Q&A with Emily Hikade

CEO & Founder, Petite Plume

It's here: the collaboration you've been dreaming of—introducing Veronica Beard x Petite Plume. This limited-edition, five-piece capsule extends the dream wardrobe to sleepwear, with impeccably made pajamas for looking and feeling your best at bedtime. Here, we chat with Petite Plume's inspiring CEO & Founder, Emily Hikade, whose unbelievable career trajectory started in the CIA. We discuss her fascinating career and drastic pivot from working undercover to designing things for under-the-covers.

Plus, don't miss our in-store events to celebrate the launch of this limited-edition capsule, where we're giving you an exclusive chance to have your new pajamas custom embroidered! Scroll down for more details...

Emily Hikade, Petite Plume CEO and Founder

Your career pivot is fascinating! What advice would you give to someone looking to change career paths in a major way like you did?

There is never the 'right' time to start a business. I launched Petite Plume when I had a full time job with the government, three little ones at home and was living in East Africa, where the Internet wasn't necessarily reliable. I didn't have as much time to devote to it as I wanted, but my advice is that you just have to take those first steps, which are always the most difficult. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step...

What skills did you learn in the CIA that lend themselves to being the CEO of a company today?

There are a lot of skills that transfer from the Agency to CEO. I think I have higher risk tolerance than most (ha!), and starting your own company is a real challenge, fraught with thrilling highs and devastating lows, often in the same day. The same can be said for life at the CIA. The Agency also taught me to negotiate, think on my feet and mitigate risks, adjusting your strategy as you move forward. Those are great qualities to bring to the table when running a company; however, the most important is probably listening to the successes and failures of others, taking care of your team and at the top of the list is RESILIENCE!

Veronica Beard x Petite Plume

What’s been one of your “a-ha” moments during your transition from CIA to CEO?

I think my biggest "a-ha" moment was when my plane nearly crashed.

I worked in counterterrorism and there was one fateful day when I was on a mission and my plane almost crashed into the ocean. As the plane was spinning out-of-control, going sideways toward the water, all I could see were the faces of my three little boys at home. As I braced for impact, I felt a deep and profound sadness that my little boys were going to grow up without a mom. It was a life-changing moment for me. The plane miraculously corrected and I was determined to find a safer line of work, after more than a decade of service at the Agency. It was one of the worst moments of my life, but it also proved to be one of the most pivotal.

One recurring, and ongoing “a-ha” moment is the need for more women in the room. I’ve been in many rooms in my life where I was the only woman present, and was surprised when I returned to the US that this is still very often the case, especially in circles of power and influence. I am passionate about needing more women to be in positions of power, having a seat at the table, leading companies, leading ideas and making decisions.

What made you land upon luxury sleepwear

When it came to the idea of launching a business, I thought I saw a gap in the market for very traditional, classic children's sleepwear, and I was determined to make the collection without using any chemicals. This was a critical point for me as the CPSC has strict flame retardant rules for children's sleepwear and you do not have to list the chemicals on the labels. And honestly, there was a great appeal to sleepwear because for me it represented "home". When you're in your pajamas, you're safe. You're surrounded by your family and the ones you love. You're HOME.

We launched as a children's luxury sleepwear company and within one year, we were in 200 stores. We had significant demand to make the same high quality sleepwear for adults and less than two years after launching, we created an adult collection made of 100% of the finest cotton and with the same dedication to quality. Later we also added a Pima and silk collection, again going to the country with the finest fabrics to source our collections.

Tell us why one should seek out quality sleepwear, why it’s an important part of a woman’s entire wardrobe and not something to be overlooked?

Given that we spend a third of our lives sleeping, it is so important to prioritize a good night's sleep. To sleep well, it is absolutely essential to have sleepwear made of natural fabrics, which are inherently breathable, whether it's 100% cotton or 100% silk. You won't overheat when you're sleeping in 100% cotton or 100% silk because those fibers breathe, so check your labels. Our 100% cotton sleepwear is also brushed for added softness and the thread count is ideal for breathability. We have thought of every detail so you don't have to.

What went into collaborating with us at Veronica Beard? What fabrics and styles did you want to prioritize?

The team at Veronica Beard is fantastic, so collaborating was a dream!  We knew that to appeal to their fashion-conscious customers, we needed to focus on our highest quality fabrics and most fashion-forward silhouettes.

Celebrating the partnership, we paired Veronica Beard's iconic crest embroidery with our exquisitely soft 100% Peruvian pima cotton, for a timeless collectible. Next, we knew we would need to tap into the classic Veronica Beard's best-selling leopard print to pair with our 100% Mulberry silk, for a luxurious and sleek sleepwear moment.

Veronica Beard is known for creating the dream wardrobe for the layered life. How do you think Petite Plume plays into this?

Just like your dream wardrobe is all about curating pieces that you can wear over and over again, Petite Plume is all about creating your dream pajamas to will help you sleep better and still look good doing it!

Finally, could you describe your dream bedtime routine? What about your typical one?

The dream and the reality are quite different!  

With four boys, bedtime is always a little hectic. I'm an early riser, a member of the 5am club so-to-speak, so I'm pretty tired by the time I get the kids to bed. The ritual is to get everyone into their Petite Plumes, myself included, brush teeth, wash faces and then I read to the two youngest boys. 

My dream routine would be a hotel with the most amazing bed and room service and a nice hot bath, a candle, sliding into my favorite silk panther pajamas and binge-watching something decadent, knowing I didn't have to wake up early. If this is a dream, let's add a martini in there somewhere, with a twist, please.  


Veronica Beard | 145 Newbury Street
November 2, 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Hosts: Ali Norberg, Katy Brunner, Joyce Allaire, Hillary Mahoney and Petite Plume Founder and CEO Emily Hikade

Veronica Beard | 11 E Walton Street, 2nd Floor
November 7, 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Hosts: Alex Murphy, Eleni Margaritis, Genevieve Green, Jacquelynn Gordon, and Petite Plume Founder and CEO Emily Hikade

Veronica Beard | 44 Highland Park Village
November 8, 5 PM - 7 PM | November 28 6 PM - 8 PM
Hosts: Blair Farris of Peachy The Magazine (November 8), Kimberly Graft, Rebecca Whitaker, Kristi Berlin, Kathleen Rutledge, Julie Peinado, and Petite Plume Founder and CEO Emily Hikade (November 28)

Veronica Beard | 211 Buckhead Avenue NE, Suite A170
November 9, 10 AM - 1PM & 5PM - 7 PM
Hosts: Katherine Merlino, Katie Boney

Veronica Beard | 250 Columbine Street, #115
November 9, 5 PM - 7 PM | November 13 4:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Hosts: Paula DuPre Pesmen, Laurie K. Peterson (November 9), Victoria Hall, Logan Lauterbach, Jessica Kristiseter (November 13)

Veronica Beard | 252 Greenwich Avenue
November 14, 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Hosts: Jennifer Sfreddo, Amy Keohane, Erica Silverman, and Petite Plume Founder and CEO Emily Hikade

Veronica Beard | 6800 Phillips Place Court, Suite C
November 15, 5 PM - 7 PM
Hosts: Blair Farris of Peachy the Magazine, Kitty Bray

Veronica Beard | 340 Royal Poinciana Way, Suite 329
November 21, time TBD
Hosts: Bettina Anderson and Kathryn Retzer

Veronica Beard | 332 King Street, Suite D
November 30, 11 AM - 2 PM
Host: Emily Schaible

Events are also planned for the following VB store locations: Marin, Houston, Nashville, Beverly Hills, Madison Avenue, Miami Design District. Please contact your nearest store for dates, time, and more information.