Work In Progress — EMMA LARIMER of Everyone's Mother

I meet Emma through my laptop screen, a portal from east Los Angeles to Hoboken, New Jersey where she's based. It's still the Instagram era, albeit perhaps the end of it, and as much as we can all say how much we tire of having to constantly nurture our accounts with more, more, more, we also have to admit that some of the most interesting and happenstance connections strike up over the platform. Kindred spirits, if you will.

Like many designer upstarts, Emma started Everyone's Mother as a creative supplement to a full-time job, a job that has in a lot of ways strategically armed her with the firsthand experience that drives many of her production decisions today. The technique of crocheting first entered her life through her grandmother, and though she went to school for fashion, textile manipulation remains her first love, "—it's more interesting than fashion." 

The first thing she made was for herself, a perfectly sized handheld basket tote later named Land N Sea after the beach she used to go to as a kid in Rhode Island. She made one for her sister, then for another friend, and soon she had enough requests that it made her consider doing it for real. It took three more years as a side hustle, but nearly a year ago, in January, she did it. Taking everything she'd learned from her production job, she is uncompromising in her process. "I have trust issues with making things because I've seen production, and yes and no I've seen it done and it's much easier to do it that way, but having handmade things is very special." In fact, everything Emma uses is locally made and upcycled, including her wool thread. 

"My wool is from upstate New York, you can take the train two hours to get there. It’s dyed there, the sheep is there, isn’t that cool? Shouldn't that be cool?"


What we're talking about is slow fashion, a term and practice that's become the antidote to fast fashion and everything it represents—waste, pollution, destruction of Mother Nature. The idea that it shouldn't be influencers or big shows or splashy marketing campaigns when you are considering the value of something you're buying, but rather where each strand of the material comes from, how's it put together, and who puts it together. 

"Even if I would be paying myself minimum wage the hat would cost more than it does. It takes me a day and a half, plus materials. But I’m not Prada, I can’t sell it for a thousand dollars."

Which begs the question, what ARE you paying for when you're paying for luxury goods?

In January, it will be the one year anniversary of Emma's leap into making Everyone's Mother her full time focus, and she's not looking to slow down anytime soon. She's organizing a holiday pop-up in downtown NYC with a few other brands she admires and is making her own ceramic beads—"the uglier the better"—in the ceramics studio she shares a space with, exploring further ways she can touch as much as she can with her own fingers.

But growth is not just a question of distribution. You can get into more stores if you're able to produce more, but what do you do if you're just one person and two hands? She thinks about the balance between fair wage and perceived value all the time.  As the demand for her designs grows, Emma's looking to potentially outsourcing to other countries particularly now while the dollar's strong, but knowing exactly how difficult and how much skill is required to produce each of her crocheted creations gives her pause on every single number.  "I don't want to take advantage of anyone else so I can have a higher margin or I can reduce the price. We're all in this one space that's Mother Nature. It's Everyone's Mother." 




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