Join the club
We met Gemma at Soho House’s newest outpost in White City to shoot her in April’s new arrivals. At 5’5” and with serious cool-girl style, we love the looks Gemma put together using her favourite pieces. Afterwards, Gemma caught up with ME+EM founder Clare to talk about what it’s like working for the world’s most coveted members’ club.
Clare: Let’s start with what your role entails exactly?
Gemma: I look after membership for all our UK Houses, working with almost every department across the business to ensure we are curating the right environment for our members. We want each House to have its own unique personality, so we tailor everything accordingly, from the Committee members, to the events, to the design. Every day is different and can entail anything from hosting a Committee meeting, to working on launch plans for new club spaces, to organising plans for an International Women’s Day House takeover.
C: Your CV is so interesting, having started working for some of the biggest brands in fashion before changing track and joining Soho House. What have been the biggest challenges you’ve encountered?
G: I think it would be the leap out of the fashion industry after 13 years, into the hospitality sector. I felt like this job was a once in a lifetime role so I couldn’t let it pass me by. I worried about losing all of the contacts and wonderful relationships I’d built over the years, but instead of that happening, some actually grew stronger because now I can see or work with them in a different capacity.
C: And what about the biggest highlights so far?
G: I love organising events. They come with a lot of stress, but I thrive off curating something bespoke and then watching people enjoy it. Two biggies for this year have been the Piglet Party at Soho Farm House and most recently, an International Women’s Day House Takeover at White City. Both very different events, but equally rewarding. The atmosphere at the IWD19 event was truly magical. The women that took part and attended were so inspiring and I feel so lucky to be able to work with such talent.
C: Soho House is renowned for being a hub for creatives. Has that environment had an influence on what you wear for work?
G: Yes, most definitely. Our clubs have a very relaxed feel, so I embrace this. I love the fact I can wear trainers because that is my natural go-to style and because it makes life easier when I’m running between Houses each day.
C: Do you have a ‘work’ wardrobe and an ‘off-duty’ wardrobe? Or do you prefer pieces that can shift between the two?
G: They tend to intersperse, although there are definitely some pieces like my pink boiler suit, or my pyjama set that I wear at weekends that might be pushing it a bit too far! But hey, I’ve been here a year now so I might try it next week and see what response I get.
C: What’s your approach to building a wardrobe? Do you go for spontaneous emotional buys or do you like to plan what you need and look for that specifically?
G: I love suits and I don’t mean corporate suits; I mean velvet, bold striped, silk, block colour…I even wore a suit for my London wedding. It was the most perfect, Bianca Jagger-style little number and that was definitely an emotional buy. I tried on so many and I knew they weren’t right, until this one arrived the night before and I had a WAHOOO moment – this was the one I’d had been holding out for. When it comes to work attire, I try to have some good go-to staples which includes lots of white tees, blazers and an array of trainers.
C: Last but not least: what was your favourite look from the shoot?
G: The suit with the Flat-Fronted Transformer Trouser – they are great to take you from day to night. I also love the silky emerald Belted Track Pant Trouser Suit which is online at the moment. I purchased it for an event this month and it blew my mind that it’s washable – which is great for me as I tend to spill stuff A LOT!