Erin Carpenter, Nude Barre

Photo: Kwame Owusu-Kesse


A match made in heaven! Erin is the founder and CEO of Nude Barre, the amazing line of hosiery that comes in EVERYONE'S shade. 12 nude tones in total. Worn by Serena Williams, Tyra Banks and Laverne Cox alike, Nude Barre has us covered from streetstyle, to the office, to performance wear for professional athletes. And now Nude Barre is also available online in the recently launched Essence Marché.

I'm so inspired by Erin's ability to run her biz and still teach barre classes at Exhale locations in NYC. I took her class - it was leg shaking, sweat dripping hard.

Read on for a glimpse into Erin's day!


Where do you reside and what is your favorite local spot close to home? 

I live in central Harlem. My favorite local spot is The Edge Harlem. It is women-owned and black-owned. The food is great and I love the environment, from quick coffee meetings to dining with my husband.


It's breakfast time on a weekday, where are you and what are you eating? 

I make breakfast at home 95% of the time unless I have events or meetings to attend. I usually start with green tea and a bowl of fruit around 9am. I get started on emails, make sure everything is running smoothly with our distribution warehouse, and watch the Wendy Williams Show to see if she is wearing Nude Barre that day. Then I eat a proper breakfast later around 11am. I am a night person vs. morning person so 9am is early for me. I typically have lunch around 2/3pm with healthy snacks in between. 

It's dinner time on a weekday, where are you and what are eating? 

Dinner time is probably to most inconsistent meal for me and my family. My husband and I always agree to eat dinner together, but the time varies depending on our schedules. Typically we eat fairly late, after 8pm most nights. We probably order in 3-4 times a week and I cook the other days if we do not have dinner events. I rarely entertain clients over dinner. 

Describe your workwear style. 

My workwear style is simple and comfortable, but stylish. For work, I am mostly in workout clothes or a comfortable dress. I don’t enjoy wearing jeans often. I 100% prioritize function and comfortable over anything. I love fashion, but I do not enjoy the mental energy of figuring out what to wear day to day so I keep is simple. If I want to diversify my wardrobe I wear something from Rent the Runway.

I want to be taken seriously. I typically do not want the focus to be on what I am wearing, which is another reason I keep my looks very simple so that we can just talk about the products I am selling or, if I am pitching, investors can hear me. 

Do you have a favorite workwear item that you can't live without? 

Usually I wear a simple bodycon dress that I can accessorize, dress up or down with various shoe styles, sweaters, etc. I always wear a Nude shoe to match my Nude Barre tights.


You're about to give a big presentation, what are you wearing:

For a big presentation, I am typically wearing my usual look. Maybe with more color, but simple, probably no patterns. Just a clean and professional look.


How do you prepare for said big presentation? 

Well, sometimes I hear about big presentations or meetings very last minute. I am used to talking about my brand and myself so I feel well prepared. I have had many rehearsals in the past thinking of questions people may ask me that I did not cover, and fine-tuning my story. Other than that, I have a lot of experience performing in front of thousands of people so I do not have a ton of prep that I need to do. I actually get most nervous when having one-on-one meetings vs. large audiences. For those meetings, I meditate, pray and take a few deep breaths. Depending on how I feel, I might rehearse the main blurb I want to get out in my voice memos and continue to listen to the memo if I landed it well.


What constitutes a good day at work? 

A good day at work is getting a large order, getting through a lot of my to-do list and learning something that really gives me direction in my business. As a solo entrepreneur, sometimes things can be lonely and you can feel lost as to how to grow your business. Getting great advice from mentors helps me know if I am on the right track or what to do next, and always makes me feel at peace for a few days. 


How do you unwind and turn work off? 

I really struggle with this, but I am constantly working on it. I also teach barre classes part time after 5pm. Even though it is still a form of work, it gives me time away from my business to be present somewhere else and to let go of any problems I cannot solve that day. I take time to pray before going to bed, and I try to push myself to close the computer after a certain time of day (that does not always happen). When I wake up, I try to remember to record a voice journal reviewing how I feel, what happened the day before (good, bad, horrible), and my hopes and dreams. I take 30 minutes per day to walk my dog and just look around my neighborhood or call my parents who are very supportive. Lastly, I love taking a relaxing bath with a glass of wine 1-3 times a week.

On the weekends, I try to commit to not working at all (this doesn’t always happen, but I am fairly consistent with this). I stay home with my dog and husband, binge watch something and relax. 

Regardless of whether your work is your passion or your path to the weekend, what is your favorite thing to allocate time to outside of “the office?”

Outside of the office, I love to make time for my body (massage, acupuncture, a facial, a good yoga class, hair, nails). I also love catching up with friends and taking the weekend off to be with my husband.