I was recently looking over my ‘about me’ page and realised over two years have passed and life’s changed a lot! So, I thought I would update it and collaborate it with a kind of end of year reflective post so all you guys can see where I am at with work and life!
WHO AM I?
Good question!! I’m Emily and I am the director of a [K.I.D.S] ltd which is an acronym for kid’s inspiration and design services. As a business, we offer creative trends and design solutions to a host of international brands and retailers. We also produce a seasonal kidswear trend publication that offers creative inspiration to boutique brands, retailers, studios and freelance designers. This year we have also launched our first e-course on trend forecasting which went live over the summer!
I also strongly believe in sharing knowledge and both giving back to your community and future generations. I think it’s really important to share your skills and knowledge with people to give them support and guidance in how they can pursue their dream careers in the fashion industry. I do this through my e-courses and by teaching on university courses in my field.
SO REALLY WHO AM I?
I am married to my husband Jamie and we have two small children Alfred who is three and Elsie who is one. We live in a village called Isleham near Cambridge where we have been renovating and reviving an old barn conversion to call home.
I see work as just a part of my life and I am passionate about spending as much time as possible with my children and enjoying life. Outside of my office hours you will find me out on adventures with my kids, in the garden and allotment growing and preserving foods, cooking or walking with Alfred, Elsie and our Jack Russel Tilly around Isleham.
My Instagram feed pretty much sums up our lives as a family and me as a working mum!
MY JOURNEY TO TODAY…
Although it sounds cliché, I had always wanted to design clothes since a really young age. I don’t think I knew I wanted to be a ‘designer’ as such but I loved making clothing out of any material I could get my hands on and you would always find me in the craft corner at Nursery.
During my younger years I lived on a small arable farm near Cambridge with my Mum, Dad and Sister with my Grandparents and my Aunt and Uncle living across the yard. We had ponies, ducks, chickens, Dogs, Cats, Frogs, Peacocks, Tractors and Combines!! It was a really safe and precious childhood where I roamed acres of land building dens, daydreaming in the sunshine and gluing and sticking indoors on a rainy day. It was pretty idyllic and I feel lucky every day for the childhood I feel so privileged to have enjoyed!
As I got older and education started to get all serious, I excelled in subjects like Art and Design and got by in all the other more academic subjects. I feel so sad, now that I have my own children, that the education system has changed little since I was a child and curriculum is so general and tests seem to be the only reflection of a child’s progress and achievement – how silly and outdated is this? I wish I could sign my two out of any tests and instead merit them for what makes them individual and acknowledge that although maths, English etc.. are thoroughly important life will not stop if you don’t master ALL subject’s. Life is one big lesson and I hope they learn as much in their seventies as they do when they are seven! Anyway, maybe that’s for another blog post!
I left school with a good set of grades and (reluctantly) attended Sixth Form College at the time! In all honesty I didn’t really enjoy sixth Form at all. Although I was always in the art department (taking Art, Photography, Technology and History of Art) I found that I was being taught how to pass an exam rather than developing my creativity, which really frustrated me and almost made me losse passion in the subjects I loved!
However, I persisted in order to get that ticket to Art Foundation then onto University. My A-Level grades were pretty disappointing and even made me doubt about continuing with education in all honesty, but I put it down to a bad experience and applied and got accepted onto an Art Foundation course YAY! For those of you that maybe live abroad or are unfamiliar with what an Art Foundation course is; it’s a one-year course that allows you to develop a portfolio ready to apply for art school in the UK.
Art foundation was one of the best years of my life! Thank goodness I stuck at those dull A-Levels! For a whole year I got to experiment with every aspect of design; graphics, fashion, textiles, ceramics, sculpture – you name it - I did it! I had some really great tutors and a fantastic year group supporting me. I was proud of every bit of work I produced and excited about taking my portfolio to University interviews at the end of the year.
I applied to a number of Universities (like all students in the UK) and was lucky enough to get my first choice, which was the Surrey Institute of Art and Design which later was to become UCA University for the Creative Arts in case you look it up now! I chose this University as it offered the perfect course for me and it was just on the edge of London so I could shoot in for studies and socialising (and a bit of shopping) It is also a smaller art school so you become an individual and don’t get lost in the crowds and I really liked that.
So, in September 2003 I packed up my shiny new mac laptop (that I saved allll summer to buy) along with my other prized possessions, loaded up my dad’s car and moved down to Sunny Surrey to start my degree in Fashion Design! It was all a very new experience, living on my own, living in a big city after living on a farm in the country for so long, but I settled in, made friends and got on with my work!
I didn’t really enjoy my first year at University and in reflection I put it down to huge life changes at the time for someone of nineteen years of age and I didn’t 100% enjoy the format of the first year of the degree AND I didn’t like my tutor either! Sound like lots of negatives but I arrived back at university after a long summer of had work in Bars back home and returned a much older and wiser twenty year old! This year I really threw myself into my studies and got everything I wanted back – a great time, great work and great grades – smiles all round J !
During the summer holidays of my second year I worked back home for a couple of months to save for my final year AND booked a ticket for a two week trip to India and ignited my passion for travel and well and truly caught the travel bug!!! You may have read some of my travel posts that I add to the blog when I’m aboard! I returned to University in 2006 for my third and final year full of eagerness and excitement.
Like the majority of student’s I had to take out a HUGE scary loan (which I’m still paying off now!) to get through university. With the thought of the debt I taken on and the knowing that I really have to start earning some money soon (hopefully in the fashion industry) I put my head down for the year and worked my little socks off – although I still found time for some fun too!!!
My third year consisted of a work placement (which I did at Plain Lazy in Brighton) two major projects and a dissertation. I passed with flying colours and graduated in 2007 with two very proud parents along side me!!
HOW DID THE BLOG START?
Now I guess that’s where the story beguins… It is also when my blog was born; I had to find ways to promote myself as a graduate designer and wanted to set up a website, however, I hadn’t the knowledge (or the cash) to do so. Instead I started a blog (this blog) posted all if my projects on it and sent the details out to prospective employers. At every interview I attended people complimented me on my little blog and they and they had all taken the time to look at it. Starting my blog was one of the best spent mornings of my life!
I was so lucky that I found myself with a job as a designer a few weeks after graduating! I worked for a small supplier in north London designing product and print and graphics for a variety of brands. This is when I really developed my skills in Illustrator, Photoshop etc… I rented a room in a bedsit, made a whole load of cool new friends and survived on a shoestring! I also blogged some of my exciting work along the way too which if you look back in the 2008 section you may be able to see eeeekkkk!!!
After a year I moved into central London and worked for a variety of suppliers over a few years and had the time of my life designing by day and partying by night! When I wasn’t partying, I was designing my own prints and graphics and soon started working for a little design studio called Lemon Ribbon. My prints started to sell to loads of brands and retailer’s all-over the world too which was really exciting!! I blogged some of these too!
At this point in my life I was dating Jamie (my now husband) who lived over a hundred miles away. I was working crazy hours, design prints late at night, partied a bit and begun to miss the countryside and found myself returning back home, or to the bjamies on the coast most weekends. I was starting to feel sad about having to spend the rest of my working years in London and never having the chance to enjoy the great outdoors like I used to. So. after much debating and wondering and discussing and talking and thinking a bit more I decided to go freelance! I’d got a good client base from my prints that were selling and a few contacts from years of working so with support from my parents and boyfriend I went for it in 2011 and have never looked back!
To save money and so I could live with Jamie we moved back towards Cambridge to a lovely home where we bought two dogs, some ponies and we (or rather I started a vegetable garden) I set up a little design studio in the spare room and started putting my heart and soul into designing prints, doing fashion design consultancy work and blogging!
I worked freelance for four years while we lived at our first home! Jamie and I got married and our son Alfred who was born in 2014 was closely followed by Elsie in 2016!
Promoting yourself as a freelance designer is one of the most important things. I was lucky that my blog has done that for me without me having to put that much effort into it. I seem to get a huge amount of hits and pop up on peoples Google searches all the time, which is great! In total I’ve had well over a million hits! I’ve never got involved with promoting my blog, accepting advertising offers of so called sponsorship deals. I’ve just tried to keep it straightforward and to the point. I share my trend work and the odd piece of print too and that’s about it - I hope you like it!
STARTING [K.I.D.S] LTD
The year of 2014 was a really REALLY busy year!!! My freelance work had been going great and I had noticed I was beginning to specialise in helping clients launch and re-launch brands, offering creative design support to boutique brands and retailers and my trend information was being heavily sought after. I decided to then start a proper business focusing on these elements which is where I am at today. The business is growing and I have brought a lot of my old freelance contacts on for the journey!
Two days (yes two days) after having Elsie we moved into a new barn conversion which gave us lots more space for our growing family and room to establish a proper office space.
That kinda brings me to the end or at least up to the current day! I’d love to hear if this post has been useful to anyone or if anyone has any more questions that I can answer for them?