Emma Morley founded her bespoke design consultancy Trifle in 2008. Her team's mission is to create inspiring, creative environments that improve the experience of everyone working in them. To date they have designed over 80 offices, working with a team of spatial experts, designers and project managers.
Emma was the speaker at Hive Collective’s first event in June 2017. We recently caught up with her again to find out a little more about her…
Hive Collective : Tell us a bit about yourself…
Emma Morley : I have lived in London for 25 years & lived in Walthamstow for 10. I love London and I love Walthamstow : )
My partner Simon also runs his own business Floor Story so we live and breathe design, often going to design events and shows together. Last year we collaborated on a rug range which was really fun. We also have a 10 year old daughter who has been to 21 Countries so far!
HC : How long have you had your business and what was the catalyst for starting it?
EM : I have worked for myself for 14 years. I worked in a highly innovative creative agency with super talented people for 5 years and it was an inspiration in all sorts of ways. It was an amazing place to work and it was an amazing space to work in. People who visited us there never wanted to return to their 'boring offices' - ours was fun, home-like and energising. We had sofas in the meeting rooms, not tables and you could see peoples’ behaviour change the minute they walked in; the space enabled them to work in a different way and I always found that fascinating.
I made brilliant connections and friends there and I could see there were a variety of opportunities to work as a freelancer which I loved, as I got to do all sorts of interesting things in Marketing, Event Design and Production. I have always been fascinated with creating experiences and see space as a massive opportunity to do this.
I loved events but felt a real passion to build more permanent spaces and experiences and slowly dipped my toe in the world of office design - first by re-designing the agency were I used to work (they were crazy enough to trust me!). I took on one project at a time and literally learnt as I went along. It was incredibly rewarding to makeover an office space and seeing the impact it had on the people that worked there really spurred me on.
Badly designed spaces can have a hugely negative impact verses well designed ones, which can facilitate collaboration, creativity and they can be a hub from which a community can grow.
HC : What experiences have been a turning point in terms of taking your business to the next level?
EM : I realised pretty quickly that although my good eye, passion and creativity were great, my lack of actual technical design skill was going to be a problem. Initially I pulled in skilled freelancers and then around 6 years ago, took the first Triflette on full-time.
It makes sense to grow when you have certain tasks that need doing and you’re not the best person to do them!
Always work with people that are better than you.
HC : Did you have any mentoring support along the way?
EM : Clients have become friends and unofficial mentors and sounding boards for me, and I speak to old colleagues and friends (with more experience than me in business) whom I admire and respect.
HC : How has living in Waltham Forest contributed to your success?
EM : It’s given me a stable home, community and wider network of talent, friends, suppliers, partners and like minded souls than I ever could have dreamed of.
It’s a wonderful base for families it offers respite from the busyness of London but enough going on to continue to inspire you.
HC : What are your plans for the next 12 months?
EM: erm lots of plans:
A new website and a brand refresh
A new articulation of what we do
A clear sales strategy and leads around who we want to work with (having identified our target market better)
Maybe growing the business a little by 2-3 people ideally (once new business is secured)
Opening up to more collaboration with other companies
HC : Thanks for sharing so much with us Emma.
You can find out more about Trifle here: