When we interviewed Emily Kate Symes all the way back in 2015, we knew she would go on to even bigger and brighter things – and she proved us right. Last year the eco-conscious model and entrepreneur took her online sustainable fashion business EKOLUV to new heights by opening a boutique store in the heart of Paddington. An all-in-one zero waste fashion boutique featuring vintage fashion and coveted designer dress pieces for rental hire as well as as consignment store, Emily is another step closer to making stylish eco fashion accessible to Australian women.
This conscious trailblazer is also the mastermind and host of the EKO Mindful Boss Ladies Sydney brunch event being held as part of Fashion Revolution Week. We interviewed Emily ahead of the brunch event to talk about her passion for sustainable fashion, why backing yourself is crucial in business, and why hard work and perseverance were the foundations of her success.
EWP: Why do you do what you do?
Emily Kate Symes: I do what I do because I love and am passionate about the environment, animals and my relationships with people. What drives me is to serve a greater purpose than myself; I am motivated to create positive change within not only myself but the environment for a better world for our animals and ourselves.
EWP: To launch a conscious business takes courage. How did you develop the mindset to do so?
EKS: I owe everything to meditation and yoga and travelling out of my comfort zone. Self awareness is key. I recommend reading Deepak Chopra, Dalai Lama, Eckhart Tolle, and Louise L. Hay books.
EWP: Can you share one time you’ve been rejected while launching your business? What happened? How did you overcome it?
EKS: Being a model I am used to and accept rejection on a daily basis however I struggled to accept being rejected in my business. I’m like, “What do you mean eco fashion is just a niche or a phase?” No I won’t accept that. I made a stand and didn’t budge. I had faith in myself and also knew that the future of not only fashion but business in general, was to be sustainable. It’s the only way forward!
EWP: On social media it can often appear that people have achieved instant success but as Mindful Boss Ladies we know there’s no such thing. What are some things you wish customers and followers knew about your journey that you rarely share on social?
EKS: That my business and career just didn’t happen overnight it took many years of working for other businesses and learning from them, working 100-hour weeks working on my passion and not giving up. I also had doubts from quite a few people about starting and even continuing my business, but I didn’t listen to anyone or give up. I believed in myself and kept at it.
EWP: Pursuing a purpose-driven business takes hard work and requires long hours. What do you do for self-care?
EKS: Running, yoga, meditation, walking my dog in the park and spending quality time with close friends helps me stay centred and balanced.
EWP: Biggest business lesson you’ve learned so far?
EKS: That success takes time it can take longer than you expect, just be consistent and keep working hard until you get there. You’ll always come up against challenges and obstacles but what matters most is how you overcome them – that will ultimately determine your success.
To listen to Emily speak about her Mindful Boss Lady journey, learn how she juggles competing demands and how she faces obstacles in her start-up EKOLUV, Australia’s first zero waste sustainable, dress hire and consignment boutique, make sure to grab your ticket to the EKO Mindful Boss Ladies 4-hour super-glam power brunch. We hope to see you there for a fun day of storytelling, business insights and super Instagrammable pics!
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Title image of Natalie Shehata taken by photographer Nicole Wong. All images supplied.