In this On Purpose episode, Jay Shetty introduces Emma Grede. She is the CEO and co-founder of Good American, a pioneering inclusive fashion brand co-launched with Khloe Kardashian in 2016. Moreover, she is a founding partner and Chief Product Officer of Skims, a brand specializing in underwear, loungewear, and shapewear. 

Grede is involved in the premium homecare brand Safely, focusing on plant-based cleaning products. Forbes recognizes her as one of America's wealthiest self-made women. She chairs The Fifteen Percent Pledge and serves on the boards of Baby2Baby.. 

East-London Upbringing

As the CEO and co-founder of Good American, Grede shares with Jay Shetty the story of her formative years growing up in East London, an area known for its lack of ambition and glamour. Despite these challenging surroundings, Grede had big dreams and a yearning for something greater.

The entrepreneur credits her mother as a significant influence in shaping her values and drive: she told her, "No one is superior to you, and you are no better than anyone else." This philosophy instilled in Grede a profound sense of self-confidence and a strong work ethic that has propelled her toward success.

Grede believes that her determined self-confidence and understanding that hard work can lead to achievement have been crucial to her success. Throughout her journey, she has remained grounded in her respect for others. In her eyes, everyone, deep down, faces similar struggles and self-doubts.

Grede's early exposure to fashion magazines served as escapism from her surroundings. During this period, in England's late '80s and early '90s, she found inspiration in the dynamic cultural movements of the time, such as Brit-pop, Brit art, and the emergence of iconic supermodels like Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss. They fueled her dreams and aspirations, even though she didn't initially consider fashion a potential career.

Humble Beginning

People often have the misconception that success happens overnight. Yet Grede shares with Jay Shetty her lifelong journey of hard work. She had diverse work experiences, including a paper route at 12, working in a delicatessen and retail, and serving in restaurants, often at entry-level positions with minimal pay.

Regardless of her role, Grede approached it enthusiastically and committed to excellence. She paid attention to details even in seemingly mundane tasks like making sandwiches, showcasing her dedication to delivering the best possible results. She sees each job as an opportunity for personal growth and learning.

However, you don't have to love a job to gain valuable insights. Grede explains to Jay Shetty that she used her experiences, both positive and negative, to shape her leadership style as a boss over the past 15 years. She learned how she wanted to avoid treating employees by taking note of behaviors exhibited by previous bosses. 

The Driver to Change

Amongst other jobs, Grede's curriculum includes fashion, show production, and sponsorship roles. She opens up to Jay Shetty about her challenging role in show production, where she often found herself building stages and working on concepts that had a fleeting impact during the event. 

Transitioning into sponsorship, Grede faced the daunting task of cold calling and handling rejection. Despite the difficulties, she recognized the importance of sales and storytelling skills in entrepreneurship and brand success. Although miserable at times, Grede acknowledges that these experiences were crucial in shaping her abilities and resilience.

Jay Shetty shares his personal ventures, including a similar role in selling stands at the business design center, which involved making hundreds of cold calls. These experiences helped him overcome shyness and insecurities, ultimately leading to personal growth.

Furthermore, Grede explains how fear has been a driving force in her career, pushing her to seek new challenges and opportunities for growth. Feeling scared is a sign of progress and a catalyst for personal evolution. She also shared with Jay Shetty her feeling of inferiority due to her lack of formal education. Still, she embraces her unique background as a source of strength and authenticity. 

The Rule of Thirds

While people in London's class-conscious society may have made assumptions based on her background and accent, Grede's internal voice had a more decisive influence on her feeling of inferiority. She shares with Jay Shetty her belief in the "rule of thirds," a concept she constantly considers. 

When pursuing something challenging or a dream, you feel happy about a third of the time, okay about a third, and pretty low about a third. Grede emphasizes that if these ratios are imbalanced, you might need to push yourself harder or reassess your approach.

As a mother of four and a business leader, Grede also stresses the importance of allowing her children and employees to experience challenges and difficulties, as these are the moments when the most significant growth occurs. She believes in embracing the full spectrum of emotions and experiences in life, including the good, okay, and bad, as they all contribute to personal and professional development.

Supportive Companionship

Grede shares with Jay Shetty that she has always been in relationships and values love. She settled down in her mid-20s and doesn't feel like she missed out on anything due to her early start in life. She describes herself as someone who chases love and enjoys the feeling it brings. As she has grown older, she has realized that love involves more than just the initial rush; it's about being loved in return.

Grede discussed her relationship. She and her husband of 15 years initially traveled the world and enjoyed a party lifestyle. Then, they transitioned into a phase of having children, which posed challenges to their relationship. Grede has a unique partnership where her husband supports her ambitious pursuits outside their family structure. This support has deepened her love for him as they have grown together while pursuing their dreams.

From Dreamer Girl to Motherhood

Jay Shetty and Emma Grede discuss the challenges working mothers face and the societal pressure that often compels women to seek a perfect balance between their careers and family life. Grede proposes that women consider adjusting their expectations rather than striving for an elusive equilibrium and concentrate on providing their children with high-quality moments and experiences. She emphasizes that children should witness their mothers pursuing their dreams and aspirations.

People are often too consumed by their concerns to assess or scrutinize others critically. Many of the worries and insecurities women face as mothers are fueled by ego rather than grounded in reality. 

Also, Jay Shetty shares his childhood experiences, having grown up with a working mother who managed her time ably. He believes children can feel loved and cherished without constant parental attention. 

Balancing Family and Work

Grede acknowledges to Jay Shetty that love plays a central role in strengthening the bond between her and her family. Love involves selflessness and being willing to prioritize one another's needs in the moment, even if it contradicts prior discussions or personal interests.

Furthermore, creating shared experiences and projects is crucial in a relationship. Whether they involve business ventures, home improvements, or other activities, joint projects provide a sense of purpose and strengthen the connection. For this reason, many couples face challenges when their children leave home and no longer have shared projects to engage in.

Jay Shetty underlines the value of continuously creating stories and memories together in a relationship, as this keeps the connection alive and prevents dwelling excessively on memories. Engaging in activities or projects together is essential rather than leading separate lives and discussing daily routines. 

A Multifaceted Woman

Grede tells Jay Shetty that she doesn't dwell on her past or beat herself up. Instead, she views her life as a continuous journey of self-improvement, striving to be the best version of herself as a mother, wife, and boss.

The entrepreneur fondly recalls the birth of her first child and its profound impact on her life. At that moment, she realized that her child was the reason for all her hard work and endeavors, providing her with a clear sense of purpose.

Being a dedicated mother and pursuing personal ambitions can coexist. Grede challenges the notion that women are often pressured to fit into narrow stereotypes and beliefs. Yet women can be multi-dimensional, embracing various life roles and facets. Grede believes in challenging the double standards and stereotypes that persist in society. 

Be Selfish for Longer

Jay Shetty and Emma Grede highlight the disparities between men and women regarding self-confidence and job application. Research suggests that women tend to doubt themselves and may not apply for a job if they don't meet all the criteria.1 At the same time, men are more likely to take the chance even if they lack some qualifications.

In her work, Grede notices that men are likelier to ask for pay raises or confidently mention their skills. At the same time, women often downplay their abilities and may not advocate for themselves.

Jay Shetty and Emma Grede also discuss the concept of being "selfish" and why women must prioritize themselves and their ambitions. She believes that women should embrace moments when they can be selfish for longer, which can be crucial for personal and professional growth.

Also, Jay Shetty acknowledges the challenges of being the leader or boss he didn't have and creating a supportive work environment in which employees feel valued and recognized for their potential. Grede acknowledges that not everyone will share her level of passion and drive for the company's mission. She understands that some employees may view their jobs as just a means to a paycheck, and she tries to separate her ambitions from others' needs and expectations.

Unafraid of Failure

Emma Grede's leap into entrepreneurship was born out of frustration with her previous job and feeling undervalued in compensation. Her own company was motivated by a strong desire for change and a realization that no one would hand her a company without experience. While she didn't have a grand vision initially, her frustration catalyzed taking the first step.

Grede sees the importance of being fearless in failing. She wasn't in a financially stable or prestigious position when she started her entrepreneurial journey. However, taking a chance on yourself is crucial, and even if it doesn't work out, there's often a way to pivot or return to a more conventional career path.

The entrepreneur also emphasizes the power of self-awareness and honesty about what feels right and what doesn't. To her, the realization that she would regret not taking a chance on her dreams in the future outweighed the fear of failure.

Training the Mind from a Young Age

Grede strongly believes in individuals' inherent goodness and desire to celebrate others' achievements. People often dwell more on their failures and fears than they do on those of others.

Grede acknowledges to Jay Shetty the existence of internal voices, such as the ego, but firmly asserts that they do not define her true identity. These voices are tools at her disposal, acknowledging that they can work in her favor or against her, depending on the situation.

The entrepreneur attributes her skill in distinguishing these inner voices and fostering self-awareness to influences from her upbringing and exposure to positive messages from figures like Oprah Winfrey. She also credits her avid reading habit, citing books like The Power of Now and Conversations with God as instrumental in shaping her understanding and personal growth.

Business Approach

Emma Grede shares with Jay Shetty that her approach centers around inclusivity and diversity, focusing on serving the most people possible. Her company, Good American, emerged as a response to the fashion industry's exclusion of women of color and plus-size individuals. She aimed to create products catering to a broader range of consumers, emphasizing the significance of inclusivity from the inception of product development.

Oprah Winfrey's messages of gratitude and extensive reading is one of the many influences on Grede. Many companies fail to understand the significance of diverse perspectives in the decision-making room, leading to flawed decisions and insensitive product offerings.

Grede also appreciates the value of perseverance, noting that she doesn't doubt herself or her ideas when met with resistance. She maintains a positive attitude, considering such encounters as opportunities to find the right people who align with her vision. She sees the challenges as part of the journey and doesn't let them affect her self-confidence.

Continuous Growth

Grede reveals to Jay Shetty that her motivation comes from daily challenges and a relentless desire to win. Competition and the drive to excel in her field significantly fuel her passion.

Her focus on constant improvement and her curiosity keep her engaged. To Grede, winning is not about short-term success but building generational and generationally defining businesses, which requires a long-term commitment. It also means doing things that excite her and enjoying what she does. Her definition of success involves continuous growth without compromising the principles on which her companies were founded.

Grede finds satisfaction in launching exciting products and witnessing their impact on customers. She also values the opportunity to give people opportunities through hiring and collaboration. 


Grede opens up to Jay Shetty about the daily challenges and stress of building and running a business. Her life is filled with constant problems and stresses, even though it might not appear that way externally. Her stress management strategies include waking up early, exercising, meditating, and practicing gratitude. 

Moreover, Grede stresses to Jay Shetty the importance of focusing on positive aspects amid the chaos and appreciating the small joys in life, like a cup of tea. These rituals help her maintain her mental and emotional well-being and cope with the expectations and scrutiny of running high-profile businesses. She reflects on her humble beginnings in East London and expresses gratitude for her journey and current position in life.

From Little to Success

Reflecting on her journey, Emma Grede shares with Jay Shetty that her younger self, "little Grede," would offer encouragement and admiration for her achievements. She emphasizes her deep sense of responsibility, particularly towards marginalized groups like young black and minority women and those from challenging backgrounds. 

Grede is committed to providing opportunities for individuals with the determination to succeed, aiming to help them contribute positively to society. As the 15% Pledge chairwoman, she strives to make a lasting impact. Grede finds fulfillment in small moments, like offering advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, and aims to support others more systematically in pursuing positive change.

Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “Dave Asprey ON Simple Steps to Reduce Your Biological Age by 12% & Ways to manage Your Emotional Stress to Change Your Life” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at

More From Jay Shetty

Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “Emma Grede ON The Formula to Building a Billion Dollar Empire & How Identifying Your Fears Will Help You Achieve Your Dreams” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at

1Mohr, Tara Sophia. “Why Women Don’t Apply for Jobs Unless They’re 100% Qualified.” Web log. Harvard Business Review (blog), August 25, 2014.
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