Entrepreneur and Artist Emily Faulstich on Being Creative and Happy
Creative female entrepreneurs making it for themselves are kind of our thing… which is why we think Emily Faulstich is such a dream! She’s funny (Larry David is her comedic soul mate), she’s multitalented (fashion designer, illustrator, artist, and photographer), she has great taste (her beauty-product game is on point), she’s hardworking (makes a living through all those amazing talents), and she’s super-kind (you can totally feel that vibe). Naturally, we had to get to know her better — and introduce you to her too! Read on for the Brooklynite’s thoughts on living your #girlboss dream, dealing with sexism at work, what’s making her happiest right now, and why the West Village is her perfect geographical match.
B+C: You were one of the original founders of Wildfox, the cheeky Cali-casual brand, is that right?
EF: I started Wildfox in 2007 with a childhood friend and our investor. The company was a lot of fun to create — my favorite parts were our photoshoots and coming up with themes for each collection. I left the brand in 2012 to move to South Africa with my now ex-husband, which was a very cool adventure. Cape Town is a place everybody needs to see — beyond gorgeous.
B+C: What did you pursue once you left the brand?
EF: When I left Wildfox, I signed a two-year non-compete contract that made it so I couldn’t work in fashion for two years. So I took up photography and made it my new profession — that and illustration. I’d always loved those two things anyways and was excited to pursue them. That’s when I created “the guys” and my photo blog Hawaiian Coconut.
B+C: You’re so prolific, from your illustrations to your collages, fashion designing, and photography. What’s your creative process like?
EF: I try and make a point of creating something every day. Either a drawing of some characters, a t-shirt, or a collage, or I’ll go out and take photos around the city. I love making things with my hands, so the collaging has been so much fun lately. When I take my camera around, I try to find funny things or pretty things you wouldn’t normally notice. I do a lot of freelance t-shirt design & fashion consulting still and would love to make a book of the characters I draw, have a photo exhibition, and sell the collages.
I love making tees again and recently did a capsule for a company that’s vintage-inspired. Excited for that to come out. And I actually just got funding for my new line, “Emily,” so my life will be getting very busy with building a new brand now!
B+C: Is there something that or someone who can get you re-inspired during a creative dry spell?
EF: I love looking through tons of magazines and tearing out pages with inspiring things on them: a dress, a beauty product I want to try, pretty places to go, a recipe to make. I have these huge “Inspiration Books” I’ve accumulated over the years, and they are full of hundreds of pages of things I’ve found inspirational. If I’m ever stuck on a project, I get those books out.
As for people: my 101-year-old grandma, who turns anything negative into something to laugh about and is happy with life’s simple pleasures, like watching the hummingbirds at the feeder, oatmeal cookies, reading a good book, etc. And my mom, who didn’t stop working after she retired and volunteers to help injured birds and small animals in Santa Barbara.
B+C: This may be an impossible question to answer, but what’s a typical day for you like? Or do you have one?
EF: A typical day is usually lots of tea and sparkling water, and either working from home or a coffee shop. As I write this I’m at a coffee shop in Williamsburg — I like working around other people. When I’m done working, I’ll come home and make a collage or make dinner, or meet friends for drinks in the city, or — let’s be honest — binge-watch Netflix or HBO.
B+C: “The guys” are hilarious, relatable and super cute. How do you come up with them?
EF: Haha, I actually am not sure how the characters come into my mind. I feel like “the guys” are just what the inside of my brain looks like. I love the recurring characters like “Earthworm Sweater,” “Jeans Guy,” “Ass Vampire.” Ass Vampire is a thought I had in the shower one time, and I remember I jumped out soaking wet and naked and ran to go write it down. It was an urgent matter.
B+C: Traveling is obviously a major part of your life — you inspire serious wanderlust in us! Where are your favorite places to visit?
EF: My favorite places to go to stay inspired are London, Paris, Santa Barbara (where I grew up), and Washington Square Park in NY. Most of my time in New York is spent in the West Village, which is my favorite neighborhood! It’s full of tree-lined streets, tiny cafes, pretty flower shops, and very friendly people (with dogs in sweaters). And of course anywhere tropical is where I feel the happiest… coconuts, palm trees in warm wind, neon pink flowers, plumeria’s creamy sweet smell, walking barefoot in the sand into the warm ocean, and of course acquiring a real tan — all things paradise.
B+C: We’re so encouraged by your seemingly fearless business mind. Do you have some advice for women who are looking to start something creative but don’t yet have the confidence?
EF: Don’t be afraid to speak up when you have an idea, and don’t be afraid to make a mistake — cliche but true. The hardest part is STARTING — and not obsessing over making your product or brand “perfect.” Just do work that makes you feel proud, inspired, excited, and stimulated! Stand up for yourself. Make sure you’re being treated with respect — and if you aren’t, get that negative presence out of your life/career. You’re deserving of all the love in the world. Don’t give up. Always have something to look forward to. Make “Happy Lists” every week. Take baths, and drink red wine.
B+C: Speaking of being treated with respect, our community is made up of intelligent, entrepreneurial women who are constantly finding new ways to blaze new trails for themselves — but it’s not easy! What’s your journey been like as a self-employed woman?
EF: I’ve been in some very sexist meetings, where it’s just me and five men who tell me things like, “We pride ourselves in only hiring women who are hot.” Actually, I’ve heard that in two different meetings. I think it’s slowly getting better for women to advance, but it’s definitely been a struggle to be taken seriously as an entrepreneur. I went in with an enormous business plan for a brand once, which was about a 20-minute presentation that I’d worked on for a month, and I got an email from the man two days later that said, “Honestly all I remember from our meeting was how sexy your skirt was.” UGH. You just have to be strong and keep hustling and not give up.
B+C: And on to something positive to end our conversation — we love your happy lists. Can you give us a quick version here?
- Face masks
- Making collages
- Looking at vintage advertisements
- My boyfriend
- Cooking new recipes at home
- Rosewater toner for my face
- The Comedy Cellar in NY
- Looking forward to spring
- Rainy days staying cozy inside
- Teatime all the time
- Voicemails from my 101-year-old grandma
- Ritual vitamins, vitamin D & wellness formula
- Bright flower shops and pink flowers
- HBO shows — Big Little Lies, The Young Pope
- John Oliver
- Drawing nostalgic things, like ’80s beauty products
- Ricky Gervais
- My parents
- Vacation dreaming
- Ramen for dinner
- TED Talks!
- Caprese sandwiches
- French Girl lip scrub
- Green smoothies, ginger shots
- My wonderful friends
- David making me laugh all the time
- Soft sweaters
- Dry shampoo saving me
- Pretty packaging
- Tomato soup and grilled cheese
- Finding an apartment with lots of light!
- Beginning my brand
We’d love to hear what’s making you happy right now! Tweet us @BritandCo to tell us what’s putting a smile on your face.
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(Photos via Emily Faulstich)