A year ago today I wrote a post about my lovely friend Emma Webb. She was three days away from opening new premises for her shop, Unique Chique. Up to her eyes in planning, she was frantically co-ordinating signs and stock for opening day, and capably masterminding the logistics of retail.
One year later, I am still coming to terms with the terrible news that – two weeks ago – Emma sadly died after a long illness. She had battled courageously for so long, with incredible strength and dignity. It’s unbelievable to think she is no longer here.
Emma led an extraordinary life. She trained as a commercial pilot and became a captain before her 30th birthday. She then moved into private aviation, but shortly after, unfortunately, her illness meant she was unable to fly. Rather than mope around, she used her recuperation time to go along to one of Annie Sloan’s furniture painting courses, start to revamp her own furniture and eventually set up shop selling her pieces.
Her shop was filled with beautiful, original discoveries and creations. Most of the furniture pieces were found and transformed by Emma herself. She had a great, individual eye, and her shop was truly a statement about her tastes and personality. And, she was one of the country’s first stockists of Chalk Paint™ decorative paint by Annie Sloan.
I was lucky enough to help out in her shop once a week for a few months. Over cups of Vanilla Chai, we would chat endlessly about gorgeous things we’d seen… dreams we had… plans in the pipeline… More often than not, we would wrap up our days with the same words: ‘So many ideas, so little time.’
Emma was selfless and generous with her encouragement and advice to me. She was quiet and modest, but focused, determined, and hugely creative too. Always ready to share her knowledge and skills, she was liked by everyone who was lucky enough to meet her, and had a smile for anyone who came into the shop. She achieved so much in her short life, but tragically had a whole lifetime’s worth of more ideas and inspiration to share. I know I’m not the only one who will miss her so, so much.