Creating Clothes for a Cause

Emma Bush was always running around in clothes her mom and grandma would make for her. So it wasn’t a big surprise to anyone when Emma learned how to make her own clothes and accessories from the early age of six.

“I’ve been doing that for a long time, sewing, making jewelry, and art and different things,” Emma said. “All of my interests kind of collide as far as handiwork.”

 Emma Bush, shopping for supplies.

Emma Bush, shopping for supplies.

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It didn’t occur to her until she was around fifteen that she could do something with these amazing skills. After realizing she didn’t want to be a dentist due to her disdain for spit, she started looking for other avenues that would eventually lead her to where she is now. The owner, sole creator, and designer of the clothing brand ‘Soapbox Clothing for a Cause.’

“I was doing alterations for people in high school so I had the art and everything,” she said. “I was just like, ‘okay, let’s see about making clothes’. By the time I graduated, and I went to community college, I was like we’re gonna do fashion design. That’s gonna be my major.”

During a spring fashion show in college, Emma used the name ‘Soapbox Clothing’ for the first time when she signed up to show a collection of items. She was so proud of her collection and has people remember items from it to this day.

 From a shoot for Soapbox Clothing. Two looks Emma made. (Photo by: Raina Bowers)

From a shoot for Soapbox Clothing. Two looks Emma made. (Photo by: Raina Bowers)

“It was a really good collection, it was all like these satin slip dresses and they were really pretty,” she said. “People still, every once in awhile, will be like ‘oh you made that like silver dress’. Cause I had this like six-foot tiny like supermodel girl wear it, and that was cool.”

Her clothing is now in full swing and she can hardly find time to do much of anything else. Yet while she is making clothes and building her own company, she is also using the proceeds to donate to charities and initiatives that she believes it.

“I don’t have free time because I’m doing this all the time, and I love it, which is great,” Emma said. “It’s not something that I’m just pushing to the side. It’s something I genuinely want to build.”

She donates to causes such as the Honeybee Conservancy, Fund for the Children of Flint, Michigan, PLanned Parenthood and many others. As an outspoken feminist and activist, she knows that talking about problems and having open discussions is only half the battle. To help, she makes sure she is helping causes she knows helps others.

“If you like my stuff you’re gonna be benefiting these various things I believe in,” she said. “So like, women’s rights, Black Lives Matter, the environment, all these different things that I’m gonna try and fuel, that I believe in.”

Oftentimes, Emma collaborates with other local artists for photoshoots, pop-ups and other opportunities. Even though she has had a few people try and take advantage of her along the way, it hasn’t stopped her from working with others and joining in the creative Phoenix scene.

“It’s kind of a wild thing to sit down and go, ‘oh wow, I’m so much more capable of making things and ideas and everything,’” she said. “Now I’m bringing other artists into it and it’s great and it’s all so good. Very fulfilling.”

Starting her business has not been easy. In the past, she has had people use her to get free products in exchange for little-to-nothing in return. Like many people starting a business, though, she has learned the value of her time and her products and is now able to navigate through those who really want to help out and work together from those who just want a free shirt.

“I’m placing more value on myself, which is healthy and great,” Emma said. “I’m not sending out free things because you know, I worked really hard to make this. It’s not super difficult to be nice and open to other people. So, if people want to make an effort, they will, and if they don’t, forget em.”

 Photo of Emma.

Photo of Emma.

Emma works hard to follow what she believes in and is able to do it all by following her passion. As her company grows, we are sure many people will be wearing and supporting her!

“Stand, not by your own, but by yourself on what you want to do,” says Emma.

You can follow Emma and see all of her fabulous merchandise on Twitter and Instagram.

ALSO, you can check out her website here!

Still want to know more about Emma and starting a business? Click here to listen to the full episode!

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