It’s been another whirlwind of a week here at Tilletts HQ!! Not only did we receive an exciting invitation from Gok Wan to join his Fashion Brunch in March, but we have also been nominated in the Best Retailer Category at the Lincolnshire Media Tourism Excellence Awards AND to top it off, our very own Melanie Tillett was a guest on Radio Humberside discussing her life and working career. Somebody pop the Champagne, it’s time to celebrate!!!
Amongst all the madness, myself and Mel took a minute to sit down earlier in the week and go through what she would like to discuss on air. Now, I work with this wonderful woman every day and I’d like to think I know her pretty well but it was absolutely fascinating to learn about the life she lived pre-Tilletts and what ultimately lead to her running a successful clothing business along with her two talented daughters, Grace and Nancy.
Once we had established which topics she would like to cover (and picked three throwback tunes) it was time for Mel to rock the Mic. In typical Mel style, she arrived at the studio, fashionably late (she’ll kill me for telling you that, but you need to know just how Hollywood this woman truly is). Headphones on, Mic on and we are live on air!
So, what do we know about Mel? Well, born in Cleethorpes, educated in Marshchapel and Birkbeck she chose to leave school at 16 and went straight to work on a local farm for 4 years. Mel has a very strong work ethic, so it is not surprising her working life began with real hard graft. Later moving to Manchester and staying with family, Mel begun her life in sales with a position selling Coffee Vending machines. Her family opted to move to Spain and she went with them, but it wasn’t for her and she soon returned to Blighty.
It’s 1990 and Mel has moved back to Marshchapel where she met Mark, she quickly talked her way into a job selling cars until the Christmas of 1990 where she secured a part time role with House of Fraser working for Estee Lauder. Ooh La La!
1991 soon rolled around and Mel was promoted to Dior, married Mark and along popped the first of the troublesome twosome, Grace followed by Nancy in 1995. In the mean time Mel took just 6 weeks maternity leave before she returned to work after the birth of Grace where she added another string to her bow with a role at Elizabeth Arden.
1995, Mel’s family is complete, and she is now happily working for Tesco where she would stay for another six years. Ever the entrepreneur, Mel began a side business in Party Planning selling Terracotta Cookware which ultimately lead to the opening of her Cook Shop, La Cocina.
La Cocina ran successfully for 12 years and along the way, Mel had discovered a lack of Equestrian Clothing in the area so had the idea to renovate the back of the shop and sold Joules and Sloppy Joe items directly to the locals. Mel had found a niche and wanted to take it further, she remembered a clothing warehouse from her days in Manchester and planned a visit - the first of many. The Tillett's purchased 17 Seaview Street, Mel’s lightbulb moment blossomed into the Tilletts we now know today and the rest as they say, is history…..
Thanks for reading,
Team Tilletts xxx
To listen to the full interview, please visit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05wffck
Mel’s interview commences at 2:32.30
Author: Sheryl Gibson-Hill