The Eyeconomist meets London-based illustrator Daisy Emerson to discuss how social media has helped her build her business – and hear about projects involving big brands and A List stars.

You might not know her by name, but there is a huge chance you have seen Daisy Emerson’s work without even realising it. The London-based illustrator has drawn giant murals on the side of buildings on Carnaby Street and personalised handbags for A List stars including Pitch Perfect actress Hailee Steinfeld and new Baywatch beauty Kelly Rohrbach. Her colourful designs have also helped her amass over 18,000 followers on Instagram – a platform that the artist says has been a goldmine for attracting projects.

“Instagram has been a really great platform for me to grow, gain more contacts, and get my name out there,” Daisy explains to the Eyeconomist.

“I’ve had a lot of enquiries and people contact me about jobs and say ‘I saw your work on Instagram!’ It can be a good avenue,” she says.

Daisy’s illustration business was a long time coming. She attended Central St Martins when she was 18, then went to London College of Communication, before landing a job in a PR agency, dabbling in events, and then advancing to work within a production company. However it was at the start of 2015 that she decided to take the plunge to work solo. Through her years of working in the media sector, Daisy had built an impressive contacts book – and set to work tapping up old contacts to secure illustration projects. A mural on Carnaby Street was among her first projects – and she hasn’t looked back since.

“I used to put a lot of pressure on myself. The first few years I felt I had to be chained to my desk – even when I didn’t have work on. I’ve learnt to be a bit more relaxed in terms of when I can say ‘I’m not going to work today’.”

“Working for myself has been so rewarding,” Daisy says, confessing it was intimidating at first. “I used to put a lot of pressure on myself. The first few years I felt I had to be chained to my desk – even when I didn’t have work on. I’ve learnt to be a bit more relaxed in terms of when I can say ‘I’m not going to work today’.”

Being in charge of her own schedule has helped Daisy find a balance between a busy work life and organising her personal life – having recently moved house (“renovations have been so time consuming”) and looking ahead to tie-the-knot this summer (“August time for me is always a quiet time of the year. But his year it is handy, because I’m getting married in September so I can use the time to plan my wedding”).

A recent collaboration with Michael Kors also inspired the artist to expand her business in more consumer-collaborative ways. With the US brand, she personalised bags for the previously mentioned Hailee Steinfeld and Kelly Rohrbach. – and two other ambassadors, the model Hikari Mori and Lion Babe singer Jillian Hervey.

“I was flown to Los Angeles to customise whatever they wanted written on their bags – if it was their name or some sticker emoji icons – for the Spring/Summer campaign,” Daisy recounts.

While the project will hopefully lead to other big brand collaborations, Daisy’s ambitions include much more than just customisations. A recent gallery display of her sign writing is feeding her artistic appetite, and experimenting with neon light design has opened her eyes to how she could develop her business into new areas.

“I’ve got a couple of pieces in a gallery right now. I’d love to do more of that side. It would also be incredible to open a pop up in London so I can display my signwriting and show everyone the kind of work I can do,” she said.

Sounds like Daisy Emerson is drawing up a very busy – and bright – future.

Follow Daisy on Instagram

Interview by Seamus Duff