30th January 2020

Emma Jeffs has been a pivotal part of Cockpit’s Business Incubation team since joining us in November 2017. Juggling this demanding role as a Creative Business Coach alongside her own textile design practice, N&N Wares, has been an immense task but one Emma has excelled at and made valuable contributions to all the businesses she’s worked with.

Q. You initially took on the role of Creative Business Coach as a maternity cover. When the opportunity arose to extend that contract, what were the main factors that influenced you?
I had a great year covering the maternity leave. Cockpit got into my head and heart and I couldn’t say no. I really loved working with the Cockpit team and being part of a unique forward-thinking organisation. In my opinion, one of the main elements of effective coaching for a craft business, is to work with a client over a sustained period. To really make an impact, you need to build trust and openness and this takes time. Coaching skills are also like muscles and they must be used regularly to keep them strong, so extending the contract gave me the perfect opportunity.

Q. You’ve worked closely with a varied group of businesses at Cockpit. What have been the biggest challenges?
I try to approach challenge as an opportunity to learn new skills, to gain new knowledge and experience. What I value about coaching creatives is that I am learning all the time so whilst the variety and stages of businesses at Cockpit is a challenge, it’s also a great benefit for a coach as you really get to develop.

Q. And the best rewards over the past two years?
Without a doubt, seeing real change in clients’ businesses where they have worked hard and the results are gaining momentum, taking them where they want to go or what they wanted to achieve. To be an enabler of that is a real privilege, rewarding and energising

Q. Juggling a ‘portfolio’ career is not uncommon for many makers – how has that been for you?
I’ve had a portfolio career for nearly 20 years and interestingly, recently I heard it referred to as a ‘Multi Hyphen’ career. Apparently in the future job market, potentially everyone will have portfolio careers. In the beginning it was a necessity; like many makers I wasn’t making enough income solely from my business but later I realised I thrived on it and it was important to my own personal development. But it does need a strategy, planning and a checkup like any other business model.

Q. You’re moving on from Cockpit from February – although still maintaining N&N Wares – tell us a little about what you have planned.
I have a goal to develop some new personal creative work and I am excited to work on a pilot project. Here I will bring my experience of working with creative practitioners and businesses but to new groups who are outside of Craft Sector to support them to develop, make and sell.

I started N&N Wares in 2012. I’d had another creative business prior to this with a different product basis which I started in 2000. With N&N Wares, I examine the digital mark along with the handmade. I also work as a freelance print designer which keeps me connected to what is happening in the commercial world. I will continue coaching and mentoring outside of Cockpit too.

Q. So 2020 is going to by a busy one then – no change there! Please tell us that you take time out occasionally – what’s your go-to unwind?
This year it will be gardening. I am overhauling a small garden from scratch and I can’t wait to move on from planning to planting … roll on Spring.