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Millinery for Beginners

Are you just beginning your journey in Millinery?

You have probably watched some YouTube videos to get started but have found that you get to a certain point and can’t move on, yet you really want to know more!

I began my journey into Millinery over 20 years ago. At the time I was working as a novice in animation (taking a career break from the Fashion Industry). Unfortunately for me sitting at a computer from 9 to 5 left me feeling creatively dissatisfied. Every evening after a long day and commute, I looked forward to getting my hands busy crafting again. I was at that time in my life when all of my friends were getting married, one after the other and a lot of creativity was needed to give outfits a completely different look by changing the accessories.

I took old hats, cut them up, added flowers, fabric and feathers and completely recreated them. I ventured into buying combs and simple pre-made bases, putting small simple fascinators together to complement an outfit. Every wedding I attended generated a few orders from friends and family – that was enough to get me started. Little did I know that my evening hobby would become my full time career which has taken many different paths since!

Encouraged by other people’s enthusiasm, I started to source some Millinery supplies. I enjoyed having the excuse to run to the haberdashery, or ribbon and bead shops near Grafton street on my lunch break. I criss-crossed along the back streets of Dublin discovering little gems of shops, bursting at the seams with feathers, flowers, braids and trims. I ran to catch my train in the evening, clutching my bags filled with precious treasures; often with large floating ostrich feathers or silk flowers poking out.

After a long day at work I was never too tired to get properly creative! I was inspired by the colours and textures of the trimmings – this was my downtime, my playtime – sometimes we can be afraid to just enjoy the play. It is often where we do our most creative work.

After a year of indulging in my new hobby, I was made redundant from my day job, leaving me feeling momentarily scared. A day or two later I realised that this could be an incredible opportunity for me to start my own business. I count myself fortunate enough that I was in the right place (Co. Kildare – called Horse Country) and the right time (there were very few other Milliners in Ireland at the time). I did some gentle PR work with local and national papers, attended Race meetings and before I knew it there were enquiries from shops to stock my designs and private clients booking in for appointments.

For 6 years I supplied 30 shops nationwide, had a steady stream of private clients that attended Race Meetings and weddings. In 2009 after a world recession my business completely changed! TBC…..

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