[quote style=”boxed”]Scarcity brings clarity, because it helps you figure out how to best optimize your resources and avoid doing wasteful things. The lesser your means, the greater your options.[/quote]
Emily Gimmel is the founder and CEO of GRACESHIP, a line of chic computer bags and accessories exclusively for women. The products are highly fashionable and functional, as well as affordable. As a former veteran TV journalist and network TV personality, Emily is excited to use her media and marketing talents to turn the boring, male-dominated industry of luggage upside-down. Her decade in TV and journalism put her face-to-face with some of the most interesting and talented leaders around the world. Her diverse career experiences spread across the globe, from her charming roots in Kentucky, to billboards in Times Square, to international travels in Asia. She’s using her network and experiences to expand the world of GRACESHIP into a global brand.
What are you working on right now?
I’m continuing to do to the briefcase what the bikini did to the swimsuit.
Where did the idea for GRACESHIP come from?
The idea came to me while I was working as a TV reporter. I was traveling cross-country on a weekly basis and could not find a computer bag I liked. Everything was either too tacky, too sporty, too boring or too corporate. I longed for a laptop carrier that was just as chic as the shoes on my feet. When I couldn’t find a brand I liked anywhere, I decided to create my own.
What does your typical day look like?
As an entrepreneur, I never have two days that are the same. I start the day by checking emails and planning the rest of my agenda for the most important, time-worthy and cost effective things on my to-do list. Once I get into the office, I follow up with phone calls to our retail customers, process any online orders we might have, and work on any pertinent things that develop. The afternoons are spent expanding our reach to new, potential customers, and brainstorming and executing innovative ways to continue to get the word out about GRACESHIP.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Focus and execution. Don’t get caught up in what you could do; focus on what you can do.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The fact that “fun” is the new “corporate.” We are saying goodbye to so many traditional corporate-type businesses. No longer does my generation have to completely separate their personal and professional lives. Finally, many of us can be self-expressive while in the office and not have to worry about putting up a persona. We can have fun while making money. We live in a much more socially acceptable business environment.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I haven’t had any “bad” jobs. I think you can often learn the most about business when working in bad environments. I once had a short-lived position that taught me exactly what I did not want my company to be like. That situation was the encouragement I needed to take a leap of faith and start my own business.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would have gotten to the marketplace sooner. I spent a lot of time trying to perfect my business plan when I could have been executing it. So much of being an entrepreneur is about learning as you grow.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Be persistent. When someone says “no,” I often like to tell myself that I just haven’t convinced them to say “yes” yet and just need to find a way to be more creative and persuasive.
What is one problem you encountered as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I realized that I didn’t have enough time in the day to execute all the necessary tasks I needed to do. My to-do list never seemed to get any shorter. I often spent too much time doing tedious and redundant paperwork. I finally spoke to several career development centers at local universities and was able to bring on some awesome interns who are not only getting great, real-world experience, but are also proving to be very beneficial to the business.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Improve the group travel booking market. Group travel is currently very tedious, and there’s a tremendous opportunity to make it more fun and less chaotic to plan.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
I want all people to be accepting of every culture and creed. I believe that our race should be “human” and our faith should be “oneness.”
Tell us a secret.
I once was Kid Rock’s date to the Kentucky Derby.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
- Google Search. The web would not be what it is today without it.
- I also love FaxZero.com, because it eliminates the need for a fax machine.
- I am a huge fan of Grasshopper.com, and the Fortune 500 image it gives people who are calling my company.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The 4-Hour Workweek. It gave me the encouragement I needed to start my business. It changed how I looked at running a company, and it provided me with a plethora of resources.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
Me, of course! You can stay tuned to what is happening with my company at @GRACESHIP. I like @Delta because it is one of my favorite airlines, and they really listen to their customers. I don’t tend to take Twitter too seriously. I like following funny people. One of my favorites is @Jesus.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I watched Fletch over the weekend, one of my all-time favorite movies, and couldn’t stop laughing. It’s a great way to escape the world of entrepreneurship, even just for a bit!
Who is your hero?
My mother and father. They have been happily married for 37 years and are the epitome of what it means to be humble, selfless and happy.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Scarcity brings clarity, because it helps you figure out how to best optimize your resources and avoid doing wasteful things. The lesser your means, the greater your options.
What is your favorite thing to do when not working?
Shopping online, indulging in beauty products, boating and traveling. My favorite place to visit is Hong Kong!
Emily Gimmel on LinkedIn:
GRACESHIP on Twitter: @GRACESHIP
GRACESHIP on Facebook: www.facebook.com/GRACESHIP
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.