Vibe advent #6: Imogen’s Imagination
Image: Ellie Grace Photography
Welcome to Vibe’s advent calendar, opening the doors on a Sheffield maker every day in December
Everybody should have a fancy hat in their wardrobe, you never know when you might need one. And thanks to Imogen’s Imagination, a hat made here in Sheffield could be perched on top of your head very soon. Vibe spoke to owner Sophie Cooke about how a chance encounter at a burlesque night has led to ten years in business and counting.
What does your business do?
Imogen’s Imagination is all about hats, fascinators and hair accessories. From my city centre studio, I use traditional millinery techniques to make hats for all occasions. I offer off the peg and bespoke designs online as well as at local craft and vintage fairs. I also offer client consultations at my studio for bespoke designs and for those who want a new lease of life breathing into a favourite hat. I make hats for all sorts of events such as the races, weddings, burlesque nights, christenings, trips to Buckingham Palace…as well as hair accessories that can be worn every day.
What was the inspiration for your business?
Honestly, it was never intended to be a business! I was just scratching the creative itch by making hats for myself and friends for when we went out. It was at one of these nights that I was asked by a local shop if I would supply some of my designs to them…and the rest is history!
What is your ethos?
I’m a milliner. How many of those do you know? We are pretty rare in Sheffield, but not unique. However it is my design style and range of products that makes my work unique. I make vintage inspired hats and fascinators, so my designs are completely different to those found on the high street. Because I make them from scratch, I can create unique and individual designs for my clients to specifically match their needs and desires. I also have products to suit every budget, from £4 hairclips, right the way up to £300 bespoke hats.
What do you love about doing business in Sheffield?
The people. Living in the biggest village in the world just makes business easier as everyone knows each other. Whether it’s seeking advice, opportunities, feedback or getting connected to customers, the amazing spirit of friendliness, collaboration and support in this city is undoubtedly a massive influence.
What are your hopes/plans for your business in 2017?
I have some major collaborations coming up next year, two pop-up shops, one with The Hat Stand (my hatty girl gang of local milliners) in June and the other with the Sheffield Sellers on Etsy team in October. I also want to spend some time learning some new techniques and I hope to work with another maker to create a mini-collection combining my millinery training and her decorative techniques and skills. It’s going to be a busy year!
For more information, visit the Imogen’s Imagination website.