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Morgan Hill
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September 26, 2023

Morgan Hill native grows activewear brand

Emma Vollrath designs fiber material for waistbands

As a personal trainer in Morgan Hill, Emma Vollrath has heard countless women describe their image of themselves, many struggling with their confidence.

Vollrath, a Morgan Hill native, said she has always wanted to help other women both mentally and physically, after having gone through her own mental health struggles.

“It was while listening to how women talked about themselves that I knew I could help make an impact on the way someone is feeling on the inside and out,” she said. “It was here where my idea came to fruition and I got to work.”

The result was Emma Lou, a growing activewear brand featuring a variety of tops, shorts and more that aim to make women more comfortable in their own bodies.

After pursuing a career in sports journalism, Vollrath, 21, decided to instead focus on her other interests in fashion and seasonal trends.

Becoming an entrepreneur was a natural fit.

“Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, I had always admired watching someone run a company of their own,” she said. “The entrepreneur was always in me, I just had to find it.”

Vollrath said she designs her clothing based on her customers’ wants and needs, creating a “moodboard” that includes fabric color swatches based on a theme. 

“I’m definitely an old soul, I live for the nostalgia of the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s, and I do a lot of research on trends that were happening during that era,” she said.

Vollrath said she’s received plenty of “no’s” while developing her brand, as the sweat-enhancing polyester fiber material was a difficult pitch for manufacturers. But Vollrath noted that she learned to appreciate those rejections, as it eventually led her to the right manufacturer.

“It was a fabric that people hadn’t worked with before and I was pitching to anyone who would make a sample so I could show them that what I had designed, worked,” she said.

Now wrapping up her college education at Arizona State University, Vollrath said she’s exactly where she wants to be after a “long journey.”

“From a young age I knew that fitness was always going to be a part of my life, the execution and what I was going to do with that was the part that took a few years to figure out,” she said.

For information, follow Emma Lou on Instagram @emmalouthelabel or visit

Erik Chalhoub
Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.

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