Jennifer Wrynne: “It’s something I think a lot of us ponder over, if only I could turn doing something I love into a business. That’s the key though isn’t it? To be pursuing your passion in life and making a living out of doing what you love. Getting up at 7am on a Monday morning wouldn’t perhaps feel so bad”.
Award winning Irish hat designer, entrepreneur and fashion blogger, Jennifer Wrynne, has managed to do exactly that. Starting out as a visual merchandiser for Louis Vuitton, little did she know that her hobby and a trip to the Cheltenham Races would propel her into the career of her dreams. Speaking exclusively to House Edit, Jennifer talks about following your gut instinct, her biggest inspiration and being in business for the right reasons.
How did Jennifer Wrynne Millinery come about, was running your own business always a dream of yours?
I was working in visual merchandising, which was creative but wasn’t physically hands on. I always loved using my hands and actually making items. After a few trips to the Galway races, I fell in love with all the beautiful hats, the beautiful colours, shapes and sizes and I decided to just give it a go and make my own. I posted a picture of my hats up on Facebook and it got a good reaction. All of a sudden people wanted to buy the hats I was making. So that’s how the business started. Just a hobby that turned into a business! I think I probably always wanted to run my own business, but if anything I always thought it would be in interiors because of my Mum and her curtain business. It just happened that I took a different direction
2. Running your own millinery business and now your own boutique, life must get busy? How do you juggle running a business, being a creative and keep that elusive work life balance?
At the minute there is no such thing as a work life balance. It’s all work at the moment, but I enjoy my job and I see it as a creative outlet when I am making hats. When I’m in the boutique meeting customers, I see it as work but I don’t see it as work. I enjoy it so much to be honest and I have a great team behind me. I now have seven girls working with me, so that kind of relieves the pressure.
3. What is the best piece of advice that you have been given?
I suppose in terms of my Mum and the millinery side of the business it was always to use luxurious materials. Very good quality fabrics and trims actually make the production side so much easier. It’s almost a way of cheating making hats , by using really good quality silks, etc… Then I guess from a business perspective it was that you have the same amount of hours in the day as say Beyonce, Barack Obama or people like that. When you’re running your own business to a certain extent you simply cannot count your hours. You just have to keep going until the job is done. The business essentially becomes your life.
4. Since opening your own business, what has been your biggest learning curve and greatest success to date?
I suppose for me when I started my own business, I got caught on a bit of a hamster wheel. I was just working day and night and I never actually took a step back from the business to look at it from the outside in. Last September I entered the entrepreneur of the year competition. It was a four week period where I had to step back from my business, look at it and evaluate. This is where the idea for the boutique came about. The business is now twice the size of what it was last year. It was because I took that step back to see what I was doing and how to make the most of my time that the business has grown. So I guess my best piece of advice is don’t get caught on a hamster wheel!
Greatest success to date: I suppose when I won best dressed lady at the Cheltenham Races in March 2015. That was the biggest life changing moment for me and my business . At that time I had been working on my own for over three years. Just after that I employed four people. Business literally exploded. It was incredible and a bit stressful at the same time! To be honest it was completely unexpected and totally unplanned, which made things a little bit more challenging. But obviously, it had it’s rewards!
5. Your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration in terms of entrepreneurship would be my Mum. She is definitely the bones behind my business. Both creatively and business wise, Mum is the one that drives me in every aspect. So she is definitely the number one. In regards to celebrity, fashion and style it would be Kate Middleton. She is so elegant, very classic and really puts millinery on the map.
6. Your favourite ‘app’?
Snap chat. The last six months Snap chat has been the number one thing driving my business and Instagram would definitely be number two.
7. What advice would you have for other woman who might be thinking about starting their own business?
The number one thing would be go for it and go with your gut. When I was thinking about the boutique, I had contemplated opening in Leitrim and obviously for a young girl from Leitrim opening a boutique in Dublin was a big thing. So I think it’s just about going for it and if your gut is saying yeah, go for it. I think you have to be passionate about what you’re doing or selling, because I think it will show through to your customers. If it’s just about the money and all you want to do is make money in business, I’m not sure it will be as easy or as successful as if you are truly passionate about what you are doing.
Thank you Jennifer for your inspiring words.
Check out ‘Jennifer Wrynne Boutique’ in the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, Dublin, and online at: