Good American CEO and co-founder Emma Grede is in the business of empowering women.
As the CEO and co-founder of Good American (alongside reality star and cultural powerhouse Khloe Kardashian), Emma Grede has set out to “celebrate all dimensions of female power” through the brand’s collection of denim. Available in an extended size range, the line endeavors to empower women to “celebrate their bodies with confidence.”
Prior to the Good American launch in 2016, Grede, a British National, began her career spearheading designer collaborations at London’s Inca Productions. She then went on to found ITB Worldwide, a talent and influencer agency, representing brands in the world of entertainment. Today, Grede lives in Los Angeles and serves on the board of Women for Women International, an organization that provides networking opportunities and mentorship for disenfranchised women in underserved countries.
Why are you drawn to the business of denim?
After years in the industry, when I was pregnant with my daughter, I realized I wanted to start my own company that I would be really proud of and that she would be proud of. When I started thinking about and exploring the opportunity for Good American, it was clear that so many women are ignored by the fashion industry, and I wanted to create a brand that bridges this gap, because every woman deserves an equal opportunity to purchase styles they love in their size.
Denim is a staple piece in everyone’s closet, and we know it’s a challenge for many women to find that perfect pair of jeans that makes her feel confident and empowered. We founded Good American to celebrate all dimensions of female power, forging style with a fit-first philosophy. It’s non-negotiable for us, and we do not compromise. A pair of our jeans have the same price tag no matter the size, and designs are never altered to conform to a certain industry standard.
What challenges lie ahead for the denim sector?
The single biggest challenge would be how we meet environmental standards of sustainability. It’s something we’ve addressed at Good American across our business for the last year, and this has to be top of mind for all brands right now.
On a personal level, and specific to our business, another issue that we’ve noticed in both the denim sector and the fashion industry as a whole is that so many brands are entering the “plus size” market with only a few items or styles of denim available, and they often sacrifice the quality of the product. Brands who send the message of inclusivity and positivity really need to follow up on their promise and work harder to create more options for all women—no matter their body size. At Good American, we make a very conscious, daily effort to walk the walk and talk the talk—whether it’s on our social, campaigns, site or design. It takes time to change the views of an industry, but it’s absolutely worth every effort made. And it’s necessary.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
My husband once told me, “Make a decision and move on.” My job is all about making decisions, and you’re going to make good ones and bad ones, but better to make a decision and move on than procrastinate. That’s the most relevant advice I incorporate into how I approach my business on a day-to-day basis.
What can other industries learn from the denim sector?
The importance of inclusivity. While the fashion industry is notorious for being exclusive, at Good American we’re excited to be leaders in promoting inclusivity. From day one, we’ve baked size inclusivity into our business model, and we’ve proven that brands can be fashion-forward and fully inclusive. We’ve learned that all women want to be included in the fashion conversation, and we’ve seen that the industry can change, slowly but surely.
What’s exciting you about denim in 2019?
The opportunities to innovate are endless! In 2018, we invented a new size—size 15—that stemmed directly from our customers’ feedback. After analyzing return data and conducting a series of focus groups, we determined that standard sizing in the industry creates fit issues for many women who fall between sizes 14 and 16, and realized there was a huge opportunity for a size 15 that did not exist anywhere on the market. We also became the first-ever brand to launch an e-commerce sizing tool featuring product shown on all 15 sizes, across 15 different fit models (ranging from 00-24) in order to better help customers find the perfect fit, style and size when online shopping. When it comes to the future of Good American, we’re really excited to continue expanding on our current denim offerings and listening to our customer needs to inform upcoming product launches. We’ve really built a sisterhood with the Good American woman, and she inspires me every day I walk into the office.