How did you become interested in millinery?
I was looking to start my own business (ladies clothing and occasion wear) the premises I finally found had previously been a hat shop so I decided to stock hats.Customers came who wanted hats colour matched to outfits and ladies with large heads wanted headwear that fitted them so that is where it all began!
Where and why did you learn millinery?
I initially enrolled on a beginners course at the Wombourne school of Millinery to learn the basics – after that I was hooked.I have subsequently been on other courses to learn about feather dressings, fabric dying, how to make metal framed hats.Other than that my skills have been self-taught, but I think its fair to say millinery has become a bit of an obsession. I love it so much I make hats and fascinators almost every waking hour.I have even been known to wake up in the night and jot down an idea that popped into my head
How long have you been a milliner for? Where else did you work?
I have been a practicing milliner for 3 years now.I started my business in 2001
Where do you get inspiration for your designs?
I find inspiration from all sorts of things – fabrics and shapes ,Catwalk shows and fashion collections. Some clients bring ideas with them and from there we work on ideas together. Mostly I have to say that my more whacky hats just seem to evolve by experimentation.
What has been your most enjoyable commission?
My favourite commissions are race day hats when you can be daring and go a bit wild!
How would you describe your style of hats?
I would say that most of my work is very wearable and commercial , punctuated by the odd whacky design.
Who do you make hats for?
I make hats for all occasions – most commissions come via my shop but I also a fair bit of wholesale work.On the whole I would say Mother of the Bride and raceday events are at least 70% of my business.
What materials and techniques do you favor?
Sinemay and feathers.
I spent 25 years in fashion retail prior to starting my own business.