29 – Being yourself is your greatest strength with Emma Pelfrey
Join Emma Pelfrey, multimedia designer, experienced photographer, videographer and I as chat in real life, about the lessons learnt to be yourself, in order to follow what personally drives you.
This path as most of us have experienced is not always easy, but Emma shares the clues that led her to identify that she was not in alignment, the effect that it has on her health and ultimately, how taking leaps repeatedly has helped her create a creative life that she is excited to wake up to everyday.
Walk away learning:
- The tell tale signs that the path is not meant for you.
- How important it is to leave your ego at the door.
- The ripple effect of empowering those around you to succeed.
About Emma Pelfrey
Emma Pelfrey is a multimedia designer, experienced photographer and videographer, with a niche for entertainment. She has worked with brands such as Absolut. She manages and designs for Color Me Places and is the studio assistant at Red Tape Gallery.
Her work T-Shirt collaboration in 2019 with Color Me Places co-owner Ariel Hernandez, merged her brand The Saint Emma and his brand Penny Brave, leading to a huge Halloween pop-up.
Ask Emma Pelfrey, to create anything on a computer; websites, graphic design, 3D animation, music production. Anything!
She is most proud to create a life and career in art and design. She admits it is not always easy, as she has sacrificed a lot of stability but gets wake up and work her two dream jobs. A feat she would never take for granted.
Get in touch with Emma Pelfrey
*This Transcript is Autogenerated
Hey that welcome to the HiHelloSura Show I'm your host Sura Al-Naimi. Today on the show I'm honored and thrilled. And super excited to have Emma Pelfrey join us. Or should I say Saint Emma and you'll find out a little bit more about that a little later in the show. But Emma is a multimedia and web designer. And what does she not do? I don't really have the words to describe what she does and you'll be able to hear it in the show in just a moment.
But not only is Emma talented, multifaceted in so many dimensions. She also supports calling me places. And red tape studio. And we had one of the co-founders of red tape shooter. On our podcast a few weeks back. Peterson, Gary. Yeah. And hopefully sometime in the future, we will have also the founder of calling me places.
Ariel. So I'm putting it out there into the universe. So join us for this conversation as we discussed. Creation. What it takes to pursue your passion. Pursue your dreams. You know the mindset to do that. And what, what got AMA to where she is today and what her aspirations are for the future.
I'm really giddy with excitement for you. To join us in and this conversation just leaped off, without really any formal introductions. So why don't we pop into that conversation and have a little bit of a listen.
do you have a British background? Yes, my entire family. It was all. Oh no. So I grew up in south Florida, Fort Lauderdale.
Then I moved here for high school and college. That's amazing. No. I'd love to Europe is a huge one for me. I would just want to be there for a long time, at least a month. Just travel, take the train everywhere. Yeah. Where would you get best? I'd probably want to go to Paris first or Italy. Yeah. The art is my biggest inspiration is Italian Renaissance that would be incredible. It would be, oh my gosh. It will happen hopefully soon today. So maybe we're just manifesting that 100%. Yay. So where is your family from an English? I have no idea. Okay. But they were all immigrants from England. I have a lot of family from Eastern Europe too. So Poland, Austria, Russia, so pale.
That's great. Transparent.
beautiful. Puzzling. So I'm really excited. I was able a little bit of reading and everything, and there's just so much, I was scared there was going to be not on, but I was like, wow, this is amazing. Tell me more like the case, there's a colony places. There's my tape studio. And you'll that
I had known Ariel, my boss at color, new places, the owner, we have done a shirt, collaboration. I designed for him. So we had done a pop-up together. And through that, I was just wearing the shirt on the street and I walked past Peterson's red tape and he called me on the street and was like, penny brave.
And that's Ariel's brand. And we started talking about how I know Ariel, and then we became friends. I kept walking by to go to coffee. And we would just talk for an hour and it would make time pass for sure. But it was great getting to know him. And then when color B places began to unfold in the beginning stages, Ariel talked to me about possibly design.
For places and it just went from there. Yeah, it happened very fast. It was crazy. So for our listeners who don't know what colony places is, and if you don't know what we're taped, but they will and also just your essence and all that. So can you shout out a little bit and more replaces as a custom print shop?
So my role in that as I designed. The merchandise I helped with. I built the entire website and I do all the social media. So anything involving a computer or phone is only, Hey, and I also run the shop for a few days of the week, so people can come in and get my expertise on design work, anything that they need question wise.
And then at red tape, I'm Peterson assistant, and I also have my own sector now with residential art. So I'm working with interior designers. Very cool. And I hope with installations and just helping with console with residential work. So that's amazing. I'm somehow the bridge in between the two I'm always here or next door.
You got me going both places every day. Yes, absolutely. I'm just want to make sure that we capture your compensation. So yeah, there we go. That's perfect. Your hair is like what he say hi to my coworkers.
And so when you describe yourself, you described yourself as, graphic design, anything digital multi-disciplinary. And I also read that you just, you're always thinking about what you're doing, what you're going to be doing next. So I'd love to know a little bit more about that. Yeah. So anything digital, but I also paint and draw.
Which is why red tape is such a blessing for me to be able to get back into creating visual art instead of doing just digital. yeah, I love what I do. It really is a blessing. Being able to have two jobs that somehow allow me to do digital art and visual, physical art in the same space. It's crazy.
So how did you get here? Tell me about that. It says, graphic designer and I just feel like it never covers it really, it's like your lifeblood. It seems. Yeah, it was a very interesting road. I actually failed Photoshop in college. I went to school for visual art. So I went to UCF and I graduated in 2018 and then the pandemic hit two months after I graduated.
So I had plans of moving to New York and working for a marketing firm and going that route. But with the pandemic. To reroute myself. I found graphic design to be a way of expressing emotion and what I was going through. And I asked I was in an accident and then I had to quit my job. And after that accident was when they talked to me about polar replaces.
So it was interesting how such a dark time in my life turned into one of the most pivotal points in my life. You know, Being in an accident where I lost everything and now I have. The best jobs that anyone could have ever asked for. I get to do my dream work with the most amazing people. I know. That's amazing.
So how did with you having this accident and being in that place? Like how did the opportunity arise and how did you keep yourself open to it? Cause it would have been really potentially. To co, oh, I didn't have time for that right now. And I really just don't place. Yeah. I was in an accident to where I had to quit my job.
I was working at a restaurant, just trying to make things work for myself and I wasn't able to physically work. And so a lot of my jobs had to be taken on my computer. I was just commissioned strictly, and then I had nothing. I had no real money, no real job. And because of that, Well to design more.
And then that's when Ariel saw that I was really working on my design skills and then that's when he presented the opportunity. But it was funny because he already had me in mind. He asked Peterson, oh, I think Emma would be a great fit for this, but she was just in this accident. I don't know if she'll be able to do it.
And I didn't stop for one second. I was like, I'm going to do this. No, it was here throughout the entire process of. The entire concept in the beginning. So it just worked out and it really did save me in a lot of ways, more ways than they probably realize it sounds like. Eh, so it sounds like it was a big, easy SP I think it was the, it wasn't even a question.
It was just, yes. No matter what they've asked me to do, I've always trusted what they want from me. And I trust that their vision is going to align with mine. Tell me more about that. Has there been instances when you've been in the opposite direction? Yeah, I worked in music, so my internship was out of music from doing marketing and I saw a lot of artists not getting the attention they deserve that their label told them they would have as an unpaid intern.
I was running a lot of social media for these huge artists that. And I didn't agree with anything that they had for them. So that was very difficult for me. Cause you know, as I'm also a musician, I really relate to that. Like knowing that these people have so much power over your career land, this intern that has no experiences running all of your marketing, and they didn't care what I did.
They just wanted me to work on something. I think being here, it's the opposite. We have these very, very small artists. Some have never even shown they're at work and we're able to provide them with business opportunities, making them shirts, giving them opportunities to pop up in our space. And Peterson is always helping young artists get put in his gallery that he curates.
So it's the opposite here. Everything is for the smaller artists and bigger artists as well. Like with hindsight, you're like, this is so in alignment and the back of the time, like this isn't resonating, but did you, were you conscious of that as it was happening? Or was it more like I got to here and now, oh my gosh.
Like how could this be? Like as a, I guess it's like, if somebody's encountering this, what is like the way to get more into alignment? You have to make it work. Even though it was aligned financially at the beginning of working here, there was not as much compensation as I, was going to get out of marketing firms.
And so sometimes you have to sacrifice a lot of yourself, you know, doing some really strange jobs in order to be able to work at a startup like this. And luckily for me, I'm young, I'm single. I'm able to make those sacrifices, but. Many and, I have to be in Orlando now, and that's a huge sacrifice for me as well, wanting to go to Europe, wanting to live in New York and the bigger cities.
But I feel like I have to grow this. This is something that I'm very passionate about, and I want to leave my mark here as opposed to just being another number in another city, but that is a sacrifice. And then the less feeling like I need to be here, even though I may want to be other places. How do you.
kind of Not grounded into that feeling of like I'm going to be here. And also, it sounds like you're putting at bay, these, all the designs because it's like a prioritization. how do you. I don't connect with
I think realizing how long life is as it is short, it was also very long. I'm 25 years old. I have a few years I can invest here and there's always the future that I can explore those opportunities. And Peterson is a great example of that. He could paint anywhere in the world and he chooses to do it in Orlando and to show all of these people.
The street that this is what he does, and this is what he loves. So he's very inspiring to me in that way that we all want to build something here for a reason. So I think the people around me keep me content in that Joyce you mentioned uh, like it really sounds like community, and it sounds like this representation, like Halloween places is able to give a voice to artists and Peters and this gallery to a people's gallery.
They're able to also give. So can you share a little bit more about that? It's a family more than a community at this point we, we are a family and when one person is down, we are all about and trying to help them get back up and helping people. It's like all of our goals. And I think that's why it works with all of us.
There's never a power struggle. There's never, there's no ego. That's something Peterson's huge on. It's killing your ego. If you will. These stores with an ego you're out before you can even get in.
I don't know, I think like whether it starts up life or whether it's being an entrepreneur or it's just being a human being. That the unexpected is always happening. You just have to take it as it comes.
I think in this weird age of 25, I've learned that nothing goes the way you think it's going to go. You can plan all day long. You can plan an entire interview. You can plan an entire event, a whole shirt line drop, but there's always going to be something that, that comes in your way. It's how you bounce back.
And it's how you recover. Because at the end of the day, like it's just a small little thing, even though it feels huge. How did you come to that wisdom? What experience do you have that kind of imprinted that fee? I guess just life. I know that's a weird certain cliche, but I think when things happen to you that are unexpected.
And for me, a lot of unexpected things happen to me. Very. I had to always pivot and I got used to pivoting, okay, this happened, I can sit here or I can redirect my energy into how I can make this better for myself and my family or whoever's involved. And that's just kind of how it's always been. It's just make, trying to make the next right step every day, not sitting in SOC.
then we're going to get that t-shirt. Thank you. So I'm I just, this intention of making each day, the next, and you talked about bouncing back. So there's this like definiteness, I don't know if that's a word, but. Absolutely. But then it's like, how do we respond to those things? And how do you protect that?
Like how do you protect that mindset? Are there some things that you do, some people that you surround yourself with, some things you read, I'm just really curious. Oh, people, their surroundings or everything. The people that are closest to you are a direct reflection. Of your values and your mindset in life.
And I'm glad that I got to that point very young instead of, you know, growing old with people that are very toxic , because it's very difficult. I've had to let go of a lot of friendships that I held really dear to protect that mindset and to protect what I'm building as well. Because I think that we are slowly learning that we're members of our community.
Now that have a sense of power, not. A negative way, but in a very positive, we are giving people opportunities. And if you're going to be a figure in the community in that way, you have to have a very positive outlook on life and carry good moral values. How I'm just marinating, but I feel like there's such a rich meal in itself.
So the, this this notion of carrying goodness into the community and like your that's what you're perpetuating, you know, and you're aware of that. Are there any stories you can share or, and our community, so there's, I I've always loved working with kids. So that's where my real passion is, is working with the youth in an uplifted.
Them and just making their lives easier as they grow up and giving them resources that they might not get in their communities, especially in Orlando. There's a lot of communities that are, are not looked at as much as they should. And especially funding wise. There's not a lot of eyes on them, but we've had a bunch of kids come through places.
Like we did work for the boys and girls club of Orlando, which was amazing. And we made shirts for them for their little entrepreneurship class and they have their own pop-ups for, they have like little shops that they set up for each grade and being a part of that was very fulfilling for me. And I also mentor some kids every Saturday, they come and they just learn Photoshop with me and we print on clothes, they bring in their own clothes and we take pictures and they'll have a pop-up at some point when they're ready.
It's those stories that make me feel like I'm doing what I'm supposed to do. That's amazing. So you have you've been doing these amazing installations on these murals. What are you excited about right now? What is what is, I know that just from reading and also just meeting you, I feel like this is in your vein.
It's not like I'm clocking off and now I'm clocking in kind of thing. So what are you like pumped about? I'm just so glad that pandemic is lightening up. I don't know where it's going to go next, but I'm so happy to have events again. I think that's what I'm most excited for every third Thursday, we have an artist or musician or just person that's interesting.
Come and pop up culinary places. And then with red tape, we're traveling a lot this year. We're going to be in Austin, Texas. We have art going to the middle east, where we have work in Israel and Saudi Arabia right now. That's really exciting. We have something in New York happening in November. That we'll be a part of.
So the traveling is my favorite part of red tape, for sure. Getting to go and install the art that we've spent months and months creating sometimes years. Because these contracts can take a long time to get approved from these developers. Yeah. A lot of traveling, a lot of events, hopefully.
Absolutely. And then these um, these installations you were talking about, what's the one that's kind of really caught your eye or what's maybe if there's been like a challenge or something that, I can see that you're like, Ooh,
hear about this. So challenge-wise the ones that we've worked on so far, we had an installation in Atlanta. It was in a hotel. And it was, I think it was 200 to 300 bottles, like liquor bottles that we had to spray paint, and we were short on bottles and we had to figure out how to make it work. So it's stuff like that.
Just being on your toes and knowing how to recover. Like I was saying earlier, just knowing how to bounce back. And we have an install in Austin, Texas in the upcoming months where it's a 10, 10 foot concrete. Wall that they're chiseling out a mural, like crazy stuff like that, but it's exciting. It's new and it's never boring.
Do you have a particular, it sounds really cheesy, but it's is there like a particular assets or approach that you have to design? I think color is probably the first thing I think of in words I really love using. To capture emotion as I started as a writer, as a young kid. So I've always found words to be the easiest place to start and also color.
So that's where I start. If there's like a lyric for my personal design work, I always start with like maybe lyrics or color schemes that have caught my eye different fonts that like things that you don't think about, like a stop sign has a specific font for every stop sign and like. acidic bonds now I'm nerding out, but it's like interesting things like that you don't think about.
But for me, that's my line of work. So it's all I think about is the way that different letters are shaped. And I noticed on your site that these beautiful covers for. I think it was absolute and what was happening there. That was probably my biggest client I've worked with is I did design work for absolute vodka.
That was incredible. And I was further summer social media branding. That was a big one for me. Getting to bask in that was really nice. Yeah. Tell me about it. So they had, they, I was working with a marketing company at that time. That was one of my side jobs when places first started and I've always wanted to work on.
Branding. I think it's so interesting because you could push the limits a little bit more with the edginess. And once I got that branding guide, I was so excited. It was, but they're very specific with the branding with these major corporations, like font, colors, images that are used. They're very specific.
So I don't really get to be as creative, but. I can put my twist on things. And it was interesting, the art that they chose from the catalog and gave them was the ones that I made more custom as opposed to they're more like commercial stuff. What was the essence of that? So those that haven't seen it yet, it was summertime.
They had just introduced the watermelon vodka. So it was all watermelon beans and the colors were like pink and Royal blue and yellow, and very cute. See picnic by. What's happening with the the album covers I saw on your site. I really love recreating album covers and movie posters. That's my dream job is making posters.
Yes. Yeah. I love film. So that would be like a long-term goal of mine is just my only job being, making a movie poster. Oh, okay. Tell me what, I don't know. I love indie films. And so that's how I got started in doing that. I started tagging some of the film house. And I just started to put my work out there and, you know, I've, I haven't gotten that bite yet, but I have a film house that I would really love to work with called 8 24 and they they've done some incredible work.
And so my goal would be long-term to work for them and just work on any movie design, the thing what compels you about this particular movie house? I think it's so quirky and they really think outside of. In terms of the Maddix and colors and the filters they use on their movies, who they cast.
It's the opposite of what you think of when you think of the film industry with these like actresses that are picture X and beautiful they're actors are very interesting to look at. They're not conventionally beautiful. They're like real people. And in a twisted way, like one of the actresses in a film I saw recently had no idea.
And I thought it was stunning. Yeah. So it's stuff like that. Quirkiness different unique what was the name of that house again? It's a 24 and 28. What was the name of the film? It was called X. It's very interesting. It just came out. horror film. It's a little bit grotesque, but that's great. And I'll put my fingers in my ears when it gets too scary.
I just said I'm such a west. Quite the list of these things. Maybe I wanted to be in the right one for you. It's a little creepy. I'll watch it during the day someone to hold your hand. Absolutely. w where do you get your, like your freshness? Like, how do you. You know, It sounds like stop signs are inspirations for you.
These movies are inspirations for you. How do you collecting ingredients for your pantry? I like that. I think environment is the biggest thing for me that I've learned being around beautiful things, surrounding myself, with beautiful people inside and out, mostly inside and be going and traveling even if it's to Sarasota, Florida.
To Tampa, like just making sure that I'm filling myself with those things that I love antiquing. I love music, vinyl records, film, photography, anything that's old. I love it. So just getting really into the stuff that I love inspires me most. It seems like, like an internet, like a, an ongoing let me just go explore here.
Let me explore that. I'm always exploring. I love even if I'm buying my. As a single woman, there's a lot of pressure to find a partner, to do things with. And since I was young, I've always gone against that. Like I go to New York by myself. I plan on going to Paris by myself. Don't stop your plans just because you don't have someone to go with.
So I've carried that with my travels. If even if it's an hour long drive, I'll do that drive right by myself. I'll listen to my show tunes. I don't care. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I've done a lot of travel by myself, you know, and then always end up meeting great people on the way you have to talk to them too, you know, like you can go traveling and just do your thing, but it's investing in those people that you meet.
It's important. You meet some really cool people if you just talk to. How else would you, I don't know. I just, I feel like you have so many topics than your mind so much is happening. What have I not asked you that you'd like to share? well, I have a lot of my personal work is not public and I am a singer and musician and not a lot of people know that because I don't really put it out.
I do plan on putting it out in this upcoming year. I think I've been given the wings recently to fly with that. With places having events. Again, I'm going to have an installation in September and I'm releasing music with it. So I'm nervous but excited. It's the vulnerability. I think with some of my personal work that I just, I oftentimes will help others with their projects instead of pushing myself.
Because it's more comfortable than being the one, putting my vulnerable work out there. So I think that's something that I haven't talked about yet, but music is in the works for sure. That's really exciting. That's really exciting. I can't wait to be that. Yeah.
And so how do you, how have you created a relationship with feeling nervous? Battling that relationship every day. It's a toxic one. I struggle a lot with anxiety. So nervousness definitely comes with that. So I just try and push myself to my limits. As far as my nervousness, I'm working on it. It's hard, but just like building myself up on the way to do things.
If I'm driving to work and I know I have an event and I have social anxiety about it. Getting myself ready, talking myself up, getting myself in the mood to really go there and be the best I can. It's a mental game with mental health. You have to just talk to yourself sometimes and be kind to yourself.
Right. And it sounds like also the things that you're pushing yourself, they have this like high a goal. So it's, that's the, also like the reminder of connecting. You have, you can't be a musician and not have your music. And that's my biggest goal as a person is to have my music and tell my stories so that people can relate and maybe cope with things that they're going through my stories, because I do believe that you don't go through things for no reason.
And those stories were given to you for you to share. And even though it's hard, you have to do with. I think that'd be really inspiring for people who are listening. That if there's something that they're resisting, but they know that it's the thing, you know, your thing, everyone has something that they were born with, that they know is their gift.
And for me, I think it's always been my voice and my words. So I hope. Grow from the nervousness and it become more of an inspiring feeling for me to just keep going. That's amazing. I'm really? Yeah. I mean, I'm really excited to support you in that. Am I moving everybody else here is like ready? It's the people around me that have been pushing me the most, my boss Ariel always is pushing me to put out the music.
Cause he knows too that it's. Yeah.
Well, And how can people get in touch with you? Instagram? Ima St. Emma. Yeah. So Instagram and then I run call me places and red tape Orlando. And then my website is up. If you want to do a design inquiry. I come from, I studied Renaissance are in college. Okay. So I've always had an interest with religion, specifically the light in the dark contrast.
And I think that saints work human. So human beings are imperfect. So there is always going to be the darkness that comes from human nature, but it's still you're a Saint like light for some reason. Like why are saints? So uplifted almost. So in my music and my art, I always like to include the light in the dark.
And then I just love Renaissance art, and I want to be a Saint. Well, It sounds like you already are. If we're all well inherent with the light and the dark. So we're all saintly.
amazing. Well, This has been absolutely extraordinary. It's been such a gift and I'll put all the links in the show notes. I'm just really excited to continue this conversation. I love talking with you. amazing.
Well, AMA I. I cannot emphasize enough. What. Incredible conversation. This has been and listeners, thank you so much for joining us. I will have ways in which to connect with the AMA in the show notes as always. And listeners, I really, really curious about what resonated with you. Uh, what nugget are you taking out into the world to sort of make your own or apply?
I just can't wait to hear from you and pop those into the reviews. I relish being able to read them. And you really do guide the content of future shows. So I'm so excited for your contribution. And on another note, if you are interested in being able to think differently, Uh, so that you can get fresh and impactful solutions out into the marketplace.
Then head over to hihellosura.com/thinkdifferently. And there you will be in for a treat as a, we. I us. It takes a village. Uh, have systematized and made accessible into your hands. Uh, getting solutions out into the world. So, let me know what you think about that too. So once again, I 📍 am your host until next time. I'm your host, Sura Al-Naimi