Emily Cooper

From learning to sew from a woman at a craft store to opening her own shop Emily keeps moving forward. 

Describe who you were as a kid. As a kid, I was always on the go. I never stopped. I was always outside climbing a tree, riding my bike (getting chased by dogs), rollerblading with friends down the biggest hills in town, or swimming at the pool. I grew up in a small town and had to be home when the whistle blew at noon for lunch and 6pm for supper.

What's keeping you busy? I have an Etsy shop and that keeps me busy enough. Around Christmas it was crazy with orders.  I have a little lag right now, which is nice.  It gives me a chance to get some new signs made and ready to ship / local pickup.  I also get custom requests, which I am happy to have.

"I like to wing it and do my own thing."

Walk us through your journey to starting your own thing. I worked in the banking industry for 9+  years and it was just a paycheck, nothing I was passionate about. When we had our 3rd child we decided to change everything we knew, moved away from our amazing, supportive network of friends and jobs.  I became a stay at home mom. I learned to sew from a woman I met in a craft store.  

I opened up an Etsy shop at the end of 2014 with stuff I had sewn. I had wanted to open an Etsy shop for years but was just too afraid to put myself out there. I sold (and still sell) baby blankets, burp cloths, washcloths, and bandana bibs. I needed breaks often, because I would get so frustrated. I like to wing it and do my own thing….which doesn’t really work when sewing squares and rectangles.

In the spring of 2016 I bought a scroll saw. I was so inspired by work I had seen on Instagram and I just had to learn to do it. I am self taught. I am obsessed with this little machine. I love painting. I love cutting. I love creating art for people. I love coming up with new ideas and seeing them complete on a project. I don’t love sanding and cleaning up the mess. 

Why is your Etsy shop is called Rosella+Margaret? My shop name is both of my grandmothers’ names. I love a good old fashioned grandma name! I wanted a shop name  with  meaning behind the name.

Along the way, who and what helped you to keep pushing forward?  I’ve had so many compliments on my work, it really helps. I haven’t had a bad review and I am always shocked when someone says they love what I’ve made them or says it’s better than they expected. I love return customers. That’s the biggest flattery.

Your next customer is someone you look up to. Who is it and why? At this point, I’m seriously excited and flattered by every order I get. Ask me when I have a few more years under my belt.

Someone is starting a project for the first time, what would you want to say to them?  I always tell my kids “I love messing up” then I can turn my mistake into something. I love mistakes. It often turns into the best piece, because it’s unexpected and makes you think out of the box to ‘fix’ it. This morning my 5 year old messed up drawing a letter “A” and she ended up turning it into a picture of her wearing a birthday hat.

"I love mistakes. It often turns into the best piece, because it’s unexpected and makes you think out of the box to ‘fix’ it."

Talk to us about one of your good days this past week. A friend of mine had asked me to create a custom ‘live simply’ sign for an outdoorsy friend of hers. We brainstormed and came up with a great piece of art. She gave it to her friend and she loved it. We both wanted to keep it. That feels good.

And one of your not so good days. I got a new miter saw, used it once and it broke. So frustrating!!

If you were given any spare time this coming weekend what would you want to do and why? I would go explore the East Village. I love the little shops and restaurants. I love to get out of the house (without kids. Ha!).

Why Des Moines? When I graduated Iowa State University (Go Cyclones!) Des Moines was the place to be, but the timing wasn’t right.  In 2014 we moved to Ankeny and couldn’t love it more than we do. I feel like we are finally where we are meant to be. The community is great, Des Moines is right there and there are so many activities. I love that on any given day the Des Moines area has something to do.

"The community is great, Des Moines is right there and there are so many activities."

There's a couple thinking about moving to one of the suburbs. Why Ankeny? We chose Ankeny because it’s got everything we need without being too big. The school system is amazing.  It is safe for our children. In our neighborhood there are literally walking / bike trails out  our doorstep. We lived in the country for 2 years so finding a trail without having to get in the car is a bonus!

What's your favorite thing to do in Ankeny? We like to keep it pretty simple. Parks, pools, family friendly restaurants, we love it all.

If you could grant the Des Moines area one wish what would it be? Can I be selfish and say let’s move Des Moines to warmer climate. Winters are a b*tch.

In three months what do you hope to accomplish? I hope to get some more designs in the works and be able to keep stock in my Etsy shop!

Derek JensenMarket Day 2017