After taking a huge risk leaving both their full-time jobs, Christchurch couple Emily and Tony Carr are celebrating the fifth anniversary of their unique gift company Create Gift Love

Five years ago, Emily Carr was a fully qualified pharmacist, while her husband Tony had a career as an aerospace engineer.

Fast-forward to 2017 and the couple - now parents to toddlers Evelyn and Griff - are celebrating the fifth anniversary of their unique handcrafted gift company Create Gift Love.

"It is a massive u-turn," smiles Emily, who put her pharmaceutical career aside after a pair of wooden cufflinks she made as a gift sparked a huge amount of interest.

"But I think that's okay, and I'm so glad that we've changed direction."

A year after demand for her cufflinks rocketed, Emily and Tony decided to put everything they had into expanding the business, with Tony also leaving his job to focus on developing the company.

“About a month after taking the step to focus on the business full time, I fell pregnant with our first baby," says Emily.

"Looking back, it sounds like a crazy time and I suppose it was but I never once doubted it.”

The gamble paid off - Create Gift Love started life in a garden shed, but now has a workshop in the New Forest, a ten-strong team of staff, more than 300 products and is one of online gift website Not On The High Street's bestselling brands, as well as working with prestigious clients including Chewton Glen, The Body Shop and Louis Vuitton.

All dreamt up and designed by Emily and Tony, the company features items including personalised presents, best man gifts, children's Christmas Eve boxes, coasters, photo frames, a new range of leather products and a date keyring - which Tony originally designed as a 'save the date' reminder for their own wedding and is now one of their best-sellers.

"It's grown really quickly," says Emily.

"Originally it was just everyday things. the cufflinks were a present, the coasters was because I wanted coasters for my house. It's just generally things that I want. It all stems from what I like.

"Now we sell tens of thousands of those little keyrings."

The raw materials used by Emily and Tony in their designs are all sourced ethically. They use quality FSC certified wood and British leather, with all items hand-sanded, oiled and dispatched in-house.

Tony adds that every product is made to order "if someone orders something today, we will make it tomorrow", and that they only design items they are truly passionate about.

"Our target audience is us," he explains.

"We tend to design things that we like. We design something as a gift and it's their reaction - if they're tearing up we go 'that's the product'."

The pair, who live in Christchurch, admit it has been a steep learning curve setting up their own business, but are now busily planning more products and focusing on increasing their social media presence.

"We are also hoping to work with festivals to create bespoke merchandise for them," says Emily.

"I always knew I wanted to do something. When I came across this stuff I knew it was really special and I got really excited about it.

"When we design products and people love them, that's great. But we never sit back and go 'this is going really well'.

"I could quite easily have stayed as a pharmacist. I just knew I had to try something. If you've got that passion you should definitely try it."