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making the leap

From marketing to make-up artistry: How one woman combined business with beauty

“It’s takes courage, commitment and belief.”

ONCE OUR COUNTRY’S youth reach the senior cycle, we encourage them to consider their career prospects, and ask them to choose subjects, programmes and degrees which will help shape their future.

shutterstock_217626931 Shutterstock / FrameAngel Shutterstock / FrameAngel / FrameAngel

And every year, students drop out of courses and reconsider choices they were required to make mere months after closing the Junior Cert exam booklet and launching into their Leaving Cert curriculum.

However, this crisis of confidence is no longer the reserve of the first-year university student, with more and more people in their twenties taking stock of their current career path, and reluctantly acknowledging they’re either stagnating or advancing up a ladder they no longer want to be on.

Changing careers and overhauling your entire approach to the future takes considerable courage, but with so many adults confronted with the situation, it’s worth considering what it really takes to make the leap. spoke with 27-year-old Edwina McGrath, who turned her back on the world of marketing in order to embark on a new journey; that of a beauty therapist.

PastedImage-98209 Edwina McGrath Edwina McGrath

After studying Marketing in college, Edwina considered herself a quintessential example of a recent graduate in the field, saying: “I was a typical business graduate, living and working in Dublin.”

At the two-year mark in Edwina’s marketing career however, she found herself ruminating over the various routes available to her, and ultimately made the decision to pursue a passion.

I decided to change path to a career that best suited me and my interests. I was always interested in the beauty world and thought about changing career for a long time. It took careful consideration and courage to leave a job and start over. 

Edwina, a native of Tipperary, instinctively knew that the contentment she sought in her future would outweigh the short-term struggles born of a decision to start over.

“It was not easy handing in my notice but I knew I would be happier in the long term,” she told us. “I always look down the line and in one way I knew an office environment was not a place I wanted to be long term.”

Like many who return to the drawing board and start over, Edwina’s first year outside of the marketing arena was not without its struggles.

I enrolled in a full-time beauty course that was very intense, but I was eager and motivated to give it everything. I sacrificed a lot that year as I was working part time so I rarely had a day off.

“No one realises how hard a beauty course is,” she continued. “We learn the equivalent to first year nursing along with all practicals, machines and makeup within a 10-month time frame.”

I graduated with ITEC, CIBTEC and was awarded CIDESCO student of the year. I gained invaluable experience in some of the best beauty businesses before deciding to work for myself. 

Edwina, who has recently opened her own beauty business, has found genuine fulfillment in her day-to-day work, saying: “I am so much happier now and genuinely love what I do. At the moment I am happy where I am and where I am going”

But Edwina isn’t content to rest on her laurels and is keen to help others pursue their passion in the field.

During my beauty course I enjoyed assisting my classmates throughout my learning experience and realised that I wanted to be able to contribute more to the growing industry by training to become a Beauty Tutor.

“I now teach Beauty Therapy in a private college and work in my salon in Goatstown Tuesday to Saturday,” she explained.

Edwina has also drawn on her experience in the world of marketing to propel her in the world of beauty, saying: “Since opening my own business my Marketing degree has been so useful. I do all my own branding, advertising and social media.”

“You cannot buy experience and anything I have done or the people I have met along the way all contributed to where I am now,” she added.

Edwina’s new line of work certainly keeps her on her toes – an element of the industry which continues to serve her.

The beauty business is so exciting and you never know what opportunity might come up next! I was recently working as an assistant make up artist to Mary Drummond on Dancing with the Stars.

So, if you’re thinking of making the leap, what should you take into account?

Well, Edwina stresses that your inner voice should be listened to, and if you feel that your current job is a mere stopgap between you and your dream career, it’s worth pulling at that thread sooner rather than later.

“If you have been thinking about changing career and can visualise yourself doing it in years to come, try do it as early as possible as it may be harder down the line,” she explains.

In saying that, a smooth transition is not a given, but acknowledging that some obstacles will be almost unavoidable will go a long way towards helping you traverse your chosen path.

“I won’t say it has been easy to get to where I am,” Edwina says. “It’s takes courage, commitment and belief. I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone on more than one occasion and it has brought me to where I am today.”

I don’t believe in living with regret and it has been greatly satisfying watching my hard work come to fruition. You do get out what you put in. 

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