ARCHITECT turned milliner Aisling Maher is continuing to turn heads in the fashion world both at home and abroad - she is now creating a staggering 100 hats a month!
The Castleconnell native who made an appearance on the Saturday Night show at the weekend along with two other female entrepreneurs is exporting her designs to stores in London, Paris, Germany, LA and Florida.
But despite her ever growing profile, the 26-year-old admits that she was â€œpetrifiedâ€ appearing live on national television on Saturday night.
â€œThe fact that it was national live television, I was worried I would make a mistake. I have been on tv before - Xpose and Ireland Am - but it was always prerecorded, going live was a big thing,â€ Aisling explained.
The former architect was approached to appear on the prime-time television slot after the host Brendan Oâ€™Connor spotted an article about her in the business section of the Sunday Independent.
â€œBrendan saw the article that they did on me and he got it into his head that he wanted a few female entrepreneurs on his show to showcase what women are doing.
â€œWe got to chat with Brendan before we went on and he really calmed us down - all three of us were quite nervous.
â€œHe told us there would be no wild card questions or anything like that. He really did put us at ease. He was very positive and supportive,â€ she added.
Aisling spent six years studying and working as an architect and has used this design experience along with time spent studying millinery in the London College of Fashion to create her pieces.
Her designs are embellished using freshwater pearls, crystals, feathers and veiling. Aisling works closely with her clients to ensure that each design is specific to their personality and style.
In February of this year Aisling teamed up with award-winning dress designer Marion Murphy-Cooney to open a store on the corner of Catherine Street and Thomas Street in the city â€“ The Design Atelier.
â€œItâ€™s going brilliant. We have been received very well. The foot traffic in here is pretty full-on. Itâ€™s great â€“ itâ€™s really, really good. There is a good vibe around,â€ she said.
â€œI have had a good few customers going to the Punchestown Races this week so a good few of my hats are up there,â€ she added.
While Aisling has received much positive feedback on her Facebook and Twitter account in relation to her handling of the interview on Saturday night, much of the praise has focused on her outfit - she wore a hat designed by herself and an outfit by Marion Murphy-Cooney. One of those who complimented her in person was singer and reality television star Peter Andre.
â€œHe was in the green room before we went on and I was very chuffed because he commented on my hat and outfit and said the whole look was â€˜smashingâ€™ which was really nice. He was actually lovely, so down to earth, really chilled out and normal,â€ smiled the Castleconnell girl has been turning heads in the fashion world over the past two years with her unique creations.
And she is no stranger to receiving compliments from high profile personalities - in 2010 she received possibly the biggest thumbs up she could wish for when her head pieces caught the eye of Oscar winner Catherine Zeta Jones.
The A-list actress purchased one of Aislingâ€™s designs while in Adare for the JP McManus Pro-Am.
Aisling is now hoping to expand her business internationally.
â€œWhat I am looking at is trying to push internationally. Iâ€™m talking to some of the lead department stores in the UK, like Harrods and Selfridges, about stocking my pieces. Thatâ€™s what my bigger picture is â€“ looking at the exporting factor,â€ said Aisling, who has been emailing samples of her works to the stores.