In 2014, amidst Hong Kong’s typhoon challenges, Vivian Blooms emerged. The journey began on a rainy day, crafting last-minute headbands that unexpectedly stole the show. This pivotal moment marked the birth of my millinery venture. Crafting headwear is an intuitive journey; I avoid sketches to preserve the surprise in each piece’s final form. The magic happens when someone dons a hat – a transformative moment. Recognized as the Sasa Ladies Purse Day Corporate Sponsored Milliner in 2018 was a significant milestone, bringing a sense of accomplishment and pride to my craft.

Vivian Blooms isn’t just a brand; it’s an experience. The headpieces are more than adorned accessories; they symbolize celebration, joy, and individual expression. The brand’s positioning extends beyond offering unique headwear; it’s a hub for styling tips and global hat events. Whether guiding clients through trunk shows or providing insights on hat selection, Vivian Blooms is about making every headwear moment special. My advice? Trust your instincts, enjoy the process of choosing a hat, and relish the experience. Vivian Blooms aims to make each hat not just an accessory but a cherished memory, evoking joy every time the box is opened – a reunion with an old friend.

Jennifer’s Journey from Transition to Triumph

We started the interview by asking, “Jennifer, your transition into the world of millinery is quite unique. Can you share the moment or inspiration that led you to start Vivian Blooms and create handmade headwear and accessories?”

Jennifer replied, “I believe it was the great American writer Mark Twain who once said, “To succeed in life you need two things: ignorance and confidence.” And I was pretty sure I had plenty of both.

With my daughter Vivian as my assistant, we had gone to Discovery Bay in Hong Kong for an outdoor sale in May of 2014. I had my usual array of handmade goods, but I had also included a few last-minute headbands that I had managed to glue together mere moments before leaving from Guangzhou, China. Unfortunately, as we were soon to find out, doing an outdoor sale in May in Hong Kong during the rainy season is not a good idea.  After we arrived at the hotel, I turned on the television to get an update on the weekend’s weather. And it whereas gale force winds smashed against our windows and the sky grew ever darker, we went down to the in-house dining room for afternoon tea.

And what to my amazement did we see? A Parade of cute hats and truly fascinating fascinators. There was a wedding taking place in the hotel and I was overwhelmed by the lovely array of beautiful ladies with feathers, crystals, bows, and flowers being worn on their heads. I was hooked. This was my destiny. Making pretty things for people, To put on their heads. I am home.

As for the typhoon-soaked sale, I’m afraid; I didn’t have a record-breaking day. In fact, the only sale I did make was the flower-covered headbands.

The train back to Guangzhou, China was cancelled due to flooding. We had to cross the border by foot at Shenzhen instead, and then wait under an overpass for two and a half hours for our alternative transportation: a bus back to Guangzhou. We arrived home at 3:30am, exhausted but with a new spark and direction I wanted to go with my business. Vivian Blooms, a line of handmade millinery and accessories had begun to bloom.”

Crafting Elegance: Unveiling the Artistic Journey

Then we asked, “Millinery is an art form that combines creativity with craftsmanship. Can you describe the process of creating a Vivian Blooms headpiece, from the initial idea to the finished product?”

Jennifer replied, “The truth is that I sit with an idea. I mull the idea over in my head and try to get an idea of the direction I want to take the headwear. I research a lot online and look at designs that find interesting. I have learned over the years that all the prep work only plants the seed for where the headpiece may ultimately go. Blocking and securing the headwear to the headband is all prep work to me.

I purposely do not sketch anything out unless it is bespoke. This is because for me it would ruin the surprise of what it ultimately becomes in finished form. I believe that there is a bit of spontaneity in getting all the elements together and then just playing with them until something clicks. At that point it is just step by step securing the decorations to the headpiece until it’s done.”

What Sets Vivian Blooms Headwear Apart

We further asked, “What makes Vivian Blooms’ headwear stand out from other milliners and accessory designers in the market? What is your unique selling point or design philosophy?”

Jennifer replied, “A hat is magical the moment someone puts it on their head, it changes how a person acts and feels. The hats are decorated with crystals, feathers, and bows. Hats are a wonderful outward expression of a person’s inner truth and personality. They have the power to both enhance and transform the wearer. Amazingly versatile, hats can be a celebration of style, frivolity, and fun, conversely an acknowledgment of somber events. The millinery helps to create an elevated atmosphere for participants on many occasions. From weddings to funerals, headwear play’s role in the declaration of the event’s importance. Worn headpieces can be seen as a tangible reminder of life’s most momentous and significant events.”

Navigating My Journey to the Present

We were curious about the journey of Vivian Blooms so we asked, “What was the path you took to get to where you are today?”

Jennifer replied, “Marking headwear has become a passion for me. I have been given a wonderful gift to be able to follow this interest. There is a poetic irony that in pursuing this path you turn inward. The headpieces take time and energy out of your days, weeks, months and now years. It is a solitary pursuit and yet I am creating for a celebration or important event for someone life in a group setting. It is the act of pursuing what you find enjoyment in which isolates you from the very places that the collections of millinery are made for.”

Shaping a Multicultural Design Vision in Millinery

Then we asked, “You’ve mentioned studying fashion trends worldwide during your residencies in various countries. How have these global experiences influenced your design aesthetic and approach to millinery?”

Jennifer replied, “I feel that my time abroad has been very influential in both my esthetic and my ability to create.

A thing to remember during your hat hunt is that you want to contradict not conform. A good rule is to wear large, brimmed hats in outdoor settings, and fascinators and slices are perfect for events in the indoors or events where you will be going in-between and where the headwear can be displayed to its best advantage without needing the sun protecting brim.

Something else to think about is, like Frank Sinatra said, “Cock your hat- angles are attitudes.”

Put another way, it is very pleasing to the eye to create a dynamic asymmetric effect against your face shape, either with the brim, or the embellishment. One more would be to try to have an upwards thrust to the presentation of the hat.

*The ROUND face shape, for example Salina Gomez and Drew Barrymore will look better with a slanting brim than with a bowler hat for example. Hats that have an angular feel: a small trilby or fedora at an angle for example.

*The OVAL head shape, examples: Beyoncé and Bella Hadid. The oval face can work well with almost any hat shape.

*The HEART face shape, examples: Scarlett Johansson, and Reese Witherspoon. As with the oval shape, your choice of hat styles is wide: Caps, cloche hats, brimmed hats, and pillbox hats all work well –

*The LONG face shape, examples: Liv Tyler and Sarah Jessica Parker best choices will be a wide brim and worn at an angle or worn down across the forehead. This will reduce the elongation and create a pleasant balance of the facial features. The wonderful slope of a beret is also a fabulous choice.

*The SQUARE face shape, examples: Jennifer’s: Gardner, Anderson, and Lopez. For these face shapes asymmetrical styles are well suited. Angles, tilting the hat, are always good.

*The DIAMOND face shape, examples: Hailey Berry, and Rihanna.  Recommend wearing a straight brimmed hat flat across the brow. It is because in a diamond shaped head the forehead is smaller than the widest part of the face. A medium to large brim would also work well. The dynamic visual experience will be found in complementing the outfit; this philosophy may lead you towards finding an eye-catching alternative answer and not in matching the clothing to the headwear, which can appear like a costume.”

Exploring the Creative Intersections of Two Artistic Worlds

The transition from being a pastry chef to a milliner is fascinating. Can you draw any parallels between the two creative fields, and do your experiences as a pastry chef influence your work in any way?

Jennifer replied, “That is a good question. I think there are parallels in the creative process between the two crafts. I think that they both deal with joy, celebration, and pleasure as well.”

Memorable Achievements and Proud Moments

Vivian Blooms has received recognition in various publications and been featured in different parts of the world so we asked, “Can you share a memorable moment or achievement that you’re particularly proud of in your journey as a milliner?”

Jennifer replied, “I am very proud of being the Sasa Ladies Purse Day Corporate Sponsored Milliner in 2018 in Hong Kong. That experience was a real treat and very exciting for me.”

Personalized Elegance

In your blog post, you talk about the power of hats to transform the wearer and convey personality. How do you work with clients to create headwear that reflects their individual style and personality?

Jennifer replied, “This is for the people walking into trunk shows or pop-up shops featuring Event Head Wear. The millinery curious people who may feel shy, or even timid at the prospect of making such a special purchase of an Event Wear Headpiece. The table is always eye-catching, piled high with millinery, each one individual and unique. A cacophony of flowers, feathers, ribbons, and bows are adorning the hats, and headpieces. To a certain extent it is a Style Rorschach’s test, where people may question what they are looking at and project onto them, but maybe what’s more important is who they see when they try it on and look in the mirror.

A client who is either encouraged by the shopkeeper or perhaps a friend will soon be emboldened to put a headpiece on. There is always an immediate reaction to seeing their reflection for the first time transformed by the adornment. Positive or negative, a joyful smile immerges or perhaps an awkward, “Immediately No.” Regardless of the reaction, there now maybe a desire to go forward down the path and see how different headpieces make you look and perhaps more importantly make you feel.

The wearer should feel.  Playful, beautiful, enchanting, dramatic, etc. The wearer will hopefully experience the headpieces’ special power of transformation.”

Stealing the Spotlight at Unforgettable Events

Vivian Blooms has a focus on creating headwear for special events so we questioned, “Could you describe some of the most memorable occasions or events where your creations have been featured?”

Jennifer replied, “Over this past year Vivian Blooms was featured as a Business Profile in Colorado Expression Magazine for their Confetti issue and HaTalk in August 2023 as well as other publications featuring the ’23 collection.”

Vivian Blooms’ Winning Edge

In the competitive world of fashion and accessories, What strategies do you use to stay ahead of trends and continue to create captivating designs that appeal to your clients?

Jennifer replied, “That is a good question. There is a split between the practical and the fashionable. What I have realized after my last Mavens on Millinery Pop up Shop in Colorado this year is that there must be a range of items from cost friendly to cost prohibitive.”

Exciting Ventures on the Horizon for Vivian Blooms

We further asked, “What does the future hold for Vivian Blooms? Are there any upcoming projects, collaborations, or events that you’d like to share with your clients and admirers?”

Jennifer replied, “Vivian Blooms is positioning itself as a go to place not only for headwear itself but also the added benefit of styling tips and tricks for hat wearing enthusiasts. As well as a source for where and when hat events are taking place around the world.”

Final Thoughts from Jennifer Kofler

Lastly we asked, “Would you like to say anything else to our viewers?”

My advice about selecting the right headwear is to play and trust your instincts. Finding that special hat should be a fun and memorable experience. You should feel comfortable and at ease.

Above all else, Enjoy. Enjoy the experience of choosing a hat, or the wonderful deluxe experience of having a bespoke one made for your outfit. Enjoy the day of the event and then you can keep the hat as a memento of the party and store it away until the next time you have a chance to wear it and you can open the box and feel like you are meeting an old friend.” Jennifer concluded


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