Founder of Emeldo Designs, Emily Dornbusch

At Collective Closets, we believe in individuality, authenticity, and celebrating the power of a woman. As businesswomen, we share the story of our influences and upbringing through our designs and the beautiful textiles we grew up with. We created Collective Conversations to spotlight the amazing women in our community and find out how they share their own stories. This series spotlights members of our tribe, gaining insight into their values, passions, and the drive behind what they do. 

Emily wears our Ikoni blazer, Ndani merino turtleneck and Urafiki high waisted pants. 

This month we're talking to Emily Dornbusch, jewellery maven, creative and lover of all things bold, bright and wonderful. 
After falling in love with a necklace she couldn't afford, Emily decided to make her own – and Emeldo Designs was born. Founded in 2011, Emeldo's really fun accessories range from disco-inspired geometric danglies to '70s rainbow studs.  We spent a sunny morning viewing new designs in the colourful Emeldo studio and chatting in her beautiful Mornington Peninsula home.
A self-made jewellery success, small business owner and new mum to baby Smith, Emily describes herself as chilled, low-key and open-hearted – and she absolutely is. With a personality as vibrant as her jewellery designs and personal style to boot, we're pretty excited to have Emily as this month's Collective Conversations feature woman.
Emily wears our wrap dress, coming out on the 26th of May!

1. Describe yourself in three words? 

Low-key-quirky, passionate, open-hearted.

2. What's the best advice you've ever received, and how has it impacted your life? 

Some very basic advice that we've all heard, but maybe haven't considered properly is to not sweat the small stuff. My younger self heard that, but never took it on–it was so consuming to be worried about things that really didn't matter. You waste so much time consumed with thoughts that are, in actuality, a little pointless. I wish my younger self knew that.

Let go of friendships that are no longer rewarding. This may sound bitter, but as I have gotten older (and particularly after having a child) it's become clear to me that I don't have space for everyone in my life anymore. If you're gaining nothing from a friendship, you might be ready to let it go. Sure– it's a bit terrifying, but it will release you and you'll walk a little lighter. After having a child on top of running a small business, I've realised how precious my time is, and if someone else's problems are consuming you it might be time to take a step back. 


3. How do you block out your fears? 

By trying not to think about them. If I always thought about what scares me, I would literally accomplish nothing. I often act on a whim and don't think things through (much to my husband's frustration). I find that by doing this, I end up facing situations that would've probably consumed me if I had overthought. I recently found a new studio and I loved it. I was nervous to re-locate studios after being so comfortable, but I loved the space and just said yes! Taking that next step was scary, but I didn't allow myself the time to worry.

4. What's something you get to experience that you previously took for granted?  

Alone time ... since having [my son] Smith in November 2019, I've learnt how much I appreciate alone time (despite the fact it goes too quickly when it does come around)!

Before having a child, I didn't realise how much I appreciated 'alone time' because I was often alone or just with my partner. It's now one of my favourite things! You really don't know how good it is until it's gone (or more limited in my case).

5. Which cause are you willing to fight for? 

Gender equality– particularly equal pay and women's safety. I've worked in large corporations before and it's all too common still to see such an unbalance in power. I can't stand how it's still happening!

6. What's a hard lesson you were grateful to learn? 

Gosh it sounds so superficial, but I learnt the very hard way that you MUST DO YOUR TAX! Don't wait for five years of running a small business and working full time before working that shizz out. It ain't pretty ... particularly when your small side hustle is going quite well. If you don't work it out, at least keep some money aside knowing its going to come around and get you.

Honestly I wish I set Emeldo up properly at day one ... Emeldo was such an organic, gradual process and I didn't set things up properly. It's definitely taught me so many lessons, be they difficult ones or beautiful ones!

7. What did you want to be when you were a child? 

I wanted to work at my favourite shop– Myer. CUTE! After that, I wanted to work in fashion somehow ... but I can't draw to save myself and I thought I couldn't do fashion because I couldn't draw! If I didn't have Emeldo, I'd love to be back in my styling work for photoshoots– I love doing shoots! 

8. Do you feel like wisdom is something you gain with age, or through lived experiences?  

I think wisdom comes from both age and lived experiences. I have no doubt my wisdom is still coming! I've learnt so much by throwing myself into things as the years and meeting people along the way. At the age of 31, I'm sure a lot of wisdom is yet to come– there's always plenty of room to learn and grow.

Emily wears our wrap dress, coming out on the 26th of May!


9. What advice would you give yourself seven years ago? 

Pick yourself up and dust yourself off ... the show must go on.

10. What drives you? 

My mortgage currently drives me to work– I need to keep my weekly pay coming in purely so we can keep paying the bills! Also, not working for a big corporation again. I love being my own boss, so much so that I'm probably unemployable now to anyone else. I'm far too set in my relaxed lifestyle now! I'm driven to keep it this way.

11. What's your favourite piece from our WISDOM collection, and how would you style it? 

The wrap dress (coming soon), it's so comfortable and easy to throw on. I'd style it with Emeldo earrings (of course) and Converse!