5 Minutes With Audrey McLoghlin, CEO & Founder of Frank & Eileen and Grayson

“Thoroughly convinced that we are going to change the world, one woman-led business at a time.” — Audrey McLoghlin

What do Ireland, Italy, Mexico, and Los Angeles all have in common? An innovative entrepreneur who has designed the perfect button-up for women, coveted by the likes of Meghan Markle, Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres.

In 2009, former engineer Audrey McLoghlin founded luxury clothing brand Frank & Eileen—a name that nods to her Irish familial roots. Today, the company is a cult favorite global brand for elevated basics.

While growing Frank & Eileen, McLoghlin began to conceive of a shirt made specifically for women that met her sky-high standards for fit and style, and could be sold at an accessible price point. Relentless in her research, she discovered an Italian family in Mexico that had cracked the code on vertical production for men’s shirting. In 2018, she partnered with them to do the same for women’s styles.

After a full year working with pattern makers and 30 different fit models of all ages, shapes and sizes, LA-based Grayson was born—a clothing brand named after McLoghlin’s fearless three-year-old daughter. The shirts are nothing short of perfection and suited to fit a variety of women.

We sat down with Audrey to learn more about what drives this fearless entrepreneur.

In one sentence, what does your company do?
We make one ridiculously perfect button-up shirt designed to make women feel like the superheroes they are, every day.

What’s your secret weapon?
Boundless grit.

When you need inspiration, where do you go/what do you do?
For ten years, I kept my head down and focused on building my business. But this year, as we head into a new decade, I made it my resolution to take the time to connect with other female founders at various stages of growing their business. It’s hard to describe how inspiring it is; I leave every coffee date or lunch meeting brimming with ideas and thoroughly convinced that we are going to change the world, one woman-led business at a time.

Something that you always have within arms reach:
My phone 🙈

What scares you the most?
Time. I want the years to stop going by so fast.

Currently reading/watching/listening to:
Becoming Superwoman by my friend Nicole Lapin. I have so many pages dog-eared and underlined. I can’t wait to talk to her about it.

Describe what you were like in high school in 6 words or less.
My nickname was “anti-social.” True story.

Most used app on your phone?
Apple Notes. I have 5,402 notes on my phone and can find anything I’ve ever jotted down since 2012 in five seconds.

If you had to break up with email or text, which would you dump and why?
I took the plunge and broke up with email this year. I stopped even trying to pretend I can keep up, and it’s so freeing. It also forces me and my team to communicate more effectively.

What’s the title of your autobiography?
“Tales of a Cockroach”

A long time ago my accountant said to me, “Audrey, nothing but nuclear devastation can kill you. You are a cockroach.” It’s still the best compliment I’ve ever received.

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
That would be such a dream! I would be able to read so much more. Knowledge is power, and there is never enough time to read everything on my list.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to other women looking to start their own business in your space?
Listen to your gut. And fight hard to build what you want.

What color resonates with you the most?
Green has been my favorite color since I was a little girl, especially British Racing Green. Anyone who’s around me every day would think it’s gray (my house is gray, our magical Irish country house corporate office is gray, my daughter’s name is Grayson). But in my heart, nothing beats a show-stopping green.

What is your most persistent internal dialogue and why?
What I should and shouldn’t compromise. You should compromise to create win-win solutions, but you should never compromise on integrity.

What is the greatest misconception people have about your industry?
People underestimate the complexity of the apparel business. They’re often shocked at the intensity and pace required to thrive in the industry, and by how much behind-the-scenes work goes into making a single garment. Fabric development, supply-chain complexities, distribution, production, inventory management, logistics … there are layers upon layers.

What can you not stop thinking about right now?
How to join forces with all the female founders I know and use our strengths to help each other grow.

What is the work you still need to do personally?
Where should I start? 🤣

What book do you think every female founder should read?
Essentialism by Greg McKeown. It’s a must-read for any entrepreneur, but I think the ideas are especially revolutionary for women since we often try to do too much and take care of everyone.

How will you know when you’ve made it?
When I turn 85 and I’m still healthy enough, mentally and physically, to be making an impact.

Favorite morning drink of choice?
Irish tea. We call it a “cuppa” tea.

How do you cope with stress?
I am constantly saying to myself, ‘If whatever is happening is not going to result in prison or death, then it’s not worth stressing over.’ It gives me permission to work hard, but not allow the stress to overwhelm me. It’s life-changing.

What’s your career advice?
Get off Instagram. I’m joking, but only kind of. I think we compare ourselves so much to our perceived ideas of other people’s success, and it can be paralyzing. It takes ten years of blood, sweat, and tears to become an overnight success, so put your head down and go!