Emily Jane Williams is a talented makeup artist first and foremost, and since 2012 has been a bonafide designer entrepreneur. She owns the emJ Company, a beauty business dedicated to helping professional makeup artists and hair stylists organise their kits in style. From makeup brush belts to bags, her designs have become infamous back stage, and loved all over social media. She’s just launched a line of lifestyle products for non-pros, that include iPad cases and more recently, laptop bags.
The laptop bags can fit up to a 15” laptop and are available in ten on trend colour and print combinations. The culmination of four years of design, testing, manufacturing and marketing development, emJ Company’s inimitable design and ethical construction offers women a piece of luxury on their arms. Even better, the emJ Company Totes fit the laptop bags perfectly inside for those days when you need a little more than your essentials!
I caught up with Emily to find out what makes her tick.
First of all, tell me a little bit about yourself, where are you from/where were you brought up?
I was bought up in a converted old victorian hoisery factory in Leicestershire within a very creative family. My mum was a fashion designer and my dad a carpenter, which meant creativity was in everything that we did! Growing up with self employed parents meant finances were always up and down and we would make things instead of buying them if we could. I guess it made my brother and I very appriciative of creative skills.
What’s your education background, where did you study?
I started my career part time doing make-up courses at Leicester College along side my a levels before going full time for two years. We covered everything from historical fashion make-up, wig making and high fashion to special effects prosthetics.
Did you always know that makeup was your calling?
When I was 11 years old, I went to a ‘careers evening’ where a lady called Laura Marshall (who was a make-up student at the time) created a big cut on my arm…. I knew from that moment all i wanted to do in life was to be a make-up artist!
Who are your creative inspirations, and why?
I am constanty being inspired by many make-up artists, In particular Peter Phillips, Adam Burrel, Lotstar and Val Garland, as well as my make-up friends and many other artists in the industry. The most exciting thing about make-up, I think, is that there is no right or wrong when it comes to creativity. If you keep your eyes open inspiration is everywhere!
You’ve worked with some fabulous names in the industry, from professional creatives to celebrities, tell me, who have been your favourites to work with, and why?
Oh gosh that’s a hard one! I really love working with Cosmo magazine. I’m lucky enough to work within the features department and every shoot is completely different whether it be for a juicy dating story or an emotional zero to hero tale. I have my favourite team who I tend to get booked with for a lot of campaigns- it’s so special when you have a team you love, who are all your friends and you can bounce creativity off of each other!
So tell me a little bit about The emJ Company, what inspired you to start your own company?
The emJ Company all kind of came out of the blue to be honest. It all stemmed from organising my own kit. I sewed some elastic onto a piece of fabric to organise pencils and before i knew it make-up artists were putting in orders for me to make them one! We started selling our pencil rolls on ebay. From there, everything started to snowball. We took ordinary pieces from hair and make-up kits and looked at how we could adapt them to be more exciting or useful!
What sets The emJ Company aside from your competition? What is the ethos behind it?
I am in an extremly lucky position with my Mum owning a manufacturing buisness. Because of this, we can be super experimental..We can create 1 new product and if it doesn’t sell, it’s fine! We can move on to the next idea. We have so much freedom to try and test products. Not many brands have access to this and would have to order hundreds and thousands of one item at a time.
And you’ve recently started selling to a wider audience haven’t you, what brought about that decision?
The idea of strong, independent entrepreneurial women really excites me! The aim is to reach out to the non profesional world but still create products which can enhance work life as well as being creative and fun!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given in regards to your business and aspirations?
I think when you start your own buisness it’s easy to want to do everything yourself because it’s your baby. My brother Tom brought to my attention how valuble time managment is. If you can pay someone else to help you with certain tasks it will free time for yourself to focus on the bigger picture! Stress clouds your thought path, so a clear mind is much more productive.
If you could advise anyone wanting to set up their own business, particularly in the creative industry, what would you say to them?
Start now!! It’s so easy to put things off until later and before you know it, life will get in the way! There is no such thing as not having enough time. Everything is based on priorities, so if you want something enough you will make it happen. Write lists and work to them every single day. Do industry research and be open to everyone that you meet…you never know who they might be! Connections are EVERYWHERE!
What are the top SS17 trends for hair and makeup. How would we achieve those looks?
My favourite trend right now is super glowy almost shimmery skin. Focus on healthy skin for best results. I adore the Laura Geller Baked Split Highlighter Duo for a dusting over the skin, cheekbones, down the nose and above the lips. The more matte side can be for everywhere else, and it still has tiny shimmer particles.
Smudgey eyemakeup is also a big trend this season and can be achived with a kohl pencil drawn over eyes and then smudged with your index finger or a fluffy brush. I love the 3INA Pencils for this!
Pops of metallics/chrome is also big this spring. Sweeps of chrome eyeshadows or metallic based liquid lipsticks really bring a look up to date!
Hair braids are very much on trend for the lead up to summer, in every shape and form! They are so fun to experiment with!
If you could only ever use one makeup or beauty product for the rest of your life, what would you choose, and why?
The Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Contour Kit becuase it can be used as a concealer, a foundation, a contour, bronzer and eyemakeup!
Which of your product lines are your absolute favourites, and why?
I am soooooo excited about our new Ipad Clutches! They come in the most delicious prints, have padding inside to protect your tablet and look super classy. Plus, they can be for anyone who uses a tablet or ipad! And of course, the laptop bags are fabulous too. They are crafted from premium cruelty-free leatherette and each laptop bag is stylish, practical and is spacious enough to fit a laptop, notebook, and other daily essentials.
And finally, what can we expect to see from you and your company in the future?