Talking with Maria White who runs Mia Elizabeth Designs in association with JJW Designs
Rochford Life: Maria I understand you are starting up here with JJW Designs. Doing what?
Maria: I’m offering a made-to-measure women’s wear service; you can have any design created that you want, you can choose your fabric, colour etc., and I’ll give you a consultation so that you can decide what looks best on you. Everything that is made is made here by me. First you have the consultation then you have your fittings and then you have your final garment. It won’t leave the studio until I am happy that it fits you perfectly.
RL: Forgive me for saying this but you appear to be very young to be doing this? What is your background?
Maria: When I left school, my best grade was in textiles and so I then went to College and did Fashion Design for two years, and I got a triple distinction for that, so from there I went to University for four years and got a first class degree in Fashion Design and Marketing. While I was doing my degree we did several placements, and one of them was with a bespoke designer in Notting Hill. At the end of the Degree you do a show called Graduate Fashion Week and only 15 people were selected from each University year across the country, and I was selected. I invited along all the people with whom I had done my placements, and as a result of this I was offered a job with this same bespoke women’s wear designer. I worked there for nearly a year and then decided if I am going to work this hard for someone, why not do it for myself. I started working here in January and I already have my client base growing with quite a few orders this week.
RL: How does charging work for something like this?
Maria: With made to measure there are so many different things to consider, because you can literally have whatever you want so, for example, if I was going to do a wedding dress, so first, whether you are going to have silk, then are you going to have embellishments and how much of it, how many fittings are necessary and, of course, the complexity of the design being requested. It’s not until the third consultation that you get a really good idea of the price, but I always give a rough idea from the outset, and then it’s fifty per cent at the start and the rest when it’s delivered.
RL: One final question. Do you go to people or do they come to you?
Maria: We have a fitting room here to which ladies can come, which gives them the opportunity to look at all the jewellery and hats and tiaras as well, but I have some regular clients that I’ve already made clothes for and I’ve always gone to them, and so it is whatever suits the client.
RL: Right, thank you very much. Well, I hope the ladies of the area will realise what a wonderful service they can now find here. Thank you.