TALK Greenville sat down with our very own, Emilie Whitaker, to get to know the ins and outs of running a successful business with her mom (Kathy Moça), and the art of balancing her family and time for herself.
From TALK Greenville:
TALK Greenville: What would surprise people most about you?
Emilie Whitaker: I am very fun-loving! I’m not sure if it’s the Brazilian in me or the Southern. My dad always told us that as the guest of a party it is your job to have a good time. I feel the same way about life.
TG: We have to ask about the story behind the name of your business?
EW: It actually means “hummingbird” in Portugese, or literally, “to kiss a flower.” We liked the idea that it represents a small but very powerful bird, just like small business versus larger industries.
TG: What makes you nervous?
EW: Not having enough on the calendar.
TG: So what do you do on a day off?
EW: Hang out with my family. We love the parks around here and also do a lot of traveling. My daughter has spent lots of time on an airplane. If I could be anywhere, it would be on a beach.
TG: What is the worst decision you’ve made in business?
EW: The DIY mentality. I have learned the hard way that you can’t do it all yourself. It is so important to learn your strengths. When you have to wear a lot of hats, find the ones you want to wear.
TG: Your best decision?
EW: Working with my mom.
TG: What drives you to keep growing the business?
EW: My dad came here from Brazil as an immigrant and took nothing for granted. He valued workmanship, how things are made and just the fact that someone made this. We want to feel challenged in our work and always be discovering new things to make it better and to never take this opportunity for granted.
TG: What do you want women to feel when they put on your jeans?
EW: Confidence. Women deserve to feel good about how they look.
TG: How many pairs of Beija-Flor jeans do you own?
EW: Currently about 30. I had to invite friends over to take some of them so I can replace (them) with new styles!
TG: What’s your favorite place for lunch?
EW: I love salty foods and am always on a search for the perfect french fry. Rick’s Deli has great ones and I recently discovered DishOut on Wade Hampton. My favorite place has to be Snack Works. We just call it Patrick’s because he is so welcoming and accommodating no matter what you need. I eat there almost every day. If I have time, we love to bike to the Swamp Rabbit Cafe. Their cheese breads remind me of Brazil.
TG: What’s the most challenging non-work related thing you’ve done lately?
EW: I learned to surf in Costa Rica. I really learned the value of an instructor. I was up on the board within an hour. Of course it was a long board, but I did it!
Thanks to TALK Greenville and USA Today for taking the time to chat with us!