Introducing Sinead O'Loghlen of Elegant Atelier who has bought 'distinctive and cutting-edge womens fashion' to Cambridge following a career of extremes in business to fashion, where her heart is. We caught up with Sinead to find out more about this lovely boutique owner...
What did you want to be when you were little?
An Architect or Fashion Designer. I always loved making things when I was little – my two favourite toys were Lego with which I designed numerous houses and my sewing machine for making dolls clothes.
What makes you happy?
I like being challenged – so being creative and pushing my boundaries gives me joy…To relax and wind down it’s good company and food. My Husband is a great cook, but we love eating out with friends locally in Cambridge or with family in Dublin.
How did you get into fashion?
I definitely took the long route into fashion, but I guess it’s where I always wanted to work.
While I studied construction and then computer science at university in Dublin – I dabbled in fashion by designing & making clothes but couldn’t see how I could make it a career. I stumbled through various jobs before embarking on a career as an IT Consultant & Project Manager. I worked through the dot.com boom and bust, then the global financial crisis but always in the back of my mind I wanted to try something else like open a shop. 4 years ago, I packed in the big job with a US multinational and set about planning how I could make it happen. In hindsight my IT jobs were probably the best training for starting & running a business that I could have had!
What makes Elegant Atelier brilliant?
My idea was to create a boutique with a studio feel offering designs that were different to what was available in Cambridge together with excellent customer service. Creating an environment where we encourage our customers to try something new but remain true to their own style.
We strive to keep our edit fresh and exciting for our customer – push them a little outside their comfort zone … but ultimately the customer decides!
It’s been amazing journey so far and we been fortunate to work with some great labels new and old, who have believed in me and my vision, we have been first to introduce some amazing emerging brands to Cambridge and the wider area and hope to continue this into the future.
The common thread being…..good design, quality workmanship and outstanding customer service!
If you weren’t running Elegant Atelier what would you like to have done with your career? What would be your Plan B?
I’ve had a varied career – working as a civil servant – consultant - IT manager, I guess I’m already on plan E! Opening a shop is a risky business – but I’ve always been very adaptable and pragmatic, with a good mix of creativity and business acumen so who knows what Plan F will be. I’m always open to new opportunities that come my way.
What does ‘being comfortable’ mean to you?
Being myself – and being true to what I believe in. In terms of style I love wearing clothes that represent my style and personality, I like things that are different and edgy but that’s me. Helping our customers find their style is one of the joys of running a Boutique but this only comes with trust…
What would your ideal shoe look like? And where would you wear it?
I have always loved shoes ….in the past I’ve been guilty of buying some amazing shoes that I just could not wear… I think I’ve had more ‘incidents with my husband’ over my lack of appropriate footwear – one of the more notable being on holidays in Lyon when my skyscraper wedges left me incapable of navigating the wet cobblestone streets on the way to dinner from our hotel.
I love interesting shapes and forms ….but they have to be wearable !! Cambridge is a walking and cycling city – so the car to bar shoes of my past don’t work quite so well anymore. I also have a less formal lifestyle now – so flexibility is key - I want footwear that can be dressed up or worn casually – so a good trainer is a must!
What’s your favourite Air & Grace style?
The Red Suede Shimmie ticks all my boxes -shape, form, detail and comfort ….and patiently awaiting my Copeland cow print for AW!
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