What a privilege it is to bring to you a Milliner who has taken fashions on the field by storm – the talented Mininery by Mel. Here is her story brought to you by Thoroughbred Events Australia.
Take it away, Mel ….
A little about me:
My full name is Melanie Atherinos and I am the owner, designer and the creative hands behind my Millinery label – Millinery By Mel.
I have always been a very creative person that loves everything pretty and matching, so millinery is the perfect profession for me. I have been very fortunate in my life to have had many opportunities and diverse career paths. After leaving school I studies Child Care where I worked for 6 years on the Sunshine Coast before moving to Mount Isa and being given the opportunity to study Marketing and take up the position as Events and Marketing Manager for a large Hospitality venue in the town. After having my son, I was started my own ‘work from home’ business specialising in Costumes and Event decorating.
After several year my husband and I decided a change was needed and we bought a caravan, packed up our family and started on our next adventure of seeing more of this wonderful country we live in. We spent 3 years travelling around but then decided to return to Mount Isa when our son turned 8 as he wanted a ‘normal’ life again. Outside of millinery my interest include camping, gardening, anything creative.
A little about my business: Millinery By Mel
My business is Me, myself and I…. It started as a hobby and with the help of Social Media and the internet, it is now a full time plus business that sends fascinators both nationally and internationally. In the last month, I have had a dramatic increase in the amount of international sales and I have been sending many designs to countries such as United state, Italy, China, New Zealand, Ireland, England and even Dubai.
Are you from a horse racing family or a fashion family background ?
No – not from either
Before starting to make Millinery, I had only ever been to 1 country race meet and wore a fascinator that I bought off Ebay and stuck a few extra feathers on to match my outfit.
I have ridden a horse once and decided it was better (and safer) for me to admire them in the paddocks. I am fortunate to live only 500m from our towns horse paddocks so I enjoy walking each day with my dog through the paddocks.
My favourite race meets now and definitely the Outback Country Races, you get to meet so many people from all different places and is wonderful to see the effort the ladies from the Stations go to when dressing up.
My greatest fashion belief is that you should always wear what you feel comfortable in – if you don’t feel confident and comfortable in what you are wearing – your true beauty will not shine through.
Have you Always lived in Mount Isa?
I was born in Cowra NSW where I lived for a couple of years before my family moved to the Sunshine Coast where I completed all my school and lived till I was 22. I then moved to Mount Isa for a change of scenery. I have called Mount Isa home for the past 17 years. I love living in the Outback and at this stage have no plans to leave.
Are you single or married with a small family?
I have a small beautiful family consisting of my husband, 12 year old son and a 22 year old stepson. I also come from a small family with only 1 sister. My mum lives in Mount Isa also and is often found helping out in my studio.
My family is my greatest support and fans – followed by my friends. Without these special people in my life I would never achieve my many great successes.
As much as my son says tracing leather leaves and flowers is ‘boring’ he always fronts up to the studio to help when needed. My husband steps in and is a fantastic ‘Mr Mum’ during the busy times and keep the household functioning when I am working long hours.
When did you discover your passion for millinery.
After travelling, I returned to my job as a Marketing Manager and I decided that in my spare time I needed something creative to do. So, I bought a few Millinery supplies from online… little did I know where that first fascinator would lead me to.
For 12 months I continued working as well as making Millinery in my spare time, however the demands of my business became to great and I chose to quit my job and take up millinery full time. Since then I haven’t looked back and I just keep getting busier and busier.
Initially my work space was a table beside my bed in our bedroom, it then took over the spare room and now rent a 2 bedroom unit that is home to the expanding Millinery By Mel Studio.
Did you study or are you self taught?
Learning millinery skills has been a lot of trial and error as well as completing online training through Hat academy. Unfortunately, due to living in Outback Queensland, it can get very expensive and difficult to attend training held on the coast however I was fortunate attend a few workshops including learn skills from Carole Maher and will also be flying to Melbourne later in the year to attend a Louise MacDonald Workshop.
I do look forward to in the future completing further studies and training with well know milliners in the industry. I do not claim to be a Milliner rather just a designer of beautiful headwear, one day my goal is to complete studies in Fashion and Millinery, however at this stage I am enjoying what I am doing.
My favourite material to work with is leather, I love the many ways it can be used and the fact that is it tran-seasonal and can be worn at any time of the year.
The most unique designs I have ever had to make were for a hairdresser for hair shows and were made from many hair extensions.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
Have you been to Melbourne Cup?
In 2016 I attended Melbourne Cup for the first time – we went on a P&O cruise from Brisbane to Melbourne. We had a lovely time in the Home Straight Marquee however this meant we didn’t get to see a lot of the fashion and festivities that Melbourne Cup is renowned for. I hope to make my way back there one day with friends to experience the full week of racing and fashion.
My dream to achieve
To be completely honest – I think I am living my dream (ok maybe my dream has a few more hours sleep in it. LOL)
As I always say…. If you find a job doing something you love, you will never work another day in your life.
This pretty much sums me up, every day I get to go to work and be paid to create beautiful designs. I am so fortunate to work with a large number of lovely ladies who truly appreciate and praise my efforts. It is so rewarding to receive the glamourous photos of the my clients dressed up for Race days.