roleModel of the Week: Sharleen Ernster
Sharleen Ernster: Mother, Daughter,Lover, CEO, Creator, Founder, & Designer of HAH, Hot-As-Hell, and so much more...
You are such a beautiful & inspiring woman; tell us about your journey to becoming the Creator & Founder of HAH?
Thank you so much Lauren back at you!
It’s been quite a journey….I have wanted to launch my own Lingerie Brand since I was about 10 years old. I have always been passionate about fashion and in particular Lingerie & Swimwear which are a women’s most intimate purchases - celebrating her unique body. I studied Fashion Design & Merchandising at FIT in NYC and have worked for major brands most notably Victoria’s Secret for over 13 years and Guess?
Over decades creating sexy product I was always frustrated by the void of natural product that is still sexy. Styles without push up and padding and embellishment that are comfortable to live your life in.
After the birth of my 2 daughters I became passionate about reducing waste, creating comfortable but SEXY Lingerie and Swimwear and to utilize innovative techniques in production that reduce our footprint on the planet – that’s Hot-As-Hell!
Thus HAH….the 1st brand that celebrates sexy intimate apparel and swim that is good to the consumer, comfortable and thoughtful to the planet. I was inspired by my daughters, I wanted to set an example that they too can create something from nothing and I felt a great responsibility to them to take better care of the planet in the process – to mobilize the industry to care about the environment and the people that make products as well as their communities. Finally, I wanted my daughters to feel comfortable with their bodies and hopefully to begin to show beauty that isn’t always contorted to look like a certain body. I don’t judge this at all but I felt like HAH could set an example that you can celebrate your own special curves just as they are.
Hometown: Born and raised in Cuero Texas. Spent YEARS in NYC and now a native of Los Angeles CA
HAH is described as more than a brand but a lifestyle and a movement. Besides making women feel beautiful and HAHT, what is the HAH mission or mantra?
Our mantra is to make intimate pieces that endure time and trend…to reduce the amount of waste in the fashion industry (the 2nd most wasteful industry in the world) with communities that we empower not only the women that wear HAH but also those that make HAH to reduce our impact on the planet. Beauty built to last, easy on you and the planet….naturally sexy that celebrates your natural curves.
How do you balance being a businesswoman and a Mom?
You know that’s the million dollar question….the only answer for me is that I LOVE what I do and I love my family the balance comes because I am shifting through things I love and enjoy. I will say its been so much easier to balance at HAH rather than my years at corporate because we have an open atmosphere and I don’t fear losing my job if Im not showing up 24/7. Its another passion I have as we build HAH as a global brand, I want to create an atmosphere where women trust each other, where you can take maternity leave and not fear for your job. Where you can go to school events…only women can do this for women and I feel a responsibility to create a brand for women inside and out.
What motivates you?
Positively affecting lives. I feel like life is moving so fast I desperately want to leave a legHAHcy of creating and building a business that makes peoples lives better….I want to create a brand that creates beauty inside and out and that positively affects the lives of the people and the families that are part of it.
Who are your role models and women who inspire you?
My mother, my grandmothers….fearless women. My girlfriends – they know who they are they are sisters and they complete me
Do you have any upcoming projects you are working on that you would like to share with us?
Its not very sexy but we are working really hard on all of the packaging of HAH, trying to get everything we have to put HAH into for shipping and selling as GREEN as we can. Its been a very intense process and we just go 1 thing at a time…#startsomewhere. Its difficult because you want the experience to be beautiful but without the massive waste….
Running a business and being a Mom we know everyday is different. Describe your favorite day?
Wake up 5:30am
5:30-7am emails, news, tweets, IG & at least 15 min with my partner Charlie over coffee
7-8am wake up the girls, feed, get the kids lunches packed – general mayhem and drop them off at school
**favorite days – Pilates class right after I drop the girls off at school**
10:30am-6pm working with my team all day….we have remote options for working and flexible hours but my favorite days are when the whole team is together – the energy is awesome & that energy that feeds my soul & my creativity when we have those days its literally a blast.
7pm dinner with kids….im lucky, Charlie my partner is quite the cook and he gets dinner on the table….i get to hear the girls stories from their day @ school
8pm – we all take turn reading stories for bedtime…
9-11pm – I go back to my desk to work almost every night…the best nights are when I just tuck in for a movie with my sweetheart though we don’t get a lot of those right now!
What is a beauty product that you can’t live without?
TRUTH – my perfume. I cannot live without my scent. Currently Le Labo. I have decades of my life around certain scents it’s the one thing on my bucket list I haven’t made yet – my own perfume…there is still time!
As a businesswoman, Mom, and Mentor what advice to you have for young women just starting out in the fashion industry or on a new endeavor?
First and foremost do not do anything with your life that you do not love or have a passion or calling towards. Life is too short and its full of hurdles….love your work and it will love you back
And if fashion is your passion - its not an easy industry…its amazing how much work it is how much detail how much devotion goes into the fashion industry!
Thank you Lauren, I am so happy our paths crossed last year and look forward to watching you and your family over time….
#HAH #HOTASHELL #Sexywithasoul #consciouscapitalism #sustainable #sustainableswimwear #wearehah #miamiswimweek #sharleenernster #sustainablefashion #planetfirst #startsomewhere #swimwear #sexy #bikini