Hi Beverley, it’s so great to meet you, talk us through…
A day in the life of Beverley
Before lockdown I would typically wake up around 6am, spend about half an hour doing emails and social media and walk to my boutique arriving between 7.30- 7.45am, I would then try and organise myself for the day and make any orders that I know I wouldn’t get done whilst the shop is open. Around 9am my team would arrive ant the shop would open for the day, generally then I would split my time between the shop floor, customer appointments or in the studio making orders or stock. Working with clients often involves a lot of time, trying different styles, seeing their outfits, colour matching and designing for them, so a few appointments can easily consume a full day. Around 4 I then do admin or have more studio creative time and generally stay until about 6.30-7pm.
After that I head home, walk the dog or do yoga have dinner and then settle in front of the TV, generally with a little easy sewing on some orders.
Right now in lockdown and the boutique being shut my day looks very different, the mornings start off the same with emails and social media, and online appointments or mentoring calls, then I take the dog out on a long walk, visit my gran and have a chat with her through her window, then I go to the boutique, post any online orders and prep any orders or designs that I am making, and take it all home. I spend the afternoons in a mixture of admin and creative making time, I’ve started recording some simple craft videos for adults and kids to get creative during lockdown, so I may film one of those. After dinner I settle in front of the TV and do any admin or making that still may need doing.
As a milliner, is this your Dream job?
I consider myself very lucky to have made a full time career out of millinery, I always wanted to be in fashion and have always been very driven to work and make my own money, so being self employed was a natural step, as a child I used to design floor plans of imaginary shops and imagine having my own one day, little did I know this would become a reality. To earn a living from such a niche industry and to employ others within it is something that I am very proud of, I work harder and longer hours than most people I know, but when you are passionate about something it doesn’t feel like work, its more just part of life. There are many other jobs out there that I look at now and think, wow that’s such a cool job, and as a teenager I wouldn’t have even known those jobs existed. I think being a milliner is my dream job, but I think there are also lots of other dream jobs out there that in another life I would have loved to do (all creative) , however I’m not naive enough to think any job will be all smiles and roses all the time.
What is your favourite hat that you have designed?
My favourite hat changes all the time, a lot of the time it will come down to seeing the client in their hat, maybe something that wasn’t my initial favourite, when you see it on the right person with the right outfit, suddenly the person will bring it to life and then I will just love that piece because I know it is so right for that client. So for me my favourite hat is the one on a client who brings it to life!
As a stylist, I’m a big fan of hats and think they should be worn more frequently as they complete a look. Why do you think we reserve hat wearing for more formal occasions rather than everyday?
In my experience, people not wearing hats every day is down to lack of confidence, they feel they will stand out in everyday wear and a hat because so few other people do, people in general like to fit in, where as at an event everyone is dressed up so they will feel they will fit in, dressing for formal wear even becomes a bit more of a competition as to who is best dressed, so this is when style really comes out in people!
I always ask clients who are undecided on an everyday hat that they must remember when they see someone in a lovely hat walking down the street, what do they think? More often than not they think, ‘doesn’t that person look lovely in a hat, I wish I could wear a hat like that!’. And I just remind them that that is exactly what other people would think of them if they were wearing a hat, we always presume in human nature that everyone is judging us critically, in reality, most of us are just wishing we had the confidence to wear that hat everyday too.
You run millinery classes at your shop in Surrey which sounds like a fabulous idea, these must be so popular.
Yes we run a whole host of millinery classes from out studio in surrey, they are every popular and often have a waiting list for bookings as I don’t have enough hours in the day! We teach absolute beginners, just looking to have a go and learn something new, to experienced milliners looking to hone in on particular skills. It’s always good fun and very creative, I love seeing how everyone can start with the same materials and equipment, yet individuals imaginations means everyone’s final creations are totally different and unique to them.
As a successful small business yourself. What advice would you give to other female led small businesses starting out?
Be consistent and conscientious with your clients, over deliver every time.
Learn your monthly rhythm inside out, you wont be as productive or creative at all times in the month, learn your rhythm and plan everything you do in business around when you are at your best.
You will work harder and longer hours than you knew was possible at the start and you will push yourself to do things you didn’t think you would be capable of, but if you have enough drive and ambition anything is possible.
What’s Your Favourite event for showcasing hats?
Without a doubt Royal Ascot, the drama and they style is literally like nowhere else. A place to express yourself and for milliners and fashion designers to come together and create looks and styles and set trends for the next season.
Who would be your dream client to make a hat for ?
Kate Middleton, she is so elegant and stylish.