Saturday, 13 June 2015

[#WOW] Meet Katie from Katie Vale Designs

Today we met Katie from Katie Vale Designs who's mum taught her to sew but it was her willingness to want to know how to make a hat that led her to become a milliner after doing a course. Here Katie tells us more.

Can you tell us a little about yourself as a person?
I'm a 30-something, outgoing girl, I love to laugh & smile.  I have 2 fabulous nephews and I love cats.  This year I am lucky enough to be bridesmaid for the 7th time!  I love shoes!  I have a serious shoe addiction!

How did you first set up the business? 
My mum taught me to sew as a young child; I know how clothes and soft furnishings are put together.  It was driving me crazy that I couldn't figure out how you would make a hat.  So I asked for a weeks millinery course for a Christmas gift about 10 years ago.....I gave up my job and trained fully in the traditional art of millinery.

How old is the business? 
About 8 years old now!

Did you ever think you’d be running your own business?!  But I'm so very glad that I am!

Where are you based? Do you have a shop or are you just online? 
I have a studio in Barleylands Craft Village, Billericay, Essex.  My studio is open to the public 6 days a week.  So you are all welcome to come and see me at work, making a hat or fascinator.  I ship my designs all over the world.

What is the most popular product sales wise? 
The Navy Sinamay Flower attached is my most popular fascinator.  I have made this in so many different colours and sizes.  Everyone loves it.

Everyone has a favourite product - what is yours?
Ohhh that's such a tough one, as it really depends what mood I'm in.....but I would probably have to say the black polka dot inverted hat. This hat was an idea in my head....and it came out exactly just as I imagined.  I love the polka spiral and think that this hat is really quite opulent too!  It's an eye catcher & I think it's very unusual in shape too.

What is your newest item / product?
That's a really difficult one to answer, as I am always tweaking designs & changing things slightly in the studio.  I also have the issue that often, people come in and see pieces they like before I've had a chance to photograph them!  But I am working a lot on my bridal designs at present.  I'd neglected the bridal market for too long & have gone back to where I started.  You'll see lots of tiaras / combs / clips on my website soon.  But for now you can see some of my pretty bridal fascinators here already.

What is the one thing people must know about your business?
Everything I do is completely hand made from scratch by me :-)  The most common question I get asked is if I make things myself.  I think people don't expect to see milliners in everyday life....but we do exist!

What is your proudest business achievement?
I have 2 I'd say...Am I allowed 2?  :-) I was voted Most Popular Accessories Designer in the UK in the Wedding Industry Experts 2014.  That was super exciting!  And then last week one of my fact, a copy of the navy flower fascinator, was worn at The Cheltenham Festival.  It was in the Daily Mail & the caption said it was a contender for "Best Hat of the Day".  That made me smile a lot!

What do you do when you aren’t working on the business? I love reading & watching films!  I'm a bit of a movie buff!  But also I really enjoy going to live music events, whether it's a concert in a big arena or a small gig in a pub.  I've seen some of the best and biggest music artist perform throughout the world.

What five words describe your business?Millinery.  Couture.  Individual.  Colourful.  Craft.

Any big plans for 2015 you can share? this space :-)

How can we find out more about you:
Twitter: @katiejaynevale
Pinterest: @katievaledesigns
Telephone: 07939 216792

I absolutely LOVE Katie's pieces - and I am totally falling in love with the Bridal Pieces too! I cannot wait to see more!

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