For many women, buying a hat can be a difficult task, but Louise Leventhal hopes that her business, The Millinery Boutique, can make the experience a lot easier. Louise started the business three years ago after finding herself in a similar predicament when she was looking to buy a hat for Yom Tov.
”I couldn’t find anything I liked. When I started talking to a woman in a shop who turned out to be a milliner. She was not really aware of the Jewish hat market, and it just gave me the idea of selling hats, offering a wide range of styles, as well as a more bespoke service. The idea for The Millinery Boutique started from there.”Louise spent a lot of time researching the industry and looking for various suppliers, before setting up her business. She had lots of positive feedback from friends and family early on, which quickly led to other customers mainly through word of mouth. Louise now has many returning customers, who not only recommend her to others, but often post comments on social media. For Louise, this is a key part of attracting business, and sharing information about her products. “It is really nice when someone puts a photograph on Facebook wearing one of my hats which get lots of great feedback”.
As a smaller business, The Millinery Boutique is able to offer a much more personal service compared to high street shops, or other milliners. Clients are able to visit her showroom based at her home in Radlett, where she offers one-to-one consultations during the daytime, evening and also on weekends. Often women that come to her have struggled in the past to find something suitable, and they can feel disheartened by the whole experience, but Louise aims to help them see things differently. “They may feel that hats don’t suit them, or they don’t like them, but I think that they just haven’t found the right hat for them, and I love being able to help them do that.”
Whether someone is buying a hat for a special simcha, synagogue or Ascot, always Louise encourages them to bring their whole outfit with to the appointment so that they can ensure that every element works together. “I am able to be honest and offer my opinion, which I think people appreciate very much. I don’t want them to buy something because they feel obliged or under pressure, but because it is the right hat for them!”
The Millinery Boutique offers a wide range of affordable hats starting from just £30 for ready to wear styles. For those looking for something more tailor-made, Louise has a more bespoke service where a team of milliners are able to create original hats or they can work with designs supplied by the customer. Clients can choose every element of their hat, from the base design, the colour that they want, and the fabric that they like to match any outfit. Louise is also able to make hats and has produced several of her own unique designs under her own label, Louise Samantha Millinery.
Louise works closely with the customer and milliners sending photos and samples before the final hat is produced to ensure that the customer is happy with it. On average, Louise is able to create a hat in around 10 days – 2 weeks, although this process can take longer depending on the detail of the design, and the materials involved. She has developed good working relationships with a selection of milliners in the UK, and is also the exclusive stockist for UK-born, Israeli based label, Danielle Mazin Headwear Design.
She believes that the key to getting the right hat is that it is comfortable. “I can often tell if a client is comfortable in a particular hat, as they are often more chatty and look happier as soon as they put the right one on. A good hat should make you smile! “
For anyone looking to set up their own business, Louise believes that the key to success is knowing your market. “I did a lot of research before I took the plunge and it really paid off. It can be hard work as you are responsible for everything from advertising to stock control, but I enjoy being able to make my own decisions. I would definitely recommend taking the plunge. Just go for it!”
If you would like to get in touch Louise for a consultation, please contact her on 07773 817 932 or via email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out some of her products on her Facebook page – The Millinery Boutique.
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