Designer Emma Kate Co. on Turning Setback into Success

"I see very clearly now that my lesson here was one of letting go and trusting."

emmakatecoPhoto by: Brooke Saward


It was amidst the fallout of a life crisis that Emma Kate Codrington saw the opportunity to create her Wild Hearts stationary collection. Suddenly finding herself back home in Adelaide, leaving behind her job (and life) in London when the visa she’d counted on didn’t work. On return home, Emma, who always suspected she would forge her own career path, realised she had nothing to lose.

“I decided to hit the ground running, lasso the big dream and throw myself headlong into chasing it with utter abandon, and heal and reclaim my strength along the way,” says the designer. “The path I’ve trod this past year has been one of utter devotion and a lot of sacrifice. I’ve given this dream everything I’ve got, but I’ve done this because I was in a position where I had no real accountability or expectation on me in other life roles – I was able to go full tilt.”

But her hard work has paid off – embellished with her distinct lettering and inspired by her travels, Emma’s work is now sold to more than 40 local and international stockists. “A lot of my designs feature arrows,” she says. “I love these because when you think about it, they can only be shot forward by first being pulled backward. This past year has been a time of being completely drawn backwards and retreating into my bow – painfully so, at times – and now, having reached a point of maximum tension, I’ve shot back out into the world – with loads of glitter.”

The adventurer, storyteller and social media star shares her tips on how to turn a setback into a successful business:

emmakatecoletteringPhoto by: Amy Agnew



I’m very particular about, and protective of, my brand. And I won’t compromise from that visceral instinct if something does not feel right, even if it could mean brilliant exposure or some other commercial benefit – I won’t pursue it.



No matter what. Consistently show up, and get amongst it. Create situations where you will be seen – in real life. Don’t hide behind an email address. Put yourself out there actively.



Sign up for online courses, night classes, or self-teach and dedicate time to learning and integrating. Devote to evolving, bettering, tweaking and becoming.



So much of my work is just me, myself and I – tucked away in my studio, doing the work. There hasn’t been balance for much of this year – it’s been a hard, and rather unglamorous slog of impossible deadlines, late nights, lack of sleep and constantly transcending upper limits.



It all comes down to connection, so nurture relationships and be authentic, consistent and beyond generous. Share what you know and be as helpful as possible. I really believe in rising together – in sharing little life hacks and ways to do things better. And when you put generosity out into the world, it comes back.



Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. The entrepreneurial path doesn’t come with guarantees so accept and embrace transience and the unknown. The more heart we put into our dreams, the higher the risk, but it’s really the only way. We’ve got to give our everything.



In this world (and especially on social media), opportunities that come about can be fickle and uncertain. Practise detachment at every moment to avoid the emotional rollercoaster of something incredibly exciting not eventuating. If something is meant for you, the universe will conspire it to be so, so do your best and trust that everything meant for you will come.


emmakatestylingPhoto by: Grace Alyssa Kyo (

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