you want. Be sure you are your own North Star while navigating all the choices before you.
Thank you so much for your beautiful words and inspiration, Emily! So grateful! XO, Kate