Interview Spotlight With Emily Hewett

Emily Hewett is the accomplished founder and creative force behind I am Emily Design and Marketing, an award-winning graphic design agency based in Essex. With a passion for translating visions into captivating visual narratives, Emily leads a team of experts dedicated to crafting compelling design solutions that resonate with clients and their target audiences.

Having garnered extensive industry experience, Emily boasts a diverse portfolio of successful projects spanning design, marketing, websites, and digital communications. With an unwavering commitment to excellence, Emily and the team deliver tailored strategies that enhance brand identity, drive engagement, and elevate businesses to new heights.

Renowned for their innovation and collaborative approach, I am Emily have been recognised for their outstanding contributions. As an advocate for creativity and effective communication, Emily continues to empower clients, guiding them toward considerate, impactful and meaningful design and marketing solutions that leave a lasting impression.

Emily’s unwavering commitment to her clients’ success is reflected in her hands-on approach, ensuring that each project is meticulously tailored to meet the unique goals and objectives of her clientele. Her dedication to maintaining strong relationships and delivering results-driven solutions has led to numerous partnerships and client success stories.

Thank you for interviewing with us today, can you introduce yourself to us?

Hey there, I’m Emily, the creative brain behind I am Emily Design & Marketing. When I’m not indulging in my love for good food, sipping on a delicious drink, exploring new places, or striking a yoga pose, you’ll find me and my fabulous award-winning team diving headfirst into the world of design and marketing.

From whipping up eye-catching graphics to cooking up killer marketing strategies, we’re all about making brands shine. We’re a one-stop shop, specialising in a whole bunch of cool stuff – think graphic design, nifty marketing, crafting websites that pop, and weaving digital wizardry.

Can you take us through your journey to where you are now?

I’ve been head-over-heels in love with design since I could barely hold a crayon straight. Fast forward through school and college, where I dove into anything and everything art and design-related, until I emerged with a degree in visual communication and a HND in advertising leading me to land a job in an award-winning direct response agency in Leeds as a senior art director which I loved and stayed at for 6 years. Life being life, tossed a few curveballs my way and led me to pack up and venture from North to South, kicking off my own business. And that’s when the fun really began.

Amidst juggling my creative pursuits, I grew my family – two amazing kids, three incredible step-children, a furball of energy, and my man who keeps me grounded. Since 2009, I’ve been crafting my reputation, especially with small to medium-sized businesses. My hard work even scored me a bunch of accolades and shiny awards along the way.

But I’m not just about designing pretty things, I’m all about making an impact, leaving a positive mark on my clients and the environment. A strong moral compass guides me, and a commitment to sustainability drives me.

Right now, I’m exactly where I want to be. I know myself inside out, mainly owing to my love for yoga and meditation, and I know my business like the back of my hand. So, there you have it – my journey from crayons to creating meaningful designs that make a difference.

Since starting, have you made any changes to your business model?

Sometimes you have the perfect business model right under your nose, but it takes an adventure to truly realise it!

For a decade, I crafted my business collaborating with freelance creatives offering clients a full service of expertise across the board but I thought I needed more. It was a “go big or go home” kind of itch and I teamed up with a young digital agency, becoming the joint director, complete with an office and employees.

From the get-go, there was this little voice whispering that something wasn’t right, deep down, I knew something was off, so I kept my original business on the side (thankfully) instead of going in with both feet. My gut feeling about the partnership was right! A year down the line, I waved goodbye, it turned out, my values, ethics, and morals were dancing to a totally different tune than my business partner’s and I realised I needed to go back to being me. But I wouldn’t change a thing. That experience was a precious lesson, a dazzling neon sign telling me that I was on the right track all along.

So, I’ve gone back to my roots, back to my original business model with my incredible team, who stuck by my side through all the twists and turns. Now, I’m back where I belong, creating stellar design and marketing solutions, taking care of my community, and doing it all with a rock-solid ethical compass. I’m a big believer in fate and it definitely played a part in my business journey so far.

Have you ever had a mentor? If so how has this benefitted you either personally or professionally?

The whole mentor thing is not really my style. I’ve never been big on the traditional mentorship gig, instead, I find myself inadvertently become a guide for my clients pointing them in the right direction for their businesses, but I’ve never reached out for that same guiding hand for myself.

Professionally, I’m a bit of a lone wolf, making choices based on what feels right at the time. Sometimes, I hit the bullseye, and sometimes, well, let’s just say it’s a learning process. But every twist and turn become lessons, helping me fine-tune my choices for the future.

On a personal front, though, I’ve got my little squad of helpers. There’s my incredible yogi I met while working on her website. Our weekly yoga sessions are like my mind and body reset button. And it’s not just about yoga she recognises when I need something different, whether that be massage, reiki, meditation or just a hug! Recently I also started seeing a therapist, we’re diving into the trenches of perimenopause together, figuring out coping strategies and finding the right path.

I’m all about being real. You won’t catch me pretending to have all my ducks perfectly aligned – those ducks sometimes have a party of their own and I’m cool with that! Sharing my journey, the ups, and the flapping-duck moments, has been like a secret weapon in business, people relate and that leads to trust. I might not be a mentor-chaser, but I’m all about the real deal – the wins, the hiccups, and everything in between. 

What outlets do use for marketing?

First and foremost, word of mouth and recommendation work wonders for me. Knowing that my clients are raving about my work and passing my name along makes me want to do a little victory dance. The fact that people genuinely love what we do and can’t wait to shout it from the rooftops is pure gold.

And then, there’s the networking game. I do play it, but I’m picky. I can’t stand networking that is all about racking up referrals like trading cards or getting trapped with that ‘serial networker’ that gives the same pitch time and time again – not my scene. I’m all about connecting with like-minded souls who get it, people I can genuinely chat, collaborate, and build lasting relationships with. I believe in quality over quantity, always.

Then there’s social media party. Instagram and Facebook are my go-to platforms, though I dabble in the others to keep a hand in it all. And, of course I’ve got a foot in the Linkedin door – can’t miss out on the professional gathering.

My website is always a work-in-progress although sometimes it gets a tad neglected when my project list goes wild, but I guess a builder’s home is never built!

What or Who has inspired you most recently?

I find that inspiration hides in the nooks of everyday life and I try and grab it from all corners – whether it’s my kids acing life, a friends big achievement, or my clients success. I meet a lot of people in my job and on my travels from all walks of life and their stories and journeys fuel my creative fire. Getting to know these incredible people, understanding their struggles and triumphs, is like an inspiration goldmine.

And I can’t forget my yoga guru – she’s a powerhouse of inspiration on a whole new level. She’s this constant learner, always reaching for more. And the way she sprinkles positivity and gratitude even in the stormiest situations is mind-blowing. She’s my pocket-sized cheerleader, reminding me to find the silver lining.

And honestly, I’d be thrilled if I’m able to sprinkle a bit of inspiration to those around me in my own way, too. 

What is the best piece of business advice you have received to date?

Amidst all the advice that’s thrown around, there’s one little nugget that’s become my business mantra and it happens to be the advice I gifted myself after a not-so-fabulous stumble. Follow your gut, girl, and trust yourself! It’s like having a built-in compass that rarely leads you astray and even when it does, it’s a lesson waiting to be unwrapped.

Another little trick I use when I’m knee-deep in a decision swamp is to step back and think, “What would I tell someone else in this situation?” Giving yourself a dose of your own medicine by trusting your instincts and heeding your own advice is a great starting point for anything and everything.

So, there you have it – my golden nuggets of business wisdom. Trust your gut and believe in your choices because chances are, you’re on the right track, and if you’re not? Well, that’s just a twist in your adventure.

How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?

Finding that sweet spot between work and personal life is like walking across a rickety bridge, and let me tell you, I’ve stumbled quite a bit along the way. Back in the day, I was a whirlwind of workaholic energy, striving to be the ultimate ‘everything’ until I hit a wall, and was forced into giving myself a reality check to stop my world from spiralling out of control.

This is far from a pity party, I faced the music, owned up to the chaos I’d created, and decided to take charge of my own ship. I learned to gauge how much work I can handle, when to dive in, and when to kick back. I realised people actually respect this approach – if they value what you bring to the table, they’ll wait for your creative magic.

Time management is my new best friend, I’ve kissed striving for perfection goodbye – turns out, it’s overrated! So, no more bending over backward to chase that unicorn, instead, I’ve made room for being present for all my kids and family and carved out some “me time” too.

Life is too short for burnouts and missed opportunities, if something amazing comes knocking, I’ll shift things around and grab it. Work’s important, but family, memories, well-being, and a good dose of “you time” are the VIPs on my list.

Name a seminal point in your career so far?

Picking a seminal point is impossible. I feel my career has been shaped from so many influences and moments, from the seasoned creative director who took me under his wing in my first job, to the times when I actually listened to my own advice – it’s all part of the mix. So, asking for that one “aha” moment is like chasing unicorns! Instead, I’m all about grabbing all the positive influences I can, the little gems that push me and my business forward. So, while I might not have that one seminal moment to share with you, what I do have is a whole heap of influences that keep me moving, growing, and doing what I love. 

What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?

Ultimate career satisfaction for me is a dynamic duo.

Firstly, there’s the work-life balancing act I mentioned before. It’s not just about smashing it every day in your career, but also thriving in everyday life beyond the office walls. Creating this happiness and structure is the key to the formula. 

The second part is seeing my clients succeed. Seeing my designs and strategies in action, and knowing they’ve played a part in someone else’s success story – that feeling is like a proud Mumma moment. I see something I’ve created and think “I did that!” it’s empowering.

This blend of personal accomplishment and being part of others’ victories is what creates the ultimate career satisfaction in my opinion.

Are there any leading entrepreneurs or SME leaders that you admire and if so, why?

I don’t have one shining star I look up to, I prefer to take influences from everywhere.

You’ve got the international household name entrepreneurs doing their thing and making waves, but then, there’s the unsung heroes, the solopreneurs who might be right next door who do amazing things every day. When you start to look around, listen to peoples stories, struggles and triumphs you realise that that it’s those who should be put on a pedestal and it’s those I admire.

I think everyone’s got their own unique spark that deserves admiration, so whilst I don’t have a shrine to a single leader I’ve got a mental collage of a whole heap of incredible humans who’ve carved their own path in business and in lifenand I applaud each and every one of them.

How do you define your own success?

Defining success is easy – it’s all about happiness. 

Life is a whirlwind and you’ve got to make every moment count. I’ve learned first-hand that it’s way too short to be stuck doing something that doesn’t light a fire in your belly and put a smile on your face.

I have found the winning combination of being an expert in my field, the go-to person clients trust with their business dreams and recommending me to others whilst thriving in my roles as a parent, a partner and a friend – it means my work and my career is not just about me or defined by me, it’s about the wider picture, the people around me who contribute and support my success – it’s a collaboration.

Finally, what can we expect from you next?

Honestly, the future’s a bit of a mystery even for me. But I have plans to expand my network and collaborate with some amazing people so I can continue to give my clients top-notch service and solutions. 

I’ve made finalist in two categories in the Best Businesswoman Awards for Best Businesswoman in a Creative Business and Best Solopreneur so fingers crossed for that – I’ll be cheering on all the amazing women in business at the event at the end of September.  

And as I’m not one to let opportunities slip through my fingers. If they come knocking, I’m there, with both hands wide open. So, while I can’t predict every twist and turn ahead, I’m in for the ride, whatever is thrown my way.  

 

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