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Noble Headwear needs new premises

A SCOTTISH hat making business is on the hunt for new premises to keep up with demand from customers such as upmarket fashion brands Jaeger and Daks.

YVETTE JELFS: Hopes to have new accommodation by the summer.
YVETTE JELFS: Hopes to have new accommodation by the summer.

Noble Headwear, set up by renowned milliner Yvette Jelfs, is hoping to be operating in larger accommodation by the summer.

That will provide a platform for the business to double staff numbers to eight and target further volume contracts with other upmarket brands.

Ms Jelfs and her team have only been in the current location in Hawick for around 18 months but have already outgrown it.

As a result they are having to knock back orders until they can expand capacity.

The firm's hat making equipment can turn out up to 200 pieces of mens and ladies headwear each day but the size of the locationmean there is no room available to employ additional workers.

Couture and one-off occasion hats, for events ranging from weddings and special occasions to high profile events such as Royal Ascot, are also hand made in the studio and can cost several hundred pounds.

The search for a new base has been narrowed down to two possible locations, both still in the Borders, although a final decision on where to move to has yet to be made.

Ms Jelfs did not want to reveal which sites she was considering but said: "Obviously we will be looking to do more business [for brands] when we do move premises.

"It is imperative for us to add more people and move sooner rather than later in order to fulfil what we have set out to do.

"There is nothing worse than going to clients in London and turning down work as we are doing at the moment."

According to Ms Jelfs the business has also been sampling some of its handmade textile flowers for fashion giant Chanel.

Chanel has links to the Borders having bought the Barrie Knitwear business in Hawick during 2012 following the collapse of owner Dawson.

Ms Jelfs is also considering using crowdfunding to raise an investment of up to £60,000 to help the business improve its marketing.

The company has recently completely overhauled its website, with the update being designed by local firm Definitive Studio, to make it more functional and allow an easier transaction process.

The business is now also represented across all the main social media channels.

Ms Jelfs said: "We are looking at probably £40,000 to £60,000 [of investment] to kick things on a bit. Much of that would be into getting the website out there a bit more. We are a proper shop website now and we are getting a lot of feedback and transactions through that. It is the first time that we have had a proper online selling boutique.

"It means we can export from that and we are getting a lot of notice from America and Japan."

Noble Headwear is also using its staff and equipment to teach other companies about making hats with their materials.

Ms Jelfs, who has previously had shops showcasing her work in Edinburgh and London, suggested Harris Tweed as one cloth which has a lot of potential for hats.

Ms Jelfs has been making hats for more than three decades and has previously worked as a commentator for the BBC on the fashion choices of racegoers at Royal Ascot.

She has worked on hats worn by members of the Royal family as well as a number of entertainment personalities.

Model Kelly Brook and presenter Fearne Cotton are among those recently spotted wearing Ms Jelf's creations

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