Thrings Meets… DIY With Emma

Thrings meets Emma Downer, creator of home improvement advice platform DIY With Emma.

Thrings Corporate Partner Elaine Meyrick meets Emma Downer, creator of home improvement advice platform DIY With Emma.

Elaine Meyrick: What is DIY with Emma and how did it get started?

Emma Downer: I’m a Bristol-based content creator focused on making home DIY and maintenance more accessible to everyone, creating videos that talk people through everyday tasks to the challenging stuff that people might not think they can do. 

The catalyst was a burst pipe at my parents’ house. Feeling scared and with no idea what to do, I called an emergency plumber, who charged me £120 simply to turn off the stop tap. I definitely could have done that if I’d known how and it made me determined to learn what I needed to know to look after my home. 

I took a sabbatical from work to do-up the house I’d just moved into. A year later, we were all in lockdown and everyone was trying their hand at DIY, with many getting stuck trying to fix things themselves. 

I started posting videos on TikTok about what I was doing to the house and would get messages asking how I did something or what tool I’d used which inspired me to make more videos that answered these kinds of questions. 

I’d started out just posting to help people out but, with the engagement I was getting, it wasn’t long before I realised there was an opportunity to make something more of it and it has just gone from there. I now have a DIY community of nearly one million people and have made over 2000 videos that have been watched over 250 million times. I’ve worked with some amazing partners including BBC Studios, Pinterest, Wickes, B&Q and even Disney!

EM: How did it feel to be named this year’s best new business at the Bristol Life Awards? 

ED: It was genuinely such a surprise to be named the winner. There were some incredible businesses in my category that I really respect so it was very humbling. I remember flicking through Bristol Life whilst I was contemplating what to do with my life after graduation, so to see myself with this award does feel like life has come full circle.

EM: Why in your view is it important for people to learn these kinds of skills?

ED: Having a sense of autonomy, that you are capable and have control of your own life, is a basic human need. This applies nowhere more to us than in our own homes. Teaching yourself DIY doesn’t just improve the house but can have a positive impact on health and wellbeing.

What I really like about creating content is that it gives people the metaphorical tools to do something they couldn’t before, whether that is simply putting up a shelf or renovating their whole house. I’ve had people message me to say thanks for helping them do something, but the reality is that they’ve done it themselves!

EM: What advice would you give to a first-time DIY-er?

ED: Start with something you feel comfortable doing and take it from there, getting a little more challenging each time. , Discovering that you can do something you didn't think you could is exhilarating, it really spurs you on to try harder things.

There was a time I’d never put up a shelf and I still make mistakes, it's a normal part of learning - I remember vividly every tin of paint I’ve ever dropped!

EM: What is next for DIY with Emma?

ED: I’m currently working on three massive projects. The first being to consolidate all of my content onto my website, making it much easier for people to access the videos most relevant to their projects. Secondly, I am about to launch a DIY home maintenance course for the complete beginner.

Finally, I’m in the process of setting up a female-focused workwear company. There are few practical options available for women. Historically workwear companies design for men, “pink it and shrink it” and think it will satisfy the female market. I want to create something that is practical and fashionable. 

I’m fortunate to have a formal education in clothing, with experience working for the MoD in PPE and I’m currently exploring some exciting opportunities to bring forward a line that is planet first and size inclusive, watch this space!

To find out more about DIY with Emma, visit or follow @diywithemma on Youtube, Instagram and TikTok.

Thrings Lawyers home page

Related Articles