A Head for Hats – My Business Journey

Just in time for the Cheltenham Festival and Ladies Day at the races this week, we heard a fascinating talk at our Business Lunch, all about hats! Tricia Designs is a new and exciting designer specialising in bespoke fascinators, hats and other accessories to suit your needs and occasions. This month, she had us all joining in for an interactive talk with a hands-on approach to a wide variety of designs for the head.

Connect Business Lunch
Women’s Business Club networking in style! Perhaps we should make the hats a permanent feature? 

First, we looked briefly at the history of hats! Did you know, hats were actually originally worn by men not women? They were worn in the military for protection and status. In fact, it was Henry VIII that brought hats and fashion into court and ladies started wearing lace doilies on their heads! Thankfully we have moved on from there and now get to enjoy such beautiful and extravagant hats and fascinators!


Hstory of Hats
The silhouettes of the ages, showing the different shapes of the ‘head’ and how style has evolved!


Tricia then went on to share her business journey, and how she came to be where she is today! We were delighted to hear that her first customer and the reason that she is in the ‘hat’ business today was all because of her daughters little push when she was looking for a fascinator to match a dress, but couldn’t find one anywhere! As Tricia was already skilled, she decided to give it a go – bought the materials and made a beautiful fascinator for her daughter. In fact she managed to put it all together with just two tiny pieces of thread from a hotel sewing kit!


Connect Business Lunch
The ladies listening intently to Tricia’s fascinating business story!


With the success of her daughters fascinator, Tricia continued to work with friends and family to start up her business and customer base until working with a boutique who would take customer orders for her and sell her designs. Although working with the boutique seemed to be a successful step for her business, there did prove to be some problems with the customer relationships. As Tricia did not deal directly with the customers, there was too much room for error forcing her to be more careful with the way she deals with customers and making the decision to always work directly with the customer.  Other challenges she faced (which applies to all creative businesses!) included finding her unique style and learning what worked and what didn’t. Once she found her style, it was important that she stuck with it. This meant being able to turn down jobs that didn’t fit within her style or just wouldn’t work for her.


So What did I learn? First of all, I learn’t a lot I didn’t know about hats! I even learnt about the different face shapes, what kind of hats suit and how to make any hat flattering just my moving its position on my head!  But I also found a few key points that I could apply whilst running my own business.  1) Businesses start small! Tricia started with just her friends and family, does that sound at all familiar? She is now able to pick and choose her clients to suit her! 2) Customer relationships are essential. Make the time to get to know your clients so you can deliver an exceptional service!

By Angela De Souza

I am a female founder CEO and I know what it took to get to where I am today even though I am still far from where I want to be. It's been a lonely journey. There are very few other female founders that I have managed to chat with, learn from and grow with. So rather than feeling sorry for myself, I decided to build my own super network with women just like me and those further ahead in the journey who are willing to share their wisdom and experience with us. Find out more at womensbusiness.club and angeladesouza.com