Casey Jeanne is a name synonymous with bespoke, luxury bridal wear. She creates the most breathtaking, one of a kind designer gowns for brides all over the world. She is uber talented, uber gorgeous and in demand!
But we get to take a peek behind all the glamour and grace and get to know the down to earth girl who loves thrill-seeking adventures and is an animal lover at heart.
An entrepreneur from the tender age of 10, Casey has really grown from strength to strength.
Dressing the stars and having photo shoots in Paris – Casey is definitely one of Durban’s (if not South Africa’s) best dress designers! She has really set a standard for the South African wedding and fashion industry and we loved chatting to her about her experiences, as well as hearing about her most cringe worthy moment (eek!)
Read on to get an inside glimpse into the life of the uber talented Casey Jeanne…
Please introduce yourself to our readers and tell us what you do.
Casey: My name is Casey Jeanne and I create custom, once-off wedding dresses for brides around the world.
Hooray: Tell us a bit more about yourself
Casey: I am a creative, a dreamer, and a savvy girl-boss who started my first ‘business’ selling hand-painted rocks after school before the age of 10 (shame). I love adventure (and by adventure I mean thrilling joyrides, sky diving and anything that makes me screech with laughter), food (who doesn’t love food) and indoor plants (I basically live in an indoor forest, although keeping them alive with a busy schedule does prove quite the challenge). My work (if you can call it that) and passion has taken me around the world to the most incredible places, sourcing only the best and the most inspirational laces and embroideries.
I now call Morningside my home and have two rescue dogs by my side at the studio every day. Something that I have purposefully implemented in life is balance. They are my subtle reminder that there is so much more to life and they bring the biggest amount of joy to our work environment.
Hooray: How did you get into the wedding industry?
Casey: It happened quite naturally. I didn’t wake up one day and think, right, I want to do wedding dresses! I think it’s because I love details so much and creating pieces of art that lead me in the directions of weddings.
I wanted to create a magical environment to ensure the process of getting a dress custom designed and made was and is something really special and unique to that person. I am obsessed with detail and obsessed with creating… and obsessed with weddings (haha)
Hooray: What inspires you?
Casey: I’m always inspired by people who follow their dreams and make it happen, no matter the odds and no matter what the industry. It always teaches me that no matter what comes along the way, you can achieve anything you put your mind to. I really enjoy following local creatives like Heike Hayward from Fleur le Cordeur, Douglas & Douglas, Hanri Human and international creatives like Naeem Khaan, Cara-Lee Photography (born in South Africa) and Grant Achatz (the most insanely talented chef of all time) from The Alinea Group
Hooray: Running your own business can be hard, do you have a daily routine?
Casey: The best thing I could have done was separate home-life and work-life, creating a 8-5 working environment with weekends spent enjoying with loved ones. Being my own boss, I spent so long working through the nights and on most weekends that after 6 years (at the time), it was time for a radical change.
My weekday daily routine now starts with some tea (don’t try talk to me otherwise *screeches with laughter*), and sitting in a quiet space for at least 30 minutes. It’s then off to work we go, hi-ho. The studio starts work at 8am and that’s where we stay, creating extraordinary magic until the clock strikes 5. And just like Cinderella, we leave the magic behind until another day. Then I head to a training session at gym, go home and eat dinner, sit my feet up on the couch and relax watching episodes from our favourite series until bed-time.
Monday-Friday are also categorized by the day so we are more focused and work more efficiently. Monday is admin day…getting organized is the key. Tuesday – Thursday is more hands on in the workroom, designing, cutting and creating. And Fridays are set aside solely for designer consult and creating sessions with new clients and fittings with existing clients. Also… final fitting and collection days are on a Friday so this is the BEST day of the week!
Hooray: Tell us about your ideal wedding client.
Casey: I love clients who are not afraid to stand out from the cookie-cutter bride tribe. I LOVE someone who wants something different. My dream client has a love for the finer details, has an immense appreciation for the process of custom work and understands the value in luxury. She trusts me with creating something sensational, something uniquely her, and something that makes her feel the best version of herself. I love people who are as enthusiastic about the details as I am!
Hooray: What do you love most about your job?
Casey: My BEST is the incredibly special journey that I get to walk with a bride from the moment she walks through those doors to the moment she leaves with her dream dress in hand.
Hooray: Can you describe your style?
Casey: Either homeless or red carpet… there is no in-between!
*Hooray side note: Girl, we feel you!
Hooray: If there was one thing you could change about the wedding industry, what would it be?
Casey: The part where brides feel they need to change their bodies and who they are for the ‘big day’. Goodness, be the BEST version of YOU and don’t let anyone say or make you feel otherwise. You are beautiful!
Hooray: The mistake you made that has taught you the most valuable lesson?
Casey: Not trusting my instincts… I once had a client who brought a picture of what she wanted. One picture. I normally don’t make according to an image, but this person was very set in her ways. So I started creating this piece and even though the fabrics and colours were different, she kept referencing ‘that’ photo at every stage and it crippled my creativity as a designer. Eventually, after the back of the dress wasn’t working as planned, I said to her that I would be working on the dress overnight and doing what I thought was best for the look, creating a back that was unique and that fitted the style she was after. The back ended up being the showstopper of the dress. Everyone couldn’t stop talking about it!
Lesson: Trust your instincts as a designer and don’t be bullied into replicating ‘that’ image of ‘that’ dress. Take inspiration, sure, but the whole point of this is to create something special and to put your mark on it as a designer.
Hooray: If you had to get married (again) what would be the ONE non-negotiable?
Casey: Hmmmmm! I guess the dress!?!?! Yes, of COURSE I will make my own!
Hooray: Where do you see yourself and your company this time next year?
Casey: The wonderful thing about being a creative as well as being a business women is that there is no limits to what you can do. I run two businesses and currently working on the third. There is way too much creativity to be bottled up into one jar. I can see all three ventures thriving in their respective ways and I hope that this journey will take me to more incredible places around the world.
*Hooray side note: We cannot wait to see what this mysterious third business is!
Hooray: If you could be anything else in the wedding industry, what would you be and why?
Casey: I would not change my place in the industry – I am living the dream!
Hooray: Tell us about your most embarrassing moment on the job.
Casey: Oh my goodness. So it was just one of those mornings that I didn’t have time to scrub my feet with those black stone things, which I am sure some of you can relate to, and there was just the slightest amount of texture on my heel (nothing too serious). It was the first consult I had with a new client. We usually take our shoes off when going into the fabric room. One of the sample fabrics (as soft as they are), got stuck on my foot, somehow a fibre stuck on the skin (gross) and I took two steps before gasping and giving it a yank (OMG). I nearly just crawled up in a hole and died. It was so embarrassing!
Hooray: Tell us about the last time you were really, really proud of yourself/job you completed.
Casey: You know, it’s hard to choose just one moment. There have been so many highlights, but two that have to be mentioned.
The one was when we created a piece for Kim Jayde to wear to THEE ‘VMA’ awards in New York. She graced the pink carpet with the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Ariande Grande, Madonna, Rita Ora, just to name a few. Stylists and celebrities were commenting on her dress and it was such a surreal feeling, knowing your dress has made it to that level of world stage.
The other ‘pinch me’ moment was when we were in Paris towards the end of last year shooting a dress with one of my dear talented friends Cara-Lee Gevers Photography along with a super babe model from Germany, with the Eiffel Tower in the background, what felt like a swarm of paparazzi in the background trying to get photo’s of the dress (we have photo evidence!). It was crazy. I stepped back and was like, wow, girl, look at you. Look at how far you have come. This is what dreams are made of.
Casey, your hard work, dedication and absolute belief in yourself has lead you to where you are today! We cannot wait to watch you soar to new heights!