Creator Profile: Emily Schildt - Brooklyn
Hi Emily! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I love to overthink this question! Which probably tells you more about me than the answer itself--I love to overthink everything! Anyway, I'll do my best not to just tell you what I do. I'm a very curious person, an extroverted introvert. I like to spend a lot of time alone and think about things. I like to absorb a lot of content--newspapers, magazines, books, podcasts--which has poised me for a career in creating content. Logistically, I was born and raised in Maryland, just outside of Baltimore. I now live in the lovely neighborhood of Fort Greene, in Brooklyn. I am also a big supporter of neglected foods like rice pudding, flan, and mayo. And I wear turtlenecks year-round.
What is your background (i.e. education, previous jobs, experiences that led you to create)?
I went to a small, liberal arts college in Memphis, TN. From there, I decided to move to Boston, though I'd only been once as a kid on family vacation. Just before I got on the plane, I freaked out because I realized I had no idea what I was going to do for work and I had next to no money in my bank account. But soon, I found a job through Craigslist (I know!) with a little yogurt startup called Chobani. I was a part of building that brand from nothing to yogurt category domination, which was such an incredible, unicorn of an experience. After that, I started consulting with early-stage companies to help them shape their brands, primarily through social media, and that brings us to today. I have always had a side project, even in my days at Chobani, whether it was a blog or an Instagram account dedicated to sandwich boards (still miss that one) or an event series. I definitely feel the urge to create, all the time.
What led you to begin working with brands on strategy and events?
I'm sort of obsessed with identity, belonging, and connection, probably because like most people, I'm constantly in search of these things myself. It is invigorating to help a company with a great offering figure out where it fits in its respective market, and how to tell that story to the people who might care. And then to watch them care and connect with the brand in a very emotional way is, of course, the best-case scenario, and so rewarding.
What are the different aspects of your work?
I typically work with clients pre-launch, to sort out what is is they want to say, and how we can say it in a way that is going to resonate most with the people they want to reach. This entails messaging, content strategy, and creative direction. Then, I'll work with them to actually turn that intent into content, so I'll coordinate and work with photographers, graphic designers, copywriters, and stylists. I love that my days are varied--I could be holed up all day writing blog posts for various clients' editorial sites, or on set playing art director at a photoshoot, or having intro meetings with prospective clients, learning about the interesting products they're bringing to market. I like to pepper in ideas for Instagram Stories, too. That's fun!
How do you know when it's time to pivot, alter, or end certain projects?
I draw the line at disrespect. A difference of opinion is a healthy occurrence; a lack of sensitivity in the delivery of that opinion is not. I've been fortunate to work with clients and partners who are wonderful, and the longer I am in business, the more grateful for them I am.
You recently wrote a piece for Atelier Doré on your Solo Date Nights! Could you tell us a little bit about why you started doing this?
Yes! It started out innocently enough--I had a really long list of restaurants I wanted to visit, and I think at the time, I wasn't the best at reaching out to ask for company. It was early on in my time living in New York and I was working 14 hour days and I just really didn't have that many friends outside of work, either. So, I took myself out! But, what might've started as a bit of a sad compromise has evolved to be the most treasured activity I have. Spending so much time with myself forced me to be with my own thoughts and work through them, and through that, I gained confidence. I learned to enjoy my own company which, in turn, made it a lot easier to ask others join me. (I have friends now!)
Do you have any advice on freelance writing for different publications?
Just write things and send them. Get started. Don't be the person that goes to a museum and looks at all the paintings and says 'I could've painted that.' Yea, but you didn't. Paint. Write. Do. The worst thing that can happen is that you get rejected, and that's only a bad thing if you take it personally, or don't learn from it. And hey, if someone doesn't like something, you've got material for your blog!
What are some of the setbacks or challenges you face with your work?
Hands down, asking for money. There's so much self-worth tied up in money, and that can really get in the way of demanding what's warranted. I still get nervous hitting the send button on proposals. I think it's particularly difficult as a freelancer because the community is pretty tight-lipped about rates, so it forces you to value your work even more, rather than going off standard market rates. Sometimes, that's a win! And sometimes it's not, and you're unsure who/what to blame.
At The Glossary, we believe in women working together and helping one another. Why do you think it is important for women to support each other?
Women have been in opposition in the workplace for so long because we've been conditioned to operate from a place of fear. There were only so many jobs for us, or only so much light reserved for a woman to shine. Now that we're eliminating that fear, as there are more opportunities, we're free to be more kind to each other and to act as members of a tribe, not opposing teams. I saw this great financial advisor, Michelle Smith, speak at an event recently in New York, and she gave the simple order to "Hire a woman wherever you can." I looked at my own hires--my accountant, my legal counsel, my freelancers-- and made changes (there's even an app where you can filter restaurants owned by women!), and I try to be as much of an open book as possible with all women I encounter professionally. Nothing good comes from operating out of a place of fear, anyway. For anything.
What creative women do you find inspiring?
My close friends are an incredible group of smart, creative women--producers, photographers, designers, strategists. As much as I work in social media, I don't find inspiration there. My inspiration comes from the real people around me doing bold, original things. They influence me in the way we used to define it. Every month, me and my girlfriends get together for what we call "Jam Session" (it originated with me wanting to get rid of a lot of jams I had accumulated in my fridge, but no intent to eat). What comes out of these 'sessions' is so much more nourishing and illuminating than scrolling through Instagram. I'm beyond grateful to have them in my life.
What are you trying to learn right now or what is something that you are wanting to learn?
I am forever trying to learn Italian. I've been going to Italy at least once every year for the past four or five years, so you'd think I would have the hang of it by now! But, they say for every hour you spend in the classroom, you need to spend something like 9 hours in immersion. I guess I'll just have to move there... right? Right?!
What are some of your favorite places in New York?
Sundays in New York are my favorite. I typically spend them roaming the city, usually downtown somewhere on the West side. I start in a hotel lobby (probably Greenwich or The Marlton) with a good cup of coffee, the New York Times, and a heavy dose of people watching. Then I meander through bookstores (can't beat the charm of Three Lives & Co) and home goods (Calliope and Hawkins have beautiful curiosities), likely CAP Beauty for some food things too, and eventually land for something to eat. I go to the same restaurant every Sunday and there's something so comforting about being a regular. It makes New York, home.