Australian Enterprise Awards 2024

APAC Insider- Australian Enterprise Awards 2024 | 137 With the passion of doing something meaningful from scratch, Emma Rolls established the nation’s first ever art to homes and classrooms homeware brand, emro designs, in 2019. The idea was implemented with a collection of rugs featuring work by Aboriginal artists intended for use in early educational spaces. However, noticing a lot of parents purchasing her products for their homes, she realised that there was larger market for her designs. We learn more about the company following Emma’s success within the Australian Enterprise Awards 2024. Being an Bundjalung/ Minjungbal woman, Emma Rolls traces her entrepreneurial journey back to a pivotal moment when she recognised a gap in early educational resources for Indigenous communities. It was the realisation that propelled her to take a leap of faith and established emro designs, a business dedicated to providing culturally enriching products for children’s centres. Emma’s background in community services played a significant role in shaping her quest. After receiving a scholarship for a Diploma of Community Service, she was initially aspired to work with young people but eventually found herself at Kalwun, an Aboriginal communitycontrolled organisation on the Gold Coast. Over the course of a decade, Emma rose through the ranks to an executive management position, and this was the place that inspired her to harbour the ambitious dream of doing something to represent her community and culture. However, Emma’s road to this voyage was not without challenges. Being a wife, mother, and pregnant woman contemplating the cost associated with the new business, it was a tough call for her. Despite the financial risk, Emma could not shake the desire of creating something of her own that reflected her cultural heritage. Then, in September 2019, Emma brought emro designs to life. Emma embarked on her entrepreneurial journey with limited initial funding of only $7000, Emma kickstarted her business. This odyssey involves extensive research and testing various suppliers. When Emma found her supplier, she ordered a small batch and took products pictures in her own son’s childcare centre. She went on to make brochures to send to other care centres, and with additional thanks to her social media, emro designs started gaining traction by June 2020. Starting with supplying just rugs, today emro designs has great collection of cushions, wallpaper, and picnic blankets, which not only elevates the beauty and standard of a space but also tells a story about Aboriginal communities. Many schools and parents purchase products and absolutely love them and filled her website with some shinning reviews. One of her customers Clare L., says, “I was so pleased with this rug that I found myself buying another in the coastal collection shortly afterwards. They are beautiful, fantastic quality, lovely underfoot and the designs are just magical, very special. Ordering was super easy, and both showed up really quickly.” Along with striving for great customer satisfaction, emro designs has a mission to collaborate with Indigenous artists as a focal point of the business. This includes artists such as Steven Bekue, Zoey Hart, Christine Slabb, Holly Sanders, and Shara Delaney. Emma’s personal connection with some the creators and serendipitous discoveries on social media facilitated these partnerships. She is enthusiastic about the work of these artists and she ensures that a percentage of each sale goes directly back to them to support their ongoing endeavours and their cultural heritage. Looking ahead, Emma envisions seeing the rugs and wallpapers of emro designs adorning classrooms and childcare centres across Australia, serving as symbols of cultural pride and storytelling as well as being educational tools. Her adventure from community service to cultural entrepreurship exemplifies the power of passion, resilience, and a commitment to preserving Aboriginal heritage in contemporary society. With emro designs, Emma is not just building a business, she is fostering a legacy of cultural empowerment and representation. We extend our best wishes for her success in all her future pursuits. Contact: Emma Rolls Company: emro designs Web Address: emrodesigns. Best Aboriginal Mat & Carpet Designer 2024 Jan24346