Sometimes you hear the story of a brand and it sounds familiar and then other times you hear the story and it makes you stop in your tracks and want to take it all in. And that is what happened when I interviewed Irish Designer Tahnee Morgan.
Tahnee is the founder of a brand called 7th Heaven which is the first that I have come across that there was such a Spiritual aspect to the brand, from inception to the products that they are selling on their website. Tahnee herself was already established as an award-winning milliner with her brand Tahnee Morgan Designs before she decided to create the new brand. That experience and entrepreneurial expertise from her millinery business have helped 7th Heaven have an amazing start, and I am really excited to see which direction that the brand takes.
We are delighted to be featuring Tahnee today on Floralesque and touched that she shared such a personal story with us.
Have you always been interested in design/creativity?
Yes, I’ve always been, as a young child -it probably started when I was eight years of age, my two grandmothers are milliners and I come from a family in the rag trade business. My father had a manufacturing business in Drogheda, Dublin and Dundalk so it has always been in the family.
As a child, I always was always creative, and on Saturdays, I was brought to the factory and I started making things like bandanas for my dolls and was there for a few hours so I could play around with the fabrics. I used to go into the cutting rooms, and use the big scissors. And I am quite sure that the ladies who would come in on a Monday morning and would, of course, know that Tahnee was in over the weekend disturbing their paper patterns!
You started in millinery from what I understand with your own brand called Tahnee Morgan Designs, what drew you into millinery first?
The reason for the millinery was that my two grandmothers were milliners, and when I went to my dad’s factory there used to be loads of the wooden heads there – it was all wood back then not the fibre ones that they have now. And from that, it kinda kicked off that I was always making hats and fabrics and being very creative.
Actually, once I pulled a feather duster apart and made earrings out of that! I sold them for 25p to school teachers and also other students. I was actually in the middle of my inter-cert and made about £60 which was amazing at the time. Sadly though, when the feather duster was gone, so was the business. If I remember correctly, I wanted to use the money for a school tour and not more dusters!
It’s amazing to see such a creative entrepreneurial spirit so young. Did you end up going to college to study millinery?
I went to Grafton Academy, and I also went to another college called Burke’s college and did a marketing course. I ended up back at the Grafton Academy to do a dress design course as well. It was a mixed bag of decisions on what I wanted to do at that time; I was designing jewellery, making clothes and designing hats. It was always something in design but I hadn’t found my niche.
I did find my niche while working in a beautiful bridal shop and I was asked to make some headpieces which I did and it just took off from there.
The pieces are simply beautiful that you create, are you still creating millinery pieces or are you more so now focusing on 7th Heaven?
I’m still there! It’s so funny after 20 years in business, there is always a sister, aunt or cousin who will still have my number and contact me. Or someone who I designed a piece for their wedding or their daughter and they would like something for another wedding that they are going to or a little Communion piece for them. There is always a constant flow of people coming back which is fantastic but I am putting 100% into 7th Heaven at the moment, but I would never turn someone down.
I still do have my hand in millinery and some of the new scarves would be suited to my millinery as well, I would like to think that you could go to a wedding and wear one of the wraps and then I could create a headpiece to match it!
That crossover is such a fantastic way to view the two brands together. What motivated you to launch 7th Heaven?
What motivated me to launch 7th Heaven was that from childhood, I have always been quite spiritually gifted. And what I mean by that is I would connect a lot with people’s energies, their auras and reading people when they come to me as well.
As a small child, I remember people close to me in my family who had passed, came to say goodbye to me. My aunt was one I remember vividly who came to say goodbye after she had passed and after that, I blocked it for quite a while. I told my mother at the time and she said let’s just keep it to ourselves, my whole life I had this connection and only my family knew.
I have had a lot of connections right from childhood through to adulthood and I then had a near death experience 8 years ago now. I went in for surgery and there were complications, but I went home. Then a few weeks later, I had another complication and we rang the ambulance. When they arrived I flatlined in the ambulance 3 times on the way to the hospital. When I flatlined I had a very deep and spiritual experience – this had a profound on me. It was so important that I pulled through that as I had a family, I had to go home to my children and husband and that really pulled me through that. I am very happy where I am.
After that experience, it was like I left my little toe in Heaven and came back here. I was much more connected and more spiritually connected. I ended up going to India and went back many times for meditating, for healing and to see what is happening with my life.
After that, I went to my millinery and it just was not working for me. I started to mediate in Hindu and ground myself more to find out what I wanted to do.
I went on one particular trip to France and I was there with a friend and we went to the Mary Magdalene Grotto and it was such a beautiful place – really fabulous. And I remember that night in bed, I was lying there and felt connected. I remember a voice saying that I needed to work with them now and use their colours. And then 7th Heaven was said. When I came home 7th Heaven was said again, this time I believe it was Angel Michael and I knew what I had to do.
Wow, that is such an interesting and personal story and shows the love and emotion that has gone into the brand. What were your next steps?
I went to India. All of our items are beautifully hand woven from India and all tied specifically for us. The beautiful golden feathers with the crystal that represents the Third Eye are all handmade. Everything represents something in the brand and means something important. They all have their own story.
For example, if you went for the blue scarf, Michael’s colour, then it would give you protection and courage. It also helps the Chakra as well. So if you went for the green scarf that would help the green chakra, the heart chakra, for healing and guidance.
I am blown away by the personal and caring side of your brand and the meaning behind your pieces.
Each piece has its own story and meaning and I want to help people. The pink one is for love, passion and romance. It is for the girl out there who has not met somebody, not the scarf will give that to her – but that she has a romance with herself, learn to love herself again. To feel the beautiful healing energy from the colour.
You mentioned that the Golden Feather has the Third Eye in it, I was wondering why you choose the feather as the symbol as opposed to wings?
We have three styles (I cannot just do things in ones!), as different people of different age groups and tastes. And many people associate feathers with angels which is why we used it, there is a Third Eye on the scarf and there is a crystal in it. It reflects light so when you are standing in the light it is like a rainbow radiating around you. It is so special and very good for feminine energy to have a rainbow around you. A personal hug by a beautiful energy, it is all about helping people.
What is your favourite part of the design process? Is it mapping out the design, finding the perfect colour or seeing the finished product?
Finding all the fabrics in the colours that we needed was very exciting. It was winning the Lotto each time we found the right colour, it was like an affirmation that this is the right direction and what I am meant to be doing in this life. It was actually very emotional and empowering.
The design end of it is exciting, it took me so long to design the wings for the company brand. They needed to be just right, I wanted it to be very feminine and yet very like an archangel as well. Then the sketch just came together and we got them printed onto the discs for the bracelets.
I love how close you are to the brand, that you designed your own logo and didn’t outsource it.
We did everything ourselves. It was so important to our brand.
Onto a slightly different note, your website and social media are bang on point with regards to your brand and your website is great and so easy to navigate/interact with. Do you find being online a challenge and trying to be visible in the online world or something you enjoy?
I am online with an e-commerce website to sell my products, so I have to have it the best I possibly can. If I was in shops it would be different, but my online platform is mainly where I sell. Though people can come out to my Blackrock studio as well if they would like to see the pieces and my millinery work as well.
I feel that if you are going to be selling online, you MUST have a really good photographer. You must put the money into it and invest in digital marketing. Do the very best that you can and make sure that you are highlighting your product online to show people what it is.
Would you have any advice for those starting out?
Again, I feel that if you are going to be selling online, you HAVE to have a really good photographer. It is so important that you have images that are true to your product and highlight it to the best it can be. It is much better to have 4-5 great shots and not 100 mediocre shots. And if you invest in a great photographer, then maybe you cannot afford a model, but, do you have a friend who would look amazing in the shots?
And, a good graphic designer will be a good asset. I don’t like using black a lot on my site, it’s all charcoal grey. That is because I think it is softer and with what I am doing it is all about colour, I don’t sell anything black (except one bracelet for grounding) and I wanted the site to be lighter. And that is key to my brand so my graphic designer helped me work on that.
Where do you think you will be in 5 years with the brand?
I don’t know where I will be in a year from now with the brand, I want to do more and more things on a personal level apart from my product. I want to help people to another extent – I will just have to wait and see what I am needed to do. It is like a storybook for me now, and each page is given to me every so often.
Things happen as they should, and even when I went to India as the colours are so magnificent. I went to this location where there beams and beams of fabric and I was trying to find this certain blue tone that I needed for my Angel Michael scarf. Our blue is such a powerful colour, a beautiful cobalt blue. Well, when we were walking around, this huge bale of fabric fell off the shelf and landed in front of us. The shop assistant was afraid that it had hit me and was apologising for the incident, but I had found my perfect blue. The exact colour that I was looking for – that was the colour. There are so many little stories like that which are integral to the brand and its meaning.
A massive thank you to Tahnee for doing the interview, I love that she has such a powerful connection with her brand and her pieces reflect that love that she has for it as well. You can read more about her journey and also shop her pieces on her website. She is also on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
All images kindly provided for use.
If you enjoyed this interview in the ‘Floralesque Meets’ Series, then you can click here to read more exciting interviews with designers, creators, artists, photographers, entrepreneurs and more – enjoy meeting the makers!