Anneta KonstantinidesThu, 4 March 2021, 7:07 pm
- Chloe Savage helped make both Kate Middleton’s and Meghan Markle’s wedding dresses.
- But the royal embroiderer said she was on the brink of homelessness because of the pandemic.
- Savage told Insider she had not heard from the royal family since disclosing her struggles.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A woman who helped make both Kate Middleton’s and Meghan Markle’s wedding dresses said she had not heard from the royal family since disclosing she was on the brink of homelessness.
And Savage told Insider no one from the royal family had reached out to her since she first spoke out about the struggles that small-business owners in the UK have been facing since COVID-19 took over the world.
“It just makes me feel like I don’t exist,” she said. “We’re not important. Everyone is ignoring the fact we exist.”
Before the pandemic, Chloe Savage’s embroidery business was booming
Savage, 43, has worked on projects for Victoria Beckham and Daniel Craig, and her creations have even appeared in the “Harry Potter” films.
But no spotlight on Savage’s work was brighter than that of Middleton’s and Markle’s royal weddings. Savage helped with the floral embroidery and lace on Middleton’s custom Alexander McQueen wedding dress and worked on the 16-foot veil Markle wore with her custom Givenchy gown.
But then the UK went into lockdown
As theaters closed and film and television projects were put on hold, Savage’s work – and income – disappeared, she said. And it hit her family hard.
“It’s been horrific,” Savage told People’s Phil Boucher in December. “We’ve had all our work literally dry up. My 14-year-old daughter is skipping meals to save on the food budget. The stress is getting to her and she is self-harming too. So, she’s now going to Child Mental Health Services to get support.”
After Savage first shared her story, she told Insider she received a “massive influx of orders” – mostly from the US – for the embroidery kits that she sells through her Instagram page. A GoFundMe page has also been set up to help Savage and her family.
But Savage said things were still dire for her family, as she continued to receive little aid from the British government amid the lockdown in England.
Savage said she barely had time to work after being hospitalized with COVID-19 in January and while home-schooling her children for months when schools were closed in the UK.
“My eldest son has given up his flat and moved back in, partly because he needed to look after the younger ones when I had COVID,” she said. “He works for KFC and doesn’t earn a huge amount, but at least he can put that in to help. It’s a bit degrading when your 24-year-old has to move back in to support mummy.”
Savage said her younger children’s birthdays were coming up but she didn’t think she’d be able to afford anything to help them celebrate. At this rate, she’s not even sure she can keep her embroidery business alive, she said.
“I will be sitting down with the books and wondering if it’s worth even continuing to fight,” she said. “Or should I just write it off and find another job. But I’m in my 40s, and I’m a qualified embroiderer. I’ve never done much more than that. What exactly would I be qualified for?”
Savage has also been increasingly discouraged by the UK government, which she said had given “zero support” to 3 million small-business owners like herself who aren’t eligible for grants or unemployment benefits because of the way their businesses are set up.
While the past year has been rough, Savage said she hoped to inspire people to shop at small businesses rather than major corporations.
“The big business might be $3 or $4 cheaper, but you’ll get a far better service from the small businesses,” she said. “It’s not just a job. It’s our lives, and we’re the ones obsessing about it at 3 a.m. We live, eat, and breathe our businesses.”
Representatives for Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Read the original article on Insider