November 6, 2023
Meet Maighdlyn - Founder of ML Fashion Consultancy
As we reflect on the bravery and courage of veterans, we find inspiration in the career journeys they have taken beyond the uniform. This Veterans Week, Prince's Trust Canada is showcasing women-identifying veteran entrepreneurs and shining a light on their remarkable stories.
Hi Maighdlyn, thank you for taking the time out of your day to share your story. Can you tell us more about your business. What inspired you to start it and what is your mission?
"I absolutely adore fashion. I love the art behind it. But what I realized was that a lot of people are intimidated by it, especially when I worked in luxury. They see the elite side of fashion, but it's not all about that. Fashion is also about the image of yourself that you project. It says a lot about the way you present yourself to the world and how you feel about yourself. People want to feel good about themselves, and sometimes the first step starts with finding the right outfit – so I started offering image consultancy."
"I still provide image consultancy services, but within the first two months of launching my business, I shifted more towards brand consultancy due to high demand in this area. Emerging designers especially believed that my experience with some of the top institutions in fashion could be beneficial to them."
Can you share with us a bit about your military background and what led you to join the armed forces?
“I joined the reserves at the age of 17, not long after my sister joined the Royal Military College and is still in the military years later, I was encouraged to also explore opportunities in the Armed Forces. I was leaning towards the Navy because I’m a huge fan of the sea to this day. I started out as a Naval Combat Information Operator, but as soon as I turned 18, I pushed to become a diver. I really wanted the challenge, as only 5% of divers in the Navy at the time were women.”
Were there specific skills or lessons from your military experience that transferred well to your entrepreneurial journey? If so, what were they?
“What’s good about the military is that you learn a certain level of discipline and routine. Having that skill when you’re starting as an entrepreneur is good because there’s nobody above you giving you orders. You are the master of your time and how you use it.”
Was there a moment where you realized that your business would work out? If so, what was that moment?
"I think that moment for me was when people started reaching out to me on LinkedIn inquiring about my services, even though I hadn't really done any promotion. The Italian Trade commission in Qatar had even referred my services to a local designer there who reached out to me. And I realized, if I haven't promoted my services, and people are still looking for me, I might be onto something."
Is there any message you’d like to give to future Veterans transitioning to civilian life who are considering becoming entrepreneurs?
"It's not going to be easy. There's no one I know who experienced overnight success; it's quite rare. It's going to take time and energy. Some days will be draining, while others will be incredible. I'd also recommend trying to connect with entrepreneurs at various stages of their businesses that are similar in some ways to yours. It's beneficial to share experiences, ask questions, and realize you're not alone."
How would you say that PTC has helped you in your entrepreneurial journey?
"The various information sessions with consultants on various topics have been incredibly helpful. I spoke with a person who addressed all my tax-related questions. They have connected me with individuals possessing different skill sets who have guided me in the right direction. The best thing I've done was speed networking; you can converse with different people for 10 minutes, and if that isn't sufficient, they are usually comfortable sharing their email addresses so you can contact them."
To find Veteran-Owned businesses like ML Fashion Consultancy, visit the BuyVeteran.ca directory. With over 600+ Veteran-owned businesses on the directory across Canada, it’s easier than ever to support a Veteran-owned small business.
Prince’s Trust Canada’s Veteran programming makes the transition from military service to entrepreneurship accessible by providing expert advice, resources and mentorship Veterans need to become successful business owners. To learn more, visit the Veterans & Military page on princestrust.ca.