We had the good fortune of connecting with Emma Isaacs and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emma, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I’m a career entrepreneur, having never worked for anyone else (apart from a casual job while at school.) I started my first company when I was 18 years old. There was very little thought given to it! I didn’t even know what the word entrepreneur meant back then – I just saw an opportunity and went for it. I think being that young helped me and still to this day believe that naivete in business can be used as a competitive advantage. The beginner’s mind offers lots of creativity and every entrepreneur needs this to get ahead – building and scaling companies is all about problem solving and thinking differently and when you don’t know what you’re doing, there’s a unique opportunity for innovation and making it up as you go.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Business Chicks is a membership organization for amazing women. Over the past 15 years we’ve run live events, presenting speakers such as Brené Brown, Richard Branson, Kate Hudson, Gloria Steinem and many more. We’ve connected thousands of women and helped them grow their businesses and careers. We’ve raised funds (over $13 million now) for a bunch of non-profits that we care about and created memories, friendships, and ultimately a powerful network that provides access, advice and support. At Business Chicks, what sets us apart is the care factor. We excel at caring. We obsess over feedback, and care deeply about the customer experience and the employee experience too. We’re always trying to lift the bar. I think we also excel at functioning beautifully as a team – our culture seems to attract really positive, go-getting, kind people and it’s a pleasure to watch them supporting each other and having fun too. As a group, we’re inspired by helping women remove the roadblocks that stand in the way of them getting anything they want from their lives and by encouraging them to see that they can get what they want so that might be starting a company, growing their career, having a family, and so the list goes on. Every time I hear a story about how someone has had an incredible experience or someone who’s life has been changed or impacted by the work that we, it inspires me and my team to keep going. It’s not always been easy. Of course there have been ups and downs and that’s part of being an entrepreneur. I think it’s about being willing to back yourself and make tough calls. As an entrepreneur, even if you have all the confidence and self-assuredness in the world, there’ll be plenty of times that you’ll doubt yourself and those times usually come when the challenges arise. I’ve never gotten to the point of completely wanting to throw in the towel but there have been many tough times like when we’ve had to restructure the business or let someone go because they’re not performing: these are some of the hardest things a leader will have to do, but if you’re a true leader you’ll make these calls because your role is to ensure the health of a business and protect its culture.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love LA! If you had a week here I’d hit up The Grove and Abbot Kinney in Venice for shopping. Larchmont Village is also super cute for wandering around with some gorgeous boutique stores. I’d make sure I got to The Getty Center and Malibu Pier too. I love grabbing coffee at S.O.L. on Melrose (try the breakfast burrito) then walking over to Restoration Hardware store. Go all the way up to the rooftop area, grab a seat and take in the views. You’ll find other great coffee at Bluestone Lane and Sycamore Kitchen on La Brea. As for eating, visit EP & LP for Asian fusion food – it has an awesome rooftop for drinks too. Mama Shelter, Gracias Madre, Catch LA, Cecconi’s and the old faithful, The Ivy on Robertson.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d love to dedicate this story to a fellow Angeleno and friend – the incredible Jane Wurwand, cofounder Dermalogica. She’s a dear friend and mentor and someone I look up to immensely.