Milliner Tracey Miller launched her debut hat collection at Hope Street Hotel on Sunday (10th February 2019). Born from the long lasting influence of the golden era of Hollywood and the passion she has to design, Tracey swapped her career in finance to create bespoke hats and headpieces at Tracey Miller Designs for the ladies of Liverpool.
Tracey’s love of headwear began as a young child watching black and white movies with her mum and she admits she was definitely born in the wrong era, she said:” I am inspired by all things beautiful and want to make women feel empowered.
“Wearing the right hat gives a confidence that can’t be described until you experience it. I love seeing that confidence on my clients’ faces when they wear my designs, in their smile and how they hold themselves.”
Tracey worked for a high street bank until the financial turn-down in 2008 when began to delve into a more creative pathway while working for the Bank of New York in the Royal Liver Buildings. Having been a keen dancer as a child, Tracey adored costumes and regularly lends a hand at her daughter’s dance school by crafting hair styles, make up and of course adding a bit of extra sparkle to the costumes.
Despite not having any formal millinery qualifications, Tracey’s creative flair was soon admired after she created her own hat for a friends wedding, she said: ” So many people came up to me on the day to ask where I had got it from.
“Seeing the surprise on their face when I said ‘I made it’ just ignited something inside me that told me I should have a go at doing this. So I did. I didn’t have any financial business support; I just put every spare penny of my monthly wage into buying materials and went to lots and lots of trade shows and design seminars.”
I don’t have any formal millinery qualification at all and that was a big hurdle for me to overcome when I was launching my business. Personally I didn’t feel worthy to be designing alongside all the other talented milliners who had spent years honing their craft, but the demand for my work gave me the confidence to put myself out there. I’d like to think I am a good example to other creative souls who aren’t fortunate enough to be educated in fashion. If I can do it, they can too.”
Tracey began making hats for friends and family and word spread quickly, she explained: ” It was hard work, I had a full time job and was spending every spare minute outside of work either sewing or driving my daughter to her dancing and sewing whilst I was sitting in her rehearsals.
“A chance conversation with a friend presented me with the opportunity to take the leap of faith I needed, it was scary but I left my secure office job for a more vulnerable part-time position in a creative environment, my new employer was super supportive of my vision and gave me invaluable advice on how to go about it all – and I set up Tracey Miller Designs.”
Three years since taking the leap to run her own business, Tracey remains focused on ensuring all her clients feel like a movie star in their hats and headpieces. Passionate about discovering new fabrics, researching back into the history books for inspiration and showing her daughter just what hard work and determination can do, Tracey has now taken her business online with a debut range and continues to create bespoke designs for her growing client list.
Tracey said:”I can find a fabric and literally fall in love. I’m at my most creative when I’m alone, cup of coffee or three, music playing loud, usually I sing and dance around my work table shaping designs on my own head, and I have to pinch myself that this is my job. That’s what I love the most, making women feel their best selves.
“I’m a single mum, in a family of strong women and I want to show my daughter how important it is to follow her passion. I regret that I didn’t do this years ago, but I also believe it’s never too late.”
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