The second, but admittedly the most unique (in my opinion,) edition in our series of Women Entrepreneurs is the awesome Heather’s Haberdashery and founder/creator Heather Davis.
I met Heather through a mutual friend via Facebook awhile ago because we share similar views on women’s rights. Heather is an awesome person in general, but when I saw that she makes really cool hair accessories out of occasionally unusual materials I was incredibly fascinated. She also handknits custom items & creates jewelry.
Heather very accurately describes her style as “burlesque inspired” and a little “morbid” but overall makes her accessories for versatility purposes, something she wasn’t finding in commercial hair accessories. She’s been in business with Heather’s Haberdashery since 2012.
Let’s just jump in and have Heather discuss her business in her own words.
Why did you start this business?
I needed my hobbies to pay for themselves, and there were too many hair things in my house.
Seriously, though… When I was younger and had more free time, I did a lot of modeling and event work, burlesque, pin up style stuff, and I could never find accessories I liked, or they were way out of my price range, so I just started making my own. My friends liked them so much that they were asking me to buy them, and then friends of their friends. I’m not really sure I actually started this business, so much as this business needed started and I happened to have an unusual fondness for making things.
What, exactly, do you make & sell?
Hair Accessories, fascinators, clips, usually feathered. Sometimes with flowers or bows additionally or instead. Small top hats and Hat pins (tiny or normal sized.) Everything is 100% one of a kind, custom, work. Exceptions, of course, for matched sets.
Where does the name come from?
A haberdasher is actually a men’s hat maker. I would be more accurately called a “milliner” since I mostly do work for women. However, I do sometimes make men’s hats or hat pins, so I think it’s fair. And I like alliteration.
Do you have any exceptionally memorable customers or orders?
Nothing very crazy so far. I’ve definitely made wedding pieces the day before the wedding. Or showed up to a burlesque show, and ended up selling one of the performers the rest of her costume for the night unexpectedly, on the spot.
Have you ever made a really awesome custom piece for someone and had a hard time parting with it?
I have definitely made pieces for other people that I’ve wanted to keep, but that’s the nature of making art pieces you’re passionate about, whether they are paintings or jewelry. Sometimes it’s hard to let them go.
On a lot of the really super awesome custom pieces, I tend to console myself knowing that they’ll be doing great things in their futures. Like being in weddings and shows and at parties and it would be terrible if a piece just sat on my vanity gathering dust. I made a gorgeous one for a fashion photo shoot once, and it was so hard to send that to Kansas City.
I do, actually, have a piece that I made with the intention of selling, for A wedding, but not for a specific wedding, and I still have it. It’s a very morbid, 20s looking fascinator in all white and cream feathers. Then I topped it with a possum skull I found in my Grandma’s basement, added some pearl spirals to the skull, and ta-da! Perfect for a Halloween wedding! …Or a shelf in my bedroom…Where it’s been for several years… Because I really, really, like it…
If your sales suddenly jumped by 30%, how do you think you’d react?
That would be awesome. I’m pretty practiced at this point, and I have a lot of inventory right now, so I would be able to keep up.
What are your main forms of advertisement right now?
Repeat customers do a lot for me. I was most successful when I had an in-person presence, and have recently started selling my hair pieces and jewelry at Five Monkeys, a local boutique/art gallery.
Speaking of that, you sell mostly through Facebook, where can people look for you on there?
Heather’s Haberdashery on Facebook.
Green hairpiece with and without red feather accent.
One more thing. What’s the most important thing you have learned as someone who has turned their artistic talents into their own business?
I think the hardest thing for me to learn is that just because people like my aesthetic, doesn’t mean it’s always the best choice for my work. I was working on a piece recently for another redhead, and the it was all green. It was so much green, so I slipped this one red feather in, and she was just like “No.” I couldn’t tell her that she was wrong, because it’s for her head, not mine. So the red feather came out. It was still a very very pretty piece, it’s just not quite where I would have ended up. I’ve also diversified the colors and centers and things I use, just because I, personally, don’t really like the color yellow, doesn’t mean no one does. Remembering that when I’m working, I’m working for OTHER people, and need to account for their tastes, has been a long lesson to learn.
I want to give a big thanks to Heather for the interview and invite all of you to check out her facebook page, Heather’s Haberdashery. Also, if you want to check out her work in person, Five Monkeys is having a grand re-opening at their new location on July 18th. Follow them on Facebook as well for updates.
Check back again next week, I’m interviewing a graphic designer I met when I first moved to Houston, she’s out of the Dallas, TX area and her work is fabulous! And go here to read all the Women Entrepreneurs Interviews.
Images provided by and property of Heather Davis.