In 2019, Michelle took a leap of faith and started her own business that has become a roaring success. Michelle fashions iconic headpieces, veils and jewellery that are inspired by Irish nature and mythology; namely the ancient story of Tír na nÓg or land of eternal youth. Fresh botanical designs, stunning craftsmanship and an ode to all things ethereal and romantic, Michelle’s success is testament to the good that can happen when you follow your dreams.
Read what Michelle had to say to us below! Stay tuned for more episodes of our Women in Business series coming soon.
How did you come to start Kinn Óir ?
I officially opened Kinn Óir in July 2019. I had been in the wedding industry part-time as a wedding planner and florist but it was while I was having my dream dress made by an atelier in 2016, that I began searching for a beautiful hair accessory for my wedding day. I had recently gone back to wire work and jewellery making, a hobby I had in my teenage years. I made some pieces for friends and family including beautiful bespoke wedding pieces. I flew to Italy to a trade fair to choose pearls and meet coral carvers, gathering the elements for my own piece.
My mum made her own wedding dress, veil, silk turban headpiece and cake. She also made my communion dress from fine lawn muslin and a Carrickmacross veil and headpiece. I grew up in a very creative house with an emphasis on practical skills as well as academic, so it was second nature to me. I could use a sewing machine at the age of 6 or 7 and was able to hand embroider some handkerchiefs.
When I wore my own headpiece for my wedding day, I absolutely loved it. Knowing it was made to the absolute highest standard, I remade it 3 times until I was happy with it!
What is your favourite part about being a bridal designer?
Being part of a bride’s special day is amazing, but for me, my favourite part is getting to know the bride, building rapport with her and working together to help her vision come to life. The trust in my work, in me and in my hands is something I will never take for granted. In almost all of my 5 star reviews brides remember fondly the experience being as special as the piece itself. It’s an honour and a privilege that never fails to humble me.
Who would be your dream client?
I can honestly say I have already had my dream clients. The most amazing brides who have supported me and come back to me for Christmas gifts when I had fundraisers and who have recommended me to many others. I have had some high profile brides as well but I have to say that every bride who I have had, even the indecisive ones who are nervous, have all been amazing. I am truly blessed.
Sometimes I work with brides for a few months and make all their accessories for themselves and all their bridal party so it’s nice to build a relationship with those brides. I have received cards and gifts from some brides and been blown away by the support years after the wedding has passed.
What is your most popular product and do you have a personal favourite?
My most popular product is a crown and a vine from the bespoke service. From my collections the three most popular pieces are the Ríona tiara, the Orna headpiece and the darling buds of May.
My own personal favourite is the Grace headpiece from the Signature Collection. It is the one that takes the longest. It has 65-70 flowers and has a double band covered in satin. I make it in two colourways and it can be made in other colourways too as a bespoke order. It’s a beautiful statement piece that works with hair up or down and is surprisingly light and comfortable.
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope to build on the success of Kinn Óir over the next few years while juggling upcoming motherhood. I have spent the past year building and renovating a new studio workshop which will allow me to take on someone next year to help with orders.
I have already made pieces for brides from Australia, Finland and America and Irish brides living home and abroad such as in the UAE or USA. I would like to continue to be able to serve these brides and expand to new markets and stockists while maintaining the exclusive handmade artisan essence of the brand.
For more information about Michelle’s beautiful products go to kinnoir.ie.