the kick-ass women interview series is meant to inject a tiny little bit of modern day feminism into this blog. i figure when my ideology and the subjects of this blog intersect, it’s not just an opportunity to spread positive vibes and support great women in the creative industry, but it also presents an interesting story that might be inspiring to you in other ways, too.
i first met emma gelaude over the phone, while i was interning at elle magazine and wanted to do a write-up on her newly started business as a personal stylist and shopper. today, that seems like ages ago, and it really makes me happy that emma and i always stayed in touch, keeping track of each other’s professional activities, supporting each other whenever possible and whenever we see an opportunity in our hectic schedules, just sitting down for a coffee and a good chat about life.
emma is a born entrepreneur and relentless in pursuing her goals. she still runs what was once the first and only fashion blog in belgium, but developed it into a larger platform for many more voices than her own. emma’s business is always expanding, redefining and developing her own particular brand of style-savviness. but above all, i find emma to be a genuinely nice person, who cares deeply about her friends and family and can always be counted on for her honest opinion. i’d never want to keep all that to myself, so i’m happy she wanted to share a few insights, right here on my blog.
w h o h a s b e e n a m e n t o r t o y o u t h r o u g h o u t y o u r l i f e o r p r o f e s s i o n a l c a r e e r , a n d h o w ?
my mother is my mentor. it’s a family affair of unconditional love, trust and high level consultancy. i’m the eldest of her three daughters and the first one owning her own business. my mother is a respected marketeer and a senior lecturer at the university college in ghent, and she is involved in a lot of research and projects. she has been my mentor even before i started up my business, developing a business plan and a strategy with me. we go very far in thinking about certain topics and creating concepts. it’s necessary to the weigh pro’s and cons of everything i do with someone like my mom, who has tons of experience combined with a sharp and creative mindset and technical expertise. plus it’s fun being together, laughing a lot and drinking coffee while thinking up original approaches.
w h a t i s y o u r b i g g e s t r e g r e t ?
no regrets. je ne regrette rien. i’ve never done anybody any serious harm, at least not intentionally. not in my personal life and not in business: i go for a mutual match, positive vibes and the correct approach. throughout my life i’ve seized the opportunities that came along my way, i work hard and try to empower my mind every day with new input and inspiration. what i do deeply regret is what happens to the poor, the homeless, the abandoned animals, the innocent who suffer in wars and conflicts and the talented who never have the possibility of getting an education. biggest regrets should be first and formost for politicians, decision makers and sharks that fuck up.
w h a t i s t h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t t h i n g y o u ‘ v e l e a r n e d i n l i f e s o f a r ?
the most important thing is knowing what priorities are. how much of an entrepreneur i may be, how driven in business i am, i know one thing: all of this can be over in a second. we all need money and money buys you freedom and a certain degree of wellbeing but what really counts is love, family, friends. and doing what you really want to do in life as much as possible. realizing yourself in your creativity, not fighting against your inner self: this is the true foundation of happiness. and the true foundation and motivation of the entrepreneur, too, because only in that state of mind you can truly perform, be creative, and genuinely be meaningful to other people.
w h a t a r e y o u t r y i n g t o t e a c h y o u r s e l f r i g h t n o w ?
to be less stressed out. i go to the gym, try to meditate and reflect on what i do and why. i try to set my goals and priorities straight. this helps, but not always. some days are very hectic as saying ‘no thanks’ is often not an option in business. so in spite of an efficient organization it can be extremely difficult to constantly perform at the high level i set for myself.
i f y o u c o u l d o n l y g i v e o n e p i e c e o f a d v i c e t o a n y o n e , w h a t w o u l d i t b e ?
go for harmony between your personal and your professional life. and set your priorities right. love comes first.
d o y o u h a v e a n i c o n – s o m e o n e y o u l o o k u p t o o r n e v e r f a i l s t o i n s p i r e y o u ?
i don’t have any particular icons, unles perhaps in fashion – people like jackie kennedy or carine roitfeld. but there are many people i look up to: people who inspire me, people who have created something, people who leave a mark. visionary business guys like steve jobs, or in belgium like bert van wassenhove with his heaven can wait project. and of course strong and talented women like jackie lee, designer virginie morobe from march 23 or singer trixie whitley.