Islington entrepreneur sends children letters from 'elves' and 'fairies'

Emily Beckloff

Emily Beckloff - Credit: Alexis Knight Photography

An Islington mum who launched a business while raising three children, one of whom has Down syndrome, is in the running for an entrepreneur award.

Emily Beckloff, founder of International Elf Service, is a finalist in the Creative Entrepreneur of the Year category at the 2022 Great British Entrepreneur Awards (GBEA).

The business, founded in 2009, sends personalised letters from "Christmas elves" and "fairies" to children.

It aims to inspire them, and motivate them to read and learn independently, while encouraging families to connect and spend time together.

Emily said she wants to give children what she would have liked as a child: intriguing stories written just for them from extraordinary and magical locations.

Having studied physiology at university, Emily found inspiration when she became a mother.

"I was curled up by the fire reading Letters from Father Christmas by JRR Tolkien, when I suddenly thought I could leave our young children a note each day from the North Pole in their wooden Advent house – an experience-rich and chocolate-free Advent calendar idea," she said. 

Most Read

“At first I wrote tiny notes like: ‘After nine helpings of Cherry Pie, Father Christmas lost one of his jacket buttons! It pinged off and flew behind the Giant Lollipops in the Elves’ Workshop!’

"Then as the children grew, the letters got longer and turned into one long Christmas storybook with a new ‘page’ appearing each day."

At the Grosvenor Hotel on November 21, 12 awards will be given out per region, and Emily said: “The whole team at International Elf Service are absolutely thrilled to be chosen as a GBEA finalist. As creators of magic, we really believe this is one of our most magical moments.”

Notable winners from previous years include Social Chain founder Steven Bartlett, who went on to become the youngest ever investor on BBC’s Dragon’s Den.

Founder of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards Francesca James said: “From the pandemic to the ongoing cost of living crisis, business owners haven’t had it easy over the past few years, but it’s a testament to the tenacity and perseverance of these entrepreneurs that they have continued on their path and refused to give in.”