Women Who Create / Emma Nicol

This week Emma Nicol of Re:Done furniture talks to us about her journey from London arts educator through becoming a mum into working hard to create her dream business. How her experience of there never being a right time to start a creative business but that passion, sheer will, dedication and community can help you break through the boundaries along the way!

Tell us a little about your background... 

I did a degree in Graphic Design at Nottingham Trent Uni then a few years later I did a PGCE and MA in Art and Design education at the IOE, University of London. I spent 7 years teaching until I left my job as the Head of Art, Design and Technology at a secondary school in South London and moved back to Nottingham to have a baby. It was during my maternity leave that I decided there was no better time to start my creative business and try and turn my passion into my full time job.

Do you have creative habits or rituals within your work that help you stay focussed and happy?

I always have to start with a cup of tea and crank up the music while I sit down and start making lists! More often than not it’s London Grammar that gets played first. It’s become something of a ritual.

What two things can't you live without?

Music and my phone. It sounds too obvious but as most of my business and marketing is done via my phone and I’m always on the go or chasing around after a toddler, I have to snatch those moments where I can in order to keep my social media updated or make another list! I’d be lost without it.

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What is your biggest source of inspiration?

Seeing other creatives just going for it and making their small business dreams come true. That, and a distressed surface. Something raw and rough with a story to tell, a hidden gem found in the unlikeliest of places.

What is the meaning of 'creativity' to you?

An innate desire to create something new that brings you inner peace and happiness. An intuitive response to a need.

If you could collaborate on a creative project or idea with anyone... who would it be & why?

Locally I’d love to work with Eloise Renouf, her work just blows me away. And I have a collaboration planned with the wonderful Tatie Lou already. But if the sky was the limit I’d love to collaborate with Lucienne Day.

Do you have a favourite piece of equipment that inspires your day to day process?

I do love a bit of sandpaper for teasing out those layers and creating a distressed surface.

What is the best thing about running your business?

Being able to make all the decisions and make my own rules. Of course that can be the most difficult thing at times too.

What is your proudest creative moment in your journey so far?

Every time a complete stranger buys one of my pieces I get a little pang. It’s lovely when friends and family buy your wares but to know that people are buying because they genuinely love the product…that feels amazing.

What one piece of advice would you share with fellow women who creates to help them on their business journey

Something that I need to tell myself regularly… there are plenty of obstacles for one reason or another but if you believe in what you do and set yourself small goals along the way to achieve your ultimate dream… then it can happen. Being a single mum and running a business is tough and I’ve got a lot to learn and achieve still, but in moments of clarity I know that I’m doing the right thing in the long term for my son’s future and for myself.


You can contact or follow Emma's process and journey over on her Ftsy page