Overcoming Self-Doubt: Emily Burke’s Story of Starting a Small Business on Maternity Leave

The second in my series of interviews with small business owners, here is my interview with the lovely Emily Burke from Customised by Emily. 


Based in Wakefield, United Kingdom, Emily sells customized home decor and gift items, all from her Facebook page!


In this interview, she reveals how she grew the confidence to share and promote her products online and how social media has been instrumental to her growth. 

Q: Could you introduce yourself and tell us about your business?

A: Hello! I’m Emily and I run Customised by Emily. I’m 24 and a mum to a 10-month-old little girl.


I started Customised by Emily during my maternity leave as I wanted a new little hobby to take up whilst on maternity leave (I never thought it would grow into a little business!).

Q: What led you to start your business?

A: I’m sure all new mums have felt, as some point or another, that they lost part of themselves at the start of motherhood.


Which is why I felt like starting a new hobby was a good idea. I wanted something to focus on that was about me and found it really therapeutic!

Q: How have you navigated any setbacks or obstacles in your business, and what did you learn from those experiences?

A: At first I found it quite difficult to find the confidence to put my items up for sale, I was worried they wouldn’t be good enough and people wouldn’t like them. 


After talking to my partner about my worries he assured me that I should give it a go and the only way to find out if people liked them was by trying! 


Once I took that first step it was so easy, I loved (and still love) meeting lots of new faces and hearing about why and who they’re buying something for.

Q: How has social media & marketing played a role in your business so far?

A: Social media has played a HUGE part in my small businesses, it’s the way I’ve grown it to what it currently is. 90% of people have found me through my Facebook and Instagram. 


I’ve had people from different parts of the country enquire and order from me all because of social media. It’s also helped me gain confidence joining different groups on Facebook full of people growing similar businesses and sharing ideas and tips.

Q: Can you share any specific strategies that have been particularly effective for your business?

A: I think what’s worked well for me is making it clear that there’s a person behind the screen and not just a business.


I love taking the time to talk to people when they enquire about products and making sure people know their products are made with love. 


I strive to be a small business that people feel comfortable and confident when talking to.

Q: What plans do you have for the future of your business?

A: I want to keep growing my small business and see where it takes me!


I’m so happy with how it’s going so far and I’d love if it continues exactly how it’s going. I hope to meet some more new faces in the near future and create customised gifts that people love and share with their loved ones.

Q: What advice do you have for other small business owners who are just starting out?

A: The one piece of advice I’d give to someone starting a small business is to be so proud of yourself!


If you’re proud and love your products, others will too. It’s such a fun and exciting adventure and I’d recommend everyone give it a go if they’re passionate about it!

You can follow Emily on her Facebook Page. 

If you need engaging quotes to share alongside your products on social media then check out this inspiring quotes template kit

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Helen Garfield
Helen Garfield

Helen Garfield is the founder of The Creatives Desk. She has worked in social media and digital marketing since 2010. Helen channels her passion for design and creativity to develop marketing templates and digital products that help small business owners create compelling content to drive growth in their online presence.