Full name and occupation?
My name is Emilie Nolan and I am the founder of Gemmie.
What does a normal workday look like?
My normal workday entails schlepping around the city, from my suppliers to meetings. Also, computer work – I’m trying to reach new customers and a new audience through digital marketing for Gemmie.
Does your industry have a dress code?
No, not as far as I’m concerned. I will say that I’ve never been one to dress down for work. I feel like as far as mental hygiene goes, I like getting dressed and leaving the house feeling like I put something on. I do that for my own wellbeing.
Describe what you usually wear to work.
Levi’s jeans and a Kooples button-down are quintessential. I usually just switch up the shoes depending on the weather. Today it’s rainy, so hard-leather boots, like my cowboy boots, are perfect. I would say that jeans are the cornerstone of my wardrobe; I’m constantly looking for something that has enough stretch but also enough structure. If I’m not wearing my Levi’s, I’m wearing my button-fly Citizens; they’re the best fit. I almost exclusively get my jeans from Good Neighbour in Leslieville. If I’m not in a jean, I’m in a cargo pant like my blue Maje ones [pictured]. Most of my wardrobe is pretty neutral, but I love shoes. Shoes and jewellery are my go-tos.
How do you shop for clothes?
I would say it’s probably 50-50 split between online and in-store shopping. I am a big sale-rack picker. I almost never buy anything at retail price unless it is, unfortunately, fast fashion. In the past year and a half, I’ve consciously started to consume less of that. That also feeds into how much I like shoes, because you get a lot more wear out of shoes.
What’s your sale strategy? How do you know they’re coming up? Do you subscribe to newsletters?
I do subscribe to newsletters. The one that has really been catching my eye is 24s. It’s a Montreal brand, and it’s amazing. Their sales are crazy. I mean, sale calendars are pretty reliable: post-Christmas, then springtime going into summer, end of summer, etc.
“Approach a sale with fresh eyes and an open heart and see what calls to you.”
Do you track the pieces you want beforehand?
The thing is, if you’re going to wait for it to go on sale, you’re likely not going to find it. It’s better to approach a sale with fresh eyes and an open heart and see what calls to you. I also really do love Nordstrom Rack at Bloor. I bought $1,600 Dior boots for $290. You just never know what you’re going to find. The Room has amazing sales, and Saks. Sandro and Maje have had groundbreaking end-of-season sales, so I’ll circle around there and see what’s going on. You can’t beat the Holts sale. I have bought amazing shoes there. It’s a thrill because there’s nothing online – you show up and you just don’t know what you’ll find. You do truly have to be in the mindset. Sometimes I’ll walk into a sale and it’s just ‘No, it’s not happening today.’
I would never spend full price on denim, but I only wear Levi’s, Rag & Bone and Citizen. I’ve bought amazing jeans at 80 percent off at Hudson’s Bay. I got my Laurence Dacade boots at 80 percent off when Specchio was closing. I almost bought over-the-knee buckle boots from Chloé when Davids Footwear was closing, but they were too small. That was a hard one to walk away from. Luckily, the sales associate was like, ‘These don’t fit you – you’re in pain.’ They were honest.
“I don't think I've ever bought anything full retail price – aside from at Zara.”
I purge clothes all the time. I do not hold on to things. So those amazing Dior boots that I got from Nordstrom? I’ve already consigned them. I brought them to I Miss You Vintage. So if you’re a size six and you want the knit cowboy boots from Dior, they’re there.
Do you give yourself an annual shopping budget?
I should give myself a budget, but I don’t. I love a good deal. The better the deal, the harder it is for me to walk away. Growing up, my mom and I would go to the mall and sort through racks and find amazing deals. Truly, I don’t think I’ve ever bought anything full retail price – aside from at Zara.
What challenges, if any, do you face when it comes to getting dressed/shopping for clothing?
The biggest challenge for me is coming to terms with the fact that I don’t actually have one defined style. I like so many different things. It used to bug me; I felt like I didn’t have a style because of that. But then I realized that I’m actually just experimental. I’m an inclusive shopper. That was a recent realization. Some days I’m really preppy, some days I’m a little androgynous and kind of grungy. And then other days, I’m like a frickin’ cowboy. Ever since launching Gemmie, I’ve put a lot more colour into my wardrobe. I used to be way more neutral; now I have pops of colour.