design studio owner emma levitt

If you want colour and something a little different, or quirky, for your interiors, Emily Ziz is the place to go. If you're interested in contemporary African design, it should be at the top of your list. Emma Levitt created Emily Ziz 18 months ago after meeting a bunch of designers while on holiday in South Africa. She started representing three of them, and now has more than 40 boutique brands in her agency. She also represents Australian companies Six Hands and Grace Garrett. Emma recently opened a showroom in Sydney's Paddington.

Which five words best describe you? Organised, loyal, reliable, cautious, capable.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I am the daughter of two award-winning creatives (a hairdresser and an interior designer) and have always been exposed to colour and design in various forms. A combination of managing some of London's leading hotels, and then moving on to handle business development in the US, Europe and Asia for NASDAQ-listed companies in the online gaming space, set me in good stead to ultimately open my own business. A constant yearning to work hard for myself and not someone else, and a holiday to South Africa where I identified amazing textiles and design products, is what resulted in Emily Ziz. A few casual conversations with a bunch of designers, just three days before the end of a holiday, kick started what we have today... that was 18 months ago.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? If you believe in something then give it a go. If you don't try, you'll never know! If you don't ask, you'll never get! And small risks are usually worth it.
What’s your proudest career achievement? The recent opening of our first showroom. That, and single handedly negotiating with the Israeli secret service when arranging a function that involved the Israeli Prime Minister, back in my London hotel days, many years ago!
What’s been your best decision? Having kids and moving to Sydney.
Who inspires you? Many people, and my family of course, but especially my 95-year-old grandfather who still takes himself off to work for 2 hours every day.
What are you passionate about? My family, good food, travel, handbags, shoes, colour.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Philippe Starck and Tricia Guild.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? To travel the world with our kids.
What are you reading? Living Etc, Elle Decoration, Visi, Belle, Vogue Living, Habitus, InDesign, Inside Out, Home Beautiful, House and Garden, Donna Hay, Delicious ....the list goes on.

images courtesy of emily ziz