Emily Jupp inspires Socrates scholars

On Monday 10 February Emily Jupp, Founder of Milly J Shoes, came to visit us and delivered a powerful lecture as part of our Socrates Programme.

Emily, who is Afro-Caribbean, spoke about her childhood as it has shaped her and her determination to succeed. She told us how she was abandoned as a baby but fortunately then adopted by a loving white family. She spoke honestly about her unusual upbringing as she was raised in Bangladesh, where her parents were working at the time. Emily did not find school very easy as she was diagnosed with dyspraxia and was not very confident of her abilities. She found that often she had to challenge stereotypes as society categorised her, whether for her ethnicity or her dyspraxia. The most challenging time was, however, when her brother, a really talented artist who struggled with mental health, unexpectedly passed away. This tragedy was the driving force for Emily to pursue her ambitions and do what she wanted to do without wasting any time. As a very creative person, Emily started her shoe business, a passion that has made her realise her dreams.

In her workshop in Norfolk, Emily paints, sculpts and decorates shoes, each pair is unique and bespoke for her client. Emily does not always decorate new shoes but works on pre-existing ones as she believes in the importance of reusing what is already available to reduce landfill.

Emily has won prestigious awards, has featured in BBC programmes and has also made shoes for celebrities.

Her message to our students, who listened mesmerised by Emily’s extraordinary story, is to have faith in your own abilities, follow your dreams without seeking validation from others. She reminded us how important it is to be true to who you are and to strive to be the best person that you can be.

We would like to thank Emily for coming to London especially to visit us and to share her truly inspirational story with our students, who were also very grateful for the opportunity to ask questions and admire Emily’s unconventional creations on display.