After winning a pitch contest, Emma Veiga-Malta was flown to Silicon Valley to talk about expanding her successful online design-it-yourself chair business, My Bespoke Chair, to the US.
However, while she thoroughly enjoyed the experience, what she realised was that by expanding her business she’d lose the core element of what she loved to do, and that was create beautiful things. “By expanding my business, all of sudden I would lose touch with my clients, I wouldn’t be creating fabrics myself or doing my chairs myself and that all made me quite sad,” explains Emma. “So I thought, no! I need to use everything I learnt in Silicon Valley and pivot my business so that I’m adding services that I love to give my clients. And I know that my clients need.”
So began Emma’s new venture, I Love My Chair, which with six different services, offers custom fabric design, fabric sourcing, chair sourcing, chair repairs, ready-to-buy chairs (designed by Emma herself), and design-it-yourself chairs under the umbrella of My Bespoke Chair. “While working on My Bespoke Chair, I realised a lot of people actually already owned chairs they wanted to have redesigned rather than buying new. Customers were coming to me asking if I could help with their redesign; so I thought hang on, there’s a real business here! Now My Bespoke Chair has become one of the services I offer, instead of being the only service.”
Based in Sydney, I Love My Chair is very much a collaborative process between designer and customer, with Emma seeing herself as a style advisor. “People come to me and we work together to get their chair looking beautiful again. I’m really a style advisor for their chairs. So instead of being an online business, it’s a collaborative business. People have that one-on-one with me and that’s what gets me really excited!”
With a degree in fashion and textiles and having worked as an artist and designer for the last 16 years, Emma is very familiar with the creative industries. Whether it be painting and designing fabrics, or giving a new lease of life to that heirloom chair, Emma’s main drive is transforming something you hid in the garage into a piece that is worthy of centre stage. “The creative process is what gets me really excited. I just love what I do and I think you can really tell that through my work.”