I had the pleasure of meeting up with Emily at her Crocker Park shop recently and was immediately blown away by her kindness. I won’t lie, I was nervous heading to that meeting because my impression from Instagram is that Emily is so poised, gorgeous and successful (which she IS all of those things), but she is also warm, welcoming and so easy to chat with! You can tell from speaking with her that she has such a clear vision for her brand and aesthetic and pushes herself to grow, which is so impressive to me. As a Cleveland transplant myself, I love seeing how Emily has embraced this city also and created a recognizable brand that resonates with locals. She has established such a clear style and when you see that “Cleveland AF” shirt when you are out you immediately know it’s her.
She is also a proud supporter of all the local women entrepreneurs in the area. She is the epitome of “women supporting women”. Not only can you see her out and about at local women centered events, supporting other small businesses, and speaking on panels - she also collaborates with other brands in the are for her unique One Of A Kind Collections (hint hint: keep an eye out for an Emily Roggenburk x OSG collaboration soon!).
She is a force of nature and is so impressive to me - I really don’t know how she does it all! She handles everything from design, printing, packaging, shipping, networking, thrifting for unique One Of A Kind pieces…when does she sleep???
Now, onto the interview with the boss babe herself…
How did you begin your entrepreneur journey?
My journey began back in 2016 when I rented a helicopter to photograph the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers Championship Parade. I started selling photo prints from that day and my business took off from there.
I have read you are not from Cleveland originally. As a Cleveland transplant myself who considers Cleveland my “hometown”, how would you describe the hometown pride that is so important to NEO residents?
The pride here is honestly unlike anything I’ve seen elsewhere. The people of this city have earned the things they’ve worked for, and they work hard all the time to show off how great this city is. There is so much rich culture here, and Cleveland has a big city feeling with the charm of a midwestern town.
What Cleveland woman entrepreneur has inspired you the most and why?
So many of them! It would be really hard to choose just one, but if I have to, I would say Stephanie Sheldon, who started the Cleveland Flea. There are so many opportunities available for entrepreneurs (including myself) because of the Flea. I think part of the movement of women supporting other women has come to fruition as much as it has here in Cleveland started with the Flea, so we have a lot to thank Steph for.
Who is your dream collaboration with?
Again, there are so many women in Cleveland that I would love to partner with! I have a few coming up that I’m really excited about, including Monica of Dose of Monica, Blair Ritchey, and you ladies of Oh So Graceful!
What has been your favorite project to work on to date?
These questions are hard!! I’ve been very fortunate to partner with many amazing artists and entrepreneurs. If I had to pick a favorite so far, it would probably be the video project that I worked on with Aubrey of That’s What She Eats and Thomas Sawyer, depicting what my helicopter photo shoots are like. It was so fun and they are both amazingly talented people - I loved working with them!
Best thrift store in the area?
I stand by the Salvation Army in Avon. I go every Monday.
What is a normal work day for you?
Not to sound cliche, but every day really is different. Though, most of my days look like me working in my warehouse, printing t-shirts, filling orders, from the beginning of the day until the post office closes. Other days, I get to do fun things like photo shoots, happy hour meetings, etc. but most of the time I’m in my warehouse.
When you are having a difficult day, what do you tell yourself to keep pushing through?
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” (by Nelson Mandela) is my all-time favorite quote because I found it to be true. Everything that I’ve wanted to accomplish but thought that maybe I couldn’t or I didn’t have what it would take, or that it was too big or too hard, has gotten done. That quote is always my favorite reminder to keep myself motivated.
What has been the biggest obstacle that you have overcome in your business thus far?
Just starting it in the first place! When most people start their businesses, they don’t have everything figured out from the get go (including me). Having to figure out every aspect of your business’ processes is incredibly challenging and can be defeating if you let it. Luckily, I have a lot of support from my husband and my family and friends, and we pushed through.
Has owning your own apparel line always been your dream?
Yes. While I never really thought of myself as an entrepreneur, I did always have this dream/vision in the back of my mind of having something that I owned - probably related to apparel/fashion - and that I would one day have a little shop of my own. It’s incredible that it has actually happened.
What advice do you have for artists and designers considering making their creative outlets into a full time business?
Just jump right in. Start now. You’ll never be ready. You will have to figure it out as you go. Believe in yourself and start now.
Same as above
Go-To Karaoke Song:
Anything that most people know and love to get the crowd going, but the only song I know all the words to is Super Bass by Nicki Minaj
Gray Malin and Anine Bing
Late Night Snack:
Chips and salsa
I just read “I’ll Be Gone In The Dark” by Michelle McNamara and now I can hardly sleep at night