At 26, Emlin Nandy Emery is at the top of her game, and there’s no doubt in my mind that with time, she’ll only create bigger waves. The 26-year-old has been a fashion designer for nine years now, and according to her, it’s absolutely rewarding.
When she decided to pursue her love for fashion at her alma mater (the designer attended the Leon Hess Comprensive Secondary School), she never predicted that she would be in this position today.
But Emlin who’s now the owner of ENE (Emlin Nandy Emery) Fashion, intimated that it was fate. And, she noted, she couldn’t be luckier.
I interviewed the young entrepreneur back in 2016 not long after she’d opened her doors to the public. Emlin was full of hope and laughter, and she was certainly on the right track.
When I met up with the designer at her boutique last week, she eagerly provided me with an update and one thing was clear: A LOT had changed.
“In February it’ll be seven years since I’ve been here,” Emlin stated.
Starting a Business at LHCSS
Emlin’s ‘aha moment’ came when she saw an opportunity, (one that was rather alluring), and she knew she couldn’t miss it. She started working on her idea (one that quickly proved to be fruitful) shortly after.
“I started sewing because I wanted to attend an event. I always wanted to go to it (it was a popular teen’s event), but I couldn’t afford to get what I wanted. At the time, there was this top that had just come out and everybody was wearing it. It was shaped like a bow. One day I was like ‘let me see if I can make it’ because my mom had a machine at home, so I tried it. After I tried it, I went to the (event), and people started asking me where did I get it done. I started doing it for people for $10.00. They bought the cloth and I was only charging $10.00 to sew it,” the young designer stated.
Naturally, her business grew after.
“I was just leaving Hess to go to Sir Arthur when I started. I actually got the award for clothing and textiles when I graduated. I left Hess in 2013 and then after I did the tops for $10.00 I realized I could make a little money for myself and it just took off from there,” she said.
According to her before, “I used to do my little drawings in my book but at the time I never really thought there was any money in that (designing). When you look at people who are sewing, it’s always more mature people so it wasn’t something that I felt until I started seeing a little money coming in.”
When she opened her shop in 2016, Emlin only had a few items on her shelf. Today her business has grown considerably—she is now one of the most sought-after designers, and she couldn’t be more grateful.
“I was just opening so I had to put a lot of money into the shop. I was like ‘you know what, sometimes it’s better to open and then in time you can add little improvements as you go along’,” she said.
“Originally, I only had two (sewing) machines— I sewed at home and then when I came down to work in the morning I’d bring the clothes to the shop, but now I have three sets of machines so (that’s) six in all so I can sew in the shop. I also did other things; things I couldn’t do in the beginning, I was finally able to do,” Emlin added.
Always be Prepared
Whilst being self-employed is thrilling, it undoubtedly comes with many challenges, Emlin noted.
“When I just got the place there were so many expenses that I did not know about. Expenses always pop up. Recently my cameras went bad out of the blue and I had to (fix) it. Since I have been here for a while I learn to always have that emergency fund because you never know (what can happen). I have experienced coming down to work (only to discover) my glass was broken,” she said.
Further, she noted, it’s also important to save “because today you’ll see everything coming in and then the next month, you’ll just see it slowing down a bit. Also, always invest in your business.”
Whilst Emlin is immensely talented, according to her, her greatest strength is recreating clothing, something she’s mastered over the years. (She has four employees by the way).
“Just the fact that I can watch something and sit down and find a way to make it (is incredible). Although I could have done it in the beginning, it was not to the level that I can now. I have come a long way from when I started. For example, I can watch something on Fashionava and it would be easy to remake it,” the designer explained.
Despite this, Emlin noted, “I always try to be different.”
The future certainly looks bright for this young designer, and though she’s doing incredible things, make no mistake, as successful as she is, Emlin is only just getting started.
According to Emlin, she wants to own a clothing factory, amongst other things. And “maybe have one store in the north and one in the south.”
In the meantime, however, “there’s a factory that I partnered with so from December into the New Year I will be able to offer a wider variety of clothing.”
Want to Start Your Own Company?
For those who are interested in starting their own company, take it from Emlin: “be consistent and don’t give up. I know it’s easier said than done, but try your best to weather the storm and just be consistent; invest in yourself, invest in your brand and have faith in what you are doing. Put out a good product and stick to it.”
“Before I end, I just want to take the opportunity to thank all my customers because for me to have that amount of people supporting me every month, to be able to pay my bills and take care of the people that are around me, I’m really grateful,” she added.