EMMA SAUER: How to make it in America (Australian Edition)
Tori Green: Who are you? What do you do?
Emma Sauer: I’m Emma Sauer! Stylist and business owner of Apartment 403 (vintage clothing showroom)
Tori: What was your first business (including running your own business)? How long did this last or are you still involved in the same business?
Emma: Apartment 403, current and only live business. Apartment 403 was started in 2018.
Tori: Biggest challenge? How did you get through it?
Emma: Actually figuring out what we wanted to ultimately do in the long run. Our business has taken on many forms from the beginning in 2018 and actually figuring out the concrete plan of what we wanted to do in the beginning to now has been an integral part of having the business. It took trial and error for us, but ultimately that’s the beauty of having your own business.
Tori: What is something that you wish you could go back and tell yourself before starting this journey?
Emma: That you're going to cry a lot, but you're also going to learn a lot. Some people are not as reliable as you think they are so you have to be your own hype team, biggest fan, networker. Where there’s a will there's a way baby, and you're going to find it.
Tori: What did you do before owning your own/running your business?
Emma: I ran a clothing store called Ksubi on La Brea in Los Angeles for 3 years. I got brought over to run their first North American store in 2016. Prior to that, I was running their 2nd biggest store in Melbourne Victoria and had almost 30 employees.
Tori: What/who made you take the first leap?
Emma: My husband and I came up with the business together as we felt there was a space for vintage clothing that could benefit everyone.
Tori: Who was the first to believe in you and give you real support (financial/sweat equity)?
Emma: My husband. He has been my biggest supporter since the beginning. My parents have always been a huge part of not only who I am but how I don't take bullshit from anyone. I can be outspoken but it is always for the right reasons.
Tori: Was this your dream job? If not, what was?
Emma: I always wanted to be a CEO, and I guess in some regard I’m on my way to becoming one of those but prior to that I wanted to be a fashion designer.
Tori: Why did you get into this field?
Emma: I got into styling because I always wanted people to feel confident in what they were wearing. Sometimes it can be a lot for most people to go into a store and be able to put together an outfit and I have seen that first hand working in retail. Everyone deserves to feel confident in whatever they choose to wear. I got into vintage clothing because I've always had such a love for old things. Nostalgia is very much a part of my personal brand as a person and I take a lot of inspiration from it so it was only a matter of time before I delved into and made something out of all the amazing vintage pieces out there.
Tori: What is your biggest failure that you turned into a success?
Emma: The clothing brand I worked for that I had to leave was probably one of the biggest failures that I turned into a success as I was able to network there everyday with an array of people in the industry I would have never met if I hadn't been there. I have been able to transfer those clients and network over to my own business. It takes resilience to be told and reminded everyday that you aren't good enough to be somewhere, and taking everything I knew from there and applying it to my own business has been a successful journey. You also learn from their mistakes and try to avoid them when you have your own venture and I think that's really important to remember.
Tori: If you could change one thing about your life today for the better, what would it be?
Emma: More focus on mental health and having a better balance between work, social media & my personal life.
Tori: How is your life/work balance? Body, mind, and soul weekly routine?
Emma: I meditate, read about making myself better for others around me, but I definitely need help with having a better routine and balance. Weed has definitely helped me chill the fuck out as I am naturally pretty high strung and have huge expectations of myself.
Tori: Do you say/write out affirmations?
Emma: If waking up everyday and telling myself i'm resilient and a bad arse bitch is affirmations then yes I do haha.
Tori: When was the last time you tried something new/ Stepped out of routine?
Emma: When I started riding the damn peloton. Things kicked my arse but i lost a tonne of weight so not mad about it. But I'm lazy as hell when it comes to fitness at times so it definitely helped me get a better routine together.
Tori: Favorite book that changed your life?
Emma: Start with Why by Simon Sinek, Relentless by Tim Grover
Tori: Do you think your gender gives you an advantage or disadvantage in today’s world?
Emma: Let's be honest, it's a disadvantage to be a woman within every industry. We're still not looked at as equals and I wish I could say in my lifetime that that will be a reality but sadly I don't think it will be.
Tori: Have you experienced different treatment from your peers of the opposite sex?
Emma: I have been very lucky to work with some incredibly talented men who taught me all kinds of things and made me feel like I was their equal. But I have also worked with some men who still look at you as less than they are. I worked for a clothing company for many years and the same person who gave me all the amazing opportunities, one of which is being sent to America “indefinitely” was the same person who bullied me out of the same company.
Tori: Thoughts on the glass ceiling?
Emma: Its fucking bullshit and i want to drive a 737 through it. I was promoted within the retail company I was working for to the top position for a store manager when I was 26. I was promised all this growth within the company and unfortunately it never came my way. But I saw many men that were at the same level as me get promoted to bigger positions. I think if you are the absolute best at what you do and you work harder than anyone else, work on yourself outside of the workplace to learn and grow then you will be the right person for the job but I also personally know being the best does not always give you the same opportunities being a woman.
Tori: What advice would you give your children/ future children about succeeding in a patriarchal society?
Emma: Invest your money early, save money, see a financial advisor and see what your options are for long term success. Something that never really gets discussed for women is that we have to have financial freedom on our own regardless of marriage, partners etc. Learn the rules, so you can break them. Also don't take shit from anyone, there are going to be people who tell you things about yourself that aren't true, and that could even be your parents, stick to your goals and plan according to make them a reality.
Tori: If you could talk to a young boy/girl from your hometown neighborhood who aspires to have your career/job/focus what would tell them? Advice.
Emma: Keep learning, keep hungry for learning and growth. And take a million naked photos of yourself because when you get to my age everything starts to head south, because you know “gravity”. Also lead by example, if you have a natural ability to be a manager or leader, then you have to work harder than everyone to prove to them that they can do the same for you.
Tori: Fun fact about you?
Emma: I showed my husband vegemite, now he loves it more than me, which i thought was impossible. And that I used to have an undercut. I have big tattoos most people don't know about. My best friend told me my fun fact is that i give no fucks hahaha which is very true tbh haha
Tori: Number one piece of advice you remember?
Emma: Always be two steps ahead & Keep your friends close, and enemies closer.
Tori: Anything else to add?
Emma: Thank you Tori for having me be a part of your amazing new venture, you should be incredibly proud and fuck the patriarchy!
Tori: Anything coming up for you that you want to talk about?
Emma: Launching our vintage showroom in a bigger space this year, as well as a podcast & a lot of other things we are working on i can't talk about yet but can't wait to share with you.
Tori: Where can we find you online?
Emma: www.apartment403.com insta: @eeerobbb & @apartment403