I have always had many questions put to me, about how I got into the fashion industry, and what path I took. I put out a post on my Instagram last week to see if you would like to hear my story, and got a great response, so I will do my best to cover everything below for you all!
I finished school in 2008, and had always planned to study Make Up Artistry after school, as I was obsessed with make up from my early teens. I got accepted into Dublin Institute of Technology to study Retail and Services Management, but decided to defer it for the year, so I could focus on something that I enjoyed more, Make Up! It turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as the month that I began my year long course in Senior College Dun Laoghaire, my father passed away tragically. I think if I had not been doing something that I truly loved, I would have dropped out and lost my focus.
I studied full time for one year, covering Fashion and Media make up, as well as Special FX, skincare, tanning etc. I made some of the best friends during that year, and couldn't thank the staff at my college enough for their continued support in helping me get through a very tough year personally. It was a very intense course, but is one of the most highly respected qualifications in Make Up, available in Ireland.
After this I began freelancing in Make Up, while attending college at night time. I decided that I wanted to study Event Management, as working on a make up counter did not appeal to me at the time. I got my Diploma in Event Management, and also continued to blog, and freelance in my spare time.
When my course ended, I got a job working for an Event and Entertainment Management company in Dublin. I absolutely loved the fast pace of event planning, and knew that whatever road was ahead, it needed to be busy, as I get bored if my mind is not challenged daily.
On my lunch break, I would rather spend my hour on Grafton street shopping, than having lunch. Any spare minute was spent online, reading the latest fashion blogs, and watching my favourite bloggers on YouTube. I remember feeling like I would absolutely love to have a job that was also my hobby. So during my year working in events, I started up a small blog, for all things beauty and fashion related. I wanted to get a feel for it, and have a place to unwind and switch off from my busy job. My close friends and family always knew that the beauty and fashion industry was my number one love, and so when an opportunity came up, to enter a fashion reality show competition on TV, they were the first to encourage me to enter.
Oasis were launching a nationwide search for the next 'Personal Stylist" for their brand. All you had to do was fill out and application form along with your photo, and send it off. Seems simple right? Well who would of thought I would need so much persuasion from those close to me?! I had never done any TV appearances at this stage, and found the whole idea very daunting. After much persuasion, I sent in my application form and that was that. Later that night I had a call to say I was chosen to attend an assessment day, which was not to be filmed, but was to whittle down the thousands of applicants, to just 12 who would compete on the show. The judges were Ian Galvin, head of Aurora Fashions and a big name in the Irish fashion industry, Lisa Fitzpatrick, celebrity stylist and TV presenter, and Bairbre Power, Fashion Editor with the Irish Independent Newspaper.
To cut a long story short, I made it to the TV show stage, and began preparing for the 4/5 weeks of filming that was ahead. We had a new task set every week, and would compete against each other to keep our place in the show, hoping to win the title of Oasis Personal Stylist, and win a full time year long contract with the brand. The footage was filmed during the week, and we would then attend the TV3 studios and one by one, contestants were eliminated live on air on Irelands biggest breakfast show, Ireland AM…scary right?!
One of the tasks, was to put together a capsule wardrobe for a weekend away, that would be featured in Weekend Magazine, with the Irish Independent. We had 30 minutes in Clerys Dublin, to put our wardrobe together, all while being followed by camera men (very off putting!!) I won the task, and had my looks photographed and featured the following weekend, my first piece of press ever!
We finally came down to the last week, and as I stood on set, hot lights from the TV set burning down on me, I realised that I wanted this job more than anything. Luckily, I won the competition, and finally had my stepping stone into the fashion industry. I had already got to know some of the biggest names in the Irish fashion industry through the show, and knew this was a great break for me.
I began my whirlwind of a year working as the face of Personal Styling for Oasis flagship store in St. Stephens Green. I had began dressing Karen Koster, the anchor for TV3's Xpose show, for all five shows each week, travelled around the UK with Lisa Fitzpatrick, running styling workshops in Oasis stores overseas, and filming many pieces to camera for Xpose myself. Stellar Magazine were running a feature on "Dream Jobs" and I was selected to have a full page feature, with interview and photoshoot printed in the magazine, another career high for me. I also had the opportunity to personally dress and style the newly crowned Miss Ireland Aoife Walsh for her trip to the Miss World Competition in Indonesia last year.
All of a sudden, being on TV and in front of a camera had become normal to me. This was all happening, on top of building up my client base in store. It was with Oasis that I really gained so much experience, skill and knowledge, and developed my confidence to go back to college again, and get some more qualifications under my belt. As well as working full time, and travelling a lot for Oasis, I decided to attend Portobello Institute and study Fashion Buying And Merchandising at night. I wanted to gain as much knowledge and experience that I could, so although it meant I never had a spare minute in my day, I was doing something I truly loved. My Mum always told us to invest in your education, as it will always stand to you.
Although I was really enjoying my job at Oasis, and blogging in my spare time, I felt like I needed a new challenge, and applied for the job as Personal Shopper with Arnotts, Ireland oldest and largest department store. I felt like I was ready to further my career, and broaden my work and client base. I also loved the high end brands that Arnotts stock, and was excited to get working with some of the biggest brands in Ireland. I have been working as a Personal Shopper with Arnotts for over a year now, and can safely say, it is my favourite job I have had since finishing school 6 years ago. I work with some of the most amazing colleagues, and get to meet new faces every day with my clients. I have built up a strong client base here, and have also got to work on some fantastic projects too.
We work on many great fashion shows around Dublin, and dressed some of Irelands top models. I appear regularly on TV3's Xpose, presenting the latest fashion looks and trends available at Arnotts. I have also recently been featured in VIP magazine, talking about my fashion tips.
If you are still reading this far, then I salute you! The best advice I can give to someone who wants to break into the fashion industry, is to go for every opportunity that comes your way, no matter how big or small, or how scary it seems at the time. I have grown in confidence and as a woman, all from taking chances, and putting myself out there. Don't be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone, and chase your dreams. I did it, and so far it has worked for me.
I have so much more I would like to achieve, and have many plans ahead for the future. Although I am expecting my first child in Decemeber, I am continuing to make great plans for my career and future, as I want to provide the best life possible for my son.
My blog has just reached over 20,000 views, another great milestone for me.
Surround yourself with good family and friends, those who encourage you, support you and most of all, who want to see you succeed. Never let jealous or bitter people put you down, they are only that way because you are already ahead…Keep climbing! Its a sign that you are doing something right!
Thanks for reading, and have a great Sunday,
Lots of Love,