Hey there, it is I, 

Heather McDowall.

Maker of your headpieces and hats, the perfectionist bow tie-er up-er-er of your immaculately packaged orders, writer of your hilarious emails and responder of your daily DM's.    

 My Millinery journey began in Tasmania 9 years ago where I managed Studio Modelling Agency and Deportment School. I had just finished my Diploma in Clothing Production at TAFE and so in my spare time I made dresses for ladies attending the Hobart and Launceston Cup. Competing in Fashions on the Field had become the next big thing, right behind “Sush” the first ever Sushi shop to open in Hobart. I repeat, the first ever Sushi shop to open in Hobart. I’ll just let that sink in for you.

   The winner of the Launceston Cup took home a trip to Paris. Hobart Cup entrants were enticed with a trip to Europe (which I actually took out one year *takes a bow).  Yep- the stakes were high! And so I was opened up to the world of fake hair buns, girls planning their outfit months in advance (who does that seriously) freshly manicured nails and the ole co-ordinating handbags, shoes and eye shadow combo.   

 I’m not sure if you have ever been to Hobart, but growing up there you wouldn’t actually say we were spoiled for choice when it came to shopping or fashion (no offence Hobart I know things have changed now and I still love you). We had to resort to flying to Melbourne to buy our cup outfits, because online shopping hadn’t quite made its way to Tassie, and let's be honest, we were probably still waiting for our dial up to load.    

And so began my dress- making era, die hard entrants of Fashions on the Field being my most popular client, because god forbid you were seen in the same dress as another girl. One day someone asked me to make them a fascinator to go with their dress I had made, so I hot glue gunned some magnificent ensemble together and she ended up taking out first prize in the Millinery competition.     

From that moment I was hooked, my love for Millinery had officially started.  

At the time there were only three shops in Hobart that sold fascinators, one of them being Myer. I still remember quite vividly walking into Myer and picking up a fascinator, looking at it and thinking, I’m going to do this, and I’m going to do it better. I am going to be in Myer one day. Why should we have to leave our state in order to buy Millinery?  So not cool Tassie.

  I also realised that my hot glue gunned fascinators didn’t really pass the windy day test, so I decided it was time I learned how to make them properly. As there were no courses in Hobart for Millinery – I used to fly to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to attend Millinery workshops. It was here that I learnt how to make hats, and headpieces, and more importantly, how to finish them off properly so they passed the windy day test. I moved to Sydney one year later to pursue my Millinery dream, although It was still a hobby for me at this stage.  

 I started working as an EA/Office Manager throughout the week, Bridal store on the weekends and again in my spare time I was custom-making hats. Sometimes I would be up until 4am finishing off orders and then during my lunch break at work I would hand deliver the order to the client. It was at my last EA job that I got hit hard in the face with the reality stick.   I had just accidentally discovered that I was about to get fired, AKA I found my job advertised on Seek. The same week I asked for the weekend off so I could fly to Melbourne to do a Millinery course and was told never to come back again.   

 Talk about a blow to the ego.  

 It was at that moment when I felt I had nothing, that I realised I was being given the opportunity to create the life I had always dreamed of. I do honestly believe that everything happens for a reason. Perhaps getting fired from both of my jobs meant that I was being directed back on to the path I was meant to take? Fuelled by my new life motto “Get Fired Get Inspired” I changed my mindset and made the decision to turn my hobby into my business. Fast forward to now and although my style and eye shadow palette have changed my passion for creating hasn’t.   

I am so humbled and grateful for the love and support I have received since I took the leap of faith. Both from my gorgeous customers and other businesses I have had the pleasure of working with.  And yes I am proud to say this little lass from Tassie finally achieved her dream of being stocked in Myer!   

 I still get that warm fuzzy feeling every single time I see someone wearing my creations or hear that notification on my phone- you have a new order. You know that saying – “When you buy from a small business an actual person does a little happy dance?”

 Yeah- that’s me.

Every time.