Claire is the designer, maker and owner of Claire Austin England which has been the ‘Best Accessories’ award winner three years running (2020, 2019 & 2018) at the South West Wedding Awards. Claire creates one-of-a-kind bespoke bridal headpieces and jewellery in her studio situated behind the beautiful manor house in Cockington, Torquay.
“My business is my obsession and I can never call it ‘work!’ ”
I got the opportunity to speak with Claire about how she got into creating bridal hairpieces and jewellery and what makes her products so unique for brides and grooms.
The Person Behind the Products
I was born and bred in Torquay but spent much of my twenties in London where I met my now husband George. We live in a cottage by the harbour with our dog Pickle, a Chihuahua / miniature pinscher, with my studio just a short drive away.
I love eating my husband’s delicious cooking, going for walks on the moors and by the sea, and spending time with my friends.
How Did You Get Into Creating Bridal Headpieces and Jewellery?
I studied Drama & Theatre Arts at St. Mary’s University and worked in a West End theatre whilst pursuing my love of acting. It was there, however, when I discovered my true passion… bridal headpieces! With not being particularly creative or fashion forward when I was younger it came as quite a surprise to me. Fast forward eight years and here we are!
How Would You Describe the Products You Offer?
I design and create bridal headpieces and jewellery using my handmade ceramic flowers, pearls, diamantes and gems. Alongside this, I can also make hair pins for bridesmaids or flower girls, hatinators for mothers of the bride/groom and button-holes for grooms.
I have a shop on my website where you can click and buy items straight away from my 2021 Collection but my most popular service is bespoke. If you see something you like on my online shop but want a different style, measurement or colour, I can certainly do that for you. Or if you want something completely unique and personal you can get in touch with me for a design consultation in my studio or online.
What’s Your Most Memorable Piece of Work?
I think it would have to be ‘the beast’ which is a huge seashell crown that I made for a photo shoot with Emma Barrow Photography a couple of years ago.
What is Your Favourite Aspect of the Job?
I literally do a happy dance when I get an enquiry from a bride! I love hearing all about their wedding planning and the dreams they have for their day. It is especially fun when I get to see a sneak peek of their dress – only a handful of people in the world have that honour!
I love inviting them into my studio for a private design consultation. It’s nice to have a proper chat and connect on a personal level, whether they can come into the studio or reach out via video call, social media and email.
I have fun sending videos along the design process which often feature my dog Pickle! I find it mind blowing that someone will be wearing something I have made on one of the biggest days of their lives and I get the biggest buzz when I receive the wedding photographs and a lovely review!
What Trends Do You Expect in Bridal Headpieces and Jewellery for 2021/2022?
My handmade ceramic flowers are continuing to grow in popularity. They have a classic timeless look about them and I think will always be relevant be it in 5 years or 50 years time.
I’ve also noticed more brides coming to me with a piece of jewellery or a headpiece from when their nan or mum got married. They allow me to take it apart, or pick materials off it to add to their design for their wedding day. Some even choose to frame it afterwards in a deep photo frame by their dressing table. It’s such a lovely idea that you are continuing to pass it down through the generations, almost like a family heirloom.
You can really feel Claire’s love and enthusiasm for the designs that she creates and the care that is taken to produce such unique and special pieces for her brides and grooms. If you like what you see, check out Claire’s website & instagram @claireaustinengland, or arrange a design consultation where Claire will spoil you with a delicious cupcake from @daisycakesuk, a cute dried bouquet from @flower_la_vita, a stunning @wedmagazine and milkshake once the restrictions have lifted.