Meet the wives behind the thriving creative content agency working for Lacoste and New Balance
Wife-and-wife team Emma and Katie Nattrass-Daniels talk to PinkNews about setting up their Manchester-based creative content company, Crème Creative – and their advice to women looking to start up a business.
“We kind of got chatting at one of those nights and it just sort of went from there,” Katie tells PinkNews over the phone of how her romance with now-wife Emma blossomed at an after work drinks five years ago. “We kept it secret for a while, because obviously we worked together, but then the news got out…we were office gossip,” she adds with a laugh.
Wives Emma and Katie Nattrass-Daniels first met when they were both working for online fashion retailer Boohoo at its Manchester headquarters. And, about a year after they hit it off at those after work drinks, the couple got married in Las Vegas. “We were going over to Vegas for my 30th,” Katie explains of the impromptu ceremony. “And we were just in Ikea [before going], eating some meatballs, and we were like, ‘while we’re in Vegas should we just get married?’”
It’s now more than three years since Katie and Emma tied the knot and, in that time, they’ve set up their own successful creative content agency, Crème Creative, which is now working with top brands like Lacoste, New Balance, and Mallet Footwear. The pair founded their business in January 2016, after both leaving Boohoo to go freelance, saying that they it was “always our goal to work together.”
“We always knew we worked really well together,” Emma says, who is creative director of Crème Creative. “When were at Boohoo we figured we had quite complementary skills.”
Talking about what the couple do at Crème Creative, Katie, who is the company’s managing director, says: “We produce content for websites, for print, [and] for campaigns. We work with anything – from branding websites to large and small campaigns – but at the heart of it is always fashion or footwear. That’s our specialities.”
She adds: “We hope to just help a lot more businesses succeed with the work that we’re producing. Where we get ultimate satisfaction is, by seeing the customers and the clients that we have, seeing their businesses grow.”
The thriving business even caught the eye of one of Boohoo’s founders, Jalal Kamani, who used to work with Emma directly. Kamani recently invested a six-figure sum into Crème Creative, in exchange for half of the company’s shares.
“We not only were producing this amazing content but, when you looked at the balance sheet, we were killing it on there as well,” says Katie of the recent cash injection. “For [Kamani], he wanted to give us a platform to be able to elevate that even further.” Emma and Katie say they’ve earmarked the money for new office space near Manchester city centre, and to fund the employment of about 10 more employees over the next year.
But, with the couple working together 24/7, do the pair struggle to keep the peace? “Me and Katie never argue we just really get on and that’s both [in our] personal [relationship] and day-to-day,” insists Emma. Still, she admits that the couple do sometimes “butt heads,” explaining that these arguments are resolved pretty quickly because they “don’t draw it out.”
She adds: “You say that you’re wrong, say sorry, kiss and make up, and then quickly move on. We don’t have time to dwell over things.”
Katie, meanwhile, says: “The chemistry we have when we’re working on a project – it’s sort of the same as our chemistry outside of work. We really bounce off each other creatively, and there’s no egos. We have a saying in our marriage that there’s no competition between wives. So that helps keep a bit of a peace because we both can be quite headstrong.”
The wives’ company mean that the pair get to travel to plenty of exciting places, like LA and Paris, to shoot photos for various brands. In their downtime they like to travel, too (they go back to Las Vegas every year, where they’ve watched Cher and Elton John performing live).
And, do the couple manage to keep a good work-life balance with their busy day jobs? “I think it’s really important to switch off,” says Emma. “I don’t think creativity just comes from running yourself into the ground.” Katie, however, admits that she’s “pretty bad at switching off,” adding jokingly: “Emma will sometimes have to physically take my laptop off me, I’ll work until I fall asleep.” Still, she says, in the last six month’s she has “got better [at turning off[ and I do see the value in it.”
The wives have also ensured that the working environment they’ve created at Crème Creative welcomes diversity – the company employees two gay women and a non-binary person. “We’re open to all people in our office,” says Katie. “We just try and be as easy going as possible.”
“I’ve worked at places where I’ve had to come out and, when you start a new job, you have to go through this process again. You kind of feel there’s a bit of a dread,” Katie continues. “But, because your bosses are two gay women, I don’t feel that you have to go through that.”
The wives are also among the few women working at the top level of a business the creative content industry. Recalling an industry round-table event back in February 2016, when Crème Creative had just started up, Katie explains that her and Emma were the only two women present, adding: “The rest were men. The only other woman in the room was the one serving tea. It was really bad.”
She says that, from that point onwards, the “underlying thing we wanted to achieve with Crème was to inspire other women.” Katie adds: “If we can lead by example and show that women can just get up and do it. And you don’t have to be intimidated by sitting at a table with men. There’s no need to feel intimidated – you can do it, too.”
What advice do the couple have for women starting up their own companies? Emma recommends taking a “phased” approach, pointing out that her and Katie both went freelance before setting up Crème Creative. She also advises people starting their own companies to be “agile” and “fluid,” so that they can “adapt to where, either your main income is coming from, or, if you see an opportunity, you can go for it. “
But, ultimately, she says: “Just go for it. If you want to do something and you’re in a job and your passions lie somewhere else, just go for it. Nothing bad will come of it. But taking that leap will feel really scary to begin with. “
Wives Emma and Katie Nattrass-Daniels are founders of creative content agency Crème Creative, which is based in Manchester, UK.