Good Golly Miss Molly - the hat-maker from Halifax
PUBLISHED: 00:00 30 October 2018
Halifax hatter Molly Bunce is dancing to a different tune and wants to make her mark in millinery
They may have been in the same class at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance but their careers have headed in very different directions since then. Mel B went on to become Scary Spice and appear as a judge on America’s Got Talent, while Moll B (as no-one knows her) moved into fashion and hat design.
Their paths could be set to cross again though, as Molly Bunce has a hit list of stars she’d like to create headwear for. ‘I’d like to make hats for Paloma Faith, Kate Moss, Tom Hardy, Rihanna… the list is a long one, but once your name gets out there, who knows what opportunities will come up.’ Maybe even former Spice Girls.
Molly, from Halifax, has already had a taste of the celebrity circus and the boost it can give to a developing career. After making an ornate fascinator for model and television presenter Laura Whitmore to wear at Ladies Day at Ascot last year, she received a flurry of orders for similar headwear.
The mum-of-three is now busy transforming a former butcher’s shop in Sowerby Bridge into a shop and studio as she prepares to take her career to the next level.
The shop – which with pleasing Yorkshire simplicity will be called Hats – will feature Molly’s range of headwear for women under the Good Golly Miss Molly label, and her men’s range, King Pin.
‘I want to teach from there as well and have showroom at the front and a studio in the back with a photography studio downstairs,’ Molly said. ‘It’ll be a good starting point for me – I need to be recognised and to be producing collections and to do that I need the space that having premises will give me.’
Until now she has been creating her hats at the busy family home she shares with husband Dan and their children, William, 18, nine-year-old Sonny, and Nancy, four.
As a child she just wanted to dance and winning a place at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds seemed like a dream come true. But the reality didn’t match her hopes. ‘I felt that the dance school squashed my freedom and creativity, that it clipped my wings,’ she said.
‘I thought I’d be expressing myself but it was really intense and although it was all I had wanted to since I was about three years old, I ended up knocking it on the head.
‘My mum asked me what I was going to do instead and I said I was going to travel the world, but I had no money so I went to do an art foundation course and loved it. From there I decided to go to fashion college.’
After working in London for companies who created made to measure suits for barristers and celebrities, she moved back to Yorkshire where she met Dan. The couple had known each other years earlier and met again in Hebden Bridge – ‘I’d always secretly had my eye on him,’ she confessed.
‘My mum, Marie Flanagan, went into millinery and after Sonny was born she said why not go and do the course she had done. She pecked my head about it for a while and eventually I did do a course and I was completely hooked.
‘I knew within an hour of being there that it was what I wanted to do. It just felt like, ‘wow’.
‘Millinery is so much more instant than other fashion and I just felt I knew instinctively what to do. It gives me such a buzz. I did the course and I have never looked back.’
It sounds like she’s living the dream, and she has – literally. She and her mum made hats for an Emmerdale Christmas special. ‘There was a dream sequence and I made the men’s hats while my mum made the women’s hats. It was really nice that we both had hats in the same scenes.’
She has also sent one of her hats to Paul Weller, although she’s not seen him wear it yet, and as well pop and soap royalty, she has her eye on other famous heads.
She made contact with friends of Princess Eugenie before her wedding to Jack Brooksbank – pictures of hats she created at a royal wedding would be the ultimate way of boosting her profile but she added: ‘As a one-man band I need to find the balance between the bread and butter work and the big pieces.
‘It’s a matter of taking one step at a time – the shop is the next step, then the collection and eventually I’d like to get some more people to work with me.
‘I think my design background sets me apart and makes my hats stand out. I use different materials. I find things that inspire me and make a hat around them.’
To see more of Molly’s designs, go to goodgollymissmolly.net.