3 Minutes to read
Emma Butler, CEO of Intimately
Learning Inspiration 🌈 #56
Intern at Y-Combinator and freshly graduated from Brown University, Emma Butler is now the CEO of Intimately, an online undergarment retailer for women with disabilities. In this interview, she shares with us her primary goal and inspirations.
What is your main inspiration?
I don’t know if it’s an inspiration but what motivates me to get up in the morning is inclusion. I’m working at the intersection of fashion and technology, and I’ve seen how disabled people are excluded from the fashion industry. I’m focused on helping people feel belonging. I create functional and stylish pieces for disabled women. I want to empower them by creating a community and a safe space where they can talk about sex and fashion.
What are your learning routines?
I read a lot, at university where I studied art and painted often.
I’ve learned about business mainly through self-education. A few years ago, I had no business expertise and had not even heard of a pitch deck. I read all books that I could find in the library about business and learned how to create my company. I loved the book Atomic Habits. It taught me a great deal.
What are your favorite books and why?
I adored Purple Cow by Seth Godin. It taught me that to be outstanding, you must be different. In Good to Great, the author, Jim Collins, followed eleven companies to study their unique advantages. The book explains the difference between an average and an amazing company. Amazing companies have lean organizations and excellent leaders.
Measure What Matters is a fantastic book that introduced me to OKR’s. I’m a creative person, and this book helped to define goals and accomplish them. What I love particularly about this book is that all of its advice is actionable.
What is your favorite podcast, and why?
I absolutely love How I Built This, especially the episodes about Birchbox and Glossier. The founders of these companies are women who graduated from Harvard Business School. I loved how they shared their entrepreneur journeys. One of my motivations is to one day be a guest on this podcast.
What would you say to the eighteen Emma?
You know, I’m just twenty-two, but If I’ve had to say something to the eighteen-year-old Emma, I would say, “Don’t worry. You’ll have an amazing group of friends, and sometimes you will have ups and downs.”
What are the main challenges that you are facing?
It’s effortless to connect with customers because few companies are doing what we do in the market.
Our customers are thrilled about what we are doing. My main concern is getting investors on board. They are mainly men without any disabilities, so it’s difficult for them to understand that disabled women need fashionable lingerie to feel more powerful or explain to them the mechanics of a bra. It’s hard for them to understand our community of customers and the strong bonds they have with our product. It’s redundant to explain it over and over. I would like to find the simplest way to help them connect with the big picture.
If you were left alone on an island and could only bring one item, what would it be?
I would bring my computer with Notion. I’m obsessed. My entire business life lives in Notion.
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