What do you do when faced with a gap year to nowhere? For Moriah graduate Emma Pillemer, you design a jewellery line.
While 2020 was meant to be her year off between school and university to travel the world, Emma, 20, instead put her COVID-19 heartache to good use, designing a funky and affordable range of jewellery, aptly named Emma Pills.
“I’ve always been absolutely obsessed with jewellery – the one to slap it all on, wear it with every outfit,” said Pillemer.
“People started to ask me about my style. I really struggled to find things at a good price point, especially for younger ladies who want something a bit more edgy. So, I thought, if not now, when?”
Rather than trying to find something suitable, Pillemer created it. The enamel jewellery, modelled off her personal style, symbolises everything she couldn’t find in an existing range – neon, edgy and unique.
Why enamel? “Because it’s different,” Pillemer explained. “I found a niche market for the enamel and people have gone crazy for it.”
She recruited her sister, Ashley, 23, to help with the graphics, design and website. While Pillemer said it’s a gift to work with Ashley, she said it’s a bit unfortunate for her.
“I’m always knocking on her door and telling her she needs to update the website or take some pictures of my new pieces,” Pillemer said with a laugh.
However, their hard work has paid off. Within her first year, Pillemer secured an Emma Pills Suite at this year’s Afterpay Australian Fashion Week, the country’s pinnacle fashion event, where she was the youngest designer to showcase in 2021.
The suites are designed to foster new growth opportunities for designers, giving emerging designers a fantastic opportunity to generate sales and media coverage.
While it was a lot of work, Pillemer is still on high from Fashion Week, which was held from May 31 to June 4 at Carriageworks in Sydney.
“A major highlight for me was when Camilla Franks walked into my suite, telling me how much she loved my pieces,” said Pillemer, who was then given the opportunity to style Camilla for a fashion show.
“I couldn’t get that experience anywhere else.”
Franks is one of Australia’s favourite designers, known for her vibrant and bespoke bohemian-style pieces, which is perhaps why Camilla was so drawn to the line of jewellery.
As for the future? With a collection launching in coming months, Pillemer continues to dream big, seeking more shops and more suppliers. For Pillemer, there’s no limit.