Small Business Profile: Emily Miller, Owner of BreakfastClub - New York City
Hey Emily! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name’s Emily and BreakfastClub is my company. With a focus on all things sunrise, I bring people together through walking tours, events, and am working on a breakfast cookbook with Phaidon featuring traditional recipes form around the world.
What is your background (i.e. education, previous jobs, experiences that led you to create)?
I went to school for fashion design but grew up with a family in the hospitality industry. I soon started freelance writing for forecasting and design magazines then honed in on food and travel.
What led you to begin BreakfastClub?
I was struggling to find my voice and vision, looking for a pattern while collecting odd creative jobs. When I was looking for order in the chaos I became fascinated with the ritualistic steps of morning routines. Your brain is clean slate and the things you do first thing in the morning can cement your mindset for the rest of the day. I wanted to hone the magic of this time of day and get people off their phone, out of bed, and connecting in real life. The best way I felt to do this was over breakfast. Putting equal weight on food, art, and community, these gatherings and walking tours would exist for the sole purpose of inspiring connection.
What are some of the logistics behind creating your events and tours?
The events bring about 30 people together to share a meal in a restaurant that is typically closed during the morning hours. The tours bring about 10 people on a walking tour of a neighborhood through five different bites and beverages that define the culture of the area. The logistics are similar as they are all communication-based. It comes from reaching out to people with a genuine voice and understanding of what you're asking of them. I do my research and reach out with transparency about budget and intent so there's no confusion. This keeps everyone aligned and saves precious time for all parties involved.
How do you navigate your collaborations with restaurants as you are traveling to multiple cities?
I plan as far in advance as I can. Time is always a luxury so I take my prep work very seriously. That way I can seamlessly travel around knowing that with the big-picture goals in order, I can focus on the fine-tuning the details once I'm on the ground.
What do you want your guests to gain/take away from your events?
The goal of these events and tours is connection, inspiration, and education. The dream is always for guests to leave a BreakfastClub activity having met someone new, feeling inspired to take on the day, and learned something about the food they ate, people they met, or art they experienced.
What are some of the setbacks or challenges you face with your work?
Executing a pure vision while being profitable is a tough feat in the creative space. Working with brands and collaborators teaches you what battles are worth fighting for and how to get an idea across that makes all parties successful. To make a profit in a creative industry being nimble is is essential. I'm often challenged with real-time problem solving at events and on tours and am constantly adapting my business' long-term goals to account for the changing demands of the market.
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 are constantly forced to shatter stereotypes on their way to success. Working with positive, inspiring women makes the journey a lot more rewarding. Being transparent with each other about what we've learned will raise a new generation of confident female-owned business.
What creative women do you find inspiring?
Eva Goicochea - Co-founder, Maude
Camilla Ruth Marcus - Owner, Westbourne
Nicole Jackson - Founder, To Taste
Erin Patinkin and Agatha Kulaga, Founders Ovenly
Mrs. Maisel from, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (fictional character but absolutely inspiring).
What have you learned from your experiences that you think can apply to any creative endeavor?
How to compromise and still stay true to my ideals and creative vision.
How do you deal with moments of self-doubt?
As soon as social media has me comparing instead of feeling inspiring I put it down for a day or two. It helps me rest and keep my thoughts and direction unfiltered and fearless of potential comparison and self-doubt.
What are you trying to learn right now or what is something that you are wanting to learn?
I'm learning how to be more wine competent with the help of Marissa Ross' book, WINE. all the time. I'm also drinking a lot of wine in the name of "research." Maybe creating some contention in my brain, I'm also learning about Chinese medicinal principals from a book called, Healing with Whole Foods.
What's something that you're excited for in BreakfastClub's future?
I worked with everybody.world on a loungewear line featuring 100% recycled cotton garments. The tee-shirts and underwear feature the BreakfastClub characters illustrated by Amit Greenberg. I'm excited to have a platform to feature artists through responsible products that live in a playful, inclusive dreamland of breakfast.
What are some of your favorite places in New York?
Atla - When you need a place for a breakfast meeting that's cool, classic, and unbelievably delicious!
Frankel's - Pastrami, egg, and cheese sandwich. It will be hard to enjoy other breakfast sandwiches after this.
Westbourne - When you want to do something nice for your body because you just ate the entire pastrami, egg, and cheese sandwich at Frankel's.
Ugly Baby - When you're sad and need to hide your tears through the guise of insanely spicy Thai food.
Superiority Burger - I wish they delivered to my apartment. It's the best burger (that happens to be veggie) that you'll ever have. Also the city's most secret, most delicious spot for sorbet and gelato.
Scarr's - The most solid slice of pizza in NYC. Don't forget the vegan caesar.