We first came across Emi Jay’s Tee line on instagram (@emijayinc) and loved the statement tanks that were cheeky and that appropriately captured the “zeitgeist” of a generation: “I wished you looked at me like you look at instagram” or “Namast’ay in Bed.”
Talk about inspiration and a swift kick in the pants. We were amazed to discover that Emi Jay, was first started as a hair accessories line when founders Julianne Goldmark and Emily Matson were just 13 years old. I’m pretty sure I was busy flossing my braces and watching “Jem and the Holograms” when I was a tween. Now as busy underclassmen in college, Emi Jay has already grown tremendously with established partnerships with brands like Splendid, Spanx and Nordstrom and their accessories have been featured in the glossy pages of Oprah Magazine, Teen Vogue and InStyle. Jennifer Aniston is also a self-professed fan of their brand (talk about a “you know you’ve made it” moment). We grabbed the opportunity to ask the girls some questions about how they got started and what’s in store for Emi Jay.
As teenage entrepreneurs, how did you come up with the business idea and find such early success?
We never actually came up with a business idea, per se. Emi-Jay came about as the result of our middle school hobby, making intricate hair accessories on the weekends on Julianne’s bedroom floor. We were lucky enough to get the first version of our hair ties in the hands of celebrity hair stylist, Chris McMillan, back in 2009. He styled Jennifer Aniston’s hair for the red carpet of a movie premiere using one of our elastics, and from there, we were contacted by Marie Claire magazine who wanted to feature the hair ties in their magazine. From there, we had to come up with a logo and a website, as we could see our hobby blossoming into a business before our eyes! As for the tees, those are a fairly recent development. Around a year ago, we thought we would try them out to see how they did, and they turned out to be a hit! Now, they’re becoming as much a part of our brand as our signature hair ties.
We love the slogans that are on the tanks – very of the moment! – How do you come up with the lines that end up on the shirts?
We love the idea of having our tees as a conversation piece, using our ultra-soft fabric as a canvas for fun sayings. Ultimately, we get inspired by things we see on Instagram, Pinterest or hear around our friends or on the street. Sometimes we sit around and brainstorm and just throw around sayings we like until we find some that really stick!
How would you describe the Emi Jay girl? What is she pairing your shirts with?
The Emi-Jay girl is always on the go. The beauty of our tees is that they’re a work out staple (best paired with a sports bra), but are versatile to be worn throughout the day – whether it be to lunch coffee, or errands, or even dressed up with a jacket for night.
What’s next for Emi Jay?
There’s a lot on the horizon for Emi-Jay – namely more tees! We’re working on a super soft sweatshirt for autumn/winter, as well as more fun sayings in our classic tee model. And, of course, more hair ties!
Any words of inspiration for the girls out there with an idea who don’t know where to start?
Follow your heart and do your homework! No matter what your idea, vision, or passion, it’s crucial to do as much as you can to learn the in’s and out’s, talk to professionals, and read magazines and websites. Inspiration is everywhere!
Special thanks to Julianne Goldmark and Emily Matson, Founders of Emi Jay