Oaklands Alumnus celebrates passion for fashion with new St Albans boutique
A former fashion student from Oaklands College has turned her fashion forward childhood dream into a reality, by opening her own shop in St Albans.
ST ALBANS — A former fashion student from Oaklands College has turned her fashion forward childhood dream into a reality, by opening her own shop in St Albans.
25-year-old Megan Turner from St Albans has opened ‘Mini Megan Turner’ – a boutique in Catherine Street which houses her innovative collection of children’s clothes.
Megan has recently taken the step to move her business from online to create her own boutique in a parade of independent retailers on Catherine Street in the City Centre – a move which brings her collection quirky prints and a funky designs for kids right to shoppers in her hometown.
Megan kick-started studies to make it as a fashion designer by joining Oaklands in 2010 studying an Extended Diploma in Fashion and Clothing. Additional support from College tutors and support staff in recognising Megan’s dyslexia and additional learning needs Megan says was a turning point in feeling she was able to achieve that goal.
It was during her three-year BA degree in Fashion at the University of Northampton that Megan developed her flair for fashion, designing for herself and later translating her my style into a concept for children’s clothing.
She explains: ‘The Mini Megan Turner brand is exactly that – the kind of clothes I wish I had when I was little, and I hope what appeals to kids today. So often today clothes are a choice of the parent, I wanted to create something that got kids enthused about fashion and proud to make a choice about what they wear. My designs use quirky prints and unique shapes – it’s still functional, but definitely has that funky edge.”
From an initial collection of leggings and skirts providing instantly successful with an avid Instagram following, Megan grew the brand simply by driving interest on social media with the support of local mums sharing pictures of children wearing her designs. Today, Mini Megan Turner boasts 18,700 followers on Instagram, and has grown exponentially to ship all over the UK and internationally. UK hotspots for sales include Essex, London and Manchester and internationally are as far reaching as the US and Australia.
After decking out the shop with the support of family in her spare time in just a few weeks, Megan opened the doors to the candy pink fronted boutique this December, using the space to display racks of her colour-popping designs. She has also isolated an open workshop space so she can use her time in the shop to create more orders and develop new lines.
She says: The first months have been incredible. I’ve had great support from the local retailers. I’m so proud to show them the shop and my designs, and hear people’s feedback on them. My online sales are consistent thank to my social media reach, and now it’s great to have that local basis and get face time with customers. When kids come to the store I can show them how I make the clothes too – it really gets them thinking about where their clothes come from.”
Megan is incredibly thankful to friends and family in giving their time and support ahead of her big launch. She says: “Although I was confident in my designs and skills in making the clothes, setting up a business has been a real learning curve for me. There’s so much to it – order admins, marketing, finances, to rent the space, decorating it, it has been stressful and overwhelming at times. It is not easy but to see the end result is so rewarding. I now must remain entirely focused on my passion being a profitable business and helping it grow.”
Megan has fond memories of her time at Oaklands as a time that really inspired her to chase her dream and further herself. She says: “College for me was a huge step from school, it was independent, but the support I got from the tutors completely changed my outlook on learning. I remember class challenges like making outfits from duct tape, which were really fun – there was always so much to get involved in. Our trip to Rome was my first time abroad and a real highlight, it brought us all together ahead of the College End of Year Fashion Show where our designs went on the catwalk.”
With the shop now open, Megan is now developing new lines for spring and summer. With orders coming in from her website and social media showing no signs of slowing, the future looks bright for the young designer.
She adds: “Designing and creating clothes was always my dream – I am pinching myself sitting here having made that a reality. It is not just my passion it is a business, and one I can’t wait to grown and develop. My time at Oaklands gave me the support and the opportunity to really indulge in my passion and I am thankful for that. I can’t wait to see where this will lead!”
See Megan’s designs in her online store here.