Talk Business spoke to Tricia Hamilton of Tricia Designs, who makes bespoke fascinators and hats.
Where did the idea come from?
My daughter, Lisa, was looking for a fascinator to match an outfit she was wearing for a wedding and couldn’t find one to exactly match her colour scheme.
She suggested that as I am creative I could make one for her. This was quite unexpected as I had never made any sort of hat or fascinator before. Her confidence in me was astounding. Not only did she expect me to rise to the challenge but to finish it in the short time I had before I went home!
She wore it to the wedding and was complimented by everyone. There was a gush of requests for bespoke fascinators from friends and family. My first action was to learn the millinery skills I needed from a top London Milliner at Cockpit Arts. I then started my own business to complete these orders.
It was a trickle effect. More requests, with the increased complexity of style and design, followed. I pushed the bar out to add my own take on this and use quality materials that helped with the style and edgy shapes.
Now I use my own lace in some of my work, as I can design my own lace pattern from scratch to give a customised look.
What’s your advice to entrepreneurs trying to get an idea off the ground?
My advice is to take time on an idea and realise it will not be a quick process. Funds tend to be an issue to begin with, so I would recommend having a second income when you’re starting out.
If you weren’t an entrepreneur, what would you be doing today?
I used to work as a school teacher and now teach arts and crafts classes on a voluntary basis, which I really enjoy. If I weren’t an entrepreneur I would do more voluntary work.
What’s been your worst ever job?
I was asked to copy another hat in a different colour. This was so boring! It didn’t involve any creativity and I now refuse to do this sort of work.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced?
Starting my own business and learning a wide variety of skills has been challenging. I found using and understanding social media and web design to be particularly challenging as it was all new to me. You have to learn many new skills when you set out by yourself. At times it can be daunting, but it’s also immensely rewarding.
How much does money motivate you?
Money is not a motivator, although I think it should be. I have a stack of orders and have made the prices more realistic on the hours I spend on my work.
What’s been your proudest moment?
I was very thrilled to be nominated for the Nat West Venus Award in Bristol and Somerset. Reaching the finals has been a proud moment. It feels like the parts of my business are all coming together towards the goal.
What’s your vision for the future?
I would like to have my collection in a fashion show and build my brand with a celebrity endorsement.
I would be so proud to have the installation I am currently working on with a Hong Kong artist to be exhibited.
Picture credit: Bluemoon