I was raised in an artistic household. My mother was an art teacher and landscape painter, and my father a freelance writer and entrepreneur. Art and craft, combined with business, were very strong influences in my childhood. It was always a foregone conclusion that this would be the path that I would follow.
In 1995 I graduated with an Honours degree in Fashion Design from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. Since then I worked as a children’s wear and women’s wear designer for a few Irish companies. I worked as a women’s wear designer and stylist on photo-shoots for 3 years in Sydney, where I also studied Graphic Design, allowing me to work on brochure and magazine layout.
In 2000 on my return to Dublin, I decided to follow my interest in Graphic Design and worked in Animation for 3 years. During this period I missed the ‘hands on’ enjoyment from Craft work, and I developed an interest in making headpieces for myself and friends.
I attended a variety millinery courses in London , before taking a big Leap of Faith into setting up my own business in 2003. It is a decision that I have never regretted.
After many very successful years in the Millinery business with many Race Meeting Winners, and a steady flow of returning and new private clients and a long list of shops that I supplied, the brand Niav Riley had secured a strong position in the designer marketplace.
However an evolving business must always listen to what the clients wants, and in 2014 many enquiries started to trickle in asking me if I taught Millinery. I had never considered this as a direction for the business to travel in, but I listened and provided.
Now in 2020 business is thriving in a completely new direction. Originally I provided weekday lessons, which expanded into weekend workshops as demand grew. As a result of these classes and workshops another aspect of the business grew – competitively priced Hat blocks to help aspiring Milliners get started. Over the past couple of years I have worked closely with a 3 craftsmen to develop a well priced quality product, and that range is constantly expanding.
‘Teaching Millinery is something that I love to do. I feel privileged to have had so many students through my doors – many having returned multiple times traveling from all over Ireland and the United Kingdom’.
I like to make it easy, enjoyable and inclusive. As you will see, so many of my students are thriving with their own Millinery businesses. I look forward to meeting you at one of my classes soon!
Up until 2019 I taught Workshops, Classes and sold Hat Blocks from the studio at home.
In September 2019 I moved my business to Creative Space Studio (a shared workspace) with my friend and colleague, Danielle from ‘ Naturally at the Wrens Nest’.
We shared a vision of working each in our own businesses but also in a collaborative manner. Since moving here in 2019 we have established:
Creative Space Studio
Creative Community Monthly Meetings – a forum for self employed Designers, Artists, Creators and those in alternative or therapy businesses. It is a platform for sharing, discussing and enabling those that work independently but whom occassionally need advice, help and support.
1 Tuesday per month 10 until 12pm.
A sociable morning for those with a common interest in Millinery to meet, learn and share skills, tips and anything else related to Millinery!
There are 2 groups – one group have been established for 5 years and currently there is another group forming.
First meeting on Thursday March 5th 2020. 10.30 until 1.30pm. Enquire here.
There have been 2 Customer events at Creative Space Studio so far. These mornings offer Free Demonstrations, a chance to meet suppliers and special offer sale items.
Next Event for Niav Riley Millinery is March 2020.
How to plan, advertise and sell your Workshop
Tuesday 25th of February. 10.30 to 1.30 €50.
We have hosted Wreath Making Workshops before Christmas 2019.