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Interview: Emily Canino, founder of Doodlemoo

Emily Canino is a graphic designer and illustrator born in Venezuela and now based in London.

She is the founder of the colourful and vibrant brand Doodlemoo and creates a variety of prints, accessories, stationery and t-shirts that are playful, vibrant and full of positivity.

I met Emily at an event and I was very excited to chat to her about Doodlemoo, motherhood and how she juggles the two.

1. Hi Emily, what was your motivation for creating Doodlemoo and what does your brand stand for?

Hi Rachi! Thanks for having me. I have always wanted to be my own boss, there's a bit of a rebel in me and I've never fitted into the 9-5 routine. I have freelanced a lot as a graphic designer but what I really wanted was to create my own designs without a client telling you to change stuff all the time!

Then having kids here in UK really forces you to question what you really want and how you are going to fit work into a new lifestyle. For me it was important to be able to be around my boys while doing something I’m passionate about so Doodlemoo was the natural step.

Initially I designed for kids but it has since grown into something much more rounded. Through my brand I create illustrative and typographical art prints and accessories with a playful, bold aesthetic.

Doodlemoo stands for creativity, fun, happiness and never growing up! Although I’m not so young anymore I believe it’s important to keep the child in you alive. I love it when my designs appeal to both kids and grown-ups.

2. As you mention, you also have two young boys! How do you juggle being a mother and running Doodlemoo full-time?
I don’t sleep much ha! It is a lot easier now that they are both at school and I have some time to concentrate quietly, but as a creative and designer I am always thinking about designs or ideas while I'm on the go.

I make sure I carry a sketch pad with me everywhere and I write a lot of ideas on my phone. I fit work into most evenings and try to be efficient with my time – not something that comes easily to me! I love that now my boys appreciate what I do and help me and entertain each other when I say I have something to work on.

It is quite a juggle but I cherish my time with them and love picking them up from school. It can be difficult that even the weekends are working days for me but luckily my husband is really amazing and supports me on this crazy journey!


3. Running your own business can be challenging at times. How do you cope when things aren’t going to plan?
That's true, it is very challenging. You have to keep going regardless and focus on the good things you achieve. I’ve found that business support groups help a lot where you can talk to like-minded people and other creative businesses. It is so amazing to be able to chat about similar problems, challenges and help each other. One of the biggest challenges is isolation and so this really helps when I'm feeling lonely working from home.


4. What is the best piece of advice would you give a mother who wants to start her own business?
If you have an idea just start and don't get overwhelmed. Little ones obviously need more attention so set yourself some realistic goals, specific times for tasks and make the most of naptimes! Kids grow so fast so it’s important to make sure you enjoy this precious time as well as building your business.

5. What piece of advice would you tell your 18-year-old self?
Believe in yourself, be patient and that things eventually happen (this is what my dad kept telling me but at that age you don’t listen ;-0). You will make mistakes but that's OK, it's what you do next that's important. Be curious about EVERYTHING!


6. What are your plans for Doodlemoo in 2019?
I want to grow my brand even more by expanding my offer – more stationery, more jewellery and maybe a few more t-shirts with my designs. I love doing collaborations so I want to do more of these. Generally, I want to get our name out there more (I'm still figuring out how to do this on a small budget).


7. Can you please recommend a book for our readers?
One great book I've found really useful is ‘What’s the difference that makes the difference’ from The Branding Workshop. It has some easy and practical ideas for finding your brand personality.

Thank you Emily for being such a great interviewee! I totally agree that we should make time every day to connect with our inner child and the fun designs from Doodlemoo will definitely help with that.