1. Hello! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself please? Who you are and where you’re from?
I’m Rosie Willett and run a business based in the North East, Rosie Willett Designs.
2. What is the business you run? When did it begin?
Rosie Willett Designs offers individually handmade wedding tiaras and jewellery. The business was set up in 2008.
3. What made you start this business? Was this always what you wanted to do?
I designed a range of hair accessories whilst studying an Art and Design Foundation course in Manchester. I used dried flowers, wire and beads to create my pieces and thought that they may appeal to brides because they looked very pretty and delicate. This triggered my business idea and I started selling my pieces on a small scale at around the same time I started my degree in Fashion Marketing at Northumbria University.
4. What is your educational background?
As mentioned above, I have a BTEC Foundation Diploma in Art and Design and a First Class Honours Degree in Fashion Marketing. Art was my favourite subject at school, so I always knew I would do something creative.
Rosie Willett Designs
5. Where do you sell? Who do you sell to?
I sell my designs to brides via my own online boutique, www.rosiewillettdesigns.co.uk, as well as www.notonthehighstreet.com and www.rubyanddiva.com. I also have pieces in selected bridal boutiques around the UK. I recently expanded my range to include Occasions headpieces and jewellery, so I now have a much wider audience for my designs.
6. What are your biggest achievements to date?
My headpieces have been widely featured in national bridal magazines, including Brides, You & Your Wedding and Wedding magazine. Some of my pieces were recently taken to the Maldives for a fashion shoot with Wedding magazine and one of my headpieces was also featured on the front cover of Brides magazine. I was also thrilled to design two headpieces for Coronation Street, which is my favourite television programme!
7. What’s the best thing about having a creative business?
I love the variety that running a creative business provides. I don’t currently have staff, which means that I manage all aspects of the business, from designing and making the headpieces to planning and directing photo shoots and marketing the product. This can be quite stressful at times, but it’s an amazing feeling to see something come together that you’ve worked really hard on.
8. What’s the hardest thing about having a creative business?
I think what many people don’t realise is that running a creative business is not always creative. I spend a great deal of time doing admin, which is pretty boring and not creative at all! You need to have quite a broad range of skills to run a business successfully and you also need to be prepared to dedicate a lot of time to the business. At busy times, you have to put your social life to one side.
9. Who else do you have to collaborate with to make your business work? (i.e. photographers, magazines, etc ,etc)
Promotion is so important for a creative business. It’s a competitive industry, so getting your designs seen in the right places is essential. I launch a new collection once a year, which involves collaboration with a photographer, hair and make up artist and a model. I work with a very talented team of people to ensure that the end result is inspiring and professional. I then design my own brochure and work with a great printer who makes sure that the colour is correct and that no mistakes have been made before finishing the job. I send the brochures to my stockists and all of the main bridal magazines. I’ve been very lucky to receive a large amount of editorial coverage in magazines, which helps to promote my brand. Wedding blogs are also fantastic for publicity and I have run competitions with some of them to introduce new collections.
10. Why do you support ‘This is Creative Enterprise’? What do you think is a good programme?
‘This is Creative Enterprise’ is a fantastic opportunity for students to explore the possibilities of working in the creative industries at an early stage of their education. I remember loving Art at school, but I had no idea what I would be able to do with it as a career. I certainly didn’t consider running a creative business until long after leaving school. The local and national businesses getting involved with ‘This is Creative Enterprise’ offer the students a wealth of experience and insight into what it is really like to run a creative business. The workshops run by ‘This is Creative Enterprise’ are fun, informative and hands-on, which allows the students to develop their skills and discover their own potential.