I'm a professional couture designer and dressmaker specialising in wedding dresses that veer off the beaten bridal track. My bespoke gowns, jumpsuits and embroidered veils regularly feature in national and bridal media including The Guardian, Huffpost and Rock n Roll Bride. Previous accolades include Telegraph Covid Hero, Metro Everyday Hero and a Pride of Britain Award nomination.
I started my dressmaking business by accident from a hobby. I was supposed to be taking a career break from PR to be a stay-at-home mum.
I was in London wearing one of my dresses (not a wedding dress!) with friends one afternoon when we were stopped by strangers three times asking about my outfit; the third placed an order. My friends convinced me to set up a Facebook page to show my creations and I was suddenly getting orders from around the world.
I'm a lifelong sewist and am mostly self-taught, although I have invested in training with the Royal College of Needlework (whose specialists embroidered the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress) and former Great British Sewing Bee judge May Martin.
I'm married with two children and we share our neuro-diverse household with two very tolerant cats, and a hamster who featured in The Independent. You can take the woman out of PR..
1. You don't always need a plan. Starting my business was actually the first time I DIDN'T have one. I'd always had a goal - pass these exams, get that job, learn this language, secure that promotion. It was scary to switch taking each step based on what felt right at the time but it's resulted in creating my dream job for myself.
Caveat: I recognise that I had a very privileged starting point to do this. We had planned for me to be taking a career break and could live on my husband's income alone so any money I made was a bonus, not what we relied on.
2. Incorporate practices that accommodate neurodiversity. Everyone benefits.
3. Love what you do. Sewing is still my hobby and passion. I am even known to sneak into my studio on Christmas Day when everyone is crashed out in front of a film.