I started making wedding stationery when I was still working full time in the corporate world, about 12 years ago.
Was it full time? Part time?
The wedding stationery business was part time. However, about 9 years ago I left my full time job and opened Imagine that - a bricks and mortar craft shop in Upminster (Essex). That was definitely a full time job. I closed the bricks and mortar shop just over two years ago - but still run the retail website, teach classes and hold a regular crop in the area.
What type of job at first? Did you started as a creative straight away?
My first few jobs were definitely not creative - before I opened imagine that... I worked in the corporate world for over 25 years - doing secretarial, admin or HR roles.
How do you describe your job nowadays?
I have to admit, how to describe my current job is something I have been struggling with for a while. It's a mixture of different things. At the moment I am the owner of Imagine that (and all that entails).
I also design for, and help out at PaperArtsy, and recently started teaching classes at other shops. Maybe my current job definition is: teacher, designer and business owner?
Is it hard to work full/part time in the craft industry? Can you name your major challenges you face?
I think the biggest challenges are time and money - whether you're working full or part time. If I add up all of my roles, then I am easily working 50 hours a week, but as a single person, I struggle to earn enough regularly in the industry to support myself independently.
I love what I do, but that is incredibly frustrating. Non-creatives in particular don't seem to understand or appreciate the value of creatives time or finished projects. And of course there is never enough time to get everything done and try all those new ideas out.
Out of everything you do and have done, what is your favourite?
I love designing and teaching. I've designed over 40 stamp sets (and flair buttons) for imagine that... and 10 stamp sets for PaperArtsy. I love the design process and then seeing what other crafters make with the actual stamps.
I also really enjoy teaching ... seeing people go home happy with what they've made, and with a new skill or idea under their belt, is incredibly satisfying.
Your proudest moment and achievement?
Moment: Opening the doors at imagine that... (there was a queue waiting outside!). Achievement: Becoming a PaperArtsy signature designer.
What is your favourite project type and your fav colour?
I love most of them ... I've always been a huge fan of cards and mini albums ... and more recently journaling and pocket scrapbooking. I want to have a go at some abstract art type home decor items ... watch this space! I love bright colours most, but can also happily use grungy/vintage too.
Where you go for inspiration?
Pinterest is great for spotting trends and getting ideas. I also like reading other creative blogs and going to workshops. Trying out new things can lead to great discoveries!
What is next for you?
In the future I would like to concentrate more on designing, teaching and demoing, especially as I have just recently been confirmed as a WOW Demonstrator. I am also look into selling some of my home decor items through local shops or Etsy.
And finally, do you remember when we first met? Any good/bad impressions?
I feel like I've known you forever! I think our first meeting was at the ICHF trade show many years ago ... and of course there were no bad impressions! One of the things I like most about this industry, is that there are an awful lot of lovely people in it ... and you're definitely one of them.
You can find Emma here: