Port Out Starboard Home (P-O-S-H) Vintage Hair Accessories

In our final supplier interview of 2011, and arguably one of our favourites to date, we caught up with Jill Hatton from mother and daughter business Port Out Starboard Home (P-O-S-H) – handcrafted unique hair accessories from vintage components…

Hi Jill, thank you for taking the time to talk to us before Christmas! Please can you tell our Oh So Perfect clients and followers a little bit more about P-O-S-H

We handcraft glamorous and unique hair accessories for weddings and special occasions mainly using vintage components.

We use vintage jewellery in our designs, such as brooches, necklaces and earrings and give them new life. We may come across a single crystal earring or a brooch with a broken clasp or missing crystal. We love being able to repair the items and giving them a new lease of life.

We use gold and silver metal combs and hairbands and frequently cover them with satin ribbon in white, ivory or in the colour requested.

We are constantly searching for special pieces we feel will make a beautiful and unique headband or comb. We also often incorporate raw silk, brocade, satin, vintage lace and feathers in our designs.

Are all your items made to order?

We have a ready to wear range shown on our website and also offer a bespoke service. We very much enjoy making to order and perhaps using an article in the design which has family sentimental value.

Our selection of hair accessories will suit any type of wedding theme or a special occasion and can be adapted or made to meet exact requirements.  Our brides tell us that they are looking for something unique and a different. They enjoy having the opportunity to discuss their needs with us and have a bespoke headdress designed specifically for them. They also love the idea of being able to incorporate a family sentimental piece into the design.

You recycle, or ‘upcycle’ pieces which in some cases may be very old or even slightly broken, do you operate any sort of quality control on your finished pieces?

All our items are carefully checked to ensure the stones and fittings are secure. Having a neat underside without wires and fixings showing is important to us and is as important as the side that shows. We finish each item with felt and/or ribbon to ensure a comfortable fit and neat finish. If we are unhappy with the design or finish we unpick it and start again!

Can you give us an example of one of the bridal pieces you’re currently working on?

As an illustration, we are working with Kirsty from Warminster who has asked for a vintage purple themed hairband for herself and five bridesmaids. They will all wear designs made from purple crystal vintage brooches to match her colour scheme. We have designed each headdress to be individual and will coordinate perfectly with the theme. It is always a challenge finding suitable pieces for special commissions, but great fun searching vintage shops and markets for the ideal item.

Another bride has asked us to add a birdcage veil to her raw silk bow and also to make a bespoke headdress for her mum who did not want a traditional hat or fascinator.

‘Vintage’ is a very popular style choice amongst brides at the moment, what sort of bride do you think P-O-S-H most appeals to?

This is a difficult question, as all brides and grooms are individuals and it is difficult to generalise who we appeal to. We believe we appeal to those who appreciate a high quality, handcrafted and unique hair accessory with a vintage feel which stands out as being different for their special day. Our bespoke service is popular for those with specific themes and colours.

We also appeal to those who like to re-use or up-cycle previously used items from a different era or are looking for a headdress for a special era such as 1940s or 1950s.

Do you receive a lot of business outside of the wedding industry too?

We offer a versatile and wide range of hair accessories, with choices for brides, bridesmaids, flower girls and other ladies who are attending a wedding or special occasion but many of our accessories are great for also wearing to proms, balls, parties or just to add a bit of sparkle or interest to an outfit.

In September this year, one of our vintage hair bands was worn in a scene in the filming of a prominent BBC TV series, details of which are still top secret!

Oooh! You can’t leave us hanging like that! Go on, tell us more…!

[Laughs] I’m sorry I can’t!  But we do expect wide media coverage and interest once this has been screened… We are so looking forward to being able to tell everyone! I believe it’s without a doubt P-O-S-H’s proudest moment so far!

Hmm… OK we won’t push… We’ll be on the look out though! 

[Laughs] Another proud occasion was when we were asked to produce a headdress for an exhibitor at the Portobello Film Festival. She wore her military themed headband to the premiere.

Wow you are popular amongst the stars! Can you tell our readers a bit more about the business – where are you based and how long has P-O-S-H been established?

Our business was officially launched in September 2011 but we have been taking commissions for some years before then, we have been making jewellery and hair accessories as a hobby for about 15 years.

I’m based in Bristol and Georgie in Surrey. We are happy to travel to meet clients within a 30 mile radius and of course are able to discuss requirements on the phone or via email or Skype.

P-O-S-H is run by you together with your daughter Georgie, how did you get started working together on the business?

We were inspired to launch Port Out Starboard Home (P-O-S-H) after Georgie’s wedding. We had an idea of the special hair accessories we wanted for that occasion, but found that the choice was very limited. Georgie decided to design and make her own headband from items in granny’s jewellery box.

The headband was a huge success and the business idea was born! We started in a very small way as we both had full time jobs, but when I took early retirement in July 2011, it seemed an ideal opportunity to launch our business. P-O-S-H has blossomed from there!

Such a lovely story! But surely you must come across difficulties from time to time, having a mother/daughter relationship and working together at the same time? 

At the outset we agreed to be open and honest with each other and agreed not to take any criticism personally and this has worked well for us. We both want to achieve the same goal of providing a beautiful hair accessory which will be loved and  an heirloom of the future.

Having a great rapport is important to us; we each have our own areas of responsibility which helps the business and our relationship run smoothly.  We communicate every day and the fact that I live in Bristol and Georgie in Surrey poses no problem for us. We manage to meet up at least once a month to catch up and this works very well for us.

We thoroughly enjoy working together in such a fantastic business!

And what do you both do when you’re not working on a P-O-S-H project?

I manage all the administration and website for the business and am enjoying having more time now I am not working in and office, to walk and swim most days.  Georgie is a full time secondary school teacher and is enjoying refurbishing her new home and garden.

We both enjoy vintage events, particularly the annual Goodwood Revival meeting where we dress in 1950s clothing and hats. We have a close family and like nothing more than meeting up to catch up over a good meal and a bottle of wine!

Vintage fashion is obviously something which you both take an active interest in even outside of the business, where do you feel you draw most of your inspiration from when designing a new piece?

We study historical hair accessories and fashion and also draw inspiration directly from the vintage pieces we find in England, France, Germany and Austria, where we have family connections.  Our designs usually start by using items from the wide selection of jewellery we have. We study the pieces and make rough samples. We then keep revisiting the example until we have a design we like and which will work well.

Some pieces are just beautiful on a headband or comb by themselves, while other smaller pieces benefit from being grouped together. We also may add pearls and crystals to some designs to enhance a vintage piece.

We also use the same process when making bespoke items. We make samples for our clients after discussing their requirements and then will agree the final design. If we don’t have the exact item, then we will search for it until we find it.

Have either of you had any specific training or gained any qualifications relevant to jewellery making or is this something which has been born out of practise?

We have a wide background in dressmaking and design. I had a successful craft business in the days of patchwork in the late 1970s, which unfortunately had to stop when the family were posted abroad. I have continued to be interested in all aspects of craft work and enjoyed jewellery making and craft as a hobby.

Georgie has a degree in the History of Art and Design and works as a technology and graphics teacher. She has wide experience of making jewellery and has taught jewellery making to both children and adult classes.

We have also both enjoyed a wide range of training courses in jewellery making and millinery.

You’re both clearly very skilled, and it shows in the range of different pieces, they’re beautiful! Have you had any favourite pieces so far (apart from that top secret BBC commision of course!!) ?

Every client is special to us and we enjoy working on our ready to wear range and also all our bespoke commissions.  We enjoyed working with Jess who got married last summer in Las Vegas, she had a Greek themed wedding and after discussions and planning we came up with the look she was searching for.

What do you think makes you stand out from other businesses who sell vintage or upcycled jewellery and accessories?

We understand the importance of having everything just right for weddings and special occasions and to provide excellent value for money.  We offer a personal service and are willing to travel to meet with clients in and around Bristol and Surrey as we realise that our brides are very busy people and time is precious.

All our pieces are unique and are carefully made to the highest quality. Also, our packaging and stationery is made from recycled materials and postage and packing is free in UK on ready to wear and bespoke orders.

You really do adore your job don’t you! P-O-S-H certainly strikes us as being your passion before anything else….

We love working in the wedding industry and having the opportunity to play a key part in our clients’ wedding day. We enjoy meeting brides and their female party members and being able to make them exactly what they are looking for.

It is a fantastic feeling when someone says “that’s perfect, thank you so much.” We thoroughly enjoy the part we play in this memorable occasion and are very aware of the importance and impact of what we do.

It’s been a pleasure talking to you, Jill, but before you leave us for Christmas, tell us finally, what do you think makes a wedding Oh So  Perfect…?

I believe to make a wedding Oh So Perfect it is vital that every detail is designed, planned and organised effectively. Every tiny detail should be considered carefully to ensure that the preparation and day runs smoothly to create a memorable day where the bride and groom and guests have a wonderful time. Finally and perhaps most importantly, I believe a budget should be set and agreed to .

You can catch Port Out Starboard Home at the West Weddings show at Ashton Gate Bristol on 26 February 2012 and The Vintage Wedding Fair Chiswick Town Hall 13 May 2012.

For full details, product illustrations and contact details, visit the website www.portoutstarboardhome.co.uk

Individual hair accessory Photos by Martin Wise Studio Wise Photography – www.studiowise.co.uk


Need help planning your wedding day? Visit www.ohsoperfect.co.uk for our full list of wedding planning and coordination services and packages.

Would you like to be featured as a recommended supplier? Contact Oh So Perfect – Weddings and Events on enquiries@ohsoperfect.co.uk







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