Entrepreneurs are constantly shaping the world of business with innovation. They often see, or have, the need for something that doesn’t exist and so they take on the responsibility of creating it themselves. This is what happened when Emily Gimmel, a veteran broadcast journalist, had no luck with her search for a chic briefcase that could complement her jet-setting lifestyle as well as her price range. Emily got a head start on her career in journalism by landing her first internship position at age 16 and continued to excel in her professional field… But eventually, Emily decided to transition her career by adding “CEO” to her resume and beginning to work full-time focusing on and building her own company, GRACESHIP.
GRACESHIP is a line of fashionable laptop and accessories inspired by chic women and the cities they travel to. Each bag is made to satisfy the needs of frequent travelers with spacious interiors and multiple compartments incorporated into each design. As college students, bosses, stylists, wanderers, and everything in between, a bag like this could be a great addition to our wardrobes.
This past week, I had the opportunity to speak with Emily about dreams and real life and what makes her brand special.
DARLA Magazine: What’s the story behind the GRACESHIP brand?
Emily Gimmel: Well I think that like any new business, it really just started out as an idea and a need. Basically I was in television; I worked as a TV reporter and I couldn’t find a briefcase that I liked anywhere. I was traveling every week and I was on airplanes and I didn’t like having to carry a purse and a laptop bag… And besides that, all laptop bags just weren’t stylish. So I looked around and I couldn’t find anything that I liked at an affordable price point… So fast forward about a year later — I ended up packing up my bags and moving to Kentucky, which is my home state, and starting a business.
DM: What was the most challenging part, or the best part, about transitioning your career from working in broadcast to being an entrepreneur?
EG: Well the most challenging was believing in myself in the beginning. All of my friends said I was crazy and people would ask me to do stuff in the evening and I would tell them I’m working. They were like, ‘What do you mean you’re working? You don’t have a job’ and I’d have to remind them I’m building a business… So believing in myself and taking myself seriously is what it all came down to when starting out.
Getting to market, by far, was the best accomplishment… To really create a product out of nothing, just an idea; literally creating a product out of thin air, and people were paying me money for it… It’s the most incredible feeling.
DM: How would you describe the GRACESHIP customer and her lifestyle?
EG: We really strive to go after the woman who’s a modern professional with a fabulous sense of style. She’s mogul and accomplishing things in her professional life and looking good while doing it! Usually she’s college aged — between 22 and 45 years old is our approximate age range.
GRACESHIP is for women who are setting out to conquer the world.
DM: What has been one of your most memorable traveling experiences?
EG: Wow, it was going to China! I went there to find our factory. I had these designs that I created with no prior experience and so I booked a flight to China and flew over there. I trekked around the country for about two weeks and met all kinds of factories and suppliers. I got to see some beautiful cities; Hong Kong is one of the most awesome cities on the planet. (I would live there in a heartbeat!) That trip was just a memory I’ll keep for a lifetime.
DM: That sounds awesome! How did you learn about all the different things you needed to do as far as merchandising and manufacturing with no background in that field?
EG: It was really trial and error; I think that’s where my journalism background came into play because I asked a lot of questions. I found people that were kind of doing something similar; maybe they had a manufacturer product or maybe they dealt with China… Finding people who I could learn from and just asking them lots of questions. Also, making mistakes until I got it right and not being afraid to make mistakes… That’s what really what allowed me to be successful and accomplished with the brand.
DM: What is something you would tell a younger version of yourself in need of motivation?
EG: It sounds so cliche, but the first thing that comes to mind is really maximizing every day to the fullest… To be the best self that you can, even when you’re feeling down and out… And to really try to seize each day. I look back, I’m 31 now, and it’s literally gone by in the blink of an eye. I just want people, like myself, or younger people to not waste time because life will really fly by in an instant. You can really do anything you put your mind to… You’ve just got to have the tenacity and the creativity to make it happen.
DM: With running a business, I know free-time may be hard to come by… But how would you spend a Sunday of free-time with no rules?
EG: First, I would not set an alarm clock! I’d just wake up whenever nature lets it happen… I love going to the farmer’s market with my husband, so we would do that and we’d take our dogs. I’d eat a really good breakfast and not worry about the calories or anything like that… I’d want to be outside and do something really relaxing outside in the beautiful weather. I love sports, so watching a good sports game in the afternoon; mainly really just spending time with friends and family… That would be an ideal Sunday.
If you’re in need of a fashionable, yet still professional bag, you’re in luck because DARLA Magazine readers receive $25 off GRACESHIP merchandise now thru October 31st. Just use code: DARLA at checkout. Visit the GRACESHIP site (thegraceship.com) and follow the brand on Twitter and Instagram.
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