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    • Please join me in welcoming Emily Bibb of luxury essentials brand EAU CLUB for a Cake Panel! This panel is open for questions now.

      About Emily: A former swimmer with a career in fashion, Emily (Em) has been creating within the luxury & digital realm for over 10+ years. In what she considers to be an 'unconventional MBA,' her experience in both digital marketing and brand building for startups, inadvertently set the foundation for her current company, EAU CLUB. A true culmination of her past and inspirations around the water, EAU CLUB first began as a creative outlet and soon thereafter, evolved into a luxury label favored by tastemakers globally. With a 'pass-it-on' mentality, Emily is a strong advocate for mentorship, partnering with organizations like Harvard Business School and INC Magazine, to share more on the evolving, digital landscape with emerging entrepreneurs. In her off hours, she works with underprivileged youth via the Bigs & Littles program in New York City. A former USA National swimmer and NCAA Champion, Emily still swims to this day.

      About Eau Club: Founded in the water, EAU CLUB is a lifestyle unique to its own, centered on luxury essentials fitting for the pool, beach, & bath. With an emphasis on design and visual storytelling, EAU CLUB takes a mindful approach, sourcing conscious materials, packaging, and partners. Following the launch of the signature collection in July 2018, the brand quickly became one favored by thoughtful consumers and tastemakers, globally. EAU CLUB's presence extends beyond direct-to-consumer to include partners like Moda Operandi, Goop, and Fred Segal. Recent features include that of the New York Times, Forbes, and Hamptons Magazine. Just shy of a one year anniversary, the above is just the first stroke in the brand’s narrative and intended evolution to nourish a culture of flow.

    • Thank you so much for joining us Emily! So as former USA National swimmer and NCAA Champion, you bring a true love and passion for the water. What inspired you to take that initial push to start EAU CLUB in July 2018?

    • My entire life I’d been someone who dabbled in multiple projects — running side hustles, blogging or writing in my spare time. About two years ago, I was longing for a creative outlet that was my own, while also missing swimming. I started to think ‘What if I combined everything I liked into one platform?.’ I used to be a blogger back in the day when it was a ‘thing,’ so I was keen to go back to that, while sharing more on my love for the water. I’d been retired from the sport for a few years by that point, and with my background in fashion and photography, decided to combine everything into one. I started to do a few photo-shoots, and worked with a few close friends on what a website could look like. As EAU CLUB started to evolve, I began to have visions around product — it all started with the robe. The idea being to develop a piece you could wear by the pool, in your home, and take on your travels. Long story short, and several late nights later, I finally pushed the button in July 2018. I was so uncertain as to how it was going to go, but learned a lot, and have since evolved it into various essentials, editorials, and partnerships —  it’s been a whirlwind since that initial launch!

    • Prior to founding EAU CLUB, you worked in digital marketing and brand building for a variety of other startups. What were some key learnings you took with you along the way?

    • I think two things, looking back, really stand out: is one, adaptability, and two, authenticity. 

      What I’ve learned from the various brands I’ve worked with, and in turn the mentors I gained, is having true authenticity, not only around what you’re doing, but the community you represent. We live in a digital era, with access to nearly everything at our fingertips. Almost the curse of the 'Instagram era,' is the ability for anyone to mimic or replicate someone else — truth is, the audience can see right through that. Being authentic, I believe, will get you far in the long run. 

      And then second, is adaptability. I think this comes from working in a startup environment since day one of my career. No two days have ever been the same. Not being in a predictable office environment, set the foundation to thrive in fast pace, scrappy teams. Working in digital too, has also gotten me comfortable with the unknown. For example, Instagram wasn’t the same platform it was 6 months ago, let alone two weeks ago. If I’m not open to that, it’s quite frankly, going to be very hard to keep up.

    • You continue to love and share your passion for the water with others (which reminds me of another amazing swimmer we’ve interviewed here on Cake, @susanjroy ). What are some qualities that you think dedicated swimmers have in common?

    • So funny thing about Susan, is that we actually trained at the same club! I really resonated with that piece, being that I used to swim at Santa Clara during my winter and summer breaks. That pool, those coaches, cultivated the best of the best. 

      But going back to your original point, I think swimming, and sports in general, really develop a person from the onset — everything from life lessons to friendships... 

      I will say that all swimmers, have a very competitive nature. This is something that comes through in work, later on, outside of the pool — it’s learning how to channel the energy around something you’re passionate about and focused on, outside of a race environment.  

      I would say another quality is that swimmers have, is an analytical mindset. We are taught from the onset, the importance of being very detail oriented, as a split-second can make or break your career. Because of that, it's understanding that little things, lead to big results: not cutting corners, making sure you’re doing things properly in training — so you can execute in the race. Split seconds can dictate the team you’re on, your place on the podium, or the ranking of your country. I think I’ve been able to channel that, especially in the digital space, through analytics. That’s something I noticed even in my first job, I got excited about the numbers — how could I make my work better? What are the tiny tweaks that can lead to bigger and better results? 

      One last thing I’ll note about swimming is time management. This began with 4:30 AM wake-up calls starting at the age of 13. Just having to learn to go to practice, then school, then practice, then get homework done — all helped me for when college, and startup life, demanded a similar routine. I still wake up at 5 AM every morning, I have a set calendar and stick to it, almost because it’s now second nature to me. Looking back, until I met other non-swimmers, I was like “What is everyone talking about? 9am start times?” I quickly realized it’s NOT normal to wake up so early! I guess I’ve just ran with it.

    • Your products are also made with ethical practices in the USA and packaged & shipped in recycled materials. Do you hope that each EAU CLUB product lasts a lifetime?

    • Yes. I can’t promise a lifetime, but I hope it’s a very long time. This goes back to the durable, practical element. Everything I make gets better with wear. Our towels are made of Turkish cotton, and the more you wash them, the softer they get. I try to think that all our pieces will hold a story: you take that towel on a beach vacation, then hang it in your bathroom. Eventually you have stories, memories, day-to-day rituals that it starts to hold. And looking back, this again was inspired by my swimming days, living in pieces like a parka that you’d take on your travels, wear everyday to practice — overtime, it starts to hold stories. Even to this day, I look at my old swim meet sweatshirts (now turned into a quilt by mom), and all of a sudden they bring up memories of when I went to a certain state to compete in, or just hanging out with my teammates. Really, pieces that tell a story.

    • Your products include thoughtfully curated and designed towels, lounge coats, and beach blankets - and have gotten love and mentions from outlets like the New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, and Refinery 29. What’s your design philosophy and why do you think it resonates with people?

    • I approach all of my product first and foremost, with the foundation of: is this wearable and is it practical. When I was building EAU CLUB and evolving the initial idea, it all went back to my days as a swimmer — the pieces you left the pool in, were those you’d stay in all day. That’s honestly the main inspiration behind the lounge coat — you can wear it to the pool, style it as a
      cover-up, transition it into a trench coat. Pieces you can actually live in. Our towels for example, you can bring on vacation, be it styled as a towel at the beach or a shawl going out. Pieces that can be with you throughout the day, and even, all four seasons. And then there’s a durability factor — I don’t want to create something that’s so delicate it can’t handle the wear and tear of sand and water. I’m drawn to heavier linens, or a really sturdy denim — materials that can hold the lifetime of a product.

    • My biggest source of inspiration is really the past, and the memories I have growing up by the water. All my editorials stem from that. Our Fall/Winter 2018 look book was inspired by my 6AM morning swims —  the fog rolling in on the ocean — and how that particular memory could be interpreted within a lifestyle brand. The Australia shoot was a nod to the number one on my bucket list, Bondi Beach, and watching the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, where I first fell in love with the sport of swimming.

      Also, and a bit of a more obvious one, would be resources like Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr  — I’ve connected with so many people through those platforms. It’s amazing how universal it its — you can partner with someone across the world strictly via DM. It’s been a powerful tool in that regard.

    • I’m looking forward to evolving the brand into what I believe will be a true culture around the water. In the more immediate future, we’ll be launching new products, partnering on a few collaborations, and continuing to expand internationally. All good things.