Fiona McToal began her passion for millinery when she realised, she wanted to return to creative work. Eight years ago, she searched for someone to teach her the traditional millinery techniques and fell in love with it straight away. Fiona’s passion and skill has always been a big part of her life. She comes from a generation of family tailors and seamstresses in Melbourne and her descendants made the tracksuits from the 1950’s Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. From the age of four, Fiona’s mum taught her how to sew by passing down the skills she learnt from her Nanna.
Fiona moved from Melbourne to Northern Ireland in the late 80’s and studied fashion and design which led to her establishing her own business from her home studio in Ballymoney in early 2015. Since then her business has moved to Markers House (which is upstairs in the Designerie, Bushmills). Her talented creations of quirky headpieces for weddings and race days, has made her an award winning milliner.
Fiona’s clients come to her for something unique that someone else wouldn’t have. Her clients want to match with their outfit but also stand out and this is what Fiona does for them. She loves helping create something fabulous that makes them feel confident and stunning. Fiona also loves her job as she gets to challenge herself by creating pieces with colour and sculpture. Her ideal client (other than famous people 😉) is someone who trusts her to make the perfect headpiece suited to them.
Fiona said “I never thought I would ever be running a business” but is happy she jumped at the opportunity to do so. The only thing she would change is having someone to help her with social media, accounts and any other paper work. Fiona’s advice for anyone wanting to start their own business is; “research before you jump into business and keep going as you will have as many good days as some are not so good”.
Fiona is also a Mum’s at Work member and has had great advice from the members along with some clients and new great friends. “I don’t feel so lonely working for myself”, Fiona said when talking about the Mum’s at Work group. She is yet to collaborated with anyone in the group but she is sure that she will.