In Conversation With Jan Proprietor of Atelier 19

by Michelle

Vintage inspired, totally individual and utterly gorgeous that’s how I would describe the bridal and special occasion  wear available at Atelier 19.

Noticing that there was a gap in the market for brides looking for a more personal wedding experience, offering unique, often hand embellished, one of a kind designs, Jan opened her boutique Atelier 19. Jan’s style is perfect for brides looking for something completely unique for their special day.

Not only can she create a bespoke wedding gown, Jan can also customise an existing gown, and make or customise all the accompanying accessories such as headwear, shoes and bags for whole the bridal party.

Jan has also shared a number of images of recent photo shoots with me, which I’m sure you’ll agree are amazing. Over to Jan now to learn more about her unique boutique:

Tell us a little about yourself and your business

I’m a fashion and textile designer specialising in couture embroidery. I decided to concentrate on making embroidered bridalwear and accessories after making my own wedding dress 25 years ago. In 2001 I won the embroidery category in the British Bridal Awards and realised that I needed to have my own shop in the right location (at the time I was living in a small village in rural Herefordshire looking after 6 year old twins).

In 2005 we relocated to Bath but I was unable to open my shop as we couldn’t sell our large house in Herefordshire. We returned in order to turn it into a large holiday let which is perfect for vintage hen parties, Cedars House and decided to move to Cheltenham so that I could finally open my shop.

What motivated you to start your business?

Last October I found the perfect premises in a bohemian area known as the Notting Hill of Cheltenham and so “Atelier 19” was born. My style is quite quirky as I love colour and embellishment especially floral designs so appeals to brides looking for something unique and individual.

Tell us a little more about the day to day activities of your business.

As my shop is also my studio (or atelier) I spend my day making new embroidered garments and accessories whilst serving customers and clients. I also have a few vintage wedding dresses and a carefully selected collective of other designers’ work who fit into my “something old…something new” ethos, including Gemma Sangwine who makes millinery using vintage brooches as well as an eclectic mix of old and new curios.


I also have a basement full of vintage clothes ready for dressing up in for tea parties, makeovers and photo shoots so there’s never a dull moment.

If our readers were to order from you, what can they expect?

Any bride coming to “Atelier 19” receives a warm welcome and a unique experience. We really are a “one stop wedding shop” and between us can make your dress, all accessories including hand embroidered shoes, bridesmaids outfits and even outfits for the Mums to make sure everything coordinates for your special day. We all love getting really involved and can even cater for your hen party.

How can couples judge if a company is the right fit for their wedding?

I think to find the perfect fit for your wedding you should really fall in love with the style of the designer. In “Atelier 19” we all have an individual style which may or may not be your cup of tea. If you walk into our vintage inspired boutique which has been described as a “magical wonderland of gowns and treasures” and feel like you’re in heaven then you’ve found the right designers to make your wedding dreams come true.


What are your favourite moments from previous weddings you’ve been involved with?

My favourite wedding that I was involved in was a lady who had seen one of my dresses in the window of her solicitor when she was going through a horrible divorce. She vowed that if she ever remarried she wanted me to make her dress. Two years later she came to me and said she wanted a 1920s style dress covered in roses and poppies. As time went on she decided she wanted me to make her tiara, shoes, a bag to carry, ring cushion and waistcoats for her sons.

My other favourite wedding was my eldest son’s last year for which I made the bride’s hairpiece from her own mother’s veil as well as neckpieces, sashes and hair ornaments for the bridesmaids and flower girls.  Gemma and I also collaborated on a beautiful hairpiece for myself so naturally everything tied in with the chosen colour scheme.


The bigger picture – does your business offer goods/services outside of the wedding world? Tell us more.

As a collective of designers we all enjoy making bridalwear but we all offer designs for other occasions. I also make a range of embroidered jewellery, Gemma makes other types of headwear perfect for festivals and Philippa Couture specialises in coats and jackets. We also stock a variety of artisan goods and French brocante finds so there really is something for everyone.

What have you got planned for 2017?

For 2017 I want to continue being fully involved in clients weddings but I also have plans to specialise in creating unique one-off hand embroidered shoes for which I think there is a gap in the market.


And finally, what or who inspires you and why?

I am constantly inspired by nature and the changing seasons but also by the many couture designers from many eras whose work I adore. These include the Boue Souers from the 1920s to Christian Lacroix and of course the incredible Alexander McQueen. I like to think that my designs make couture more accessible to a wider clientele and what better time to treat yourself to something really special and unique for your own wedding day.


Images Courtsey of Atelier 19

Photography: Danniella Jane.

Hair Jo Vallender.

Make-up (images 1,7,8 & 10) Victoria Jones & (2,5,9 & 11) Ruth Hancox

Models: Olivia Harriet Smith (images 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 11) Sammy Lee Smith (images 1, 7 & 8) Morgan Koronis (image 6) Erin Poppy (image 6)


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