Ded­i­cated fol­low­ers of fash­ion

A love of fash­ion can also trans­late into a busi­ness. CLAIRE SHOE­SMITH talks to five women who walked away from other ca­reers to open their own bou­tiques

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Sheena Lam­bert Thread­bare and Wilde Wick­low

The move from waste man­age­ment to run­ning a high-end fash­ion bou­tique is cer­tainly not from the text­book. How­ever, it is one that seems to be push­ing all the right but­tons for Sheena Lam­bert, en­gi­neer and owner of Thread­bare and Wilde in Wick­low.

While she wasn’t un­happy with her life in waste man­age­ment – she worked in the in­dus­try for eight years – Lam­bert knew that what she re­ally wanted was to have her own busi­ness, and while she did con­sider branch­ing out on her own in the waste sec­tor, it was her love of fash­ion that won over in the end.

“What I thought was, what would I re­ally love to be do­ing ev­ery day – and hav­ing a clothes shop was high up on the list,” says Lam­bert, who ad­mits to turn­ing a few heads by wear­ing hot pants to en­gi­neer­ing lec­tures, while study­ing in UCD.

“You don’t get many en­gi­neers in­ter­ested in fash­ion,” she says.

Hav­ing made the de­ci­sion to go for it, Thread­bare and Wilde was born in Au­gust 2003, and it’s fair to say Lam­bert hasn’t looked back since.

As for skills – or lack of skills – in the area of fash­ion, Lam­bert says it hasn’t been a prob­lem.

“I was in­volved in project man­age­ment in en­gi­neer­ing, and re­ally I have just ap­plied the same skills to the fash­ion in­dus­try,” she says, adding that a gen­eral aware­ness of the busi­ness world and love of fash­ion on a per­sonal level has helped greatly.

Af­ter start­ing off on her own with just one as­sis­tant, Lam­bert now em­ploys three peo­ple on a part-time ba­sis and is mak­ing the most of what she al­ways wanted – be­ing her own boss.

And while her shop does en­able her to spend more time with her son and pre­pare for the baby that’s on the way, it also means that it’s hard to leave work be­hind.

“Hav­ing your own busi­ness is a 24-7 thing,” she says.

“It’s very hard to switch off.”

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