Small Business Saturday UK: Emma Lawrence Designs

In honour of Small Business Saturday UK this weekend we've been chatting to some of the Small Businesses we have the pleasure of working with. This time round it's Emma Lawrence Designs, an artist inspired by the natural world. 

How long have you been running your business?

Approximately 18 months


How did Emma Lawrence Designs start?

I have always had a love of drawing and was creative from a young age.  Nature has also always been an interest.  I started to design and make cards for friends and family and then created my first children’s book as I felt there was a gap in the market to educate children about nature and help them value all the little creatures. At the time I was working full time as a Consultant Neuropsychologist, having had a career in the NHS for over 20 years.  With two young children, wanting to spend more time with the family and spending more and more time drawing and undertaking commissions, I took the leap and handed in my notice!


Describe Emma Lawrence Designs for us?

Emma Lawrence Designs creates a range of greetings cards, stationery and gifts which are designed to make you smile.  The unique, fresh and appealing style is inspired by the natural world and popular subjects such as animals and country living. Emma Lawrence is also the illustrator and author of the Little Nature Explorers® series of children’s books which are fun and educational.  The detailed illustrations have been developed into a range of stationery and giftware which suits boys and girls of a wide age range.


What are the challenges in running a small business?

Some of the challenges are juggling family life and trying to manage your time, especially when working from home.  Financial pressures are always around when you start a new business and it can be difficult to make the time to focus on the business side rather then the fun bits of the drawing and designing side.


With all that you have achieved so far in your business, what are you most proud of?

I think I am proudest of winning a stand at the Manchester Stationery Show this year as a launchpad winner for my new children’s stationery range.  I am also proud that I have had my third book published and just had my first brochure printed.  It reflects all the designs and ranges that I have developed and showcases them in one place.


What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting up their own business?

Go for it!  But be aware that it isn’t easy and there will be ups and downs, particularly whilst trying to get established.  Working out which direction to go in can be one of the hardest things so plan carefully.


What are your plans for your business in the future?

To develop further ranges including gift wrap and tags, undertake more commissions and establish licensing partnerships for some designs.


Do you have a favourite/best-selling product?

I think it would be my greetings cards which feature Labradors, cats or the Shropshire sheep wearing wellies!  My favourite product is the new Colour-in Cards and Wildflower Seed Paper for children. The designs are based on the Little Nature Explorers® books. There are 10 fun cards and envelopes in a box which are 100% made from recycled post-consumer waste which is amazing!  The wildflower seed paper is such a fun and easy way to introduce gardening and the idea of pollinators to children.


With Christmas just around the corner, tell us why we should be buying from Emma Lawrence Designs?

Because the designs are unique, fun, fresh and appealing.  All the cards and products are made in the UK.  You will be bringing a smile to the recipient and certainly a smile to me.  It’s great to support local small businesses.


Apart from online, where else can we buy your art, prints, cards and gifts?

From Anne Reeves Jewellery pop up shop, Next to the Bridge pop up shop, Write Here, Shrewsbury, Longden Post Office, Cooking Kneads, Shrewsbury, White Orchard, Shrewsbury, Heather Brae, Leebotwood, and Castle Gallery, Ludlow. In addition, 2 & 3 December at Telford International Centre Festive Gift Fair.