Noserider Surf Club Founder + Designer Emma Bukowski’s Non-Linear Path to Entrepreneurship


My path, like most entrepreneurs, is far from linear. Although I always dreamed of being a surfer, my career dreams growing up ranged from being an international lawyer to working as a doctor in Africa. I studied Chinese literature and language for my undergrad and ended up getting my master’s in public health.

It wasn’t until I started chasing my dream of living abroad and surfing that I finally realized that I wanted to start my own business. Mid-covid, I decided to change careers – I left the world of public health and took a fully remote job in digital marketing.

Once I had the freedom to work from anywhere in the world, I booked my ticket to Indonesia. Just a few months later, I was starting my own business on the side.

What made you decide to go into business for yourself?

I didn’t plan on starting my own business, I just wanted to make the perfect surf suit. With so many shops still closed in Bali, I had a hard time finding a surf suit that made me feel cute and confident in the water. I drove my scooter all over Denpasar looking for the perfect fabric and then found a local tailor to make my vision come to life.

I spent my afternoons drawing out the perfect design. A few revisions later, what’s now known as the Noserider Cropped Rash Guard, was born! Girls started asking me about the rash guard in the water, and naturally, I offered to make them one as well.

A few weeks later, it was clear that there was a need for this product, so I created Noserider Surf Club.

What are 3 websites or podcasts you can’t imagine a day without? Why those 3?

I’m more of a book girl myself, but I’m getting more and more into podcasts. I actually launched my business while reading The 4 Hour Work Week and Built to Sell. Nowadays, I always have The Lady Brains podcast playing as I drive.

What are your top 3 mobile apps that help you stay organized and on top of your game?

ClickUp (computer and app), I live by my Google calendar (not exciting but creating different calendars for all the different elements of my business is such a game changer), and I really love Tomato Timer for using the Pomodoro method when I work.

What are the three most important habits to be a successful entrepreneur?

First and foremost, pick an off day. You need one day a week that you can be completely turned off for and no one can contact you. It’s easy to get wrapped up in thinking you always need to be available, but if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of your business.

Along those same lines, find a type of movement you love and make time for it every day. I’m not saying you need to dive into the world of fitness but moving for 1 hour a day EVERY SINGLE DAY is so important. I do a Pilates class every morning except for Sunday.

Be consistent. It’s so easy to get caught up in thinking people are an overnight success, but the thing is, you just haven’t noticed that most truly successful people have been showing up day after day and putting in the hard work.

How do you boost your self-esteem in moments of doubt?

Realistically, I call my best friend and she gives me the pep talk I need. Having a support system and someone you can call to hype you up is so important. I think my moments of doubt come when I get really in my own head and start spiraling, so I need someone I trust to pull me out of this.

The other thing I do is step away. Doubt and low self-esteem are typically products of being burned out. When I’m well rested, exercising, and eating well, it’s much less likely that I have those feelings of doubt.

What is a typical day like for you?

A typical day for me has an early start. I love being up at 6 am. I do my best not to look at my phone for the first 20-30 minutes of my morning. I spend time with my dog, drink a cup of coffee, and sit on my front porch. Then I get ready for a 7 or 8 a.m. Pilates class. I typically go right from the Pilates class to the store/office.

I like to do my hardest tasks first thing in the morning. My brain works best between 8 am – 12 pm, so I like to really focus on getting the bulk of my work done during those hours. That allows me to then schedule meetings and hang out in the store during the afternoon.

I try to end every day with a coconut at the beach for sunset with my dog.

The reality is, most days I go home after sunset and spend a few more hours working but I am doing my best to do this less and less.

How do you set your business apart from others in your industry?

I don’t think about what’s trendy and instead focus on where I see gaps in the market. This is more natural when you create a business where you are the target market. As a female surfer living in Bali, I’m constantly surrounded by new swimwear styles with lots of patterns and bright colors. As much as I also love these brands and think their suits are stunning, I started Noserider Surf Club with minimalism, elegance, and function in mind because I personally experienced a gap for this in the market.

Do you have a favorite quote or motto that inspires you?

When I graduated high school, my mom wrote me a poem called, “The Art of Disappointing.”

I didn’t even realize how important this poem was until my mid-twenties. I carried this blue sheet of paper around with me from place to place without even thinking much about it until I was 25.

This poem has stuck with me to this day, and I think of it often. This poem literally gave me permission to disappoint others, including my mom, to ensure that I don’t disappoint myself.

The line, “to live you must die to others’ expectations,” has always reminded me that the expectations others have placed on me do not need to define me.

I think it was really freeing to have a parent give me permission to be exactly who I am and do what feels right for me.

Want more inspiring interviews?

Learn about Smitey, Revolutionizing The Way Short Women Buy Clothes or read a Q&A With Carolyn Pritchard Co-Founder of Bridge Medical Communications, or learn about Fashion, Sustainability, and PR with Narvan Founder & Creative Director Marjar Kragar, part of our interview series spotlighting successful women in business.

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