Emilie Nolan of Oremme: Five Strategies Our Company Is Using To Tackle Climate Change & Become More Sustainable

Penny Bauder
Apr 18, 2021 · 5 min read

Perfect is the enemy of good. Getting something perfect is futile. Get it good enough and then let it go. Once you’ve launched it, can see it in action, and get feedback, then you’ll know what perfect looks like.

As part of my series about companies who are helping to battle climate change, I had the pleasure of interviewing Emilie Nolan.

Emilie’s career has wound through an array of senior strategy, content, and marketing roles. But as she longed to build her own brand, fine jewelry was a natural fit. Inspired by her mother’s jewel-collecting philosophy, Oremme was built to memorialize moments in time, and inspire those to buy less but better.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

My career path is far from linear, having bounced around digital-focused marketing, content, and strategy roles. No matter what company or position, I couldn’t shake the itch to build something for myself, something I truly believed in. It was this wonky resume and long list of skills that equipped me to build Oremme, and it was the role jewelry has played in my mother’s life that led me to the concept. Jewelry has marked many occasions big and small and I can remember sitting on her bed, picking through every treasure and listening to every tale. Wins, losses, celebrations, and departures — they were all there. So few objects have this power and that’s what has continued to inspire and drive Oremme.

What is the mission of your company? What problems are you aiming to solve?

Oremme is on a mission to change consumer behaviour and inspire more thoughtful purchasing habits. We want to shift the mindset from more is more to less is more; more ethical, more mindful, and more meaningful.

Can you tell our readers about the initiatives that you or your company are taking to address climate change or sustainability? Can you give an example for each?

We view sustainability as a moving goal post that we’re constantly working towards. The first layer is our primarily made-to-order model. The majority of our line is handmade in Toronto using either recycled or certified Canadian 14 karat gold. Our diamonds are conflict-free and sourced in compliance with the UN’s Kimberly Process, while gemstones are purchased from both Responsible Jewellery Council members and fully vetted international suppliers. Most recently, we launched a first-of-its-kind gold recycling program. We recycle client’s unwanted gold jewelry or scrap gold in exchange for store credit so that they may reinvest in new pieces to wear and pass down forever, while we melt their gold for future use. Oremme is also a proud 1% for the Planet member. I think what is most important about the corporate use of the word sustainable is the reality that being truly sustainable would mean using exclusively recycled materials, which is something we’re actively exploring.

How would you articulate how a business can become more profitable by being more sustainable and more environmentally conscious? Can you share a story or example?

It is no secret that today’s consumers are increasingly eco-conscious and if a company is genuinely concerned with environmentally conscious practices, they will be rewarded for it. Consumers are not craving products. They are craving community, virtues they align with, and somewhere to place their dollar that they feel good about. And while many brands are doing this in earnest, there is an abundance of green-washing from companies who simply want to talk the talk, but not walk the walk.

The youth led climate strikes of September 2019 showed an impressive degree of activism and initiative by young people on behalf of climate change. This was great, and there is still plenty that needs to be done. In your opinion what are 5 things parents should do to inspire the next generation to become engaged in sustainability and the environmental movement? Please give a story or an example for each.

I think the best way to get young people engaged is by connecting them to the earth as early as possible. My most formative years were spent at summer camp or on horseback, two incredible privileges that have served me in ways I won’t ever fully understand. Time outside remains the quickest way for me to decompress, and I think that the sooner you teach children that earth has so much to give, they will be more passionate about protecting it.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  1. Perfect is the enemy of good. Getting something perfect is futile. Get it good enough and then let it go. Once you’ve launched it, can see it in action, and get feedback, then you’ll know what perfect looks like.
  2. Focus on the brand values. You’re not selling a product, you’re selling a theory.
  3. Experience is everything. You can have the best product, but if it’s delivered in a poor experience, it won’t work. Everything from the user interface to the tone of customer service to fragrance of your packaging is worth considering.
  4. Know your weaknesses better than your strengths. It’s easy to play to our strengths and much harder to recognize our weaknesses. Outsource in the areas you don’t cut it.
  5. Be original. It can be tempting to follow trends but differentiation is the strongest value proposition. Create something unique and wonderful and you will find an audience that applauds you for it.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

In the early days of Oremme, I had unconditional support from Francesca Morfini, a public relations wizard and strategist. She helped me distill my thoughts into a coherent idea and landed us in Canada’s top publications within the first six months of launch. She continues to be my go-to sounding board and is never afraid to tell me when I’m missing the mark.

You are a person of great influence and doing some great things for the world! If you could inspire a movement that would bring the greatest amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

To inspire a movement towards deeper self-understanding, compassion, and gratitude. Making therapy a public service would be a great start.

Do you have a favorite life lesson quote? Can you tell us how that was relevant to you in your own life?

Screw the begrudgers. This sentiment came from my maternal grandfather and was more expletive, but you get the gist. Other’s opinions of you are none of your business, and not worth the worry.

What is the best way for people to follow you on social media?

Oremme is on Instagram @oremmefinejewelry.

This was so inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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