This weeks 5 minutes with is from Libby Boalch from The Dressing Up Chest. Libby makes high quality, hand made fancy dress costumes, dressing up clothes and dance/stage costumes for children. Her designs are fabulous and make a unique costume for you child to wear again and again. Here are some details about her business
Tell us a little bit about how you started your business up? (i.e. when and why?)
I started the Dressing Up Chest just over 2 years ago. I decided I needed a new challenge and since I had always enjoyed making costumes for my own children when they were in dance shows and involved in school productions and I love children it seemed an obvious choice.
How does a typical week go at Dressing Up Chest?
The day starts by checking emails and making up a ‘to do list’ for the day. Over the past couple of weeks I have had a surprising number of orders from USA for Halloween. I am re-designing my web site and organising a party photo shoot which is very exciting. I have been delighted so many children and their parents are keen to be involved as well as a number of people in the children’s party business.
What are your ambitions for Dressing Up Chest?
I would like to be able to get the idea across to people that there is an alternative to the cheaply made costumes on the high street and it doesn’t cost a fortune to have bespoke costume which is wearable, washable and long lasting.
What are the best and worst aspects of the job?
I love choosing fabric and trimmings. I enjoy the challenge of making something I haven’t done before. I find it difficult to keep paperwork and finances under control!
Many parents struggle with last minute requests for fancy dress for parties and school events. Do you have any top tips for creating last minute costumes?
Be prepared. Dressing up is a wonderful way for children to use their imagination and be creative. Always look out for clothes and accessories in charity shops or raid your family’s wardrobes for clothes which can be cut up and remodelled. Hats are fabulous – lots of stores make good price cuts on hats which are no longer ‘this season’ but with a feather, flower or ribbon they can be transformed into something fabulous.
What is the most unusual costume you have been commissioned to make?
A huge 3D star for a school play – it was an exercise in engineering and my fingers were raw by the end but the customer was delighted so I was too!
Have you a favourite costume that you have created?
I made 30 sailor dresses in a range of sizes for a dancing school. I did feel quite proud as the tapped their way onto the stage.
Is there any particular costume you would love to make?
Anything and everything.
If you could make a costume for any famous person alive or dead who would it be and why?
I have always had a passion for ballet and would love to have been able to create some of the fantastic tutus worn by Margot Fonteyn.
What would your one bit of advice be for anyone starting up a small business?
It has to be something you really enjoy doing – it makes the ups and downs easier to bear.
Be sure to check out Libby’s website to see some more of her lovely creations – The Dressing Up Chest