Woman in Innovation: Emily Coates
"Be relentless in the pursuit of your vision."

Each Wednesday we interview women in our community about innovation and what drives them to make a difference in their industries everyday!

What are you working on?
At HOORAY, we provide party, wedding and home entertaining inspiration to an online audience of over 4 million monthly viewers across our website and social media channels. (You should totally social media stalk us.)

Originally an independent print magazine, HOORAY! has grown into a leading source of celebration inspiration. A go-to guide for fun-loving party-throwers and those who plan events, style them and enjoy them.

HOORAY! is more than just an online publication; we’re a community of dedicated entertaining enthusiasts. Our readers have a passion for celebrating—from weddings and birthday parties, through to engagements, baby showers, dinner soirees and everything in-between.

You won’t find any tired traditions, awkward small talk or function room weddings here. We’re for fun-loving couples and party planners who put their own spin on things, creating an occasion that is uniquely ‘them’.

I also own and operate Ivy Social, a boutique social media consultancy. After working with a number of brands to manage and optimise their social media presence, I extended my services to a select number of businesses. It certainly keeps things busy!

Why is innovation important to you?
Innovation drives us to do better. It invites us to think differently, challenge the status quo and lift our game.

The realm of social and digital media is an ever-changing landscape. In this fast-moving environment, a strategy that worked wonders last week may not be effective tomorrow. This might sound a little dramatic, but in the digital publishing world it really is a case of ‘do or die’. You have to adopt an attitude of innovation or you risk falling behind. cue melancholic violins

The most successful players are nimble and in-tune with their audience’s needs, responding and adapting their approach as they go. To thrive, we must continually innovate, closely monitor our results, stay agile, and above all, consistently produce high-quality content that inspires our audience.

Our business story is case in point. HOORAY! began as a gorgeous bi-monthly print publication with an illustrated cover, independently produced here in Australia and sold right across the globe. Around this time, you might have seen our magazine poking out of a newsstand in your local newsagent or supermarket.

While we adored our beloved magazine, in early 2016 we made the bold decision to stop printing and shift our focus towards our digital platforms. While our print readership was remaining relatively steady, our online audience was growing like crazy. The data was black and white; people weren’t heading to the newsagent in search of inspiration anymore—they were browsing Pinterest, scrolling Instagram and hunting down vendors on Google.

Fast-forward two years, and today HOORAY! has built a connection with millions of readers from all corners of the globe—something that would be near-impossible to achieve in a pure-print format.

What drives you to make a difference?
I’m driven by the feedback we get from our readers and advertisers. For me, it’s all about connecting our audience with the ideas, inspiration and contacts they need to pull together an epic celebration.

I absolutely adore knowing that a cake recipe we’ve published is going to be used for someone’s birthday, or that HOORAY! has helped an engaged couple to find vendors they can trust for their wedding day.

My heart sings when our advertisers tell us they’ve booked a dream client, boosted their social media growth and achieved their business goals—all thanks to their partnership with HOORAY!

Do you have any advice for getting more women into the innovation ecosystem?
If you have a burning passion and a vision for how to turn it into a viable reality, my advice is to feel the fear and do it anyway. It can be scary to make the leap, but it’s better than not leaping at all!

Then, be relentless in the pursuit of your vision. Don’t allow yourself to be paralysed by self-doubt—let go of your inner-perfectionist and just get started. Celebrate every tiny victory along the way. One day, you’ll look back and wish you’d started earlier.

It can be easy to fall into the comparison trap, so focus on your own lane and remind yourself there’s no such thing as an overnight success. Strong businesses are built by a consistent effort over time. Keep putting one foot in front of the other day in and day out, and you’ll get there, I promise!

You’ll make mistakes, so be kind to yourself. Pick yourself up, absorb the learnings, grab a cup of coffee and keep powering on. You’re bound to come across roadblocks, but if you have the tenacity and drive, you’ll find a way to climb right over them. You’ve got this girlfriend!


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