What is the nature of your business / what services do you offer?
Bespoke fashion design and dress making, bespoke bridal and bridesmaid dresses.
How did you come to be in the industry you are in? What is your background?
When I was a child, designing dresses for my Barbies was my favourite thing to do and I was constantly drawing and sketching and always knew that I wanted to do art. I did art in school and then I went to art college and did all aspects of art but then I went down the line of fashion design. This was all about garment technology, drawings, initial ideas, and I learnt so much. Working with people in the industry with the knowledge that they had for me to learn from was just on another level.
I didn't go to uni, so I went straight into a job on the Brother Shower Machines in George Henry Lees. I went there with the knowledge of being in college and working with industry factory background, so I knew all about that but when I got to Brother, I learnt so much more as they were all hand sewers. I basically had the best of both worlds: I had hand sewing techniques and then the techniques of factory background from college.
At home, I was designing clothes for a stall on the market in my spare time and coming up with new ideas, just different ways really of how to do things and figuring out what worked and what didn’t. I got made redundant, so I wondered what to do then. I was already doing my own clothing for my customers from home, and it was all word of mouth and friends would pass my details on and so I was always getting new clients.
After six months of working from home, I found a space to work from and it was ideal. It was run off funding and I was around other creative people. After two years the building became rundown, and you could tell that the lack of government funding was taking its toll. I had been based in the Kirkby area, so had customers from round there but nowhere else really so I decided to move to the city centre.
I found another space, but it was just a small space. I was there for just two years then moved to another space and my career in grew in there which was amazing but then the building was being sold so looked for somewhere else.
I actually found the warehouse on Gumtree where they were advertising rooms for beauty, so I messaged and said any for dressmakers, so they said come in, so I came in. As I walked in, I fell in love with the building, and I thought I'm staying here, and I've been here ever since. The whole building is like nothing else, my business has grown and grown, and I am so lucky.
How would you like your clients / customers to describe your business?
I would like to think that my clients believe i have a good knowledge and can advise them on the right fabric, right design and right colour for their end product. I’ll always find a way to make their dream design come to life.
What has been your greatest achievement to date?
For my business to have survived a recession and a pandemic and still be busy, I am so, so, lucky.
How does your business align with the values and ethos of the Secret Warehouse?
I have always been positive and believe everything happens for a reason. Looking back at my background, everything does happen for the right reason and when it happens it puts you on the path for the next chapter.
How has being a part of the Warehouse community benefitted your business?
Oh massively! When I moved in there was various make up and nail girls and when their clients were coming in, they would see a dressmaker and then start coming to me for their stuff. But it is all just mainly word-of-mouth from the other residents too which is like a community.
If you could give one piece of advice to anyone who wants to start their own business what would it be?
Being self-employed gives you the chance to set your own hours but be prepared to work long hours and you definitely need to be self-motivated.