Not many people can say they’ve gone from CIA officer to founder and CEO of a beloved sleepwear brand, but in 2015, Emily Hikade did just that. She decided to leave a successful career of more than a decade in the CIA to prioritize time with her family. Emily found herself at a career crossroads following a near-death experience on a plane. She decided she couldn’t continue to be in such a high-risk career with three little boys waiting for her at home, and today she has four boys and is founder and CEO of the luxury pajama company, Petite Plume.
Petite Plume has not only been profitable since its first year, the company has also doubled its revenue every year since launch, and brought in over $10 million in revenue in 2022. Petite Plume is in over 400 stores across the US, including Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Petite Plume pajamas are coveted by the Royal Family, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anderson Cooper, Miranda Kerr, and Kourtney Kardashian, just to name a few.
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Only one year after starting the company, Emily woke up one morning to see the now viral photo of Prince George wearing Petite Plume pajamas when he met President Obama. “That was serendipity for sure,” she says “It couldn’t have come at a better time.”
After that, the brand was off to the races (on both sides of the pond) and Emily was thrust into a new era as an incredibly busy CEO. She shares how her time in the CIA gave her the skills (and patience!) she needed to handle running a company while working as a mom to four boys. She also talks about why she decided not to take funding, and why she’s so happy with that decision. “In the end, I was really lucky,” she says.
Listen in to hear all of Hikade’s thoughts on how she grew Petite Plume, what it was like to make such a major career pivot, and how to find success no matter where life takes you.
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