Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in fashion but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Emma Trask, Founder and Designer of The Chrysalis Lab, located in Malibu, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

The Chrysalis Lab is a unique fusion of art studio and retail space, specializing in upcycled fashion and sustainable design. Customers can have their garments transformed ( a process we refer to as Chrysalization) into new pieces of creative expression. We take discarded garments and existing pieces and breathe new life into them, turning them into something fresh and unique. This experience is not just about fashion. It's about embracing change and witnessing the beauty of reinvention. Our customers are individuals who are passionate about fashion and sustainability, environmentally aware people seeking innovative and exclusive pieces that go beyond conventional fashion trends.

Tell us about yourself

I started the process of building my sustainable fashion company because of my passion for artisanal handicrafts and vintage apparel and the creative style options they open up. I believed that these characteristics frequently disappeared from the mass-produced clothing, losing their distinctive character. I've been a fashion stylist for more than 20 years, so I had a front-row seat to the industry's destruction of originality as a result of the never-ending cycle of manufacturing.

I had always wanted to start my own brand, but I was concerned about the environmental impact that came with it. The turning point came during the reflective period of the pandemic. I realized I was able to think imaginatively and forge a route that deviated from the standards of the fashion industry. That is how I launched a brand with a single upcycling-related focus.

Each day, my motivation is fueled by this vision to make a meaningful difference. I want to encourage people to embrace a more thoughtful and sustainable approach to fashion, to cherish the craftsmanship and stories behind each item, and to think carefully about their clothing choices.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My most significant achievement as a business owner has been the revitalization of an area in Malibu through my store and the transformative community event, Taste + Makers, where I carefully select goods that have an emphasis on sustainability and ethical business practices. This benefits local artists and designers in addition to drawing a community of like-minded people.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

One of the most challenging aspects of being a business owner is staying focused on my mission. It's incredibly tempting to think that diversifying and accommodating a broad audience will lead to success, but in reality, it can lead to confusion and a loss of the unique value and message I initially set.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Embrace Your Uniqueness: One of the most important things you can do when starting a business is to embrace what sets you apart. In a world saturated with products and services, making your business unique to you is crucial.
  2. Don't follow trends: While it's tempting to chase after the latest trends, it's often more rewarding to create trends of your own. Trying to conform your offerings to a trend might result in a lack of differentiation. By adhering to your own vision, you'll stand out and develop a devoted following of customers who value what you have to offer specifically.
  3. Prioritize Sustainability: In today's world, sustainability isn't just an option—it's a responsibility. Customers are becoming more aware of their impact on the environment and are drawn to companies that share those beliefs. Making sustainability a priority of your company will not only help the environment but will also draw clients who share your dedication to ethical behavior.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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