A good story is like a net, it catches our typically fleeting attention and holds it. Whether you prefer novels, podcasts or Netflix, it’s more than likely that stories have, to some extent, shaped the person you are today.
Everyone has a story, and in keeping with our brand, I thought I’d begin our journal by telling you one of mine. I Googled ‘what makes a good story’, and apparently a good story must have; a theme ‘something important the story tries to tell us – something that might help us in our own lives’and a good plot ‘a plot is most often about a conflict or circumstances that the main character goes through’. What I am about to share hopefully does both. I was going to start by sharing stories about my internships and career up to now, but this story begins years before that.
My story begins when I was six years old. I lived on a long street, lined with trees. At the base of each tree was a small square, of either bare earth or tangled weeds. On a weekend trip to the garden centre, I asked my mum if we could buy flowers to plant in each of the neglected squares on the street. Naturally, due to the vast amount of flowers required my mum refused…”We can’t buy flowers for everyone”.
After much deliberation, I proposed that I should ask everyone on the street if they would like to contribute to the cost of brightening up the squares in front of their house, by planting them with pansies. Impressed with my initiative, my parents generously granted me the upfront investment for my shopping trip to the garden centre. And so, my first business was born. I hand painted ‘Emily’s gardening club’ on to a piece of paper and neatly sellotaped it to a bucket, full of my newly purchased tools. I guess that was my first logo too!
The next day I woke early for my first day of door-to-door sales. For the not so keen neighbours, I threw in complementary free watering, forever (I think I may have neglected the forever part). My first venture was a great success; I had a bucket full of pound coins and we had a very beautiful looking street to prove it.
Twenty years later, and two years into my role as Creative Director at Tonik, I went to a talk and breakfast event in Sheffield. The speaker, Felicity Hoy, spoke boldly about careers and ‘being your truest self’. She explained how the activities you did as a child before the real world got in the way were probably quite a good indication of what you should be doing now. And whilst I don’t think I’m going try my hand at gardening anytime soon, I do think I always had a desire to make things more beautiful. For years, it’s been my dream to start my own business. The sheer excitement the six-year-old me felt waking up for a day of running a business has never been forgotten, and I’m thrilled to be getting all those feelings again.
I loved my job at Tonik and it taught me some vital lessons that have allowed me to confidently take this next step and it was, This transition has taught me so much, but above all – if you ever have an idea, be brave, do it and never look back. And if you need help with branding or marketing well… you know where to come to begin your story.
This transition has taught me so much, but above all – if you ever have an idea, be brave, do it and never look back. And if you need help with branding or marketing well… you know where to come to begin your story.