#HERBLOVEDLIFE: EMMA HLA OF COCO WEDDING VENUES
When I founded B.LOVED way back in 2011 I could never have imagined that not even 5 years later we’d have thousands of loyal followers, awards and a reputation as one of the most stylish blogs around. Luckily for me, and undoubtedly the secret to our success, is the amazing team I get to work with on a daily basis.
The ladies that write and contribute to these pretty pages are not just hard-working, talented female #bossladies and a valued part of the B.LOVED team, but they’re also mamas, wives, girlfriends, home makers, pet owners and much, much more!
To say they inspire me is an understatement, and I thought it was about time we celebrated this amazing group of women by getting to know them a bit better. So each month we’ll be following a day in the life of one of our writers, taking a peek behind the scenes of their businesses and family life, and finding out what exactly makes them tick.
First up, we’re meeting Emma Hla, founder of style-focussed wedding venue directory Coco Wedding Venues. This super stylish lady is a team fave – she curates the most beautiful venue directory, blogs her fashion, beauty and interiors tips and inspirations on B.LOVED Lifestyle, and shares her world with hubby Mark and pooch Gatsby (who happens to be the cutest ever!) in their chic Brighton home.
You can follow our inspirational ladies using #herBLOVEDlife on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook – and if you know someone you think we should include, then why not tweet or message us with their details?
Name: Emma Hla
Occupation: Founder & Editor of Coco Wedding Venues and Mama to Gatsby.
B.LOVED Role: I’m part of the Lifestyle writing team.
What do you love about your B.LOVED role? B.LOVED is such a supportive network of bloody brilliant ladies and I’m so proud to be a contributor.
Where do you live? In a traditional seaside townhouse in Brighton.
How did you come up with the idea for Coco Wedding Venues?
Once upon a time I used to be a Retail Area Manager and worked for beautiful British Heritage brands such as Jack Wills & Links of London. My workday consisted of running around Selfridges, Harrods and my stores across the city. I left this career in 2012 to travel around Europe with my newly acquired fiancé! When we got back, the idea was for me to start planning the wedding and look for a new role. But the light bulb moment for my online business hit and I never did make it back to retail.
Describe your style?
Classic, British, heritage, minimal.
How do you stay inspired & motivated?
Having a lifestyle business was a big decision, it meant walking away from a nice salary and the stability that comes from having a ‘normal’ work routine. So I guess I only need to look around me to be inspired. I have a freedom that’s exhilarating as my business can follow me all around the world, I love this creative start-up life we both live in and I’m truly blessed to be in this position. To stay motivated it’s important to affirm your choices.
I’m also inspired by all of the beauty and creativity that we get to experience in this industry. I love reading about other people’s stories, business plans, ideas and goals. But I try not to get too caught up in this as it’s important you follow your own plans, whether that’s creating a small business that allows a flexible life, or creating a powerhouse! Do what’s right for you.
What’s involved in a typical day at Coco HQ?
The alarm in the Hla household goes off at 6am, whereas the boy is a jump-straight-out-of-bed kind of person, I am NOT. I need to luxuriate under the covers for at least 20 minutes before I get up.
I sling my dressing gown on and head downstairs into the depths of the house to grab a cup and the laptop, then it’s back upstairs to make a coffee and start looking through emails, reading blogs and a spot of social media.
7.30 AM – 8.30 AM
So after about an hour of coffee drinking, working and Gatsby cuddles in bed, it’s time to get dressed! My daily uniform is usually some form of jogging trouser and jumper, as most of you know I have an obsession with Whistles so most of my wardrobe is from this brand. They easily do the best leisurewear – comfortable but chic!
Once ready, I take the pup for a walk. He’s a great excuse to get out and take in some fresh sea air. I have a specific route that we walk and it always leads me down my favourite road in Brighton. It’s a one-day-we’ll-buy-one-of-these-houses roads and it’s a pretty aspirational skip back to the office from there!
My office is at home and you may have seen it in the studio tour I did last year. It’s a great little space tucked at the back our lounge. It’s quite simple so it’s usually tidy! It was important that I created a pretty and inspirational place to sit so that I didn’t find myself slouching on the sofa; the shelves are filled with photos, thank you cards from Brides & suppliers and sweet love tokens.
I always kick-start the day at my desk by going through a to-do list and answering emails. If it’s a Monday then it’s banking and expenses!
I eat my breakfast late morning; at the moment I have a few faves like rye bread with eggs & salmon, or an avocado. But my fall back is always a spoonful of yoghurt and berries. I’m truly terrible at drinking water, so I only drink sparkling water and drop a lime wedge in to flavour!
When I sit down for breakfast I also usually order my lunch from 42 Juice to be delivered for 1pm. I’m obsessed with their ‘I am Perky’ smoothie which is a delicious concoction of peanut butter, cold-brew coffee and coconut oil. OBSESSED.
10.30 AM – 7 PM
From 10.30am onwards, apart from my smoothie pitstop, I’m pretty much at my laptop. My job consists of editing, listing, blogging, emailing, writing features and researching venues. I’d say 80% of my work is done online and 20% is made up of calls, meetings, road trips and creative projects. So worryingly, I can go a whole day without talking to anyone but the dog!
On a day-to-day basis Coco Wedding Venues is managed by just me, I don’t have a ‘team’ as such. However, I do have some really vital and core people around me – my husband works with me a few hours a week focusing on development and maintenance. Tamryn of Candid Apple works on the press side for me; she just gives the best advice and looks after my press releases and requests. I also have an incredible designer who I work with regularly on updates and brand collateral, she just totally gets the business and my vision! But I also have amazing support from my dear friend Katrina who I have contact with most days under the guise of #cocoandkat. This industry has brought some awesome women into my life, Kat being just one of them, and I’m truly grateful for their knowledge and advice.
Dinnertime! We share all household duties so I usually cook when Mark works in London.
Our evenings are spent relaxing, whether that’s a tipple from the bar, watching a film, catching up on reading or a trip to the cinema.