Emma Kate Codrington is a designer, storyteller, adventurer. Her company Emma Kate Co. is a beautiful stationery and lifestyle brand, creating designs with heart-crafted brush strokes and splashes of bright colour. Her work brings a smile and sparks the imagination.
Last year I visited the Top Drawer stationery trade show with Emma, and it was a dream of hers to come back and be part of this event. She’s done it. Show application successful, products designed and printed, plane ticket booked. Here we find Emma in Adelaide, preparing for her London Show.
I’ve (unofficially) been designing and illustrating ever since I could hold a pencil! When I was 15, I met the founder of the international stationery brand Intrinsic. We connected powerfully, and Adèle soon became my mentor, and later my employer. She helped me realise that I could actually make a living doing the creating I adored.
Creating ideas comes naturally to me. Composition too. I love arranging things in the world – through a lens, on a design, on a plate.
There is no such thing as a typical day! I’ve always been an early riser – so that’s always a constant. I love to be up with the sun! I always start my day with brewing tea and lighting my oil burner, and checking through emails. As I work with all sorts of lovely people around the globe, it’s always a treat to wake up and see what’s popped up overnight. My days alternate between freelance days (project and commission work for clients) and business days (working on my own stationery + lifestyle collection, launching next month!). I tend to work from cafes a lot, as I love the background noise (and the good coffee at my fingertips).
My biggest block is saying NO. I find it really hard but am getting better. I’m learning the value of energy – and how it’s really my greatest currency. Much more than financial currency. I have felt called to protect my energy more lately, from negative relationships, from expectations and from over-committing.
The challenge is not having enough hours in a day! And business strategy. Goodness, I have SO much to learn about how to do business.
To wind down, I like Driving + loud music (in a releasing type way, not hype-up kind of way). Wine and cheese with girlfriends also peppermint tea before sleep.
One year ago I was on a very different life trajectory, and where I’ve ended up today is literally a world away from what I had ever imagined. When I found myself on a one-way plane trip back to Australia after two years living and loving in London, this was a definite break point. It was a surreal experience to have every construct of accountability, routine, and life structure fall by the wayside. Conversely, it gave space for a brand new beginning with endless scope and freedom – for anything I wanted.
I had a lofty, far-off dream to launch my own stationery line, and, simultaneously a lot of grieving to get out of my system. They helped each other out. I made a conscious decision to just throw myself full tilt towards the big dream, and keep momentum, no matter what. Now, I’ve booked a visit back to London, to do so on my terms this time. WITH my big dream, and a much, much stronger heart. Happy days!
A project which has definitely resonated with me is the piece I scripted on how it felt to leave London, which was gratefully published on Huffington Post. I wrote it in the early days of being back at home. It was a very cathartic, intimate piece to put out there. I’ve received so many emails from people all over the world who related to those feelings, which was a big comfort. It’s also nice to read now, and realise just how far I’ve come in my headspace and the whole ‘moving on’ thing. I’m really glad I have these words to remember that big, awful, heartbreaking time in my life. It was a time of… unfurling.
Emma’s Heartfirst lettering workshops around Australia
My attitude to life is this: to show up. No matter what. Just show up, and get amongst it. Mary Oliver said, “tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life” and I really consciously consider that at most moments. I want to live my life on purpose. I want my life to count. I want to help, I want to inspire. I want to live my life wildly and treat it as exceptionally precious. I don’t want routine or rules or mediocrity – I want every day to be full of adventure and abandon – and it is.
Planes get me really, really excited! But seriously. I can’t tell you how much I love airports. I am so happy when I’m in departure lounges. Happiest when I am ON the plane. If you ever fly with me, you’ll get this. I can’t wipe the smile off my face above the clouds.
Love stories make my heart happy, too. I love love.
Thank you Emma! x