Coffee, Gratitude And Love with Emma Kate
I introduce to you the sweet souled Emma Kate, who is a designer, blogger, author, world adventurer, and founder of the Emma Kate Co. stationery/lifestyle brand and design studio.
With her lighthearted and whimsy designs, Emma Kate is in the business of making days all over the planet – for customers, virtual visitors, creative clients, and everyone in between. With heart-crafted brush strokes and splashes of bright colour, her fresh, one-of-a-kind works inspire unbridled freedom, unabashed love, and unforgettable kindness.
Soul Sister Circle chats to Emma about her love for typography, the wanderlust gene and what life is like jet setting off to magical places each week.
SSC: So lets begin with a little bit about you, who is Emma? How would you describe yourself in three words and what gets you up in the morning?
Emma: Hello! In three words I’d describe myself as a Creative – a Wanderer – a Seeker. More descriptively, Emma is a freelance designer, turned travel writer turned stationery label figuring-it-out-in-business-and-life spirit. Mostly, I live stories and I write about them. In my art. In articles. In the images and content I capture amongst the adventure.
Coffee gets me up in the morning. Gratitude gets me up. And love does. Love and total, utter awe for the world, and everything in it.
SSC: What does a normal day in the life of Emma Kate Co. go like?
Emma: There’s no such thing as a regular day in the life of a perpetual traveller. Honestly, lately I seem to be a plane more weeks than I am not, hopping interstate over to some caffeine locale for meetings, or a travel experience, or some other love-fuelled reason (like dating a gorgeous man who resides interstate). There are some constants. I always start the day lying still for a few moments, setting intentions and a purpose for the day ahead, and sorting through emails with a cup of English Breakfast tea. Always tea before coffee (a hangover from living a few years in London, I suppose). And every day involves creating, to some extent – via photography, graphic design, content creation or dreaming up a new dream.
SSC: You are have been so fortunate to travel to some truly beautiful, exotic and breath taking places around the world. Tell us about your travels and how wanderlust has become you? What is your favourite place to date that you have ever visited and why? And where would you like to travel next?
Emma: I have, and I am so grateful! Travel is everything to me. Seriously it is. I know that I’m my happiest when I am wandering lost alleyways of a strange and wonderful city. It’s such a difficult thing to decide on a favourite place, but my gut feel is to say Turkey. It’s such an exquisite country of colour, texture, kindess and contrasts. I travelled there solo at a hugely challenging time, when I was utterly lost, and it was such a pivotal time in my becoming, so I think that’s why I remember Turkey with such gratitude and importance.
Next? I’d love to return to Japan, for the familiar and to dig deeper in a place I deeply love. And I’d love to see the salt flats of Bolivia.
SSC: Who do you look up to, or is your role model and why?
Emma: Anyone dancing to the beat of their own drum has my full respect. I look up to anyone who is just going for it, despite circumstance, expectation, risk and the ‘done’s or ‘should’s.
My beautiful friend Jody just resigned from her corporate job to pursue her dreams and live in her zone of genius, which is SO much more than the role she had to fulfill there, and I am proud as punch and also so inspired by her.
My (now late) Pappa was my role model and hero. The way he lived, so simply, humbly and generously will always be such an inspiration to me.
SSC: With not working the typical 9-5 job, how do you balance work and life and everything in between? How have you made working for yourself work for you and your lifestyle?
Emma: In short, and honestly? I don’t. I live a life of immersion, and I think that’s the only way I will be able to exist and thrive as a creative.
I live and breathe this dream. Work spills into my life, my life spills into my work, the line between the two is fuzzy and I like – no. I love it that way. My work is absolutely an extension of myself, because I am my brand. But more than that – my retailers become confidants, my collaborators become best friends, and when I really think about it, my downtime is always just as filled with self-directed creative projects – as ‘work’ time is. I’m always accountable to my inbox – my laptop and my Instagram feed comes everywhere with me – but I don’t see that as unbalanced. I think for creative entrepreneurs it’s different than a typical employment field. We’re in this industry because we want complete immersion.
What I will say here, is that over this past year, I’ve learnt steeply and quite severely that that creativity does need rest. An empty well of creativity will refill itself a number of times from sheer passion, drive and love for a craft – but the supply isn’t infinite.
Another lesson this past year has been one of visibility and sharing. The more ‘visible’ I get, the more protective I feel about carving space for downtime and nurturing privacy – experiences and precious time with loved ones that aren’t documented on a camera roll, or captured anywhere, except in my heart. So the more I’m visible, the more I find myself unattached to my phone and cherishing the undocumented.
And… I’m learning that while I can maybe do anything, I cannot do everything. I want to do so much, but hours of the day are finite – and it’s pivotal to prioritise.
SSC: How did you get into typography? And what is it about typography that draws you in and makes you sing with happiness doing it?
Emma: I’ve always written things by hand and over time, I seem to have unconsciously evolved my handwriting into something distinctive and unique. I started when I was five, when I wrote intricately detailed letters to faeries living at the bottom of my garden. Throughout university I designed bespoke wedding stationery and my handwriting always appeared as a feature on these. Hand lettering has recently become so on trend, but for me, it’s an ongoing tool in my designing skillset. Hand or brush lettered typography, for me, is freedom. I write where my hand takes me. It’s spontaneous and uncontrolled and totally free. I could never make a font from my handwriting, because it’s forever changing and totally inconsistent with how I cross my ‘t’s or letter my ‘r’s. Lettering is a meditation. When I’m with my brush, I’m totally in it, lost in the moment, yet absolutely present. It’s my happy place for sure.
SSC: What is the best advice or words of wisdom you have received in your life? And how have you used it over this time to inspire you?
Emma: I was in Morocco recently and found myself riding a mule down a cliff face in the High Atlas Mountains (as you do, right?). I was equally terrified and enlivened… but mostly terrified!
I think my Sherpa picked up on my anxiety and at one point stopped the mule in his tracks, mid-mountain-scale, looked me in the eye and mustered his best English to say very purposefully three words: “Just. Trust. Mule.” At the time, it got me through that mountainous terrain, but in coining greater wisdom/meaning about general life, I’d say just trust in the ride. I know it’s going to get wild at times… but I know that I’m safe in the freefall, ultimately.
SSC: What can we expect to see in the future for you and your business? Do you have any other hopes and dreams for the future that you can share with us?
Emma: I have many dreams for the future! I see stationery. Maps. Books. Coffees. Travels. Big adventures. Small adventures. Wild adventures. Everyday adventures. And love. A great love, that’s like wildfire, boundless, free and illuminating like nothing before.
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Bec Van Leeuwen is a truth-seeker, devoted wife and mother, a globe-trotter, a nature lover and a human potential activist. Her mission is to support and inspire awakening women who are on a quest to create real and lasting change in their lives, their communities and the world.