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Founder Esma Ilyas On What Led Her to Found CryBaby


Getting any company up and running is hard, but founding a company and making it a success is even harder. It takes passion, innovation, and a work ethic that is off the radar. If you were to ask the founder of clothing brand, CryBaby, Esma Ilyas, what has made her brand such a runaway success since its inception in 2018, the 23-year-old will tell you simply, “It’s all about having a vision and being prepared to make that vision a reality.”

For those who don’t know, CryBaby is a clothing brand that likes to do things a little differently. Their ethos and approach have been like a breath of fresh air in the fashion industry and have caught the attention of household names such as Ariana Grande who have been more than happy to voluntarily represent the brand with such a strange but memorable name.

Esma Ilyas explained, “CryBaby is an unusual name but we’re an unusual company. The philosophy behind the name is all about letting people know that it’s ok to be emotional, it’s ok to wear your heart on your sleeve, and it’s ok to cry. In fact. It’s more than ok, it’s brave and it’s beautiful, and we want to shout it from the rooftops, that we’re human beings, that we’re vulnerable, that we also get upset about things in this world, but at the same time that we’re pretty damned special because we have feelings and we care.”

Special is definitely a word you could use to describe Esma Ilyas. As an 18-year-old she co-founded Ivory Ella which went on to raise two million dollars for charity. Yet it’s CryBaby that she regards as her true, pardon the pun, baby.

“CryBaby takes a lot of its influence from 1990’s fashion which I absolutely adore,” explained Esma Ilyas. “Yet we’re pretty open to being influenced by anything as long as it’s inspiring. I think people relate to CryBaby because we’re authentic. We create real clothes for real people. People understand our message and the CryBaby community is growing. We believe in motivation, understanding, empathy and being in touch with your emotions. It’s this which has touched a nerve with our audience and why I believe CryBaby has been such a success story.”

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