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5 Life Lessons With Hankie Pankie Founder, Emma Brookes

When it comes to tablescaping, there is no one better than Emma Brookes. Turning a passion for pretty things and an enviable attention to detail into a successful international business, we talk to Emma from Hankie Pankie about the trials of designing, sourcing and founding a business in the time of COVID. 


1. Go with your gut. When I decided to open Hankie Pankie, I had no formal retail or design experience, just a love for interiors and beautiful things. I really saw that Singapore and wider Asia had a clear gap in the market for the kind of items I was wanting to buy myself so after months of thinking about it and asking friends and family, I just went with my gut and launched the brand.
 2. Be yourself - I like to think that Hankie Pankie's aesthetic is an extension of me. When I'm designing patterns or colours, I think about what would fit in my house or what I can see my friends picking up. Not all of the pieces will be for everyone but each of the pieces had been thought through carefully and really lovingly handpicked by me.
3. Know your limits - I like to say that I now have four kids with Hankie Pankie being my fourth! But at the end of the day, I do have a busy family life and as the business expands, I am learning how to balance family and a growing business and when and how to ask for help with both.
4. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery - One of the biggest lessons that I learnt early on is that when you have a good idea, other people will try and copy you but you just need to rise above it, stay true to who your brand is and what it stands for and everything else is just shadows and dust!
5. I'll never stop learning - One of the nicest things about having my business is how I'm learning new skills all the time and how much it enriches me as a person and a mother and a friend. I've learnt a bit about photography for Instagram, about writing for my product pages, about retail from the shops that Hankie Pankie is in and I'm really finding that an old dog can learn new tricks!