Our Interview with Tessa Kim

Tessa Kim

While in search of the perfect veil for her own wedding, and not finding much success, Tessa Kim was inspired to create her own. After designing the veil for her big day, Tessa wanted to share her vintage inspired designs with other brides, by offering her one of a kind headpieces on Etsy. Her designs quickly became a hot commodity, sparking the launch of Tessa Kim’s bridal and special occasion line that includes hand crafted veils, flower fascinators, feather hair combs, brooches and so much more! We were curious to know more about Tessa Kim and how this once crafty bride developed such a superb line of accessories…

BB: What do you think has been the most important factor in the success of your business?

Adorable vintage typewriter in TK's studio

TK: I believe my self-motivation is very important factor in the success of my business, as well as making connections with other designers. I feel like to start a business you really need to know what you want and be willing to work hard for it. It’s definitely not easy, but if you want something enough you can make anything happen. Also, I have found working with others is very important, I really cannot stress that enough. I feel like without all of the talented people I have worked with, I could not have been as successful as I am today.

BB: When designing your gorgeous veils, what are your inspirations?

TK: My inspiration really comes from vintage photography and film… I absolutely love black and white film. I used to spend hours in high school rummaging through an antique store in my hometown of San Juan Capistrano looking for old photographs, accessories and random tidbits. I think that has really carried through to my work today. In my free time I love going to millinery stores and finding bits and pieces to add to my headpieces and accessories.

BB: Was there a specific event or person in your life that led you to begin designing?

TK: Yes, I actually started designing because of my own August 2009 wedding to my wonderful husband Choon. When I went to the bridal salon for my dress, I tried on a few birdcage veils there. None of them really clicked with me so I decided I could design my own. From there I decided to make a few veils and flowers …the ones I did not use I decided to sell on Etsy. After a day they sold out and I just kept making more and started adding new styles. A couple months later I was able to quit my day job and pursue my company full time.

BB: If you could give any famous woman a makeover, who would she be and how would you style her?

TK: As much as I love her, I think I would give Jenna Fischer a fashion makeover. She is young and talented but I feel like she sometimes she dresses a little too matronly. I would love to dress her in something very feminine and youthful yet still be presentable on the red carpet.

BB: What high school trend are you embarrassed to admit you followed?

TK: Where to start? I would have to say my "scenester" phase (which might have lasted past high school). I had every hair color known to man red, blue, green, black, pink, orange, yellow, cotton candy pink, white, black and white, black and green the list goes on. I also had many piercings…lip piercing, nose piercing, ear piercings! Although I really don't regret it, at the time I loved it and it was definitely a way to express myself, and when is a better time to do it then when you are young?

"Grace" floral headpiece

BB: If you weren't a designer, what career path would you have chosen?

TK: I attended beauty school right after high school (hence the hair colors mentioned earlier) and worked in a salon for a few years until I decided to go back to school for graphic design. As much as I enjoyed both of those careers, I would still never go back. I absolutely love what I do now and could not ask for anything better. Although, if anything I use these skills to my advantage and they have been very useful throughout this whole experience.

BB: What's your favorite accessory in your collection?

TK: That is tough, I have so many! My favorite flower headpiece would be my "Grace" floral headpiece. It has hand painted, hand cut and hand shaped cotton voile flowers, vintage millinery flowers and leaves and is just gorgeous! I love the blush pink color it comes in and could even be worn as an everyday headpiece if you are feeling bold!

BB: Any hints to what in store for your new collection?

TK: I actually just launched my 2012 Spring/Summer collection. For this collection I really wanted to incorporate texture and movement. A lot of the headpieces have unique shapes and a wrap effect to them, which I really adore. Plus they photograph beautifully at all angles! I also incorporated a lot more color, as well as very feminine fabrics.

Left to Right: Flower Halo "Fern", Black Peacock Mini Cocktail Hat, Golden Blush Pink feather headband "Aurelia"

BB: Do you have any accessory rules to live by?

TK: Simplicity is key. I always like to have one statement piece, either an accessory or clothing item, then keep the rest simple. I want to wear my outfit, not for it to wear me!

BB: What's in your purse?

TK: Everything. I have my wallet, hello kitty Sephora compact mirror, doggy bags (to clean up after our dog, Mr. Harley), my passport, my camera, cell phone, my Betsy Johnson leopard sunglasses, about 3 pairs of spare earrings, my yu-be lotion and my Smashbox 0-glow lip gloss.

Thank you, Tessa!

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