Company Name: Beverley Edmondson Millinery
Interview with: Beverley Edmondson
Location: Farnham, Surrey
How did Beverley Edmondson Millinery start and how long has the business been going?
Whilst at school I did work experience at Angels, the theatrical costumiers, assigned to the millinery department. It all started from there. I also did work experience with Bruce Oldfield couture, but found I was more drawn to millinery in the end. I then trained as a milliner at Kensington and Chelsea College of Fashion, but I am still always learning new techniques.
The business has now been going for ten years, with a high street shop for the past seven years. I started the business from market stalls and holding consultations in my father’s spare bedroom initially.
Who works at Beverley Edmondson Millinery and what are your roles?
We are a small team. We have several staff who work on the shop floor who can advise our customers about styles and colours. Another member mainly concentrates on any alterations required plus helping me with the making of the hats. It is just myself who designs the hats for our collections, or 1-2-1 with the customer for bespoke pieces. Another member purely concentrates on our online presence.
What wedding accessories do you offer?
We often say to our customers, “you bring the dress and we can do the rest”. Alongside our hats and fascinators, which are available either by bespoke millinery services or pret-a-porter, we also have a large range of clutch bags, pashminas, bridal hair accessories, corsages, a rainbow selection of ties and pocket squares, and even shoes and bags which we can dye to any shade required. We can accessorise everyone – bride, groom, bridesmaids, groomsmen and mother of the bride and wedding guests.
Do you design and make each of the pieces?
All the millinery, hats and fascinators, yes, I do – with the help of my wonderful team.
Where do you get the inspiration for your pieces?
Oh, in lots of places. I can be out and about and see the shape of a flower or a pleat in a dress, and it can inspire me for a whole design. Even materials in their raw form can inspire me.
Where can people purchase your beautiful hats and headpieces?
From our boutique at 27a The Borough in Farnham, Surrey. We have just moved from a smaller boutique next door into a lovely spacious shop right in the middle of the town.
We also offer 1-2-1 Skype consultations, so even if you are unable to make it to our store you still receive the same 1-2-1 service. Hats are so personal; you have to get to know the person to understand what to design for them.
How does your bespoke service work? What are the steps involved?
Our bespoke service is the majority of the work we do. This can vary enormously but we ask our customers to allow six to eight weeks. If I am making a bespoke hat for a client then the initial consultation and design process takes about an hour. We invite the client to the store with their outfit, where they have exclusive use of our fitting and consultation area. I then source the various materials from our suppliers, and when they arrive I can then start creating the headpiece. Many pieces will require blocking which then needs drying time. Once blocked, I then create the trims as per our client’s requirements. Once finished, we invite the client back into store to try their piece on, have it fitted and make any adjustments, if required.
What sets Beverley Edmondson Millinery apart from other millinery companies?
Our in-store experience which our clients love, in such a relaxing beautiful environment. So many of our clients come to us from personal recommendations, for the personal approach that we have towards each client.
We offer a personal service which not only includes the bespoke design of a hat or a headpiece, but also wraps, clutch bags and jewellery, and an extensive range of stylish shoes and bags which we can dye to any shade or colour. We really do offer everything but the dress.
The range of hats and fascinators we have available to purchase off the shelf or take as inspiration for bespoke designs is unrivalled within the south east. Clients can book personal design appointments or walk in and experience our products and services straight off the street in passing.
We get to know our clients in other ways, by offering millinery workshops, teaching traditional millinery techniques and offering fascinator making hen parties
We have also been nominated for, and won, many national awards, including currently being the Wedding Industry Awards Accessory Designer of the Year, nominated for niche fashion retailer of the year for the last two years running, and have just been shortlisted as a finalist for Drapers Accessory Brand of the Year. They have all come about from stringent application processes and client testimonials and feedback.
More personally, I now mentor other creatives starting out in handmade businesses, as here is very little content on how to make a living from your creativity. It is incredibly rewarding.
Describe Beverley Edmondson Millinery in three words.
Personalised. Creative. Eye-catching.
What’s your favourite piece that Beverley Edmondson Millinery produces?
Oh, so many! As each piece we create is an individual design, my favourites can change from week to week. Currently I love the headpiece that I made for myself for Royal Ascot.
Random question… If you could make a hat for anyone, who would it be and where would they wear it?
Probably the Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. They haven’t always got their styling right in the past, so I would love to work with them to help them refine and define their style.