Emma Warren runs her successful embroidered clothing brand, Emma Warren Design from her studio in Gloucestershire. Here she creates fun and unique garments, often including a little message to make you feel cute and bright even on the tricky days. We sat down with Emma to dive into her busy world of embroidery and pick her brains on how she conquers social media, even when feeling the pressures of modern life.
Hey Emma, you run a successful embroidered clothing brand from your base in the South West. You recently shared some flashback snaps of your growth and journey as a small business owner, for those out there who aren’t familiar with the Emma Warren story could you share with us some insight as to how you ended up where you are today?
Hey! I studied textile design at university and specialised in embroidery, after uni I started freelancing for fashion designers doing embellishment and embroidery design alongside numerous retail jobs. I never really felt fulfilled and had such a huge urge to design for myself (instead of working on other designers projects) so I started working a little more on my own brand. It got to the point where I felt really unhappy in my employed role so I took the plunge and started working full time on my own brand. I started by working in my parents' loft, then when I bought my first house I had an embroidery machine next to the fireplace! I then moved to my second house and I had a little cabin built in the garden - which I soon outgrew and finally moved into the studio/warehouse where I am today! it's still so crazy to me and really does feel like I'm playing a game of business most of the time.
You are very active on Instagram and regularly update your followers with chatty stories and behind the scenes footage. How do you decide what to share with your followers and as you grow your team with new staff members do you see this interaction changing?
Instagram is a huge part of my brand, my customers love to see their orders being made and also the people making them! I really feel like this enhances the customer experience overall and I am also able to gain such helpful insights into what my customers really would like to see by talking to them directly. Instagram has just become part of my day now, I see it as an online diary documenting my day. I'm hoping as the team grows everyone will take part in sharing elements of their day (which can only improve the brand's instagram presence) but also may help take the pressure off me slightly. If I was having a day where I didn't feel like posting then another team member could take over. The downside is that if I have a quieter day on instagram then sales are directly affected so it is really important to the brand to keep sharing behind the scenes.
We are very used to seeing business perfection and the ‘do more’ mindset on social media. How do you avoid comparing yourself to others? And to bring a touch of realism to the world - what's the most challenging part of running a business?
I think it's natural to compare yourself to others but I just try to focus on what I'm doing and I think everyone has their own journey. From instagram it may seem that my business progressed really quickly but in reality it's been many years in the making. I really try to show the good and the bad side of running my business and that not everything is plain sailing - things do go wrong sometimes! I really don't know what I'm doing and am constantly learning. I just like making things haha! The most challenging part of running a business is being able to switch off. My mind is always super busy with ideas/worries - there isn't really a time when I’m not thinking of my business.
Your new collection is inspired by the act of giving flowers. How do you come up with your creative ideas when designing a new collection?
My ideas are usually pretty personal to me, for collections in the past I've been inspired by my teenage diaries or old sticker books. More recently the act of giving flowers inspired me - which really came from an incredibly sad time. When designing I always keep in mind how I'd like the wearer to feel when wearing the garment. It's not just about looking cute but hopefully the clothing helps the wearer feel a little brighter too.
Your company Emma Warren Design has collaborated with some great brands over the past 12 months. If you could choose your dream collaboration are there any companies or individuals that would be on the list?
I love collaborating with other creatives and hope to work with lots more this year. I think a dream collaboration would be a shoe brand - I'd love to design some cute embroidered trainers!
Many of your designs have been inspired by adorable pets - especially your doberman Bea. If you had to get Bea a dog buddy, what breed would you choose and why?
Yes! My doberman is like my baby haha! I’d love more dogs and I really love all breeds but it would definitely be a big breed again. Perhaps a Weimaraner. I love their floppy ears :)
Lastly - please tell us your most worn Slow South product and why?
I love my ‘it’s all good’ tee! I just love how vibrant the blue print is and how from the front it's super simple. And then it’s BAM - a big back print.
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