Good to meet you, I’m Emma…

After 2o years in creative business, I still consider myself an artist first and foremost. I’m very handy with a pencil and paintbrush!  I love business as much as I love art. The two can go hand in hand.

I want to show, by example, that you can be right brained and employ your left brain. That you can ditch the urban myth of the starving artist. That you can be creative AND have solid boundaries, systems and processes.

My aim is to provide you with a real world, behind-the-scenes experience. I have walked where you are, and to be honest I’m still walking. I’m always learning and by no means have I got it all figured out.

My Vision Statement for The Bespoke Business Hub:

I want to backtrack on my own creative business path, light a torch, beckon you – the artists and creators – to join me as we walk back along the illuminated path to business growth and creative joy together.

I want show you the ups, downs, opportunities, pitfalls, wobbly moments and roar-like-a-lion success moments….to give a sneak peek into what is possible.

In 1998, aged 23, I moved from London to Geneva in Switzerland. With no prospect of getting a proper job due to visa issues, I decided to focus on my art.

With a BA(hons) in Fashion & Textile Design, and a Foundation Art Diploma, I realised that I had the ability to create both money and art. Ok, it wasn’t quite that easy or lucrative, but I knew that I had a golden opportunity to follow my dreams.

For very first exhibition in Geneva in 1999, I borrowed $200 from my then boyfriend to frame my artwork. I promised to pay him back the next day after my Vernissage (opening night). And I did. I sold 80% of my work that night. It was very important to me that I made a profit and that I paid my debt.

From that moment, creativity and business went hand in hand.

My 20 year career in a nutshell

  • 1996, my 1st job in the fashion industry was very similar to The Devil Wears Prada…I worked in PR for a UK fashion label, and my boss was the designer/owner. We all lived in fear of her, which was just how she wanted it (she told me so!)
  • Worked at a fashion trade magazine in London in the 90s. I was Google before Google existed – searching info for PRs, journalists and designers. I had a gorgeous boss there!
  • 1998, moved to Geneva, Switzerland and started exhibiting my art in cafes & galleries.
  • Layout editor for an English language magazine – first foray into desktop publishing. So techy!
  • Sold my art on a market stall.
  • Painted art commissions for private homes.
  • Walked bravely into interior design & gift shops and sold them my paintings on spec.
  • Taught art to children & adults
  • Ran a holiday art camp for children from home.
  • 2010, moved to Sydney, Australia, and opened a shop selling my art, fabrics & signature chairs.
  • Launched a design tech start-up & won a pitch contest to go to Silicon Valley and raise funds.
  • Designed fabrics for an interior decoration company.
  • Upholstered chairs in my fabrics.
  • Featured in Vogue Living, House & Garden, Home Beautiful, Sunday Times, Smart Company.
  • Mentor & Guest Expert for various business & design schools.
  • International speaker.
  • …and today, since 2015, I run a design company, Bespoke Backdrops & Branding with clients globally.

Some of my favourite artwork over the years

I love…

  • English Breakfast tea
  • Murder mysteries (especially those set in picturesque English villages or stylish urban settings)
  • Reading every night (it’s a non-negotiable)
  • Italian Renaissance & Dutch C17th art.
  • Hydrangeas (blue or white)
  • Sunbathing & sun-kissed skin
  • Working from home
  • Cooking (I finish work at 5:30 every night. It’s my commute between work & home)
  • Savoury snacks (crisps are the best -I’m not a chocolate fan!)
  • Marmite

I loathe…

  • Kombucha 
  • Mess (I am someone who tidies the house every night!)
  • Excuses & laziness
  • Making school packed lunched (those days are over now thankfully!)
  • Playing cards
  • Theme parks (rollercoasters are terrifying)
  • Over-cooked pasta.
  • Trashy reality TV (you won’t catch me gossiping about the latest Bachelor or Kardashians episode)
  • Running (but love spinning)
  • Having cold feet (of the anatomical not commitment variety!)