We would love to hear about your career so far?I did Art and Design at foundation level and a degree in Film Production. After graduating, my husband Josh and I formed a film production duo and worked on all sorts of exciting film projects and commercials.
One day a respected producer sat me down and said ‘Emily, you’re good at lots of things, BUT… What are you going to choose? Which specialism? You’re producing, directing, editing, storyboarding … which one is it going to be?’ (gulp)
I vividly remember thinking ‘how can I possibly choose!?’ Producing meant I got to organise/budget projects and network. Directing meant I could forecast vision and be creative. Editing meant I got to tell a story. Storyboarding meant I could draw... and be paid for it.
It wasn’t until years (and two kids!) later that I encountered the word ‘polymath’ (google it!) and began to embrace the uniqueness of my career persona. I like to wear different hats, but love bringing them all together to tell one, streamlined brand story.
After having my second son, I started my card publishing business, and I was able to fully embrace the ‘polymath’ in me. I don’t have to choose between vision casting, working with people, illustrating or marketing, for example. I get to do it all - both a blessing and a curse!
How did you get the idea for your business?After having children, I began drawing to ‘do something for me’. (Having children sort of takes your identity, shmooshes it into a playdoh-esque goo, and leaves you to mould some sort of vaguely-recognisable form from the mess.) I developed a small range of cards, sauntered into my local gift shop to ask if they’d stock them, and after a few tweaks, they did!
Since then, i’ve followed my creative nose and applied a generous dollop of raw ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ ambition to the bits that were working along the way!
There was no light bulb moment, or sudden revelation that I absolutely MUST be a card designer. I knew I wanted to design and be my own boss, and cards were a great starting point. Looking back, they have been my ‘gateway’ product (!) with which I have learnt so much about the retail and wholesale industry.
What inspires you?Fashion! I love clothes, colour and print. A trip to the high street will not only leave me with less money and more high-waisted trousers than I need, but with a phone full of photos of colour combinations and animal prints.
I’m also inspired by popular culture and imagery that makes me smile and react emotively. I try to illustrate images, animals and iconography that induce a sense of joy, playfulness or confidence.
What does your typical day look like?1) Attempt to get up, (I’m not a morning person) before only actually getting up because one of the boys is shouting at me (this could include my husband).
2) Make it through breakfast and the school run (no small feat).
3) Go to the gym and blast some badass music to get me vaguely ready for the daily hustle. (Or give the gym a miss because I can’t be arsed).
4) Dress as if I’m a famous powerhouse business woman going to a meeting with Michelle Obama and/or Anna Wintour. Even if I’m just going to the local coffee shop, on my own.
5) Record meaningless and meandering thoughts on insta-stories.
5) 10am – 4pm I work, work, work. This can mean processing orders, emails, phone calls, designing, creating social media content or going into town for meetings. Sometimes I travel or attend tradeshows.
6) Pick up the boys, attempt some sort of home cooking and put off doing the laundry until somebody complains.
7) Wrestle the kids into bed while they chat about topics ranging from ‘building an exploding science room’ to why flamingos are ‘better than ants’.
8) End the day with one or more of the following: TV/wine/more work/a date night/a girls night/continuing to avoid the laundry/recording more meaningless insta-stories.
What is your favourite print from your collection?The Tiger. He was the first illustration I did when I started the business and the way he is sitting represents a calm but confident power which I love.
How would you describe your personal style?Increasingly bold! I love block colour, bold print and lots of textured accessories. I have come to a point in my life where I’d rather have fun with my clothes and wear what I want to, rather than worrying what others think.
What’s your number one style tip?The way you dress will frame your mindset and therefore your day. Dress for success, watch the success manifest. Dress for socialising, you’ll be chatting to people within 10 minutes. Dress boldy, you’ll act boldly. It’s a powerful tool.
What’s your favourite piece from the Emily and Fin SS19 collection?I’m in the mood for sunshine, so the Romy sun dress has caught my attention!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?My dad told me ‘you can achieve anything you put your mind to.’
It was a director I used to work with, Simon Willows, who then showed me that ‘putting your mind’ to something was an active process. He wouldn’t just tell people about his ideas, he would do them, or try them out. Starting small is always better than never starting at all.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?I am thrilled to be launching various product ranges with exciting distribution partners in 2020. So by 2024 I hope to see vibrant and recognisable ranges of my products in prestigious retailers across the globe. (Ambitious much?!).
I hope to be collaborating with more gorgeous brands like Emily and Fin, doing more public speaking, and on this exact day in 5 years, I hope I’ll be on a beach somewhere with my fam, sipping a martini and doing what all of us modern women are doing – attempting to balance life and pursue our individual dreams with a li’l bit of grit, grace and gumption.
Click here to view Emily Brooks website.