The word ‘talented’ can mean different things to different people, but when talking about Aimee Veitch, founder, and owner of Corsetry and Couture, we’re pretty sure it means the same thing to everyone. Aimee is an absolutely exceptional wedding dress designer, seamstress, and corset maker who has taken the world by storm. Having originally trained at the London College of Fashion, she has also worked with Gok Wan and was a finalist at the 2020 Wedding Industry Awards.
All of that alone would be pretty impressive, but the fact that she does it all while living in constant pain makes it even more so. Aimee suffers from M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) also known as CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), Fibromyalgia, Hypermobility, Depression & Anxiety, FND (Functional Neurological Disorder), Trigeminal Neuralgia and TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder). Any one of those things would be debilitating; put them all together and you have a lifetime of pain.
The effects of all of these illnesses can make it extremely difficult for Aimee to do her job. Pain is only one of a number of symptoms, which include: severe, unrelenting fatigue, brain fog, confusion, inability to concentrate, difficulty getting words out or mixing them up entirely, and all of the psychological joys that come with depression and anxiety. Some days, simply getting out of bed isn’t possible and daytime naps at her studio are an absolute must.
Despite all of these challenges, Aimee isn’t the type of person who can sit around on her hands and do nothing. She tried being an employee but the unpredictability of her conditions made it unfeasible. With a lack of control over her body and health, sticking to a routine or a schedule just wasn’t possible which is why she decided that self-employment was the way to go!
It hasn’t all been plain sailing, however. Being good at your job has the unfortunate side effect of creating lots of work (more fortunate than unfortunate from a business point of view, not so much when dealing with multiple illnesses). Trying to do it all alone would often mean that Aimee would be running on adrenaline for days ultimately leading to burnout, fatigue, and more pain. However, she never stopped or even thought of giving up because she absolutely loves her job.
In 2019 this all changed when she became a client of This is Me. She had known Michelle Dobson for a long time but wasn’t aware of the work she was doing with disabled people until it was mentioned by a mutual friend. After a chat with Michelle, Aimee was totally on board and excited at the prospect of not having to do it all alone.
With the help from This is Me, she now has three support workers in place giving support in different areas of the business including admin work, welfare support, sewing, organisation, helping her to make sense of information and paperwork, helping with transportation to events and also helping with some of the physical heavy lifting. Collectively they act as a second business brain offering new ideas and suggestions and acting as a fresh pair of eyes when looking at things. Sometimes you can be too close to something to see what’s really going on.
Initially, handing over some of the responsibilities to the support workers was a bit of a challenge. Like most self-employed people, Aimee was used to doing everything by herself, and not being in control of it all made her a little bit nervous. If things hadn’t gone well then it would have been her business and reputation at stake but fortunately, once the relationships and trust between both parties had time to develop, being able to share the workload had a huge, positive impact on her mental and physical health. Knowing that she has a team behind her has enabled her to develop the business and really push it forward.
No journey is without its bumps along the way unfortunately and the Covid pandemic put a massive wrench in her plans. Having predicted that 2020 was going to be her best year in business to date, the March lockdown and closure of the wedding industry for the better part of the year had Aimee incredibly worried that it would be the end of it all. Describing the business as her identity, she felt as though as it had all been stripped away and she wasn’t quite sure what to do with herself. She’s no quitter though and with the help of her support team was determined to carry on!
Although unable to do her usual work, Aimee decided to use her time to make scrubs and bags for NHS staff and other key workers. Raising money via GoFundMe to buy the fabric, she enlisted the help of other seamstresses in the area and for several weeks the team worked their socks off, none of which would have been possible without the support and encouragement from her support workers, Michelle, and the whole team.
The past two years have been transformative for Aimee with her only regret being that she didn’t get help sooner. If she’d known that the help was out there or even what to look for it could have made a world of difference so much earlier. Hopefully, the work This is Me is doing will make that help more visible and accessible as the support has definitely been life-changing for Aimee and could potentially help many others. Her only advice to anyone thinking about working with This is Me is simply,
“Do it! Do it! Do it! Do it 100%! There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain!”
We’re thrilled to have been able to help Aimee and so glad that working with us has given her so much confidence for the future and allowed her to take back some control over her health. We can’t wait to see more of her beautiful creations!