A passion for fashion brings Sarah Rickard online

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Skillful in style Sarah Rickard-Lantry tells George Morahan how his Instagram side turned into a full-fledged online business.

For many years, Sarah Rickard-Lantry’s Instagram account was largely comprised of family photos and behind-the-scenes shots of her work as a fashion designer for glossy magazines. The Castleknock woman has worked in the fashion industry for nearly two decades, first as an assistant stylist for Macy’s in New York, then head stylist for Tatler and buyer at Penneys before leaving to start a family in 2014. She is now married and mother of two boys aged six and eight.

Returning to work in 2016, Rickard was surprised by the importance of social media in the industry while on maternity leave and realized she had to make her online profile “helpful and authentic” to stay relevant. She developed a niche by posting videos in which she tried on clothes and talked about the positives and negatives of dressing, creating a following of over 20,000 “like-minded tired moms”.

“It was really a scramble at first, but I knew there was something there,” adds Rickard. “I started making my videos weekly, promoted with the hashtag #tryontuesday. At first I was doing the trials for free, but soon brands started asking me to do paid trials. As soon as Covid hit, l he fashion industry has arrived I continued trials throughout Covid as brands clamored for platforms to showcase their clothes.

“I was also teaching shop owners how to use Instagram and guiding them on social media strategies. My following grew and my followers were looking forward to their #tryontuesday fix. I also enjoyed this as it gave me a routine and a connection during such a bizarre time.”

A follower who came into contact with Rickard was a business coach Sheelagh-Mulcair, who offered to accompany him in the business creation process. The pair got engaged and in September 2021, the Styled By: Sarah Rickard online store launched.

“We talked about how I just felt stretched in multiple directions and how I was looking to take ownership of something, and she gave me some really practical advice,” Rickard said of her conversations. with Mulcair. “She helped me with timelines and helped me prioritize. I had the first two talks with Sheelagh and in between I was working on the homework side and then it came to me at the end. mind. By the third session, I basically told him that I wanted to start Styled By and that it made sense and everything fell into place during that time.”

For the start-up, Rickard had the help of his father, Dermot Rickardwho is in his 60s and decided to leave the auto factors business he had run for decades in July 2020. After selling two business units and settling outstanding debt, he divided the remaining funds between his three daughters, giving Rickard the cash she needed to start Stylized By.

For his shop, Rickard sources clothes from agents representing Danish and French brands that are “tried and tested” by his audience. She says the online store generated six-figure sales in its first six months of trading, although Rickard quickly learned about cash flow issues. “I did exactly what everyone warned me not to do, and I overbought,” she says. “I have to reduce my stock.”

The StyledBy.ie digital storefront, built on the Shopify platform, is an excellent fashion website. The dress style is “pretty bohemian” for those under 40, and the price is not cheap but not too expensive either. In a bricks-and-mortar setting, StyledBy’s competition would be other stores in the locality. On the Internet, StyledBy competes directly with Zara, KOS, Oasis, Whistles and many other online sellers.

However, Rickard believes customer confidence in her fashion sense is a key selling point for the online store. “It’s more for the woman who doesn’t consider herself fashionable but uses my expertise and trusts me to choose something that I think will work for her,” she explains. “It’s just about using all of my resources, like in each of me, every element, and trying to do something a little bit different.

“With my StyledBy selection, you can have portability and sophistication at your fingertips, because what you don’t want is walking into a store and being overwhelmed when trying to navigate the types of clothes you don’t usually buy. By shows you the pieces you need and the style ideas you want. I’m your virtual personal shopper!”

To complement and promote the online store, Rickard also organizes personal fashion consultations, paid live events and showcases for outlets such as Kildare Village. In preparation, ‘styling boxes’, which will contain jeans, an organic t-shirt, a knitted piece and a €250 blouse targeting customers in a hurry who wish to expand their daily wardrobe.

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