Scott Nickson – Bespoke Dresswear and Design Interview – Behind the Biz

It’s time for a new and exciting Behind the Biz interview.

Today I’m chatting with Scott Nickson, a Yorkshire-based dressmaker and designer. He creates made-to-measure, custom-made dresses that flatter each customers’ individual shape and personality.

I hope you enjoy today’s interview.

Please tell us about your business.

My business, Scott Nickson Bespoke Dresswear and Design, is a dressmaking service specialising in handmade, one-of-a-kind garments that are made-to-measure, so each dress I make fits and flatters the wearers’ individual size and shape.

I work closely with my customers to listen to any ideas they have, find out what design features they like and suggest fabrics and styles for the dress they want. Attention to detail is really important to me, every dress I make is completely unique and tailored to fit your exact measurements and style.

All occasions are catered for, from day wear to formal wear, mother of the bride/groom, wedding dresses, prom dresses and dresses for days at the races, for example.

What did you do before starting Scott Nickson?

I worked in retail for about ten years, while in my spare time creating music, drawing and constructing the occasional dress based on my drawings.

I’m a creative person and I love putting the garments I make together, bringing my designs and drawings to life.

I made my first dress a decade ago this year and since then, I’ve been making dresses for friends and family. Word spread though, and at the end of 2017 I decided to take the leap and go into business!

Did you always plan to be self-employed?

The simple answer is no. I’ve always been creative but I never really knew how to apply it. It wasn’t until my job was threatened with redundancy that the idea of being self-employed became something I could do.   

Please talk us through a typical day.

A typical day in the Scott Nickson studio differs depending on where I am with an order.

If I’m at the beginning of a customer order I could be holding a consultation, out shopping for fabric, sketching design ideas or pattern drafting, creating the blueprints of the dress.

I use the customer’s measurements to create a basic block pattern that can then be manipulated into pattern pieces. This can take up to half a day depending on how complex the design is but it’s essential, as once the pattern has been put together it creates a mock dress for my customer to try in their first fitting, to test their garment’s shape and size.

Other days could be filled with follow-up fittings and dress handovers – the best part, as I get to see my customers’ reactions to the finished dress.

And, everyday ends with catching up on my social media and doing admin, I used to do this each morning but found the end of the day works better as it helps me wind down before switching off.

What has been the highlight of your business journey to date?

In the grand scheme of things, my business journey to date has been quite short, but making the decision to move the business out of my home and into a studio is definitely the highlight so far.

Working from home, my productivity was suffering and I was finding it almost impossible to turn off in the evening. If I wanted to progress, I knew I had to get a dedicated space for my dressmaking.

I found a space next to Magna centre in Rotherham, not far from my home, and it’s given my business a new lease of life. The studio has given me space for a larger cutting table, room for both sewing machines to be out at once, storage for fabrics, a seating area for customers and the ability to turn off at the end of the day.

What has been one of the biggest challenges you have faced?

The biggest challenge for me has been learning to talk about myself and sharing what I can do with everyone. For some people, it’s second nature but for me, it goes completely against the grain.

I’ve never been one to talk about my achievements. I make things for my own love of creating and trying to achieve perfection, so until I started the business it never crossed my mind to share what I’d done! However, I’ve learnt that it plays an important part in working for yourself and so I’m pushing myself daily to get used to it.

What role does social media play for your business and do you have a favourite social platform?

On a personal level I barely use social media, but I see the importance of it for my business.

It’s a really influential tool that allows me to get my message across, make new connections and keep in contact and interact with my customers. There’s nothing better than seeing how happy my customers are in their bespoke dresses. I use Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, I really like Instagram because it’s the most visual but I think Facebook is a good balance of visual and information and is probably better for interacting with customers, too.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

If you’ve got a talent for something, give it a chance. Not everyone gets the chance to do something they love as their job, but if you have that opportunity, take it. It’ll most likely be the scariest thing you’ll ever do and you may not know what the hell you’re doing to start with, but you soon pick things up.

Where do you hope to take your business in 2018?

As my business is in its infancy the main aim this year is to inform as many people as possible about my bespoke dress service. I’ll be doing this through social media, online and publication advertising and events, such as wedding fairs.

I’ve got an exciting pipeline of orders over the next few months to do and I’m looking forward to bringing to life some of the designs I’ve got brewing in my mind, too! Watch this space!

Find out more about Scott and explore his portfolio. You can also support his business on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

Thank you to Scott for taking part in Behind the Biz. I really enjoyed hearing about his business journey, especially as he hadn’t always planned on being self-employed. He creates the most beautiful dresses and I love that each one is totally unique.

It’s always good to hear from local businesses and I wish Scott the best of luck in the year ahead.