“I’ve always thought of accessories as the exclamation point of a woman’s outfit.” – Michael Kors.
To date, I have been amazed by the positive feedback received in response to my “Irish Girl Boss Series”. This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing the fabulous, quirky and hilarious girl boss, Nicki Hoyne. Nicki is the absolute epitome of a girl boss, having worked relentlessly to launch her very successful brand, My Shining Armour. My Shining Armour is an online haven filled with gorgeous accessories, built on Nicki’s ethos to be her own hero. “All the women, who independent” will really enjoy this interview – even Queen Bey would bow down!
1) What inspired you to create My Shining Armour?
My Shining Armour niggled at the back of my mind for a long time. I have always been massively into accessories. My friends will tell you I give the best presents. I am a big online shopper and as technology and the internet advanced, I saw online stores open and I thought to myself; I can do that and I can do it even better. Online is an even playing field. With a good site you can easily compete with the large multinationals and with social media being free and making it so easy to promote businesses, I knew I was onto something.
When I look back now, I see how it all fell into place and that every experience I had (both good and bad) led me to this point. It’s true what they say, if you lived your life backwards it would all make perfect sense. I am really passionate about brands and doing good, honest business. I am fortunate to have worked with brands like Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, Nintendo, Balenciaga and Chloé so I have learnt how big brands conduct themselves and why they are so successful. Aliza Licht said it best; “I came to the point where the job I wanted didn’t exist so I had to create it for myself”.
2) Often, it’s our flaws, blunders and setbacks that actually allow us to advance in life by altering our perspective. Throughout your career, what do you think was the most important mistake that you have learned from?
I firmly believe that you learn more from a bad experience than a good one. Every negative experience I have had in my career has been a lesson that I am grateful to have learned. Although it is extremely difficult at the time, these experiences made me a better person, business-person and now, boss. I always tell myself that setbacks and challenges are building my experience so in years to come when the stakes are even higher, I know exactly how to handle them correctly. Setbacks will always happen, what’s important is how you deal with them!
3) What does your typical day look like?
Every day is different. I am in Dublin usually once a week for a jam-packed day of meetings which is always fun. When I’m in the office, I will walk to work and Snapchat – I’m always full of beans in the morning. I like to get in before the team, have my coffee and get my head straight for the day. I am a big list person so I’ll run through my “urgent” and “important” tasks and try plot out my day. I do all of the social media imagery in real time. I’ll plan to post what’s new, back in stock or just something that the mood of the day calls for. I’ll shoot flat lays, reply to social media comments and questions, answer emails, order stock, update the website and anything else that comes at me. If new stock arrives we’ll drop everything and fawn over it. On busy days, I will help pack orders for an hour or so. I love imagining the person on the other end opening their package. The day flies so I usually eat lunch at my desk and try to get out of the office when the girls are leaving at 5.30pm. Then, I’ll go for a run or do a fitness class. My family live close by, we eat out a lot or I try to drop by conveniently at dinner-time! I get home at 8pm or 9pm and chill out for an hour browsing online or reading before bed.
4) Do you take inspiration from other women in business and if so, who?
I love reading stories of other women in business. My favourite books so far are Tamara Mellon’s “In Her Shoes”, “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg, Sophia Amoruso’s “#Girlboss” and I am dying for Marissa Carter’s book to come out. I love the Image Networking Breakfasts. I always leave with a bounce in my step and lots of ideas. I also love my Acorns gang they are so supportive and uplifting. It is an awesome government funded program for women in business in rural Ireland. We are each other’s biggest fans and supporters. I don’t think I would be where I am today without their encouragement and support.
5) The thing that I love most about My Shining Armour is the voice of the brand. In my opinion, it’s not just about glamorous accessories; it’s also about reflecting the state of mind of women who believe that fashion and confidence go hand in hand. Do you have any items in your wardrobe that give you an instant boost of confidence?
We all have those pieces that make us feel good and put a pep in our step. I have a pair of gold sequined ballet pumps I got in a Zara sale about 5 years ago. I wear them all the time especially when the day needs a little sparkle. I can be going to work, running to the supermarket or out for weekend brunch. They just make me feel like me!
6) How would you describe your personal style?
Comfortable, classic and cool with a pop of colour, print or sparkle. I love statement accessories whether jewellery, bags, shoes or sunglasses. I always keep my clothing pretty simple and love to find unique one off pieces to make my outfit pop. I have the most beautiful ring from the Souk in Marrakesh, crazy Indian earrings from Portobello Market in London and I love a discreet designer bag to add a bit of luxury. I don’t feel me if there’s not a pop. That’s just who I am!
7) Who is your style/beauty hero?
Olivia Palermo all the way. She is flawless! She gets it right every, single time. The girl has serious accessories game and I love how she takes risks and has fun with fashion. That’s the secret to having great style, do you and make a look your own. No one can have the exact same accessories as you. You will always look like you put lots of thought and prep in when you really put on a piece of jewellery, shoes, grabbed a bag and ran out the door.
8) Tell us about your beauty essentials. Do you follow a particular make up routine?
I’m not a big make up person. I like to look like myself and as if I’m not wearing much make up. Saying that I use quite a few products, everything but foundation. I am big into skincare. I think that if you look after your skin, you will always look good. I love fresh dewy looking skin and have yet to find a foundation that I like so I just don’t wear it. I used to work for Elizabeth Arden so I’ve learnt about a few insider cult products. I use everything from serums to eye cream and masks. My must have products are Elizabeth Arden’s “Visible Different Skin Balancing Exfoliating Cleanser”, Elizabeth Arden’s “Prevage Serum” and I do a weekly deep cleansing clay mask called Freeman’s “Avocado and Oatmeal Mask” that I get in US drugstores when I visit. I never sleep in my make up and drink lots of water.
9) If you had to choose three favourite pieces from the My Shining Armour website right now, what would you choose?
The “Gisele Ring”, “The Bombay Duck Spotty Initial Mugs” and the “Ban.Do Lady Of Leisure Agenda”.
10) What are your top entrepreneurship tips?
1. Always strive to be better. Good and great are not enough for me I want to be excellent.
2. Write it down and make it happen. Set goals and work towards them. There is nothing better than ticking things off the list.
3. Care. About your employees, your business, your customers and yourself.
For more information and a look at the extensive, beautiful range of goodies available; check out My Shining Armour online.
And, if you enjoyed this piece you can check out my interviews with Custom Vintage Dublin’s Ali Delaney, Sculpt Cosmetics’ Siobhan Boyle, AYU Make Up’s Suzie O’Neill and Juvi Designs’ Julie Danz.