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Wonder Woman Wednesday: Melanie Metcalfe

Melanie Metcalfe, Designer and Co-founder at Miranda Templeton, won the 2018 Best Headdress Collection of the Year. We caught up with this talented designer to find out more.

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Melanie, Lead Designer at from Miranda Templeton
Melanie, Lead Designer at from Miranda Templeton

Can you tell us about your personal background?

I originally trained as a Textile Designer and spent 10 happy years working in the automotive textiles industry. In 2004 I had my first son and a desire to spend as much time with him as possible. A well-timed redundancy package gave me the opportunity to set up my own business.

At first, I worked on a freelance basis for a well-known bridal accessories company and, in 2011, Miranda Templeton was formed as a partnership between myself and bridal accessories agent Tony Bromilow.

Read more: Wonder Woman Wednesday: Gill Harvey

When did you get into design?

My first memory of design was hand-stitching a dress for my Sindy Doll at the age of seven, unfortunately I forgot to allow openings for armholes and was truly devastated when I couldn’t get it on her!

In terms of accessories design, my wedding in 2001 was the initial catalyst as I simply couldn’t find what I was looking for. I created my own design and then went on to do this locally on a small scale until I took the plunge and set up the wholesale business in 2004.

Check out Rosanna Garden’s Wonder Woman Wednesday profile to find out how this talented designer started her luxury bridesmaid business.

Where do you get inspiration for your designs from?

I am asked this question quite often and in the past I have waxed lyrical about whatever is inspiring the current collection. Inspiration is fluid and eclectic, it can come from nature, from the past, from the collective consciousness of the bridal industry as a whole, in fact, I can find inspiration in almost anything.

The challenge is channelling the inspiration into cohesive, trend-led collections; Pinterest is a godsend for organising my thoughts and ideas!

Here’s how you can use Pinterest for your bridal business.

What are your secrets to success?

I feel as a designer you have to be aware of everything that is going on around you, being conscious of emerging trends, both in bridal and on the high street, is fundamental in making design decisions and producing new collections.

Constant research and keeping current in a fast-paced market is key, great customer service and keeping clients informed is also one of our highest priorities.

What’s your greatest achievement so far?

This has almost become an industry joke, but I will say it regardless. There have been many notable milestones along our journey, but after being nominated for a Bridal Buyer Awards five times, finally winning in 2018 was one of the best evenings of my life.

In an exclusive interview with Bridal Buyer, Miranda explains how she felt having won Best Headdress Collection of the Year.

Who’s your greatest female inspiration?

My paternal grandmother, Lilian Turner, will always be my greatest inspiration. She was already retired when I was born and I spent much of my childhood with her.

She instilled in me a great love of creative pastimes, teaching me to knit, crochet and embroider and always indulged my passion for crafts with patience and precious time.

Controversially, I also have a growing respect for Theresa May, politics aside, she is stuck between a rock and a hard place and is still showing amazing tenacity and a willingness to get the job finished. Who amongst us can honestly say they wouldn’t have thrown in the towel by now?

What’s your favourite part of your job?

Hands down, my favourite part of the job is designing a new collection, from sourcing new components, to creating trend boards, to learning a new technique. That said, I love most of my job, it affords me immense personal satisfaction, whoever said “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” was right!

What does your typical working day look like?

Every day is different, depending on how busy we are at any given time but a very typical day looks something like this:

I usually start with the ‘paperwork’, which includes answering emails, raising invoices or placing orders. I then review and re-prioritise the production list and we begin production for the day. We try to pack orders as they are finished so they are ready for dispatch and I will do the Post Office run around 4.30pm.

I usually continue with production for a few hours in the evening, fortunately my job is also my hobby and I never tire of actually making the pieces.

Read more: My Diary: Chantal Khoueiry, Brides do Good Founder

What can we expect from Miranda Templeton at White Gallery 2019?

We’re still finishing off the new season’s collections which are based on two themes: Mixed Metals and Stargazer.

Make sure you register for White Gallery to avoid disappointment on the day.

Mixed Metals includes gorgeous combinations of silver, gold and rose, mixed together to create an unexpected pop of colour, whilst ‘Stargazer’ is full of stunning celestial-inspired creations that are out of this world (do you see what I did there?).

Read more: Wonder Woman Wednesday: Marguerite Hannah

Can you tell us five interesting facts about yourself?

  1. I’m currently volunteering in the art department at a high school in Manchester. I absolutely love working with the children and find helping them develop their ideas and build confidence in their abilities truly inspirational.
  2. I’m also a Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme Mentor.
  3. When the children were small we had a cat who would kiss on demand, she is still affectionately remembered by my boys as ’Dizzy, the amazing kissing cat’.
  4. Whilst developing a fabric for the new Lotus Elise, I was once taken for a spin around the Lotus test track in a vintage Elan. I was far too young to appreciate it!
  5. I once had a phone call from ’the president’ whilst working on a project for Proton cars. I assumed it was the president of the company but it turned out to be the President of Malaysia! I have no memory of what I said!

Want to read more from the biggest names in bridal? London Bridal Fashion Week exhibitor and our previous Wonder Woman Wednesday star, Victoria Woodley, tells Bridal Buyer about her personal background.

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