I am always inspired when I get the opportunity to meet someone who has a special skill or talent, and Emma Semper Hopkins certainly falls into that category. Not only is she talented, she has also turned a passion into a business, based out of a beautiful old Methodist church in the village of Scholar Green, near Congleton.
Semper Hopkins Upholstery & Interiors opened in its doors in 2018. After buying the Methodist church, Emma’s dad painstakingly and sympathetically refurbished and restored the building over a period of a year, taking it back to brick while keeping many original features, turning it into a workshop full of light and inspiration.
Emma’s business started as half hobby and half necessity. After moving into a new house which needed a lot of work, she decided to learn upholstery and signed up for an evening course.
Not doing things by halves, the first piece of furniture she tackled while training was a wing back chair, and although it was challenging with lots of sections to consider, it turned out to be a success, covered with a beautiful cream linen fabric and finished off with brown leather football-style buttons. Throwing herself in at the deep end worked well as she had to learn quickly, and she used her knowledge to work on other projects, including footstools, benches and even sofas. In 2016 Emma turned this hobby into a part- time business whilst on maternity leave from her job in the corporate world. It wasn’t long before Emma left her job and went full-time in her business.
Semper Hopkins Upholstery & Interiors has three parts: they specialise in reupholstering old and worn-out pieces of furniture, including wingback chairs, occasional chairs, footstools and dining chairs. She loves to breathe new life into something which is tired and weathered, items we have in our homes that might be family heirlooms and that tell their own stories. They also design and make their own ranges of custom made industrial style furniture including bar Stools, chairs, stools, benches, footstool, and storage.
She also teaches a variety of upholstery workshops, which run over a day or an evening class with a choice of items to create including notice boards, footstools, stools, storage crates and benches. The courses include all the materials needed and a choice of fabric, and then at the end you have a handmade piece of furniture you can enjoy for years to come.
I have booked a workshop in a week’s time, and by the time this article is published I hope I am sitting with my feet up on a footstool made by my own hands, relaxing and sipping a cup of tea. Admittedly, craft is not something that comes naturally to me; however, I am going along with my mum as an experience we can do together. I am looking forward to taking some time out from my busy day today and learning a new skill. Emma explains that making the furniture gives you a sense of mindfulness, as you switch off from the hustle and bustle to focus on the job at hand.
Her workshops are aimed at small groups of up to eight (max 12), you can come by yourself for a bit of me time, enjoy an activity with friends or family or perhaps a team building day for a business. It’s a different way to reward your team instead of the usual escape rooms, golf or shooting events with the bonus of coming away with a beautiful piece of furniture to keep for years to come. Katy