An intimate conversation about life, personal style, and growing up in New York with Pattern Brands, Emmett Shine
Meet Emmett Shine, co-founder of Pattern—a family of consumer brands with the shared mission of enjoying daily life. Pattern’s two brands are Equal Parts (cookware) and Open Spaces (home goods).
I’ve known Emmett for a few years now and have loved watching his journey unfold, from the glory days of Gin Lane, where he launched other people’s brands, to slowing down and creating his world with Pattern. I respect Emmett because he’s one of those rare humans you meet who makes you question why you live the way you do. He does life differently.
He’s got this infectious energy about him; he moves with ease and slowness. It’s like he’s in a perpetual zen state.
Emmett is candid about his habits, rituals, lessons learned, and ambitions. It’s not every day you get a close look at someone’s life. So, here’s a more intimate conversation with him, where we cover all sorts of topics, like:
- Growing up in New York
- Skateboarding on the Lower East Side, building his first brand
- Creating a home
- Morning rituals
- Guiding principles for work and learning to enjoy daily life
Let’s dive in!
Tell us about your background. Where were you raised, and what were you raised on?
I’m from Long Island. I grew up in Southampton running around with a group of friends since elementary school, mostly skateboarding and getting into “PG” trouble.
We all moved to NYC in the early 2000s and took our love for skateboarding to launch a brand called LOLA. I spent most of my early years with these guys and learned a lot about loyalty, creativity, resourcefulness, perseverance, and optimism. These are lessons that I carried with me into every aspect of my life, from Gin Lane to Pattern.
From freelance to Gin Lane and now Pattern, you've been able to hold this creative role, and it's your livelihood. What's it been like building a career centered on creativity?
First, I’m so grateful! Having a job you love, and a career you’re passionate about is incredibly fulfilling. I’m so thankful every day.
Second, I realized as a kid I was fortunate enough to inherit some of my mom’s talent as a painter. So, I carried that skill set with me and have always tried finding ways to make money creatively. It wasn’t easy; it took years for my creative talents to be financially sustainable. Eventually, I combined my love for photography, graphic design, and web design and it gave me a skill set that people wolly pay for.
You're a busy guy. What are your daily routines like? How do you stay on top of your projects?
I think being “busy” is more of a mindset than it is a reality. By that I mean, it’s important to have things you want to accomplish and to have a to-do list, but it’s also important to prevent yourself from being overwhelmed or overly stressed out. I try balancing my time and my day as best I can to keep some equilibrium.
For Pattern or any other creative endeavors I have, it’s all about finding pockets of “flow states.”
If you have the right setup and the right frame of mind, it’s incredible what you can accomplish over a short period.
I often spend hours every day doing small things that clear space for one or two pockets of concentrated time, energy, and focus.
That time is rare and special. It can be delicate and fleeting; so much of my time is spent setting those moments up. The right music, light, temperature, and a lack of distractions all play a role.
But I will gladly spend 45 minutes taking care of small tasks or getting things out of the way to have 15 minutes of pure, concentrated time with no distractions, good music, lighting, mood, etc. If you can get that for a few hours a day, cherish it.
In the evenings after work, I try to wind down with my girlfriend, a movie, a little wine, an article or two and get good sleep. I need 7-8 hours of sleep a night. I feel I can face whatever the day throws at me if I sleep well the night before.
Tell us about your morning rituals. What feels like muscle memory?
I wake up with my girlfriend and our dog. We get dressed, hop in the car, grab a coffee/tea from the local shop in town, and go to the beach before work. We either go surfing, or we let our dog run around like a maniac on the beach. We live on the East End of Long Island, where it’s super cold in the winter, but I love the cold air and ocean breeze; it wakes me up!
Walk us through what it's like building a home for yourself. What's most important to you?
At Pattern, we say that your environment matters. Your surroundings are a home base; surroundings help you form healthy behaviors and rituals. We also talk about how physical interaction in the home (the everyday moments, tasks, and activities) is a way to create more presence and rebuild a life of enjoyment. I believe this!
I just bought my first house (it’s on the same street I grew up on, next to the house I grew up in that my dad still lives in!), so I’m working on living those values right now. I’m learning to create my own habits, rituals, and a general vibe in my home so it can be a space that feels energizing, supportive, and safe.
What's your personal style like?
My personal style is thoughtful without trying hard. It’s a good mantra for me to have (from life to clothing to anything): be thoughtful, but don’t overthink it. While I admire a well-dressed man, I also love someone who’s been hustling, wearing the same clothes for 3 days straight while they’re in the studio recording or making art.
I just love people who get lost in their work; that’s when the real style comes out.
What does it mean for you to enjoy daily life?
At Pattern, we say that if you enjoy your day, you enjoy your life.
Our lives are just a collection of our days, so I try focusing on each day, one day at a time. If you have a bad day, no worries! Get some rest and start over tomorrow. If you have a good day, appreciate it. Take a moment to slow things down and savor it.
What are your guiding principles or mottos in life, from work to personal relationships. What's important to you?
First, form your own convictions and try not to waver from them. I value honesty, loyalty, humility, hard work, optimism, and generosity, and I get these values from those I spend the most time with (friends & family). I try to live by this code each day: do the right thing and be a good person—every day.
Second, know that you’ll make mistakes. I mess up all the time. The important thing when you mishap is to ask for forgiveness, own up to the mistake and move on. There’s no use in looking back with regret. You can’t change the past. Accept it and focus on what’s ahead of you and what you are doing in the present. That’s all we can do.
How do you think about your personal style? What brands or products do you wear that feel good?
I like brands that both have stories to tell and where I know people personally. That’s why I love Noah, Patagonia, New York, or Nowhere so much. I also love Nike and still feel like a little kid when I bring out the Air Max 95s and 98s with Nike socks. Ha!
But at this stage in my life, I appreciate having “staples” in the closet too. I’ve got stuff from Iconic brands like Levis, Champion, Land’s End, Barbour, and Timberland.
I also wear a ton of Pattern merch, like t-shirts and hats, or skateboarding brands like Sci-Fi Fantasy, Polar, Labor, Alltimers, Quartersnacks, and Frog Skateboards. And lots of Sports gear, like Brooklyn Nets, NY Jets, Yankees throwbacks jerseys.
Besides that, I like overly large vintage Hawaiian shirts; they remind me not to take life too seriously.
Share a few products you use every day that you love and cherish
First of all, I love that Pattern makes products I genuinely use. One of my ‘selfish’ goals in starting Pattern was to create products I would want around me every dayeveryday. I use their bins and baskets from Open Spaces in every room, and I cook with Equal Parts every night. To me, items like this have consciousness, an energy to them. What you give them, they give back to you.
I also love my surfboards. I’ve got Lost, Al Merrick Channel Islands, and Rawson boards stashed in NYC, Puerto Rico, and Los Angeles that are waiting for me wherever I go.
I love having notepads, pens, and paper handy because I’m always writing notes, making checklists, doodles, sketches and ideas. I’ve got to have pen and paper on me 24/7, using my hand just feels more natural.
For drinks, I love matcha and I like Golden Ratio Coffee (less acidic coffee). A few friends and I are also launching a natural wine company that’s coming out later this year. It’s going to be exciting!