This month we caught up with show-stopping creative artist, Hester of Bertie Valentine London. Specialising in a signature blend of hand-painted, embellished bridal and fashion accessories - not to mention some Instagram-worthy hand-crafted paper blooms - we’re in no doubt you’ll fall hard for her unique offerings.
Designed with the cool couple in mind, Hester can transform something you’ve already fallen in love with - say a buttery soft white leather jacket or a pair of beloved Freya Rose ankle boots - into a truly unique piece of art to wear down the aisle and, most importantly, treasure forever. Want to know more? We caught up with Hester to get the low-down on Bertie Valentine…
Q1. Tell us a little bit about yourself…
“Hi! My name’s Hester, I’m the pair of makers hands behind Bertie Valentine! I’m 27, a Suffolk gal with a creative soul currently living in London. I studied footwear design at London College of Fashion and have since worked and designed for major high street accessory brands. I would say that I’m a very typical Pisces, I feel everything about 10 times over and I’m my own strongest critic. I’ve been described as ‘all teeth and no eyes’ on more than one occasion on account of the fact that my smile has a knack of taking over my whole face and my eyes disappear, making it nearly impossible to see. My best ideas often come to me when I’m just about to fall asleep, then resulting in me not being able to sleep as I can’t wait to get started. I hand make and paint everything myself (it’s just me...but sometimes I rope my husband into helping-a better pair of makers hands you will not find).”⠀⠀⠀
Q2. What does your brand/boutique offer brides?
“I offer a whole host of services including custom painted jackets and accessories, handmade paper flowers for bouquets, head pieces, buttonholes and cake toppers. I’m going to be branching out into wedding stationery soon too, watch this space!”
Q3. Hit us with your USP:
“I make absolutely everything myself which gives me the freedom to offer a completely bespoke service. I always like to think of my work as a collaboration with the customer. We usually have a few conversations to discuss your ideas, colour palette, style preferences etc. first and then I come up with a new and unique design based directly on what we have discussed. This has included pet portraits, lucky numbers, wedding venue illustrations and NHS rainbows!”
Q4. What’s a normal business day include? Is it 9-5? Or more like 6am to pull your hair out/early hours?
“So, I’m basically on my phone the whole time, in fact recently, I’ve had to stop replying in the evenings to make sure that I get some rest time away from work. I love it so much so that’s not a problem at all but I’m definitely at my most creative when I’ve had a proper sleep!
The variety of the projects that I work on means that every day is different, but I usually like to the spend the first hour or so catching up on admin and planning social media posts or website updates. This is normally followed by some intense crafting which can be anything from cutting petals, drafting illustrations or dyeing paper up until lunchtime. I usually go for a walk around our local park to get some fresh air. I never really understood how important that was until we had lockdown! Now I know that I don’t function properly without it. After lunch it’s onto the next project!”
Q5. Three top tips for brides with regards to your expertise…GO!
- “When planning your wedding, a really fun and useful exercise is for you and your partner to have a chat about what you want the day to look like, then go away and each make a separate Pinterest board with ideas. Come back and compare notes and agree on a final Pinterest board combining the ideas which you agree on the most to make sure you’re on the same page. Trust me, it will make all of those individual decisions throughout the planning process a whollllleeeee lot easier!
- Don’t listen to what other people think you should wear/ think the day should look like. It’s your and your partners wedding, no one else’s. People will have really strong opinions about everything, but at the end of the day what they want really doesn’t matter, it’s about you two.
- Very similar to my last point, but be as true to yourselves as you can. Your day should be a reflection of yourselves and your love for each other. That’s the way to make it ultra special.”
Q6. If you could collaborate with another vendor or brand, who would it be and why?
“I would LOVE to collaborate with Kai at My Lady Garden, her florals are out of this world inspirational and SO fashion! I adore the way that she uses colour and pushes the boundaries on what people expect from floral designers.”
Q7. What’s new at your brand? Got anything exciting in the pipeline?
“I’m going to be offering DIY paper flower kits over the festive period so you can learn to make paper peonies and Christmas wreaths yourself!”
Q8. Where should brides be looking for heart-stopping wedding inspo?
“Odylyne The Ceremony is one of the the MOST INSPIRATIONAL bridal brands I have ever seen. Even if you don’t like the style of dresses they offer, their imagery is mesmerising. I also obsess over Way Out Wedding’s and Most Curious Wedfair’s Instagram feed. On the other hand, if you’re a magazine lover and need to feel paper in your hands like I do - The Wedding Collective do the most stunning annual. The weddings that they feature are incredible, modern and cool.”
Q9. Finish one of these sentences:
When I get married I will….
If I could get married again (wedding 2.0) I would…
“Keep it small. We were due to get married in July last year, during the pandemic, and like so many others we had to postpone to this year. But in October we changed our minds and decided that it was really important to us just to tie the knot. We had a micro-wedding of 15 people including ourselves and it was honestly so special. We also had our big blow out wedding party in July this year which was amazing! But genuinely, the tiny little wedding we had was so intimate and magical, we wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Q10. A box-set/series you highly recommend:
“BBC’s His Dark Materials! I was never a huge fan of the Philip Pullman books but oh my life, BBC have absolutely smashed this telling of it. The costumes and scenery are so glamorous. I can’t wait for the new series, it’ll be a good long while yet though sadly!”
Q11. Who (and it can be anyone) would sing at your wedding?
“My husband and I are Disney fanatics, embarrassingly so even, I think we would probably want the cast from the original Beauty and the Beast film to come and sing Be Our Guest!”
Q12. If you had to delete an app on your phone - what would it be and why?
“I would delete Instagram…and then immediately download it again. I love this platform so much but sometimes I do find that I need some separation from it. But it is absolutely unrivalled for the space it allows up-and-coming designer and mould breakers to get their message out there!”
Q13. A celebrity wedding you loved…GO!
“Mandy Moore in her pink dress! I think it was one of the first weddings I have seen where the bride wore a non-white dress and the florals were spectacular! She inspired me to wear pink at our wedding too!”
Q14. Finish one of these sentences:
For my hen party/stag I’d like to…
If I could press replay on the hen do/stag I would…
“Because of lockdown, my hen party was on Zoom! My maid of honour absolutely pulled it out of the bag with imaginative ways of making hen party games virtual, she also sent me lots of Prosecco to drink during the event, safe to say that I was ruined by the end of it! So what I would love would be to do it in person! We had a big weekend planned in Margate (one of my fave spots in the UK) with all my main girls, hopefully we’ll do it soon.”
Q15. Browse the Team Hen site, what would you buy?
“The letters to the bride book. I honestly think is one of the most beautiful ideas I’ve ever seen. It’s so important to make sure that you breathe and take a moment on your wedding day. It can be so hectic trying to keep everyone happy, but you have to remember it’s about you and your partner and being with everyone you love most in the world. I think this is a really heartfelt way to ensure that you make that time.”
Q16. You’ve been dropped at the airport, passport in-hand. You can go anywhere. Where do you go?
“I am desperate to go to Venice. I am fortunate enough that my parents took us there for family holidays when we were growing up and I think it’s one of the most magical places in the world. It’s so visually spectacular and there’s a real wealth of culture, art and design.”
Q17. Cocktail of choice:
“Give me an Aperol Spritz any day of the week, is there a drink that’s more Summer than that? I don’t think so!”
Q18. Instagram guilty pleasure?
“@Barrysbanterbus and @loveislandreactions (a bit obsessed with Love Island!) - I have to actively stop myself going on their pages during working hours, the memes are so so good and I always get lost down the Instagram black hole.”
Discover more about Bertie Valentine.
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