Who are you/what do you do?
My name is Emily and I run a lifestyle brand, named Emily Rollings with my husband Dan. Our brand mission is to help our customers embrace every day. Our focus with our products (at the moment mainly journals and planners) is on quality and timeless design. We’re based in the Cotswold where we live with our three young children.
How has Covid changed your business?
It’s most certainly focused us a lot. Like many online businesses the pandemic saw our sales increase over the initial months of lockdown. Longer term, it’s given us the time to evaluate what matters to us in our business most and if anything further confirmed our mission to help elevate the everyday for our customers.
Is there a story behind the name (if it's not your own?)
The brand name is my own, but it’s also my husband Dan’s name (as Rollings was his surname first) and I love this because he is with me every day running the brand alongside me.
How old is the business and how did you get started?
I started in 2015 with a collection of wedding stationery and birth announcements, it was only after we launched our first journals that the business became what it is today.
Our style is certainly simple and timeless with a focus on neutrals and muted colours. We are best known for our first ever journal ‘Birthday Letters to my Baby’ which I created back in 2016. It holds a huge amount of meaning for me as I created it after our first child was born and every time we send one to another parent I feel so honoured that they have chosen our journal as a part of their parenting journey.
Who/what/where inspires you?
My children inspire me. To be around the pure creativity of a child is like nothing else. I feel that they connect me back to my own childhood creativity and of course, there are all the things I want to create to make their world beautiful and magical.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Lots of different things, but probably most of all a singer/songwriter. I still love singing, but when I left school I had a real moment of epiphany when I just knew that was not what I wanted for my career. I had no idea I would end up doing what I do now.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Embrace the time you have to focus on learning. You don’t have to get everything right. Cherish your creativity. Enjoy the simple privilege of being free of responsibilities.
How did you learn your craft?
I was self taught as a Graphic Designer. I have always created art of some sort throughout my life. In terms of Product Design (which is more what I do now) I have absolutely learnt as I go, along with the amazing help of all the suppliers and manufacturer who pointed me in the right direction when I was lost.
What do you do on your days off?
I garden. Being in the garden is a total escape from me and a major creative project. I’ve got back into reading since becoming a mother and have definitely rediscovered a love of literature. I also love to spend time with my friends and family and nothing makes me happier than hosting people I love in our home.
Biggest highlight or achievement to date?
Being nominated for awards like a Not on the High Street award and recently a Great British Entrepreneur Award are always a highlight, but my biggest achievement is honestly the messages I get from parents who’ve bought our journals or long-time planner customers who buy our planner every year. Nothing really beats that.
I feel like the life of an entrepreneur and creative is one of near constant decisions; creative decisions, financial decisions, operational decisions. You never want to get it wrong, but it’s inevitable. Very few entrepreneurs are trained to be business owners, so always having to learn new skills is a big challenge.
What sparks joy in what you do?
Creating something new, that I love and want to have in my life, and that I believe will help or delight someone else too.
Dream stockists/brand to collaborate with?
If I could do a collaboration with any brand it would probably be Goop. I love their ethos and how they’re unafraid to ruffle some feathers.
Any lessons you'd pass on?
Know who your customer is and what they want. If you create something that is genuinely wanted, I believe that you will always find a way to make it work. Don’t overlook your cashflow (this took me years to learn). Have a vision for what you are creating and why it matters.
What's next for you and your business?
We’re expanding our product range at the moment into accessories and homewares, which has been a long time coming. I’m so excited!