Start Small. Dream Big.

I am far to excited to wait so I am going to start with the punchline . I have some very exciting news.... Hiorns Hats is now officially an award winning business!

The Midland Fashion Awards Finals was held on Friday 12th October at the Symphony Hall in Birmingham and after a entering online and being interviewed along with samples of my work I was lucky enough to be invited to compete.

The first challenge was deciding how best to display my work on a stand. I hadn't done anything like this before and although I was certain I didn't want to go for the easy option of using mannequins to display my headpieces I wasn't sure what I did want. After lots of time spent thinking I came up with the idea of wooden hexagonal shaped boxes that would look like hat boxes but also a bit like honeycomb.

Luckily my husband James was very helpful here and turned my postit note sketch into a reality. We then painted them up in the Hiorns Hats colours, installed small downlights and hat stands and put it all together to see how it would look. I honestly couldn't believe the result. It looked impressive and professional and far more confident than I felt.

The next challenge was to make sure I had enough hats to show on the night. Fortunately I had some lovely pieces already made which were perfect for the occasion but I needed to make more. It was fun to have the freedom to make some creative catwalk pieces but I was constantly nagged by the feeling that they weren't going to be good enough.

The week before the awards was incredibly stressful with lots of last minute tweaks and new designs that I wanted to get finished in time for the show. I spent each evening after work trying to get everything sorted and finally finished at about 11.30 on the Thursday night. I was exhausted, proud, excited and nervous.

Finally, its Finals Day! So much build up, so much pride and work, so much planning and stitching and so much worrying and overthinking had finally got me here. I had that nagging devil on my shoulder reminding me that it could all go wrong and my work might not be good enough and might look inferior against the competition but I also had the determination of someone fuelled by passion and the desire to really make this happen.

I was so pleased with how my stand looked, my vision had come to life and it stood up to the competition but then it was catwalk time, another total unknown. Thankfully my hats would be modelled in the second half so I had sometime to enjoy the work of other designers and to prepare myself. It was only when sat in the audience that I realised I too would have to walk down the catwalk! (With all those super slim models!)

If like me you have never been out the back of a fashion show it might be hard to imagine the chaos. Half naked ladies everywhere, make up artists tending their faces, hairdresses teasing their hair, designers pulling on dresses and overall an overwhelming buzz of excited, anxious people. I was dazed by the scene and didn't know where to start. Which of these ladies in nude undies were the ones assigned to me and how did I go about coordinating them!?

With about 10 seconds to spare I found my 6 beautiful ladies, adorned each of them with a headpiece and suddenly it was show time. The music was loud and the models were fantastic, they strutted their stuff and made my hats look much better than I had ever imagined. They looked bold and brave and suddenly I felt so incredibly proud of what I had done. This small sideline business which had started as an accidental hobby had suddenly become 6 hats on a catwalk.

The adrenaline was addictive and sadly it was all over in a couple of minutes.

While I was waiting for the awards ceremony I had weighted up the competition in my mind trying to work out what the judges might do. I thought I might get third place if I was lucky, my hats had looked great on the catwalk after all but the judges hadn't seemed that interested in my stand so I wasn't holding my breath.

When they read out third place and it wasn't me I was disappointed but silently told myself the journey had been worthwhile. I was so deep in thought that I almost missed them say.... "and the winner of the Midland Fashion Awards 2018 Accessory Designer of the year is Hiorns Hats."

Wow, what a feeling! It was truly incredible. I couldn't believe that these judges had seen something in my work that stood out against the other highly talented competitors.

So there you have it, the tale of how Hiorns Hats became award winning.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and before I leave you here's a a final note on what I learnt "success, its a mind game!" The whole experience was as daunting and nerve wreaking as it was thrilling. There was serious moments of self doubt and anxiety but when it finally came down to it the headpieces spoke for themselves.

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