The Giants: The brains behind the brands that boomed
Co-founder and CEO, Good American
Emma Grede is more than the co-founder of Good American, which she launched with Khloé Kardashian in 2016. She’s also co-founder of the cleaning supply company Safely, chairman of the influencer agency ITB Worldwide and a founding partner of Skims. Good American made more than $150 million last year, while Skims made $275 million in 2021 and is expected to reach $400 million this year. All these brands fall under the holding company Popular Culture that Grede founded with her husband, Swedish entrepreneur Jens Grede. This is on top of guest-hosting “Shark Tank” for a second time this year and chairing the 15 Percent Pledge since 2020.
What’s been key to Good American’s success?
“A big part has been listening to our customers and factoring in their feedback, the good and the bad. We have the most incredible community. They’re smart, they’re savvy and they’re honest when something isn’t working for them or isn’t up to the standard they need it to be. We aren’t going to hit it out of the park every time, but even before we had a data team in place, we were constantly looking at the data to understand how our community was feeling. With retail, you need customer loyalty to be successful, and being transparent about how we are listening to them and actively making improvements based on their feedback has built us a very loyal customer base.”
What is the biggest challenge facing the fashion industry now?
“The fashion industry has made fantastic strides, but it still has a long way to go, in terms of representation and diversity. I’m so proud of what we’re doing at Good American and Skims to increase inclusivity. When we talk about representation, it’s not just about having a wide range of sizes available in stores or representation in marketing campaigns, or [giving] BIPOC-owned brands equal shelf space, but it’s making sure our companies are reflective of our customer base internally, too. The more diversity in a room, the more perspectives there are, and we’re all the better for it. Diversity really is a superpower in business.”
What recent project are you most proud of?
“The Good Inc initiative we launched this year with Good American. We created Good Inc as an incubator program to celebrate inclusivity, diversity and creativity by supporting emerging talent like Baroline Diaz, the vice president of Interscope Records, who was [behind] one of our first product collaborations to come out of the program, called the B Project. We also worked with artist Prentis and his brand Behaving Like Teenagers on limited-edition, hand-painted [versions of] our Good 90s jeans. Good Inc will continue to dedicate time and resources to help create opportunities for underrepresented talent in the fashion industry, so it’s a really exciting and tangible extension of the brand’s central ethos of inclusivity and collaboration.”
Pandemic trends have worked to the advantage of brands including Skims. Do you think comfort will continue to define fashion?
“Absolutely. The modern woman juggles a lot — we’re businesswomen, we’re mothers, we’re busy! — and our clothes have to be able to support us through all the different places our days take us.”
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