Ana Victoria Mulcahy was born and brought up in Argentina, hailing from an Italian/Spanish heritage and practiced as a qualified barrister before moving to Europe in 2001 to pursue a career in fashion!
“I made my first hat when I was 11 years old from an old piece of silk fabric that I transformed into a turban-shaped headpiece, which I wore to a school picnic.
“I designed and made hats as a past-time during my school and university years and since I came to Europe I have completed several tailoring and traditional millinery courses and trainings and I have made hats for family and friends but it wasn’t until after I attended a friend’s wedding in 2016 that I started my own business as a milliner.”
Now, many of Ana Victoria’s hats have been sold all over Ireland and she’s currently working on a bespoke order for a customer in the United States!
“All my hats are my own unique design and I do all the work process myself. Following traditional millinery techniques and with an obsessive attention to detail, I handcraft the headpieces from scratch from my home. ” She even blocks the hat bases using her own custom made wooden hat blocks!
Despite each creation taking anywhere from four days to two weeks to complete, Ana Victoria is constantly inspired and motivated to create more.
“I specialise in hats for weddings, races, ladies days, hat competitions, accessories and any other occasions.”
After numerous enquiries over the past months and as part of her brand extension planning, Ana Victoria Mulcahy Couture Millinery is now offering a full Hat Hire service with a huge selection of hats for hire, which can be delivered anywhere in Ireland.
With expansion plans already underway, following only two years in business, there’s a lot we can learn from this fashionista!
What attracted you to the millinery industry?
Fashion has been a big part of my life. Since I was a little girl I’ve been fascinated with fashion; elegant clothes, beautiful dresses, classic vintage style, and especially, with hats!
This was fostered by my mother, my grandmother and grand aunt, who would buy and make clothes for me. Despite being a qualified barrister I always knew I wanted to do something related to fashion.
How did you get to where you are today?
I am extremely focused in what I want and I work very very hard to get it. Years ago, while reading a book about Eugene Schueller, the founder of L’Oréal, Iread something that will mark my life forever:
“A single small idea carried forward every day over the course of many years can take you to the other side of the world.”
And so it did, literally!
What do you love most about what you do?
When your job is to do what you passionately love, it is not work at all, and that is what I love about what I do. I enjoy every second of the day!
What’s the most difficult part of what you do?
Family is my priority, so trying to combine my work with my family’s time and schedule is maybe the difficult part of my job. My studio is at home, so I manage to work around the time the kids are in school and it works pretty well.
What’s the best piece of style advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t follow the trend; follow your body shape! Be you and use what will suit you and will look good on you! This simple quote has ruled my life since… always!
What’s the best piece of style advice you can pass on?
Smile and be kind! To me those two verbs mark the difference between a beautiful or an ugly girl.
Who is your style icon and why?
Jackie Onassis and Dita Von Teese; totally opposite styles that perfectly blend together for me My style is a combination of their styles. My passion is for vintage, elegant, well-tailored outfits, with impeccable hairstyles and hats like Jackie with the edgy style of Dita and her pin-up style.
Who is your business icon and why?
My business icon is Coco Chanel. After reading all her existent biographies, I just admire her for her business view of this industry and how clever she was.
What plans do you have for your business over the next 12 months?
My plan over the next 12 months is to specialise and expand, to make better and bigger my existent online shop, increase the numbers of my hat hire stock, target markets abroad and try to concentrate on my Irish market, as it is growing so much! All the while keeping the standards of high quality materials and finished products to perfection as I do.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years time I hope to be well established with a solid brand, name and reputation based on my customers’ feedback.
How do you stay motivated?
As I said before, fashion is such important part of my life. I breathe fashion, so my motivation to create and design is constant.
I get inspiration from a number of different sources: latest trends, blogs, nature, especially flowers, colours, materials, new shapes, old golden age-era Hollywood films and its actresses, opera, history, vintage etc.
But most importantly, my customers help me to stay motivated, as I just love to work together designing and making what they have in mind; a truly bespoke and tailored service!
What advice would you give young people who want to break into the industry?
If you have an idea, or you want to do something, or you want to start your own business, make that your focus, stay motivated, don’t mind anybody’s negative comments!
Get to know yourself and your limitations and trust in your intuition. Once you know that, no one can stop you.
The other motto that rules my life, and I constantly repeat to myself, is:
I have everything I need to get anything I want!