So I’ve now been open for over a year and I still love my little shop and have managed to pay the rent each quarter! What I have realised is that it’s not enough just to sit there and wait for people to come in. It is a quiet area and there isn’t that much footfall so I still have to work hard to get ourselves known. My milliner Gemma Sangwine has been a real support and has stuck with me and I have made new creative friends along the way.
I have met some lovely brides for whom I am now creating their dream wedding dress. For these I’m now collaborating with another textile designer Polly Jones. We make a dream team as she loves the pattern cutting and making up while I love all the embellishment and fine details. It’s such an honour to be trusted with the task of making someone’s dream come true for their special day but we all love this challenge and like nothing better than all working together to make sure everything co-ordinates. I’ve even found a Spanish artisan shoe maker to collaborate with to make bespoke hand embroidered and handmade shoes. I’m waiting to receive our very first pair any day now!
Gemma and I have also joined Blue Patch, a brilliant ethical directory as we like to think that everything we make is also ethical. As I call my label “something old…something new” and we both love taking old and preloved components to make something new and exciting this seems appropriate and hopefully they can help us promote our work. I’ve also joined Kate Beavis’ Indie PR Hub to help with all the social media and PR that’s so important for any small creative business. The problem is, there are never enough hours in the day to fit it all in!
Other plans include more workshops and Polly Jones is using the basement to set up a textile/dressmaking workshop space. This area also has to double up as a studio for pop up photo shoots with my two dear photographer friends Su Larkins and Danniella Jaine. Danniella also offers modelling packages where aspiring models can have a professional photo shoot, hair and make up with styling by me – the perfect, completely safe way to obtain amazing images for their portfolio.
We also host vintage tea parties and held an amazing one to celebrate our first anniversary and the publication of Danniella’s photo shoot “Time for Changelings” in the American Faerie magazine, quite an accomplishment! Eight people sat down to a “Midsummer Nights Dream” inspired full afternoon tea served on my collection of vintage china and served by two of my favourite models dressed as fairies! We were also entertained in the evening by Danniella reading some of the poems she had written to accompany her images.
In May we are hosting two special “Textiles, Tea and Tales” events with storytelling by Chloe from “Midnight Storytellers” and a talk about my collection of vintage clothes entitled “Mrs Butcher’s Wardrobe” so watch this space for more exciting news about the second year at “Atelier 19”!