Small businesses in Australia continue to push the boundaries of our ‘glocal’ economy. The ShortPress Small Talk series profiles a diverse range of small businesses to find out what they do and what makes them tick.
LOCAL DESIGN is an online hub that caters to people within the Australian design scene. Here, we talk shop with founder Emma Elizabeth to learn more.
ShortPress: Describe your small business.
Emma Elizabeth: A curated online hub to find uniquely designed interior products, opinions and ideas by creative professionals within the Australian design scene. LOCAL DESIGN is a platform for local designers by local designers, providing a unified voice, a marketplace and network for anyone to access. From shopping for a product, to sourcing a creative for a specific project, LOCAL DESIGN is a site that caters to all your design-conscious needs online and offline.
ShortPress: What inspires you as a business owner?
EE: I'm inspired by the current time and technology that surrounds us. There's a sense of adrenalin that comes with creating a new business in this era. You have to adapt at the drop of a hat and change to work with an ever-changing designer landscape.
ShortPress: What does a typical day look like for you?
EE: Coffee and then into our creative concept space, where the collaborative approach to business is one that keeps me going and laughing. The day is full of emailing, brainstorming, and sourcing new designers and clients. Each day is different, with diverse challenges and outcomes, which I thrive on. I also like to reflect through evening runs and beach fitness classes.
The creative community is full, like all communities, with a diverse range of people and opinions, some of which you agree with and some of which you don’t.
ShortPress: What have your biggest challenges been so far and how have you overcome them?
EE: Time is always a challenge as I also work full-time as a designer and stylist within my own brand Emma Elizabeth Designs, but creating lists and setting objectives through the weeks sees me stay somewhat sane.
ShortPress: What about your biggest learnings?
EE: The creative community is full, like all communities, with a diverse range of people and opinions, some of which you agree with and some of which you don’t. I have learned to take on board a vast array of positive and negative criticism over the years, which you live and learn from, but I tend to hold my head high, giggle and try to remain Switzerland.
ShortPress: If you could start over again, would you do anything differently?
EE: I've always worked for myself, which means I've never had an employer, a salary, a time to work in someone else’s business and learn from it. I went straight from university into creating my own business, which has had its pros and negatives. Yet I think if I had my time again, I would've worked full-time for a company or person in my younger years. Then again, if I'd have done that I may not be at this point in my career.
I look up to creative women in the design/style business who've stood the test of time whether they be “big” business or “little” business.
ShortPress: What advice would you give to budding small business owners?
EE: Work alongside someone to create your small business. Collaboration and strength in numbers is something I didn’t have when I started Emma Elizabeth Designs, which has taken me ten years to establish. With LOCAL DESIGN I've joined forces with my brother James Coffey and I won’t lie: Creating something together has been challenging, as we both have very different sides to our brains, with big personalities to match, but the fast-tracked progression of a duo approach is quite incredible.
ShortPress: Name the business leaders you look up to and why.
EE: I look up to creative women in the design/style business who've stood the test of time whether they be “big” business or “little” business. Vivienne Westwood, Andree Putman, Iris Apfel, Yayoi Kusama – I'm jealous of their experiences across such strong past eras, yet their visions and creations are forever etched in my mind due to their strong opinions and aesthetics.
ShortPress: Where to from here?
EE: LOCAL DESIGN will be launching globally during Milan Design Week in April, the world's largest and most influential design show. We're hoping to not just put the designers who are involved on the map, but to give the world the opportunity to view and understand the Australian design aesthetic. We're all about supporting, promoting and expanding the Australian design scene, fingers and toes crossed!