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Dear shoe lovers,

We are continuing our celebration of brave women who created their own businesses with Suzi from Mad as a Hatter. Unlike the name of her business suggests, Suzi is not at all mad, although she is a hatter. We managed to sit down with Suzi to talk about her business journey in between when she had some spare time between creating beautiful fascinators and being a mum to her two kids.

I have always loved fashion and creating things with colour and style, as well as wearing hats. I find that the perfect hat really puts the finishing touch to an outfit. I started out with taking night classes in millinery with a fantastic teacher. I learned the basics from that and from there it was all about learning how to work with the fabric and going through the trial and error of what is going to work. I decided to test the waters with my fascinators in 2019 and made a few pieces for my friends to wear to the cup day. They got so many compliments and they looked amazing but it was still really hard to go from that space to actually starting my own business.

What helped you to take that step and turn it into a business?

My husband was key in getting me to take that step. I had confidence in the product but I found it really hard to put myself out there. He had more confidence in me than I had in myself and it was really him that gave me the push that I needed. It wasn’t until I registered the company name and created a website that I felt like this really was a business. That was scary but also so exciting. I’m so glad that he did give me that push because I love what I do. I am a massive people pleaser so being able to create something that is exactly what my customer wants and seeing her excitement when it adds the finishing touch to the outfit is so inspiring. This business is also something that works really well with being a mum, I have flexible hours and work from home and my kids are so proud of what I do. They show off about my business at school during show and tell and I just don’t think I could ask for more than that.

Wow, it is incredible that your whole family is so supportive. Do you find it hard to balance all that goes with being a mum as well as running your business?

I find that having enough time in the day can be hard but it is a lovely problem to have. I do everything by myself, I really am a one-man band with the website, follow ups, taking photos, and all of the business admin but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My 5 and 7 year olds do come first but there is so much that I can do at the same which is a real luxury. Because I am working from home I can have kids over for a playdate and create a piece at the kitchen bench while I am supervising them. And mum brain is so great for running a business! You are always having to plan and strategise as a mum which is really good when needing to keep up with the logistics of the business as well.

Mum brain is amazing! How do you come up with the creations? Do you tend to follow trends?

            There are some things that I just have an instinct for like buying the materials. I have a look at what the trends are but mostly I look around to see what catches my eye and so far my policy of “if it appeals to me then it will appeal to other people” seems to be working. I do love this approach because it means that I can make pieces that are unique to each individual. I think that everyone has a personal style and I try to focus on that more than on specific trends. I love the “YES” moment when they put on the hat and it fits their style and you can see how excited they get about the whole outfit.

Why should people buy from Mad as a Hatter?

            The main reason is because I can take the time to tailor everything I make to your own individual style. When you go to a shop you are a lot more limited by the trends and what other people think is stylish whereas with me you can bring in your dress and we can work together to make the perfect finishing touch to the outfit. Also everything that I make is hand stitched and made with care. I am proud of what I create so I make sure that everything is really high quality. There is something really special about buying from a small business, you are committing to the person as well as to the product and I really appreciate that.

Thank you so much for making the time to talk to me. I have loved getting to know the face behind Mad as a Hatter. Before you go, what are your favourite pair of Nicole Rebstock shoes?

            I love the classic and elegant shoes but I love them more when they are just a bit more interesting so it has to be Nemesis houndstooth! I also love that you have the 95mm and 78mm heel available.


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