Meet Emi: The Former Roommate

Have you ever seen the movie, “The Devil Wears Prada”? Emi Kamiya could have written the script. Her first job out of college was working in a fashion closet at a major fashion magazine. “That was my life,” says Emi, of the movie’s main character played by Anne Hathaway. “All of the things she does, like running around the city getting clothes, booking flights last minute.” Emi recalls sarcastically, “That was fuuuuunn.”

It was around that time that she and a mutual friend started sharing an apartment with Otteroo founder, Tiffany Chiu. Emi remembers the small apartment they shared in their 20s and how her single bed took up the entire room. “I didn’t care; you don’t care when you’re that age.”

After collecting as many designer freebies as she could, Emi left the fashion industry to work in public relations, brand development, and marketing communications.

When her former roommate Tiffany was ready to launch Otteroo, she recalled Emi’s creative talents and asked her for help in conceptualizing the company.

“I am Tiffany’s right-hand woman. Not in terms of getting things done, but in strategizing and helping her grow and define the company, as it evolves,” says Emi.

Emi was the first person Tiffany hired. “We have a co-founder mentality, although she’s the founder and backed it all up and does all the hard work, but I think we both care about Otteroo deeply and its long-term success,” says Emi. “We cover a lot of topics: positioning, branding, PR, marketing, sales, customer relations…. We usually talk about it and come up with a concept together.”

Emi’s straight-forward advice is sometimes exactly what Tiffany needs to hear. “We often argue with each other but are very good at working together. I think we truly have a team spirit,” says Emi.

Years ago, Emi and Tiffany would talk about what they see Otteroo becoming, and is proud to say she thinks they’re well on their way. “I do want it to become something that’s not just fun, and great for the baby, but to actually really help kids. Initially, we wanted to help kids get over the fear of water. But, as the stories (of kids with developmental delays whose lives were improved) came in, we started to think it would be amazing if we could firmly state certain things that the Otteroo’s use will be able to help with, in a scientifically-backed way, and to have that education and knowledge spread. It would be awesome if Otteroo can be more of a common thing that parents accept as, in general, helping with the baby’s happiness, physical development, and awareness.”

Julie Forbes

Julie Forbes

Julie Kroenig Forbes graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. She spent the next 10 years working as a news anchor and reporter in various cities, most recently in Nashville, Tennessee. She now lives in Northern California with her husband and four kids.
Julie Forbes

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