Case Study: Claire Austin

Business Profile

Claire Austin is an award-winning bridal hair accessories designer. Her headpieces are bespoke and handmade with love from her studio in Torquay, Devon. Claire prides her business on a friendly and personal service, creating beautiful headpieces for brides to cherish.


Bridal Hair Accessories


Studio in Devon with online store

TDA Business Support:

  • Business diagnostic to understand business development and growth opportunities
  • Business planning and marketing strategy support
  • Digital marketing support with business growth partner, Cosmic
  • Identify international marketing and funding opportunities


Claire Austin started her business in 2012, with a small collection of winter woollen headbands. The business soon evolved, introducing flower crowns the following Spring. Claire continued to develop her business and attended the British Millinery School learning how to create hair vines with pearls and diamantes. In 2018, the business won Best Accessories at the South West Wedding Awards, recognising the growth as a company and her unique products. ​

The Challenge

Claire rebranded the business in the summer of 2016 and launched her exclusive bridal collection inspired by a classic and timeless English style.

The new brand needed recognition and exposure so that more people could see and buy the beautiful products they had to offer. Creating an online shop and developing a marketing campaign to help the business grow and reach its potential was a key business objective. ​

Claire also wanted to explore the potential of exporting her products to international markets and sell overseas.


The Solution

Claire met with TDA Business advisor Kim Thornton, who provided business support through the ERDF Growth Support programme to complete a business diagnostic and review their business plans and strategy for growth.

Claire said: “Kim has been amazing to work with. She is always there to listen and to provide feedback and ideas. Being a small business owner can be really hard work and it is great to talk about your plans with someone with such knowledge, who can push you to achieve your dreams.

“Kim has helped me complete an export bursary application of which she recommended me for and she has also assisted me with my application to the Bridal Buyer Awards. I hosted an evening launch party for my new collection which Kim attended – now that is going above and beyond!”



Claire showcased her new bridal collection at The Artizan Gallery in Torquay, Devon to an invited audience, which was the platform for the business’s recent growth.

Claire now communicates with her brides face to face for a design consultation at her studio or over a drink in a coffee shop, via Facetime, social media, email or even text. Claire sends her brides plenty of photographs and videos so they are fully involved in the making process of their headpiece. This personable and interactive advice has been crucial to the business’s development, which is evident from the fantastic testimonials she receives from her customers.

Claire continued: “I cannot thank TDA enough for their support and guidance, they are always looking out for me and how they can help me to improve my business. The most important thing I take away from our meetings is confidence in the business and my products, and that is priceless.”

Kim Thornton, TDA Business Advisor said: “We used one of our 1-2-1 sessions to look at Claire’s pricing strategy and to ensure the charges were enough for the amount of time she was dedicating to the products. Claire is highly skilled and her designs are bespoke to her customer and we established that this needed to be reflected.

“Claire’s quality product has been recognised and we are continuing to explore the opportunity to enter export markets by looking at attending trade shows overseas.”


To find out more about Claire Austin visit

To see how the ERDF Growth Support programme can help your business visit







The Heart of the South West Growth Support Programme project is receiving up to £904,945 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit The accountable body for this programme is Devon County Council, working with the following delivery partners: BIP, Cosmic, North Devon +, Somerset Business Agency, TDA and YTKO

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