Emma launched Where The Wild Is in 2018 – 13 years after she first fell in love with Northern Europe during her placement year with Bournemouth University. Emma explains: “I was studying Leisure Marketing at BU and took up an internship within Intel’s trade show and events team. Much of the company’s work was in Finland and Sweden and I just fell for the area. It was like being in another world. Little did I know that this experience would eventually spark the idea for my first enterprise.”
After graduating from BU, Emma indulged her love of travel with an 18-month trip around Asia, Australia, Canada and the United States. She returned to the UK and began to build a career in marketing, firstly with a London-based advertising agency and later with Castrol BP. Feeling unfulfilled by corporate life, she began to explore whether she could combine her skills and experience in marketing with her passion for travel and took up a role with a Bristol-based tour operator. She went on to become the organisation’s Head of Marketing before realising that she really wanted to go it alone.
Emma said: “Like many entrepreneurs, I have always had a bit of a rebellious streak. Working in a big organisation, I struggled with the layers of decision making and the fact that I had to have someone sign a bit of paper before I was allowed to go on holiday. I kept thinking that I wanted to launch my own brand and began to sketch out ideas and plans in my free time. Eventually I launched Where The Wild Is to appeal to people who also wanted to step away from the busyness of life and visit some of the most amazing places on earth.”
The company now offers holiday-makers the chance to stay in unusual accommodation including tree-houses, ice hotels and igloos while taking part in excursions ranging from snowmobile safaris to experiencing the Northern Lights. Next on the horizon are plans to add holidays in Australia and New Zealand, to offer experiences at what Emma refers to as the “top and bottom of the world”.
Emma’s advice to other budding entrepreneurs is to do your research and make the most of your existing connections. She said: “Keep in touch with people, particularly if you are launching a business relating to your previous area of work. I have received lots of support from former colleagues and contacts which has been really beneficial. There are lots of incubator schemes out there, and I would also encourage anyone to surround themselves with like-minded individuals. Being your own boss can be a lonely business and it’s great to have input from other people who are on a similar journey and who can share their advice and experiences.”