:: Name – Emma Lamb
: Company – emma lamb : living in colour
:: Website – http://www.emmallamb.blogspot.
(first published – Jun 1, 2013)
:: Sum up your business in a sentence – Heirloom crochet with a colourful Scandinavian, modern folk vibe.
:: When did you start your business and why? – 2008 was when I started my current crochet business, but it was a very organic process of finding a new creative career path so there weren’t any life changing business decisions, just a lot of following my gut feelings moments. At the time I knew I wanted a change from the ten years of commercial textile designing I had been doing up until then, but I wasn’t really sure of exactly what it was that I wanted to do. I discovered the online creative community that year and set up my own blog [http://emmallamb.blogspot.co.
:: What & who inspires you? – Colour, pattern and texture. It’s no secret that I am endlessly inspired by beautiful colour, you just have to take a peek at my blog [http://emmallamb.blogspot.co.
I am always on the lookout for new colour combinations to work with and am particularly drawn to slightly muted vintage combinations or pretty floral palettes. Charity shops and flea markets are my favourites for sourcing ideas not to mention collecting one or two things – coloured glass vases, vintage sewing threads, pretty patterned tins, Depression glass bowls, embroidered linens, kitsch plastic knitting needles, buttons and kokeshi dolls.
:: What sets you apart from others? – Hmm, that’s a tough question to answer as I don’t really think about how to set myself apart from others or how others might see me as being different to them. I prefer to focus on the things I like to do and how I want to do them, both in my business and personal life. I know this idea gets said a lot, but I guess I’m just being true to myself, simple as that really.
:: What did you do before setting up your business? – I’ve been self-employed since I left art college and originally started my creative career as a freelance textile designer. For nearly ten years I worked with a great agency that gave me lots of encouragement in developing my signature style, which was deeply rooted in traditional crafts. I loved to be very ‘hands on’ and would work directly onto fabric to appliqué, embroider, crochet, knit, print and hand embellish each concept design. I still love this approach today!
:: The best part of your day/ running your own business – Being able to spend hours in my home studio tinkering with ideas, working on custom orders, photographing pretty things and generally getting lost in my own creative world. Absolute bliss!
:: Your favourite product & why – My Forever Flower Garlands are definitely one of my top favourites. I crochet each and every one using the very same hook that my Mam taught me to crochet with all those years ago, plus I get some really great custom requests for these too. Including customised colour combinations for weddings, bridal showers and nursery decorations, as well as an occasional bulk order for special events.
:: Your greatest business tip – After your creative passion and amazing product always make sure you offer great customer service for a complete package. I think great customer service is one of the key elements of a handmade business, especially when you sell online. This is when you get the opportunity to really connect with your customers and offer them the unique shopping experience they’re looking for. Following up sales with confirmation emails and delivery notes doesn’t have to be clinical, be efficient of course but also be friendly and approachable. Take the time to chat with your customers if they respond positively to your messages let them get to know the person behind your business first hand. Not only will it be a rewarding experience, you will forge lasting connections and encourage repeat customers. Repeat customers are happy customers and happy customers will love to tell their friends about your work and show off their own purchases.
:: Your favourite colour – I’ve always answered ‘red’ to this question but lately I’m completely crushing on greens (jade, grass, olive & seafoam) and peachy tones. I blogged about just this question a few days ago here! [http://emmallamb.blogspot.co.
:: Star sign – Aries
:: Your biggest weakness – Chocolate & yarn!
:: Your biggest success – Oh, there are lots of things I’m really thrilled about: being an Etsy Featured Seller; being invited to Selina Lake’s book launch last year as well some of the Selvedge fairs; then there’s a whole bunch of magazine features including being asked to design for Mollie Makes! When I first started my crochet business I had no idea that I would get this much recognition and it is utterly amazing!
:: Funniest moment – I don’t know about funny, but stupid certainly! A couple of years ago I was working on a cushion cover for myself (thankfully!) and managed to crochet each side in a different sized hook. I won’t admit how long it took me to realise why they wouldn’t match up but when I did I gave myself such a row, out loud. Poor Spanner (my dog) thought he was getting in trouble since he was the only one there with me! I’ve also got vague memories of crocheting a seven-sided octagon once, such an idiot!
:: Favourite quote – ‘Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.’ William Morris. Definitely words to live by.
:: Favourite motto – Trust your gut!
:: Favourite designer – Orla Kiely is a firm favourite of course, then I am a huge admirer of many of my fellow designer makers.
:: Favourite season – Spring first, because it is such a relief after the long and dreary British winters; then autumn because it stimulates such a wealth of creativity in us designer makers.
:: Business dream – To always be doing what makes me happy and continuing to have the courage to choose my own direction. Of course being paid a fair wage for my creative work is up there too, beautiful crochet is undervalued all too readily.
:: Favourite flower – I have a few: cyclamen, cowslip, astrantia, freesia, dandelion, peony, forget-me-not, daisy, rosebay willow herb, straw flowers… Um that’s more than one and I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few, but it’s impossible to narrow it down!
:: What are you listening to right now? – As I’m writing this, my Ipod is set on shuffle (it’s always on shuffle unless I need a T.Rex sing along moment) and the song playing right now is Josh Rouse, Sunshine (Come on Lady).
:: Your simple pleasure? – A hug from my Man; Spanner’s big brown eyes; the sun streaming through my window in the morning; the smell of the sea air; the sound of the waves on Crimdon beach and the smell of fresh cut herbs, basil and rosemary especially. I live for the simple pleasures in life.
:: What’s your brew? – Peppermint (preferably fresh mint) or lemongrass & ginger tea.
:: Tell us a joke – I can’t think of any funny ones…
Thank you so much Emma for that fab interview. I find Emma a huge inspiration, I follow her blog and it makes my day anticipating what stunning pictures I’ll see and the colours and excitement and creative juices that then ensue. I am beginning to lose count at how many garlands and pin cushions I’ve bought and I still NEED more. Her work is exquisite, am mean jaw droppingly so. Her service is THE BEST I have received, I never throw out her wrapping as it’s a work of art in itself. I know this sounds gushing but really it’s all true, she’s just that good. I met her at a fair last year and she is just the loveliest lady as is her mum (another exceptionally talented yarn master: a crooked sixpence), she has really helped me through a creatively tricky patch with her lovely encouraging emails. So thank you Emma for everything, you deserve all the success and recognition you are receiving and more to be honest, you’re simply a fab gal. xx