I hope you are having a great week!
I've decided to write a blog post about my Millinery business. I get lots of enquiries asking me how I started, why I started etc so where better than here to tell you all!
In 2008, I began working in Louis Vuitton in Brown Thomas, Dublin as a Visual Merchandiser. As you can imagine, I ADORED working there. I loved my job, my colleagues, the customers, not to mention the product!
In 2010, I began making hats for fun. I had a burning passion inside me for design. My job as a VM was creative but I wanted to venture into design a little more.
I wasn't going to be getting Marc Jacobs' job any day soon (Marc Jacobs was the Creative Director of Louis Vuitton) so I decided to get creative at home!
My Mum used to be a dress designer. We would often make dresses together such as my First Holy Communion dress, my Debs dresses etc so I knew she was the best person to look for advice.
My Mum had never blocked a hat before, in fact she had never even thought about it but was certainly willing to give it a go.
We went to 'Beads & Bling' in Dublin where we stocked up on sinamay, feathers, flowers etc.. We tried to get information from anyone we could.
After that, it was trial and error. A lot of trial and a lot or error but we eventually began to see results.
I started making hats because I adored hats. I loved every part of the process.
After weeks of making hats, I went to Punchestown Races. I was chosen as one of the finalists for Best Dressed Lady. To me, it was like winning the lotto.
While I didn't win Best Dressed Lady, I still went home with a pep in my step.
I started a facebook page that evening and it took off from there.
People started enquiring about my hats so I began to take consultations. As the months went on, it got crazier and crazier. I attended more race meetings, wedding fairs and fashion shows. Well known faces such as RTE's Claire Byrne, Maura Derrane and Sile Seoige were wearing my designs. My business really began to take off. I wasn't able to contend with both jobs.. Once of them had to give.
As mentioned earlier, I adored working in Louis Vuitton but I adored my hats more. In 2013, I decided to give up my job in Dublin, move back to Leitrim and make hats as a full time job. My poor Dad nearly had a heart attack but thankfully I haven't looked back since!
I love what I do - Every aspect of my work is equally challenging as it is exciting. I wouldn't change it for the world!
Anyway, enough about me! Here is some of the info you need to know:
General advice for going into the Millinery business:
1) Be passionate
Millinery is hugely popular in Ireland at the minute, My advice is don’t just start a business because something is in Vogue and you think commercializing it will make money. Develop a business concept that you're passionate about related to something that you have experience with.
2) Be different
There are so many incredibly talented milliners in Ireland. In order to succeed, one must be different.
3) Quality quality quality
Oh god, I sound like my Mum!!! But seriously, quality is number one. If people want a badly made hat, they have lots to choose from. Quality should always come first. If your business is bespoke hand made hats then this should be taken into consideration just as much as the design of the piece.
Milliner Courses in Ireland:
(Please note I have not attended any of these course but I have heard good things about them)
I hope this blog post helps.
As Confucius said "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life"