Award-winning milliner and designer Fee McToal of Fee McToal Designs is a resident designer maker in Makers House. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, now she lives just outside Ballymoney.
Fee has sewn from a very young age. She studied sewing, fashion & design, returning some years later to fashion in the form of hat making.
What do you do? Tell us about your craft.
I am a partly self-taught award-winning milliner. I design and create headpieces for weddings and race days and also for everyday wear. Ideas pop in my head to make headpieces so I design and create them into reality. It helped a lot to have a background in sewing.
All headpieces I create have a quirky feel to them and are lovingly hand stitched using traditional millinery techniques. I also provide a commission service for ladies wanting a headpiece to tone with an outfit.
What did you do before?I worked in admin for approx 20+ years.
How did you get the idea for this product? Or how did it come about?
Sometimes I have dreams that have to be put into my sketchbook before I forget them, sometimes it can be a sculpture, flower - anything really.
What is the most challenging part of your craft?Trying to match colours to outfits and sourcing materials and time as it takes a while to produce headpieces from scratch.
What do you love about this craft?I love headpieces that are big, bold and beautiful. I love that I can make anything in any bright colour with height!!
How would you describe your style to someone who didn't know you?I'd say my style is very quirky.
What makes this particular product so special?My work is unique - so nothing I create is mass-produced as no two headpieces are ever the same.
Have you won any awards for your product? If so, what was it, when and what was it for?Upcoming milliner - 3rd place, audience choice 1st place then established milliner 2nd place.
How can people order/buy your product?
You can visit my website to purchase online and you can also book a commission appointment with me online as well. You can purchase my work in my retail space upstairs in Makers House in The Designerie.
What is the biggest lesson you have learnt in business so far?
That you can't do it all on your own. Business is 10% making and 90% marketing.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting out?Have a vision of what you want your business to be like and then work to be able to achieve it.
How long have you been featured in The Designerie?Since October 2019
What area of The Designerie are you featured in?In Makers House - I am one of the resident designers.
What do you love about The Designerie?The relaxed and fun atmosphere
How would you describe The Designerie to someone who didn't know about it?
It’s like a massive department store that sells beautiful unique products and also rents space to designers that grow their businesses.
To find out more about Fee McToal Design visit the website or follow the brand on Facebook and Instagram. You can also read Fee’s short bio here and see her products upstairs in Makers House in The Designerie.