A HARTLEPOOL lingerie designer has climbed to the top of the industry by being short-listed for a national award.
Michelle Taylor, who runs the company Tallulah Love, is in the running in the UK Lingerie Award Finals where she is one step away from success in the Best New Brand category.
Michelle, 36, will be up against rivals such as Gossard on a shortlist of four firms and admitted: “I am over the moon to be in with a chance.
“I can’t believe that I am in the running.”
The finals will be held on September 19 in Mayfair, in London, and Michelle will be there along with some of her staff. But she is already enjoying huge success thanks to her designs which have won celebrity support.
Jess Wright from The Only Way Is Essex is selling Michelle’s range in her Essex store.
Michelle first rose to fame when she won the Hartlepool Mail-backed If we can, you can challenge in June 2008.
Judges were impressed with her plans to set up a designer underwear range.
Michelle then launched Tallulah Love Luxury Lingerie in 2009 and has since clinched contracts in Germany, Italy, Holland, the United Arab Emirates and Japan.
Now, her lingerie range is so popular she is having to outsource work to distributors in France, Russia, South Africa, Australia, Japan and the USA to cope with demand.
She added: “The business has exploded.
“I genuinely thought that English people would like the brand and I would do well here. But I never thought it would do that well in other countries. I didn’t think they would understand where I was coming from.”
Michelle, who lives in Hartlepool and first started her firm in the town as a sole trader, now employs three part-time staff from her business base in Gateshead.