I get so excited when I find a maker whose work makes my jaw drop and Thea of Hushed Commotion did just that to me. She makes truly breathtaking bridal accessories and her website shows how vital photography is to selling your product. Today she’s sharing her story and lots of wisdom with you! I know you’re going to love this interview.
Can you take us on the journey of your creative career path so far?
I started my bridal line with the goal to create detailed pieces that are elegant and have a bit of a vintage vibe while still fitting into the modern day brides vision. I value the hand made process immensely. Every piece is hand made here in NY. I grew up in a family that valued the artisan, and I am a big believer in encouraging the world to find their way back to supporting the artisans of this world and the craft that is involved in creating beautiful pieces of wearable art.
When I graduated Pratt in fashion design, I immediately delved into the Women’s Wear industry, and I loved it – but evening wear and bridal was always a special interest of mine. I was working with the company Saja and around 2009 they embarked on a bridal line…which I got to experience and learn from first hand. Over the next 4 years I grew with them and learned tremendously from them about brides, the blogs, the industry and how to be a bridal designer who “marches to your own drum”. Around 2012 I started my Hushed Commotion line on the side and was selling my accessories at their flagship NY store. I valued the time and my work with them tremendously, but in 2013 it became apparent that it was time for me to delve into Hushed Commotion full time, so I took the plunge! It has been a lot of hard work, but tremendously rewarding.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve overcome so far in your business?
Really digging deep into the accounting and business side has been harder than I would have thought. I have a solid head on my shoulders and I worked in the business part of another company, but there is just so much to keep track of! I sometimes want to start a blog just dedicated to women entrepreneurs and things to watch out for, a lot of it is simple and easy – but finding out or even simply knowing about what to do when is the hard part.
What has been the biggest ‘fist-pump’/successful moment for you so far?
This year has been pretty amazing, the Etsy featured shop moment was pretty huge and such an honor. I also got my first celebrity client this year! The celebrity thing is mostly an honor because I know they have sooooo much available to them at their finger tips and it is amazing that they chose me!
Do you ever have doubts as to your future creative direction? Are there things you yearn to achieve, but haven’t yet found the time for?
Each time I start the collection for a new season I worry that I am not going to have enough ideas! But then I get started and the materials speak to me, and then I go out in NYC and see exhibits and it all flows out of me – I love it, so once I get on a roll I remember all over again why I do this. There are always things I think about for the future of the business and many people ask me about doing a “regular” collection, but I really love bridal and the time and care the brides spend on their accessories. I wish I had more time to take more specialized design classes to hone my craft and learn new skills.
Are there times when your creativity and inspiration seem to disappear? How do you handle that?
Indeed! As mentioned in the above question, every designer worry’s that they are going to “tap out”. However, as long as you are still inspired by your clients you will be ok. I find a lot of the time that working on custom pieces helps me grow as a designer, the bride is directly conveying what she yearns for and it always gives me ideas. Additionally, living in NY is such a blessing, so much to see and do to keep the creative juices flowing!
How do you balance your work with the rest of your life ~ what does a typical day in your life look like?
Balance is hard! Especially this year with things growing so much and my bigger studio space – that is IN my apartment! I really try to section of days for certain things – like only seeing clients in the studio on certain days so that on other days I can focus with out distractions. I also really try to not work on Sundays. Take one day to put it all aside! One part of being a designer is that once you get inspired by something it is hard to put it down. I am getting married this year, so I have been trying to break up my work week by channeling that creative drive into my own wedding stuff!
What has been the best marketing move you’ve ever made for your own business?
Amazing pictures! In this incredibly digital driven world we live in, a good image is worth a thousand bucks. People will pin it, people will instagram it, people will stay on your website longer, people will see you work for the beauty that it is.
What is one piece of advice you’d like to give fellow makers about running a successful creative business?
Take your time and keep your brand cohesive. Don’t try to go in too many directions all at once. One great item can launch a career.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
That question is especially hard for me this year, so much is changing with the business and with my personal life (yay wedding!). I think most importantly I would love to still love what I do and be inspired by it. I want to be able to travel and see the world, and I want to be able to start a family. I want to hire fellow entrepreneurs in the US so that I can create more beautiful items for all the deserving brides out there.