Female Disruptors: Emma Vollrath of Emma Lou the label On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis
Authority Magazine

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Always ask for feedback. Feedback is how you grow as a person and brand. You are able to get customer insight on your product from people who are actually using it.

As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Emma Vollrath.

Emma Vollrath turned her passion for fitness into an innovative athlesuire line. Starting out as a personal trainer, Emma was tired of hearing critical comments women had to say about themselves during training sessions (particularly directed towards the lower stomach area). Emma Lou is known for their Glow Band™, which is the sweat-enhancing waistband to reduce water weight, bloating, & built up toxins in the lower stomach area, made out of recycled thermoplastics.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

Growing up, I really struggled with my body image, and wanted to find something that would help me improve confidence in a healthy way, so I became infatuated with fitness and wellness. After always trying the “next big thing”, I decided to become a personal trainer to help other women who had felt the same way about their bodies as I did. While getting to know my clients, they usually all had the same goal, which was to target the lower stomach area for a number of reasons. There was nothing on the market I could point my clients to that would help them with their concerns, so I decided to make something myself. The process of starting and developing product definitely wasn’t linear, but starting was the most important thing.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

Creating athlesuire with textile technology to help reduce water weight, bloating, and increase fat oxidation for our lower stomach area.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

One of the first orders that was delivered right before we were supposed to launch, all of the logos were upside down. I remember both crying and laughing when I saw the logos and thinking I was doomed. A quick phone call to my manufacturers mended the problem, and the next shipment was on its way within the next week. Since that moment, I always triple check my tech-packs before production to make sure everything is as it should before launch.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

Sara Blakley, who is the founder of SPANX, is someone whose journey I have followed since I knew I wanted to start a fashion brand. I really resonated with her because SPANX was self-funded, and she was super scrappy with her business to get it off the ground. A lot of what comes in business is out of your control, and Sara has taught me that you have a choice in reacting. Not everything that happens needs a reaction (both positive & negative) and based off of your reaction it can either propel you forward or back.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Some industries need to be disrupted and changed for the better. For example, the fashion and fitness industries. Both were outdated in terms of sizing, diet culture, trends, and sustainability. I am grateful for the disruption that has taken place and we are introducing healthy, inclusive ways to go about feeling good in your own skin. When an industry disruption can be negative is when we float towards unethical trends that surface in beauty and wellness, and go in for short term goals instead of longevity. I’ve seen a lot of this happening with TikTok trends being so prevalent. Not everything is going to be as it seems online! Be your own muse and figure out what works for you.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Always ask for feedback. Feedback is how you grow as a person and brand. You are able to get customer insight on your product from people who are actually using it.

You don’t have to listen to everyone. Everyone is going to have something to say- whether they are in your industry or not- and it’s your job to figure out who you are going to take advice from.

It’s encouraged to be vulnerable and authentic. This is probably my favorite piece of advice I have gotten since I started Emma Lou. I heard during a call once and it made me feel safe in what I was doing. It was the reassurance I needed to just be myself and to continue putting out products I love.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

I want to continue to design pieces that do something good for our bodies. I have the next few capsules ready to go, so I am excited to get those going to get out to the Emma Lou audience. Simultaneously, I’m working on getting the sets into retail stores, so women can try the clothes IRL. I want to continue to challenge textiles in ways that are fashionable, yet innovative.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

Fundraising! I have recently been working on fundraising for Emma Lou, and as a first time female founder, the odds statistically aren’t in my favor in this male dominated industry. Since I have been working on fundraising, I have met tons of amazing, supportive investors, but also some who don’t understand the problem/product. Just 2.3% of women start-ups received VC funding in the last year, making it even tougher for women owned businesses to receive support. A change is desperately needed here and I hope to be part of it.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

Podcasts are my favorite! The TSC Him & Her podcast has been super insightful, especially the entrepreneur interviews. My favorite, most insightful episode has to be with Ed Mylett. Some of the episode topics were how to be vulnerable with your customers in business, and getting specific with your goals even if they seem insane (at the time). I have learned to be vulnerable with my consumers on what goes on behind the scenes of running a brand, and has helped so much in connecting with them.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I would love to inspire a movement that is related to funding women owned start-ups for those women who are on their own. It would be so helpful to gather credible, inspiring women who are in the space and can provide feedback and knowledge for first time founders.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

You are exactly where you need to be! It’s so easy to feel like you are falling behind with social media being so prevalent and where it seems like everyone is always doing something. I mute or unfollow anyone who isn’t making me feel good or like I am not doing enough. Focusing on your journey alone is more than enough.

How can our readers follow you online?

Follow us on TikTok & Instagram @emmalouthelabel and our website is www.emmalouthelabel.com

Thank you for these fantastic insights! We wish you continued success and good health.

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Candice Georgiadis
Authority Magazine

Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.