Right before I went to interview Eileen Fisher, a colleague of mine asked me if Eileen was like Meryl Streep’s character in the Devil Wears Prada, given that she runs a behemoth fashion empire. I actually found myself laughing out loud, and not because my colleague was accurate, but it was because Eileen Fisher couldn’t be more opposite. She is thoughtful, quiet, kind, and I would even go so far as to say a little bit shy (something that she has said herself). She’s definitely not the archetype of someone who has founded and built a half billion dollar fashion company, and that’s also what makes Eileen so special. She does things differently, and she does them guided by her own intuition, not what others think she should do. This intuition has been the driving force behind the brand’s aspirations to be one of the most sustainable clothing lines in the world, to build an ESOP structure that has sold 40% of the company back to the employees, and do things like pioneer a collaborative leadership structure in the workplace — she still doesn’t call herself the CEO. Over three years ago, Eileen was on the cover of Conscious Company Magazine for our third issue. I got the chance to sit down with her again to hear about her founding story of how she built the company, her philosophy on leadership, and how she stays true to her inner voice that has guided the brand for over 30 years.
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