ABOUT HEATHER

Hi, I’m Heather McDowall. My Millinery journey began in Tasmania 7 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 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 offense 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 lets 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 and
hats, 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. Why should we have to
leave our state in order to buy Millinery?


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 was being given the
opportunity to create something. I do honestly believe that everything
happens for a reason, and that sometimes getting fired from both of your jobs
means that you are being directed back on to the path you were meant to be
on.


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 4 years 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 since then. I still get that
warm fuzzy feeling every single time I see someone wearing my creations.
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.