StyleNest talks to Founder of bridal accessories boutique Millany, Tamsin Ridgwell to discover the heart of the ready-to-wear bride.
A mum, businesswoman and entrepreneur, Tamsin knows a thing or two about the modern bride. StyleNest talks business, juggling motherhood and plans for the future.
You were previously Brand Director and Producer at Jenny Packham for 7 years. You clearly know a thing or two about the bridal industry. But what made you decide to launch your own business?
I have always dreamed of having my own brand. It was wonderful to communicate my creative vision with the brands I have developed, and I have loved every second of the time I spent doing it. I guess I naturally got to a point where I began to realise that I could actually be applying this knowledge and creativity to my own brand.
After years of developing both the ready-to-wear and bridal brands for Jenny Packham to the point where it was globally recognised by A-list stars and royalty, I decided to leave it at the height of its success, at a really positive point and on a personal high. My international contacts and friends encouraged me to do this and have been so unbelievably supportive of Millany.
Millany is a beautiful looking site and a treasure trove of jewels and stunning vintage inspired accessories. Can you tell us a little more about the brand?
I wanted to develop an inspiring, luxurious, style focused environment, aligned with a contemporary bride’s style philosophy.
Millany has been created for brides that look more to the runway and red carpet for their style direction. Contemporary brides want to create a look more reflective of their ready-to-wear fashion choices.
I have created a curated portfolio of the world’s most respected bridal accessory designers, who still believe very much in craftsmanship and quality. They have a combination of A-list and royal following, and regularly appear in the world’s highest calibre media.
Millany also offers brides compelling contributions and expert opinion from the world’s the most revolutionary style influencers and commentators.
Do you have plans to expand into other areas? Shoes? Flower girl accessories? Dresses?
I am working on some exciting collaborations and exclusives. I want to offer something unique and inspired that will always be a central focus of Millany’s philosophy and vision.
We love the designer profile and interview pages. It brings a great magazine quality to the site. Do you have plans to expand this area of the site and brand?
It has had an incredible response and we are very excited by this. We all love receiving expert insight, and the contributors are definitely amongst the most globally revered and inspiring, in terms of their style vision. I have selected very specific industry contacts who I truly believe offer brides expertise and insight like no other.
You are a mum to a gorgeous little boy. How do you find juggling starting a new business alongside looking after a toddler? Any tips for our readers?
It’s naturally a juggle, like it is for everyone, and I respect all mothers, whether they are full time mums, part-time or full-time workers.
It’s amazing how much more efficient and decisive you become when you are a mother as ‘spare time’ is so concentrated, and you therefore want to make great progress and impact with every spare second you have.
I often work until quite late at night too when my son is sleeping, which is actually a positive, as it enables me to be on the right time zone as New York and LA or be ahead of the game when the UK wakes up, as you are abreast of all the latest style news.
What has been the hardest part about launching your own business?
Launching. I constantly want to perfect everything and I’m quite obsessive about detail, so I kept delaying the launch.
Any tips for our readers who want to launch their own business? Things to look out for? Avoid? Embrace?
The amazing James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli who I admire greatly as a business women and creative, has said that she works by a philosophy learned from her iconic film director father (Cubby Broccoli) to “make a decision, even if it’s wrong. Because the paralysis caused by indecision in film-making is time-consuming and costly.” I think you can apply this to any business.
You must also embrace your contacts. If you have built a strong reputation in your career and have genuine relationships, they will support you, as you would them.
As Brand Director at Jenny Packham you must have been travelling and working long hours. Is there anything you miss about working for a designer global brand?
Developing Millany as an international brand is something that gives me all the elements of work that I love. I still travel the world for inspiration and work with some of the most creative people out there.
Having worked in the fashion industry for so many years, style must be very important to you. Did you find your style changed after having your son Charlie?
Not really, I think once you have defined your own style and are confident with it, you tweak things a little, but generally you’re shaped. I probably own more flats now, as running around with heels is impossible.
For work, I’ve always channelled the New Yorker in me. I love wearing Diane Von Furstenberg and Prada. I also adore the style of Donna Karan, Chloe and Chanel.
At home and when I’m overseas in warmer climes like LA, I definitely adopt a softer, prettier, bohemian look, and then in the winter I live in cozy and comfy clothes like Current Elliott jeans and soft cashmere jumpers…although my cashmere usually ends up covered in hummus or rice pudding, and I soon realise it isn’t such a great idea.
You look great, it’s hard to believe you have a little boy and are so busy with the business. Do you find time to work out? Any tips for young mums on how to eat healthy and live well?
Like most mothers with young children, I do regularly end up looking less glamorous as the day progresses. Also having a brilliantly active toddler is a workout in itself.
I do love Yoga and try to do it whenever possible as it is great for the body and mind and doesn’t require going to a gym.
I also try and lead a holistic lifestyle and eat organically as much as I can. I don’t eat meat and haven’t for about 25 years, so I eat predominantly vegetables, pulses, fruit and occasionally fish. I cook a lot of Indian, Italian and Hawaiian inspired dishes and drink a lot of water. I do also believe in a glass of good red wine as a treat. My favourite is a bio-dynamic Zinfandel wine by Bonterra with a relaxing candle of Dyptique ‘Roses’, Jo Loves or Neom Organic Candles.
Click here to visit www.millany.com.