Megan Gallagher – Successful Business of Fashion Career at New Balance in Amsterdam
Business of Fashion
Embarking on a journey for a successful business of fashion career is ambitious and getting the right qualifications and connections in the industry is a great start.
The business of fashion is a tight-knit community, even throughout Europe.
Knowing the right people and doing the right courses can prepare you for exciting jobs in the fashion buying, merchandising, and management world.
Successful Business of Fashion Career From Dunnes Stores to New Balance in Amsterdam
For Portobello Institute graduate, Megan Gallagher, completing her Year 1 in Fashion Buying and Merchandising and coming back to do her Year 2 Fashion Management course served as important stepping stones getting her foot in the door at the companies she wanted to work for in Ireland and abroad towards her successful business of fashion career.
“I started the fashion buying and merchandising course in 2015. I did that and then I got a job in Dunnes Stores as a visual merchandiser.
“It was my plan to move into the buying office eventually to work my way in there and it happened faster than I expected. I was visual for six months in the Swords store and then I met the buyer for Savida and moved me into the buying office the next week.
“From there I grew my career in Dunnes for three years first I was doing fashion with the merchandisers and later moved into homewares.
“Then I dropped tools and moved to Amsterdam without a plan, my boyfriend is Dutch but I always had a plan to aim to have a business of fashion career at PVH which is Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein the European Head Office is here in Amsterdam.
“I was applying for a job and Anne Marie McAuley put in touch with me with a contact in PVH that was looking for somebody, I didn’t get that job but I got the next role that came up in that team, it was all in the universe’s plan for me to join that team! It’s such a small world I know a couple of girls who work at PVH that came through Portobello, it’s a small community in fashion.
“I was there for two years and this month I just moved next door and I am an assistant merchandiser for e-commerce EMEA at New Balance. I wouldn’t have got that step in the door at Dunnes if I didn’t have that course done, it really was a big stepping stone for me in my business of fashion career and really facilitated that which was great,” she said.
Megan explains how she came to study at Portobello and drove from Donegal to Dublin every week to attend classes.
“When I was in school, I did a lot of research and decided I wanted to do fashion and business. I found buying and merchandising and that was my goal then.
“I decided to go to university for a year for business and Spanish, hated it and it wasn’t for me at all dropped out.
“I worked in Brown Thomas for two or three years and that’s when I moved home for a couple of months and found the course in Portobello and said okay this is something I can afford, first of all, second of all it is short enough that it will keep me interested and it will be something I know I can do in my spare time.
“I drove up and down every Wednesday for six months from Donegal to Dublin to do the course that’s how much I loved it!
“I felt like I really could be creative and also learn a lot about business and what was needed to do this job, it was very practical. I really knew what to expect when I went to do that job even though I had no experience, I was equipped with the right tools to know what was expected of me.
“The course really set me up to know how to do my job and what was the industry standard. A lot of people go to university and college and they are well educated but they don’t know how to apply it, I think that was the main thing for me that I could go into that job knowing I could world Excel, systems, I knew what to expect and had the right language to use. I would love to go back and do it again!
“I loved, loved, loved doing the window display that was one of my favourite parts of it because we actually got to create a window display using big giant boards and plexiglass and that was really something I was interested in. The other part I really loved was creating our own collections using images and colours and pantones, that was all really interesting to me.
“It was really rewarding, you got really good feedback from people who have worked in this industry, it’s not just like going to a lecturer, it is people who have done what you are learning to do and you get really valuable information from them.
“It gave me that boost of confidence to know that I can do it. To this day I still suffer imposter syndrome sometimes but I think you have that in every job, there is always going to be some time you don’t know how to do something but having that piece of paper and having done the course gives me that confidence in myself that I actually can do it.
“In this industry, it’s difficult to be confident, fashion is well known for having a toxic environment but I have been lucky to work in places that have been great to work for but you do need to have that confidence, and having that qualification is always something you can fall back on,” she said.
Megan has gone from strength to strength in her fashion career from Dunnes working her way to eCommerce at New Balance in Amsterdam, we just know the future is bright for her.
We also run a three-module booking package starting in September 2021.