We had the good fortune of connecting with Erin Gray Morton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erin Gray, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
After my Mom was diagnosed for the second time with cancer in 2015, after a 15 year remission, I felt inspired to get back into fashion design, which had been my dream since I was very young. My Mom was a faithful warrior, an artist, and my biggest fan. Her words “do what you love and never give up” inspired me to finally not be afraid, take a risk, and build a dream and start a company I had always wanted but never pursued. It was also important to me that my company give back to cancer research and others in need. I knew I wanted to build a lifestyle brand that eventually included clothing, but I started small with a line of jewelry to help me learn the business, the processes, and make some mistakes, without putting myself in financial stress. My motto at the beginning was ‘work hard, learn, grow slowly, and get better with every step’. The hardest part was launching and putting myself and my designs out there. Fast forward seven years and I now have a luxury pima cotton t-shirt line and have grown my jewelry business nationwide.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started college as a Fashion Design major and continued on to obtain a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. all while working two jobs. During college, I spent 8 months in the U.S. Virgin Islands and one year at the University of Hawaii and I spent my summers working at the beach. At graduation, I was awarded the ‘Most Outstanding MBA Student of the Year’ in my class, which helped me land my first job in banking. I went from running a bank to marketing beer to working at an advertising agency to television marketing and sales to finally launching my own jewelry and apparel company in 2015. I believe it is important to continue to learn and grow, personally and professionally, and to recognize that you are in control of your own destiny. I grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania and feel that spending time surrounded by nature, reading, drawing, exploring, and gaining knowledge from every job and career move helped me arrive at where I am today as a founder and CEO of my own company. I would say I’ve got a good mix of grit and grace and that hard work, a positive attitude, a healthy mind and body and a good amount of focus makes all the difference in the world.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my best friend was visiting for a weekend, we would probably catch up the first night on my back deck by the fire because I know she would want to spend some time with my new puppy and see my husband and kids. Saturday morning, I would take her to rooftop yoga at Ponce City Market, grab a Starbucks at Ponce then head to breakfast at Cultivate on Howell Mill Road. Saturday afternoon, I would take her to Labels – my favorite consignment shop in Buckhead – then have lunch at Souper Jennys in the Atlanta History Center. Saturday evening, I’d take her to the Shops of Buckhead and treat her to dinner at Le Bilboquet. We would most likely eat early and be in our pajamas by 9pm :). Sunday morning I would drive her around to look at houses and areas I love off of Margaret Mitchell and look for deer. My daughter and I do this almost every weekend.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I credit my Mom, who lost her battle to cancer in 2020, to the launch of erin gray, a lifestyle brand built on family, faith, friends, comfort, fun and the commitment to giving back. Since its launch, erin gray has contributed tens of thousands of dollars to cancer research, giving over $10,000 to CURE Childhood Cancer in 2021 alone.
With the encouragement of my Mom and the support of my husband, family and friends, I was able to build a successful small business, hire great people, be a part of my children’s lives, and continue to grow at a pace that suited my lifestyle and my family’s needs.
Rob Brinson Photography