We talk headpieces with Claire from Etsy shop The Ruffled Feather Boutique
Whether it’s swooning over Jenny from Qmuro’s beautiful bags, or admiring Made by Marianne’s pretty handmade jewellery, you know by now that we like nothing more than championing a brilliantly creative Etsy seller.
It’s a global marketplace awash with lovely handmade and vintage fashions and accessories, including quite a few sellers based in our native North East. So, we were thrilled to come across Claire Hedley from The Ruffled Feather Boutique, whose 1920s-inspired handcrafted headpieces are not only amazing, but are created just down the road in Gateshead.
We recently caught up with Claire to find out a bit more about her and her (to excuse the pun) fascinating story…
Hello Claire! It’s lovely to meet an Etsy seller from Tyneside.
Thank you! I’m originally from Newcastle, but currently live in Gateshead with my husband, Dan, and our two cats.
So how did you get into selling on Etsy?
I started The Ruffled Feather Boutique in 2013, quite by accident really.
I was searching for a peacock feather headpiece on Etsy and couldn’t quite find the perfect piece. I decided to try and make my own and so stocked up on materials and a glue gun – the best £5 I ever spent!
After a few failed attempts I eventually created the effect I wanted. I received some lovely compliments when I wore it and so decided to try and make a few more to sell with the spare materials. I listed them on Etsy and they sold really quickly. After that I decided to try and work with different materials, such as sinamay and crinoline, and the rest is history.
That’s a great story! You’re obviously a very creative person, though, which has to help.
Yes, I love every aspect of the creative process, from discussing design ideas with customers, sourcing the best materials, making the pieces, and then the photography for my listings.
The best bit, of course, is receiving all the lovely feedback from happy customers and I love to see their photographs of their finished outfits with my head pieces.
So, what would you say inspires your designs, Claire?
I adore 1920s fashion and many of my peacock feather pieces are inspired by this era. I’ve always been a little bit obsessed by the beauty of peacock feathers and their iridescent colours.
My interest in 1920s design doesn’t just stop at fashion; I love Art Deco architecture and I find the clean geometric designs really aesthetically pleasing to look at. This appreciation comes through in many of the sinamay pieces that I create, which can be quite minimalistic using simple shapes.
While I love to create my own designs, I also love to try new ideas that the customer might suggest.
Many of the Etsy sellers we meet have a day job as well. That’s the case with you too, right?
Yes, when I’m not making head pieces, I coordinate the management of a large marine protected area that lies off the Northumberland and Berwickshire coast. It’s called the Berwickshire and North Northumberland Coast European Marine Site and protects a range of internationally significant marine habitats and species.
I’ve worked in marine conservation for six years and before that I worked as an archaeologist.
Because I work full-time I make my designs up on an evening and at weekends and I sell them through Etsy. Customers can see my full collection in my Etsy shop and they can get in touch to discuss custom-made designs too. I also have a Facebook page that people can use to get in touch, and I’ve recently set up a Twitter account (@ruffledmilliner), although I’m still trying to figure out how to use it!
We’re sure we can send a few more Twitter followers your way, Claire – particularly as you’re giving away a lovely prize!
Yes, I will offer your Fashion & Style Directory readers the chance to win a custom-made fascinator up to the value of £40 from my shop.
The winner can choose a design from the shop in their choice of colour, or they can request a new design to be made up.
That’s fantastic! Thank you, Claire. We really appreciate you taking the time to talk to us, and we’ll be sharing details very soon of what our readers need to do to have a chance of winning that amazing – and unique – prize!
Items pictured are: Coral, Peach and Navy Sinamay Fascinator – Flo (£34.50); Sinamay Fascinator – Bliss (£38.50); Grey Sinamay Fascinator – Ritz (£56.50); Peacock Gatsby 1920s-Inspired Fascinator (£65).