This week I am thrilled to be interviewing Heather, the owner and creator of Apollonie! Heather is amazing, honestly, I don’t think there is anything this woman can’t sew! She makes everything from custom corsets, historical clothing, wedding dresses, cosplay – pretty much everything your heart desires, this woman can sew you up a dream! I had the pleasure of meeting some of the wonderful Apollonie gals at Ottawa Comiccon last month and have seen Heather’s corsets in person – trust me, they are stunning!
Okay, enough gushing! I hope you all enjoy this interview, and make sure to stay tuned til the end, because Heather has an awesome promo code for you all! 😉
Tell us about your business, Apollonie!
My business is a custom seamstress business where I cater to clients individual needs and specifications. I like each customer to feel like they are getting a unique, one of a kind item just for them.
When did you start your business? What inspired you to start it and what excites you about your work?
I started my business back in 2008. I really wanted to just create corsets and costumes and all that wonderful stuff for people who wanted them! I wanted to be involved in every step from the design itself to fabric choices to every step of the creation process and most fashion jobs these days don’t allow for that. It took a while for me to get to the point where I am now. I am honestly so thankful for all my incredible clients who give me such fun and amazing commissions that I love making!
What is your process? What tools do you like using? Where do you do your work? Can you walk us through a day in your life with your business?
I work out of a home studio, which I am hoping to enlarge in the next few years as my business keeps growing. I generally work on orders based on when clients would like them due, and tend to have many orders on the go at all times. Typically my work day involves starting with the administration work, such as client emails and texts, supply orders and shipments to be processed. Then I get right on down to hours of creating and making, which is my favourite part! Generally it is accompanied by lots of tea! And depending on the day, there will be client consultations and fittings.
What do you love the most about your business?
Such a hard question! There are truly so many things I love about my business! Getting to create and make such fun and unique pieces is literally my dream job and I am so lucky to be able to do that for a living. Also, I absolutely adore my fantastic clients who are so much fun to work with and just such wonderful people!
What is the most difficult thing about running your business?
The hardest part has probably been trying to juggle everything as my business has grown each year. I have been so lucky to welcome Jo, my business manager, into my business. She has definitely been a blessing and has made things a lot easier. As things have grown, the administrative side of things has also grown, which used to take time away from the creative side of things.
What is it that draws you to making corsets and recreating historical fashion?
I have always been a massive history buff and I find that I just consume anything related to history. I have always loved the gorgeous quality and style of historical costumes and corsets and as soon as I could, I wanted to recreate those looks! Even now, I just cannot get enough of it all! I could go on all day about how much I love it!
How do you get inspiration for your gorgeous historical costumes and corsets?
There are so many sources. I find the world so full of inspiration and motivation. I love books, fiction and nonfiction, as well as history, costuming/historical costuming, and art books. I have a large collection which I find constantly motivating. I also adore movies, plays and tv shows. Another great source of inspiration is seeing what other creators are doing, even if it is completely different from what I do. Make up artists, for example, are so inspiring to me. And I would also have to say that my friends and clients are so inspiring to me. Their enthusiasm and excitement for my work is wonderful. They are constantly bringing me their concepts or potential ideas which is fantastic.
Do you aim for historical accuracy in your work?
I absolutely do. Although one can never be completely historically accurate. Our materials and supplies do differ from those of times past, whether it is in the fabric composition or the dyes used, so I try and choose what is closest and what would work for the time period. Also, certain techniques we have refined in tailoring and clothing production so I sometimes will use a modern technique for something if I feel it can be beneficial.
What started your love of corsets and historical style?
For as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with historical costumes and corsets. I remember watching BBC period pieces with my parents and just wishing I could wear those gorgeous costumes. My parents encouraged my love of all of this with theatrical excursions, museum visits, sewing and art classes, vacations and trips where I could explore my love of history, and so much more. Not to mention my continually expanding library. I can’t remember a time where I didn’t love these things.
You’ve also expanded your line to include bridal fashions, accessories and millinery, can you tell us some more about that?
I just love creating so that expansion happened quite naturally. Customers would just ask if I could make something, and that added a new category of items onto what I offer. Clients who I have made multiple things for would come back and ask about bridal work and I am always happy to make something bridal!
I love that you also include cosplay in your line, can you tell us about your cosplay work?
Cosplay is such a fun area to work in. There are so many varieties of costumes, from characters to the creative twists that can be taken with them. There are so many outfits I want to recreate and then put fun spins on. And the passion and love cosplayers have is just so inspiring!
When did you begin sewing?
I began sewing when I was around 15, and was just muddling my way through at the very start.
How would you describe your own style?
My style is definitely a mix of my various passions and loves, from historical costuming and historical references to some definite comic inspired vibes. I have a vintage love and feel in there as well.
Who or what is your personal vintage/historical style inspiration?
There are so many fabulous fashion icons out there. I love the vintage styling and personal style of Dita Von Teese. In terms of movies and tv shows, there are a plethora of amazing shows and movies like Penny Dreadful, The Alienist, Jane Eyre, Crimson Peak, etc. that are just so inspiring!
What is your favourite era for vintage/historical style?
Another hard question! It is honestly so hard to choose. I absolutely love the Victorian, Regency, Tudor and Elizabethan eras just so much! The Edwardian times and the 20’s and 30’s also are so beloved to me too. But if absolutely pressed to choose, I would say late 18th century!
Do you have a favourite fashion designer?
I have always loved Alexander McQueen and the absolute creativity his designs have shown. There are some phenomenal cosplay/fantasy designers like Fairytas who I greatly admire!
What is your favourite thing about historical fashion and corsetry?
I love the creativity and challenge each piece presents me. But I really love the confidence it gives to the person wearing it. Seeing someone feel like a true princess, or like a badass superhero is just so uplifting.
Tell us about yourself!
I am a massive nerd and history buff. I have always been creative and just love making things! I’m a bit of a workaholic but try really hard to balance things.
What do you do in your free time?
I’m a massive reader and am always trying to find spare moments to read. I love exercising and being outside especially in spring and summer. And I have so many incredible friends who I love spending time with as well as two adorable kitties. I love being creative as well in my off time and am always working on new projects.
Do you have any words of advice for someone who might be thinking of starting their own business?
It can take a lot of hard work and dedication. And things won’t necessarily succeed right away. You’ll have to find what works best for you and your business model. It can take some analyzing and different experiences but it’s so worth it in the end.
Do you have anything special you would like to promote to my readers?
I’d like to offer your readers a 10% discount on orders through our website with promo code PRETTYAPOLLONIE10. Just mention the promo code while placing your custom order!
Where can we find you online?
Thank you so much Heather, for allowing me to interview you and taking the time to answer all of my questions! It has been such a huge pleasure getting to know more about you and your amazing work!
I hope you all enjoyed this interview with Heather! She’s such a cool woman and I admire her work and dedication so much! Make sure to check out her gorgeous work – I know I’m going to be saving up for a custom order! 🙂
All images featured in this interview used with kind permission from Heather of Apollonie.