“Kate Halfpenny from Halfpenny London championed me from the very start, I will always be grateful.” Sally Thomas, Founder of Tilly Thomas Lux
Prepare to dive headfirst into the Tilly Thomas Lux world, a world where glittering, vintage-inspired accessories reign and craftsmanship soars. There’s a certain magic laced through every Tilly Thomas Lux piece. A magic that’s designed to last a lifetime, and be worn time and time again, for a bride’s wedding day and WAY beyond. Carefully crafted in the designer, Sally Thomas’ London-based studio, alongside some of the city’s most celebrated artisans, every Tilly Thomas Lux piece is hand-soldered and created, meticulously designed and crafted with the modern bride in mind. I caught up with the designer herself to talk about her business journey and her version of Taking The Plunge, including the highs, the lows, the first jobs, the worst jobs and the tech she can’t live without…
Name: Sally Thomas
Business: Tilly Thomas Lux
Photography by @rachel_takes_pictures
#1 In a nutshell, describe your business/brand – what do you offer at Tilly Thomas Lux?
“We make and design vintage inspired luxury crowns, headpieces and jewellery with a modern twist using only the most beautiful materials and sparkliest crystals for weddings and special occasions. All hand-soldered, plated and stone set in the UK with love.”
#2 What’s your career background? Has it always been in the wedding industry?
“I have a degree in fashion design and specialised in jewellery. I worked in costume jewellery for nearly a decade designing and making for global brands. I love working in the wedding industry. My happy place.”
#3 What planted the seed of your business idea? Did it strike you suddenly?
“Many many years ago (approx about 15), I designed a headpiece for a friend based around her Grandma’s brooch. That was definitely a light bulb moment for me because she had a piece of her Grandma walking down the aisle even though she wasn’t there. So special, and this carried on from there, making pieces for friends and family.”
#4 Describe the moment you decided to TAKE THE PLUNGE (what did this involve? Handing in your notice?)
“I handed in my notice and took up some freelance work for three days a week and I worked on TTL for the other four days. For two years this paid for my branding, component/crystal library, boxes etc. It was pretty scary as I had reached a senior designer position, so for the first time in my life I didn’t have a steady salary.”
#5 Describe how the first day of building your own business felt:
“Overwhelming, exciting, a bit scary!”
#6 The highs – what have they been so far?
“Meeting so many brides over the years. I’ve met some incredible women and some I still keep in touch with! My events that I have held before Covid were absolutely amazing, to know that everyone was there to see my work was so special for me. And, it’s been pretty cool having people like Dame Emma Thompson, Emma Bunton (an actual Spice Girl!) Rochelle Humes, Leona Lewis and many more, wearing your pieces on the red carpet.”
#7 The lows – how did you move past them? What did you learn?
“Covid was a low for me, as it was for the whole world! I really missed my brides. But I actually did a star mug collaboration with my Dad as everyone was at home drinking tea, so that was what we did for months!”
#8 If you could tell yourself three things when you first started the business – what would they be?
No.1 “Believe in yourself more!”
No.2 “ALWAYS listen to your gut – if it doesn’t feel right then just say no!”
No.3 “Have fun, worry less!”
#9 Your tips for those dreaded lying-awake-at-3am times? (Counting sheep? Glass of water? Get up? Meditate? Read?)
“The Calm App is always helpful. Definitely meditation.”
#10 Your top organisational tip?
“The App LastPass is brilliant to keep all of your passwords in the same place because there are so many!”
#11 Who inspired you? Or inspires you in business?
“I am inspired by so many things: lots of old movies, old Hollywood glamour, architecture, museums and travel inspires me a lot! My Dad inspires me and he is an artist so we pretty much grew up in a museum.”
#12 An app/piece of tech you now couldn’t live without for your business:
“I will have to say Blu-Tack – LOL. Its’ what I use to secure my initial designs, its my must-have!”
#13 Your first ever job was…
“Working at my uncle’s bird centre and pet farm, I fed and cleaned out the animals, I absolutely loved it.”
#14 Your top social media tip?
“Don’t stress! Always be kind to people.”
#15 The brand you’d love to collaborate with and why…
“I would love to collaborate with McQueen because everything they make is just heaven. I was obsessed with Alexander McQueen for years. His exhibition at the V&A blew my mind, it still makes me sad he isn’t here.”
#16 Name a business/social media account that has helped/inspired you with your business?
“Kate Halfpenny from Halfpenny London championed me from the very start, I will always be grateful.”
Rapid Fire Questions:
#1 Most inspirational book you’ve read:
“I have read so many! I’ve recently finished Becoming by Michele Obama, that was so inspiring.”
#2 You’re in Starbucks, what do you order?
“Flat white and a blueberry muffin.”
#3 Instagram feed crush:
#4 Your worst job was…
“Filling stain glass window with black sticky cement for nine hours a day.”
#5 If you didn’t do what you do…what would you do?
#6 Work day pick-me-up?
“Coffee coffee coffee!”