Here at House of Coco, we celebrate Girl Bosses of Great Britain; women who have taken the brave leap into entrepreneurship and have become all the better for it. We sit down with Emma Pake, whose stunning tropical art-deco inspired swimwear collection has won over both Selfridges and Net-a-Porter. (in its first year)
After prestigious stints at Giles Deacon in London and Zac Posen in New York; Emma Pake honed her business savvy through a successful buying career before beginning her own eponymous label. For Emma, swimwear is never an after-thought. Sourcing only the most luxurious European fabrics, and custom designing each print; Emma Pake is redefining swimwear — one irresistible swimsuit at a time.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background, what inspired you to start your own brand?
I have been creative ever since I was a little girl. Whether it was pointing out the changing colours of leaves in autumn, baking with my mum, or mastering the art of cross-stitch, the world around me has always inspired me to create.
After training in Central Saint Martins, I embarked on a career in buying. I covered a wide range of categories; most recently specialising in Lingerie and Swimwear. My husband and I had long dreamed of having our own business; and the more we thought about it, the more it made sense to build on my experience and passion for the category I was so immersed in. During a New Year’s break in the sun, we decided to pool together our savings, take the leap, and create something together. A few months later, our new adventure began.
2.Tell us about your brand? Why have you decided to focus on swimwear?
With my knowledge of the industry and background in buying, swimwear was a natural choice for me. However, what it really came down to, was a desire to create beautiful things; be it a one-of-a kind swimsuit, or a dress to take you from beach to bar. Our beachwear is a celebration of colour and design. I custom design every print, carefully placing it on each garment to flatter the body and create flattering lines, complimenting these with bold solid silhouettes. I love exploring unexpected elements such as tassels, elastics, and matte hardware, dyed to match the specific colours of the season. That’s what excites me the most — all the little details that go into making an irresistible piece.
3. What has been the biggest challenge you have faced as a businesswoman so far?
The biggest challenge for me so far has to be managing the business after the birth of my son, Max, in December. I am lucky to have an incredibly supportive network of family and friends who have enabled me to able split myself between being a Mummy and being a businesswoman – but it’s not easy. I try to keep focused on one day at a time and plan my weeks with military precision. My son Max however, often has different ideas!
4. Talk us through your latest Collection, the inspiration behind it and if you have a favourite piece?
This collection is inspired by primary colours and the simplicity of black and white. I wanted to create a beachwear wardrobe that was more in-tune with a traditional wardrobe; one with a clear shift from day to night. The black and white net print and monochrome solids have an air of evening-wear, while the bright colours of the electric rainbow and deco wave prints, are more playful and dynamic.
We have introduced many new silhouettes for Spring 2018, including the Valentina spliced mesh, high-neck swimsuit, which is a personal favourite of mine. It’s bold, confident, and feminine – the perfect combination.
5.What’s next for you? Any new exciting projects in the pipeline?
As a young brand, we are still learning and building on what Emma Pake means to people as a brand; so it’s a really exciting time for me as we try new things and evolve who we are. Over the next year, we will be growing our Ready to wear /Beachwear category by over 50% and introducing a wide range of new fabrics to complement our swimwear. We are also looking to launch pop-up shops to help bring the Emma Pake world to life, and meet even more of our customers in person.
6. What advice do you have for women who would like to become a GirlBoss like yourself?
Love what you do, because it’s both the hardest and most rewarding job you’ll ever have. A passion for your business, self-discipline, and a commitment to innovating and evolving are all essential. Stay positive through the lows and remember to celebrate the highs, it is after all why you’re doing it.