Elizabeth Heyes

Business Owner and Founder, Secret Halo

“The course truly enabled me to gain a thorough understanding of all of the aspects involved in running a fashion business.”


The Course:

Studying at Manchester Metropolitan has given me the opportunity to develop both theoretical and analytical skills that I have carried with me throughout my career. The course provided the perfect balance as some of the modules involved a great deal of interpreting fashion theories and analysing fashion’s history, whilst others truly tested your analytical skills by studying financial reports and case studies. My first role as a buyer was straight in at decision-making level, I feel that my time studying and Manchester Metropolitan had enabled me to understand the issues that a buyer may encounter so I felt fully prepared and able to make those important decisions. As part of my course, I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to visit a trade show in Florence. I have now lost count of the trade shows I have attended so this trip is a precious memory for me as it was my first and definitely my most enjoyable.

My course truly enabled me to gain a thorough understanding of all of the aspects involved in running a business. We had excellent tutors, who really made even the most complex topics easy to understand and follow. The financial aspects of the course was one of the main reasons that I chose it, I had always dreamed of having my own business so I knew I would need this type of knowledge and skill set in the future. The course tutors commercial acumen and teaching abilities inspired me to dream that one day I would be reading through my own sales reports. As daunting as it was at the time, I actually enjoyed writing my dissertation. The market research gave me the opportunity to make contacts with people in the industry and I was fully supported by both the tutors and the facilities at Manchester Metropolitan.

Industry Placement:

Between my second and final year I undertook an industry placement with George clothing at Asda. Not only did this allow me the opportunity to put into practice the theory learnt in lectures but also the confidence I gained from being immersed in the buying office was invaluable. Doing a placement really helps you to understand more about what you want to do as a career, it shows you which department or area you would be best suited to, by giving you direct insight into the day-to-day tasks that are involved in the role. My placement allowed me to develop the experience and skills I needed to apply for graduate jobs once I had finished my degree. Doing a placement is also a great opportunity to demonstrate your capabilities to potential employers, who could possibly ask you to stay on after your placement has ended.

After Graduation:

Leading up to graduation, I ensured I was on the books of as many fashion recruitment agencies as possible. One of them put me forward for temporary work at the head office for Calvin Klein in London who were looking for someone with a fashion degree. This meant a lengthy and costly commute for me, but I decided it would be worth it to get experience working for one of the most recognisable brands in the world. It paid off, as I was offered a permanent position in their wholesale team after a couple of weeks.

I now run my own e-commerce business, Secret Halo, which specialises in selling fashion jewellery online. Currently I run the business on my own, so I have to wear many hats and put in long hours. I do everything from buying, to accounting, to web development, right through to packing the orders.  The hard work is paying off, as recently Secret Halo became a finalist in the British Small Business Awards for Sole Trader of the Year.

Top Tip:

Keep in touch with everyone, not just those from your particular course, but students on the other fashion courses too! It is a competitive and small industry and you are potentially going into the same workplaces as some of your peers. Get involved as much as possible at the University and meet as many new people as you can. Of course, there is a social element but making the right connections could really help you further down the line in your career!


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