Aimee Veitch, from South Shields, runs dressmaking boutique, Corsetry & Couture, based at the town’s Rekendyke Industrial Estate. As part of our It’s My Business feature, we speak to Aimee about what inspired her business and meeting Gok Wan.

Tell us what made you want to start your own business?

Having Fibromyalgia, and living with chronic pain and fatigue, means that I’m unable to have a regular form of employment. Starting my own business allowed me to work around my symptoms, not against them.  I have always been creative so it was natural that my business would be too.

As well as making corsets, you also make wedding dresses and offer an alteration service – were these always part of the plan or did they happen organically as the business grew?

Corsetry is my main passion, it has always been the main part of my business.  I started out doing general clothing alterations but found I really enjoyed helping brides and grooms to feel their best on their special day. So I started to specialise in bridal alterations. Making my own bridalwear was just a natural progression and I’m really enjoying incorporating all of my skills into making peoples dream dresses and outfits become a reality.

Running your own business can be rewarding and challenging – what are the biggest challenges for you?

My biggest challenge is my own self confidence.  My whole business is based around helping people feel good about themselves, but I don’t always listen to my own advice. Having the health problems I have, sometimes it is difficult to feel good about myself and my work.  But I remind myself of all the happy customers that I’ve had and how they feel when they wear something I have made just for them and it cheers me up.

Aimee Veitch at Newcastle Pride last summer.

And the biggest rewards?

Definitely the knowledge that I have helped people forget about their body hangups and been able to feel good about themselves on their special day

You recently got to work with and meet Gok Wan – how did that come about?

I got a phone call out of the blue from one of Gok’s researchers asking if I’d be interested in taking part on the catwalk for his One Size Fits All tour.  I honestly thought it was a prank, why would Gok Wan want to work with a small business from South Shields? but after receiving an email shortly after the phone call and a quick look online, I realised it was real and jumped at the chance to work alongside one of my idols!

It was whirlwind 3 months pulling a new collection together to showcase my work alongside other local businesses to celebrate body confidence and sharing style secrets.

What does 2019 have in store for Corsetry & Couture?

This year I’ll really be focusing on expanding my bridal range with luxury corsetry and unique gowns.  I love layering fabrics and lace to create textures and will also be experimenting more with hand painting elements to create feature pieces.

Examples of Corsetry & Couture designs on the catwalk.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of starting their own business?

I would advise anyone starting out to really know their product or service.  When I first started out I wanted to help everyone, so would take on so many little jobs that I didn’t have time to focus on designing my own products.  By knowing my product and who my ideal clients were, I was able to really focus my business.

I’d also advise joining local business groups, I have found new friends and colleagues through the likes of Michelle Rose at Love Your Marketing and Nicola Jayne Little at The Savvy Solos Business Club.  These groups are so supportive of each other and they really help you stay focused about working on your business, not just selling your product or service.

*** If you would like to feature in ‘It’s My Business’ there is a fee of £100. Email alan@lecc.co.uk for more information. ***