My name is Emily Salsbury-Deveaux and I started EMMYDEVEAUX in January 2018. I had the vision to develop a whole new version of clothing and shopping. I've always been in love with clothing and how it makes me feel about myself. I have had an incredible journey with retail, fashion, and clothing that makes me feel that I have been practicing my whole life for the big game....EMMYDEVEAUX.
2019 is a big year for me, it is also my 20th year owning my own consulting practice in retail & real estate. I started at the tender age of 16 and found myself first working with independent retailers, then shopping centres, then multi-national retailers.
In 2005, my first big break came along with Southgate Centre. I was fortunate to be involved in so many projects, fashion shows, technology, PR, and of course personal styling where I dressed over 800 women. Incredible team & thank you to everyone there for believing in me.
In 2010, my dad passed, the greatest loss of my life. My absolute hero. The bond we had over business was and will always be unparalleled. He told me to leave my contract at Southgate as a personal stylist. So. I did. He told me I would never get to the next level of my career if I didn't. I was only staying there because clients loved me but I didn't like doing it. So my consulting business suffered.
I was blown away at how much women hated themselves. I was a very confident 20 something who weighed over 300 pounds and couldn't understand why I was so confident and they would stand there and just tear themselves apart. I started to wonder why I was the way I was....I couldn't tolerate their attitudes in a world full of so many problems.
The personal shopping program did give me an incredible understanding of fit and fabric. I have dressed hundreds of women of all body types.
In 2011, I took on my greatest challenge yet. I went undercover to expose a franchisor that was defrauding her franchisees. This was the scariest most intense project I had ever taken on. I put my entire reputation on the line for this. I was able to get the media to expose her and she eventually fled the country.
Here, my passion for the pet business flourished and I absolutely am grateful to everyone involved for trusting me that I could get them out of it.
In 2013, my life was forever changed yet again.
I was taking a bit of a break, reading some books about retail. I had ordered a book called The Retail Value Proposition. It was a very quick and thorough read on retail and I was very impressed. I checked out the author and realized he was from Edmonton AND he was the Director of the School of Retailing. Imagine my surprise to discover a School of Retailing in my own damn city that I had never heard of!
I tweeted the author Dr. Kyle Murray and asked if we could go for lunch. I was such a fangirl. I will never forget that feeling. We agreed to meet when he came back from Australia. My entire goal was to get my book signed and pick his brain. I had never gone to University so being in the vicinity was very intimidating for me. I didn't feel I belonged.
We met on campus for lunch....I told him my story with no agenda and we had a great time. We left agreeing to do it again in a few months.
I'm not sure Kyle will ever truly understand the impact he had on my life. I always tell him but I still don't think he gets it.
He called me a couple of weeks later and asked me if I could come in and do some consulting work for the School of Retailing. I quite literally cried like a baby after the phone call. I had no idea what the opportunity would be but I put everything else on hold to take this one project.
I became the Executive Director at the age of 30 with no formal education. I did not take this opportunity lightly. I worked the hardest I have ever worked in my life. I know that I left a lasting impression on everyone I worked with. I also learned an incredible amount about myself because of the incredible leadership of Kyle. He let me make mistakes....and boy did I make some.
He let me a bit the shit disturber I always wanted to be in the ultimate bureaucratic establishment. He always went to bat for me and defended me. We put that centre on the map nationally. We worked with H&M, Sephora, London Drugs, Artzia, Staples, Sportchek, Indigo, Lululemon, LUSH, Safeway, Freson Bros, and more.
I knew that I wanted to give the School of Retailing 5 years of my time. I also knew that I wanted to have a clothing brand by the age of 35.
In November 2017, I gave the University 8 months notice that I would be leaving after the end of my contract in June.
So until June of 2018, I was running both EMMYDEVEAUX and School of Retailing.
My first Pop-Up launched at West Edmonton Mall the same time we had our Thought Leadership Conference at West Edmonton Mall with the CEO of Indochino. It was a pretty cool experience.
Do you want to know what the coolest thing about the past 5 years?
Rebecca. She was a Bachelor of Commerce student who has been alongside me for the past 4 years.
She started as a Junior Consultant in her 2nd year at the student consulting company I created SOR|CG. Then she was promoted to a Senior Consultant in her 3rd year and then a Managing Director in her 4th year. Then after she graduated we hired her as Marketing Director of School of Retailing.
In 2018, they wouldn't renew her contract because they knew I was leaving. I asked her to come work with me and she agreed for one year. In 2019, I made her my business partner.
Together, the two of us are able to accomplish as much as 12 people. We are extremely productive in our designated roles.
Emily - Vision, Design, Marketing
Rebecca - Operations, Financial
We love the actual work. That is the most important part of what we are doing.
When I look back on the experience I have gained through all of these projects I am incredibly grateful for every opportunity I have been given so thank you to anyone who is listening or reading.