Desiree by Design: How one woman’s enthusiasm for vintage turned into the business of her dreams
**This video and article were posted for our Juneteenth celebration week**. Juneteenth is the celebration of the end of slavery in the United States. One of the ways to celebrate Juneteenth is to support black owned businesses. Read more about the history of Juneteenth by clicking here.
Desiree Patton has been rummaging through her relative’s old clothes and accessories ever since she can remember. So it was only natural that she started her own business based off of her unique findings.
In 2011, Patton founded her business, Desiree by Design, a one-stop-shop for all millinery needs including hats, fascinators, hair accessories, as well as image consulting and personal shopping.
Patton graduated from FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) in New York where she became a certified image consultant.
“What an image consultant does is help a person minimize their physical weakness but build their positive attributes,” Patton said. “I will find out from a person, where are they going? What’s the occasion? What is your lifestyle like? Ask them these important questions but not just to wear a hat but to help them embrace who they are individually with their own style.”
Patton uses her image consulting for a variety of things but her main focus right now is on her millinery skills.
Side note, if you didn’t know what a “milliner” was before today, like me… Desiree gave us a little explainer.
“A milliner simply is a person who designs hats,” Patton said. “It’s actually a profession that’s been around for centuries. They were also known as hat makers. It’s really a trade that is almost extinct, so you don’t see too many of them, but it’s a fine art to learn.”
Patton is a one-of-a-kind designer. She never duplicates her pieces. She says she’s constantly collecting different materials and eventually something will come together with those pieces.
“I’m working with very fine, limited resources, but I like it that way because it makes it more challenging to create,” Patton said.
She says helping people feel their best self is the best feeling in the world.
“They tell me stories, they say ‘Wow this reminds me of my grandmother.’ And they reflect so it’s a really intimate conversation,” Patton said.
Patton admits that she has noticed a difference being a black owned business in North Carolina versus in New York where she first started nine years ago.
“I migrated from a culture that was very mixed and diverse in New York City and where I am currently in North Carolina, I can tell the difference not only in style but also acceptance,” Patton said. “And I don’t know what it is. Are people not into that type of style or are they not into me because of my color.”
Regardless, Patton says we need to continue to learn how to live together and support and except one another.
“It’s my job as an individual to show them love and to show them myself and the gifts God has given me,” Patton said. “And even if they still don’t want to support, it’s okay, I still will give them a smile,”
To get your next customized look reach out to Desire at the contact info on her website by clicking here.
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