Launched only last week, our first ever IMAGE Boutique Awards has certainly caught the public's imagination. Voting has begun with gusto as our readers and users support and give recognition to their favourite boutiques from around the country. In the run-up to the awards, we'll be giving the floor to our nominees so you can learn more about them and their business (and you might just find your new favourite shopping haunt!). Here, we speak with nominee HEIDI HIGGINS (nominated for Best Irish Designer's Boutique) about her latest collection, new challenges that she faces and perseverance in the industry.
If you could start again, what would you do differently and why?
If I got the chance to start again I wouldn't change a thing. It has been a learning curve ever since I started and as long as we are going in the right direction and customers are happy, then I am happy too!
What has been your career highlight to date?
Opening my own flagship boutique has been my career highlight to date. I opened my first boutique in 2010 and I moved to a bigger space in 2014. Now, my design studio is above my boutique, so everything is under the one roof which makes it a very busy and exciting place to work.
Do you use social media for your business? What importance does social media play for modern entrepreneurs?
Social media is a great way to connect with customers and tell your story. You also get instant feedback and keep customers up-to-date on new products in real time! You can find me at @HigginsHeidi on Twitter, on Facebook at Heidi Higgins Boutique, and @HeidiHiggins on Instagram.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Setting up my own online store has been my biggest challenge. I've been working on the site (heidihiggins.com ) for the past 9 months and that was a challenging transition, but it has proven to be a great success!
How do you think you got to where you are today?
I think I got to where I am today because of my perseverance and persistence. 'Persistence pays off' has been a motto that always stands out for me. Hard work and a great product!
What is your boutique's USP?
Everything I sell in the boutique is my own design. I recently launched my new 'Carpe Diem ' collection (dressy, casual separates) which is manufactured here in the HH design studio above the boutique. It has been a great success to date. Customers love to hear their part of a limited-edition collection that's made in Ireland.
What does your daily routine look like?
My daily routine is busy. As a designer, it's my job to check in with fabric suppliers, managing my team and working with them to create exciting new products. I plan photo shoots, keeping social media up-to-date as well as manage my online store and meet customers.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
I love the variety of my job: from designing new collections, travelling to meet my fabric suppliers, creating new product lines and meeting customers. It's all about a happy mix and the fast pace of the fashion industry really does keep you on your toes!
What’s your least favourite part of the job?
Being self-employed means no maternity leave. I do really love my job but as I am self-employed, I had no maternity leave and was straight back once my daughter was born!
CLICK HERE to vote for Heidi and all our other nominees