The journey of having it all.
Meet Emily Gair fashion designer from M Clothing Boutique. A former burlesque performer who has been designing costumes for over a decade, she decided to take the leap of faith and start her own online fashion boutique. Having designed custom pieces, including dressing an artist nominated for a Juno Award. Her artwork never stops, and her inspiration comes from everywhere. Being a mother to a fifteen year old daughter she hopes to install the inspiration to all women that you can achieve it all if you believe in yourself.
Tell me about the launch of M Boutique.
We’re live now! What happened was that I was doing events for a long time. I had been designing costumes for about ten years for performers and burlesque and different things like that. I actually designed a costume for a girl who was nominated for a JUNO Award. I made her outfit, but then it was cancelled because of Coronavirus three days before. She was going to launch my company on stage, she was going to say, “Oh yeah, Emily Gair, she did my outfit…” if she won the award. Needless to say, she did win a Juno Award and they sent it to her a few months later. It was bittersweet. When we have drive and confidence, we’ll get to where we want to go, you know what I mean.
Take me back, so for 10 years. You were always doing costume design. Is that your thing? Is that what you graduated with? What was the background that got you there?
Eleven years ago, I was living in Ontario, in Sault Ste. Marie, Northern Ontario. I believe in the law of attraction. I believe in the secret and all of that stuff, so I sat down one day after I had my daughter and I was like, “what do I want to do?” I’m like, “I want to dance, I want to build performances, and I want to own my own business.” I went to school for business. I trained in theatre, trained in dance, trained in acting, and was a public speaker. I was a public speaking for seven years on having cancer.
What type of cancer was it?
I had Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Stage 4. They gave me three weeks to live when I was 19. And then, they told me I couldn’t have children, and I got pregnant with my daughter right after I finished chemo. She’s my angel. I call her my angel all the time because she was my blessing. I took all that experience and I was like, “do I want to live in Toronto or do I want to live in Montreal?” I wanted to live in Montreal because that’s where all of the arts are. I literally pounded the pavement. I went to events, I did things for free. I went to every gala I could. I built my network, and after a year or two, I started charging. I went to a burlesque show, I was volunteering there, and I was like “oh my god, this is it.” You can do dance, theatre, circus, opera and so much more. A true burlesque show at the Montreal Burlesque Festival, you can do anything. Anything goes. I did that for 5 years.
Were you behind the scenes or were you performing?
I was performing. I was in Just For Laughs. I had clients like the United Nations, AirCanada, AirMiles. I was doing big stuff.
Was it with a team or was it a solo performance?
Everything that I did came from a life experience if it was overcoming cancer, abuse, having my child. Whatever it was, I wanted to inspire women to feel confident and beautiful and to share their story. I also really wanted to bring out that women can be sexy and can be beautiful, and they can still have a story. We can heal each other through sharing our stories.
Is that what you felt you were doing in your shows, you were inspiring people and putting them into other worlds, but that you were also healing through your production?
I wanted to stress the point that I wanted to inspire women to feel beautiful and not to be afraid to share their story. Don’t be afraid if you were sexually abused. Don’t be afraid to talk. For me, burlesque was therapy. I let out my emotions that way. I then started a burlesque school. I had 200 students and it was only for women. It was women who were at home with their husbands, and I wanted them to feel beautiful and sexy again. I did that for two years, during my performance.
So you did teaching at the academy, is that what sparked the costume designing?
I was designing costumes throughout the whole time. Every costume that you saw me in on stage, I designed. I took a course through a school in Dublin, it was image consulting, so I had that background. Image consulting is how to build a costume or an outfit or clothes that fit different body types. I already knew what fit my body perfectly and what would look good. What parts I should cover, what parts I should expose. I already had the training. I went to university for business as well, so I had a business background also. I wanted to know how to run a business at the same time, I didn’t want to be faking it. I wanted to make sure my employees were doing the right thing, I wanted to oversee if they were doing the right job. I wanted to make sure that everything was going smoothly, I didn’t want to be ignorant. I wanted to really know what was going on. After I was performing, my daughter got Instagram. I got nervous because I didn’t want Kid’s parents to judge her. I slowly stopped performing for my daughter, because I didn’t want parents to be like, “Oh, your moms a slut,” or whatever. None of them judged her. They were like, “Wow, your mom does burlesque, that’s so cool.” when I was running the dance school, I started getting a lot of questions because Burlesque is a very niche market. I started getting a lot “Do you have circus performers? Do you have dancers?” Then, I started developing shows for events. I started doing high-end corporate events and doing the entertainment for them, for example. I did a lot of the entire events, and it was also more lucrative. You’ve got to think of the kid too.
I believe that whatever you can see in your mind, you can create. Sometimes it took me time, but I always found what I needed. After that, I was getting pretty tired, and I loved to be more at home with my daughter so I started a clothing line because I know clothes and I have that eye [for design]. I built that outfit for the Juno artist, and then COVID hit. Right away, I built my website. I didn’t even flinch, I was like, “let’s do it now.” So I put out my website and I just started from there. Now, I sell a lot online. I’m definitely going to do a media blast, I have that in the works. A lot of Facebook works, too. I sold so much on Facebook, it’s not even funny.
When you say Facebook, do you mean Facebook marketplace?
Marketplace, buy and sell Montreal. I have sold to Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Alberta, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Taiwan.
How do you create balance in your life from being so driven and having so many concepts and ideas that you are putting to life?
I have a very small social life. I always put my daughter as number 1, and then my work as number 2. I spent so many years focusing on my career. Once in a while I would go out. I wanted to teach my daughter that you can do anything you want in life as long as you put your mind to it, and it was a passion for me. I love it. It didn’t feel like work.
What advice would you give yourself in your early 20s before you had a business, looking back now?
I’m going to explain something to you. I had a drug addiction. I broke my back in a car accident at 17. I couldn’t walk for 6 months. Two years later when I was 19, I had cancer. Right after cancer, I had my daughter. For me, I think my drive came from feeling like life kept pushing and holding me back and then as soon as I could go, I just flew. It was really a circumstance of “I want to do this but I can’t because I have cancer, or have to be a mother.” The moment I could move, I just flew. I think when you come that close to death, you just want to do everything that you’ve ever wanted to do. You want to do what you love, you want to follow your passion, you don’t want to waste any time.
What are other things that are in your future goals and that you want to do next?
I really want to make my company worldwide. I really want to hit the fashion shows, I really want to go see what other clothes are out there. I really want to become a designer. I want to go worldwide with the whole thing. Another thing I’m involved in is I buy real estate. Just to top it off. I do own a property and every year I buy a new property. That’s my retirement plan. I bought my first place in September, and my plan is every September I’m buying a new house, building, plex or whichever investment property I choose.
Is there anything you would tell women, like advice that would help them level-up?
My advice for women is to go do what you want to do, because you never know when your time is up. I also want to tell women not to be afraid of what people think, because if you do the right thing or the wrong thing, people are going to judge you. I also want them to save their money, invest in a property, and remortgage that property and buy a new place. You don’t have to keep saving. You save once, you buy a property, and you remortgage it. That’s your retirement plan.
Maya Melata (Performance name) dressed in her own custom made outfit
When did you learn all of this?
My father did, a while ago. I have great parents. My dad told me, “You buy a place and you remortgage and you buy another place.” You only have to save once.
What inspires you?
My daughter. I want my daughter to know she can do anything she wants. At this point in her life, she wants to be a doctor. I have to work my ass off to pay for her school. My daughter is my angel, she is my life. I don’t know what I would do without her. I think God gave her to me to make my life a little bit easier.
When people look up M Boutique, what do you want the brand to define?
I want them to feel their own beautiful, to find the beautiful within. I would say, find your beauty within and let it shine.
For more information and to shop M Boutique visit : Mclothingboutique.com
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