Meet Emily Berlach, founder of Australian designer label, Bohemian Traders. An idea first born at her kitchen table, Emily was able to quickly shift her concept of Bohemian traders into a successful fashion house, committed to sustainability, size inclusivity and vibrant designs.
We sat down with Emily to understand her inspiration behind the brand, delving into the female led influences in her life that helped shape her experiences as business owner, designer & mother.
Tell us about yourself in three words
Socially Extroverted Introvert (it’s complicated).
What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?
Of course I’m influenced by fashion powerhouses like Coco Chanel, her visionary designs permanently altered the way women dress and her fashion philosophies still stand today. She pioneered practical dressing for women and the fashion landscape is better for it. Having said that, to be honest I’m mostly inspired and spurred on by my partner in life and business, Dave. We’ve been married for over 20 years and working together is such a pleasure. He understands how to push me, and the business forward. He’s ambitious - seeking new markets and growth opportunities at all times. He’s also a really good cook, so there's that too. ha.
Who are some of your female role models?
I’m so fortunate to have a suite of female role models in my life spanning all areas, from family to friends and colleagues. It would be remiss of me not to mention my gorgeous mother first - she embodies the art of self acceptance, never bothering with a stitch of makeup (a splash of lippy for the most special occasions), she’s the antithesis of vanity which, working in fashion, is just a breath of fresh air. Laughter come easily to her, as does forgiveness. Her unconditional love is my rock.
My circle of female friends inspire me with their grace, humour, and unwavering perseverance. Many of our friendships span almost 30 years - we know each other intimately. Strengths, weaknesses - the lot.
Additionally, the absolute powerhouses within my design team (and wider BT team) constantly inspire me. To work amongst such experience, skill and creativity delights me daily. Each within their chosen field and within their own niche, their knowledge and skill renders me speechless and I’m privileged to work with each of them.
What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
Oh, there have been so so many highlights in building Bohemian Traders. I accidentally founded the brand from my kitchen table with 3 babies at home. It was overwhelming and the growth was rapid. Knowing that our brand supports my own family and those of our employees brings me great satisfaction (and stress hahaha). Those things aside, my greatest accomplishment to date is receiving the odd DM from satisfied customers who feel beautiful in their BT dresses. It’s honestly the greatest privilege and the ultimate reward in terms of fashion design - knowing that your products serve their intended purpose.
What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass onto our readers?
Dave and I have been so fortunate in having a handful of strong business mentors over the past several years. Men and women which I admire and seek out repeatedly - who spur us on and occasionally smack us down (ha!). Growing a business isn’t a straight line, there are highs and lows, wins and losses. All of our mentors have shared variations of the same and it’s valuable to remember. Education is expensive, mistakes are education - take the leanings.
How do you envision the future of women-led businesses for the next generation to come?
The future is bright for women in business. Barriers are being dismantled, women have greater access to resources, mentorship, and opportunities. We’re approaching the space with bold tenacity, grit and determination. We can start brands and business without giant cash injections and endorsements. Collectively, women have a ‘can do’ attitude - I mean, we birth and feed the next generation with our own bodies! My hope is that women do away with the ‘girl-boss’ mentality and step into the broader ‘boss’ space.
What do you want to achieve next?
My primary focus for the next 12 months is centred on fostering genuine sustainability within our brand. I've made a personal commitment to myself to ensure Bohemian Traders crafting products that resonate not only in style but also in their positive impact on the environment. By incorporating sustainable materials, ethical practices, and innovative processes, I aim to reduce our footprint and guide the brand towards a more conscious and responsible future.