Student Spotlight
Jayne Lightfoot

Jayne Lightfoot

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I remember loving hats from an early age and looking forward to any occasion where I could wear a hat. The decision to study Millinery came when I was looking for a special piece for my daughter's wedding. Unable to find anything, I took it upon myself to make something instead. This lead to the mother of the groom asking me to make a piece for her and a number of the guests too! Could I turn a love of hats into a profession?

I started the search for colleges and courses but most of them were either in London, or one or two days making a fascinator with independent milliners. Whilst any tuition is beneficial, it wasn't ideal. I wanted something that would cover all aspects of Millinery. It was then I found the Adult Education Service in Wolverhampton. I initially enrolled for 'mornings' only, but after my second visit I knew I needed more. I just couldn't wait to start blocking my first hat, the instant love and passion for millinery was born and so I enrolled for the afternoon course too.

My first day was full of apprehension and self-doubt. Beth's encouragement, tuition and patience was excellent – still is! My confidence grew with each lesson and I just knew it was something I really wanted to try and make a living from. Too impatient to wait until the next lesson, I started making pieces at home and couldn't wait to show Beth what I had made. I originally enrolled in Sept 2012 and by April 2013 I had made 30 hats and fascinators. I really was a mad hatter!!

The support and encouragement from Beth, my husband, family and friends was fantastic. Hubby took it upon himself to learn how to build a website, my daughter offered to model for me (and negotiated with a photographer who they use where she works). A friend persuaded me to exhibit at an Ascot Ladies' Day Charity Event and in May 2013, only 9 months following my first lesson, Jayne Alison Millinery was born!

My website went live in June 2013 and the hunger didn't stop. In July 2013, I booked a stand at the National Wedding Fayre NEC for October 2013. Excited, emotional and petrified that I had taken on too much, I needed a Bridal Collection fast! Two weeks before the National Wedding show, the organisers contacted me and asked me to submit a number of bridal headpieces; six of my pieces were used on the catwalk. It was a fantastic opportunity and made me feel quite emotional. Beth and some of the girls on the course came to offer their support and hubby found his pink side and helped on the stand! The feedback was excellent; my husband is now converting the loft into a working studio and showroom.

The encouragement and support from Beth helped me to overcome my fears. The support of the girls on the course has been fantastic and I have made some wonderful new friends. I still have a lot to learn and look forward to my 'Mad Hatter Wednesdays'. Millinery is a vocation, a passion. I want to be able to build on the last 12 months, exploring new techniques, experimenting with ideas and turn Jayne Alison Millinery into a recognised brand that's associated with quality and inspirational design.

If you have a passion, a desire or a dream, go for it. It may be a bit of a cliché but you're never too old to learn.


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Last modified on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 15:43

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