Fashion store owner and blogger Danielle Campbell has made a real mark on the fashion scene in Northern Ireland in recent years. Still only in her 20s, Danielle’s career to date is an inspiring and exciting one.
Danielle, you left your 9-5 office job last year to set up your own store ‘The Style Retreat’, what gave you the push to go into retail and be your own boss?
To be honest it was something I had been wanting to do for quite a while but I had always been looking for the ‘right’ time. The reality is there is no right time to leave the security of a good job and follow your heart into the unknown, so after a lot of talking and planning I realised the only thing left to do was actually do it. I’m extremely lucky to have a very supportive fiancée and family which made it that little bit easier but no less scary.
Having worked in a very entrepreneurial environment previously – full of start-ups, successes, creatives and energy – it was hard not to catch the business bug.
What kind clothes and accessories does The Style Retreat stock?
The Style Retreat stocks an array of styles and designers from occasion wear and accessories to casual pieces and shoes. The goal is to offer something on trend but that little bit different from the high-street so we are always on the hunt for exciting and quirky new brands that will offer customers that stylish edge. It’s also important for us to be as inclusive as possible, so we have pieces to suit a range of age groups as well as sizes, currently stocking sizes 6-24 in a selection of pieces.
What do you enjoy most about running your own fashion store?
I love buying, it’s every fashion lover’s dream to go shopping on a massive scale and I get to do it as part of my job.
I have full reign on choosing styles, colours, patterns and designers which whilst fantastically enjoyable, puts all the pressure on me to make the right choices.
The freedom to make these decisions is so liberating…and a huge amount of fun. I also love the diversity of every day and the people I get to meet and chat with from customers and suppliers to designers and media.
The Style Retreat on show at Belfast Fashion Week. Photo credit: Stephen Potter.
What do you find most challenging about owning your own business?
Learning to balance work and home-life can be more difficult when you own your business because as the boss you don’t ever switch off, my mind buzzes as much as my phone. So it’s important to make time for family, friends (and the cleaning lol).
What advice would you give someone wanting to carve out a career in fashion retail?
Make sure you really want it and if so be prepared to work hard. Get plenty of experience under your belt whether it be a Saturday job, helping at events or working your way up for a company or brand. Read lots of magazines and stay on top of the latest trends from season to season.
To do well in fashion retail you have to live and breathe it. Don’t be afraid to learn, ask lots of questions and get involved wherever there’s an opportunity, but don’t negate the importance of listening and humility.
You’ve had you blog ‘The Yellowest Diamonds‘ for over three years, what sort of posts do you like to write?
I have to admit that from opening the boutique my little blog has taken a back seat unfortunately but I am determined to get back into the swing of things (that’s the balance challenge I mentioned). The main interest for the blog is finding local fashion and beauty gems to rave about, whether that be events, fashion shows skincare products, local designers or brands and everything in between. I started the blog to bring to light some of the great talent we have locally which often goes unnoticed and encourage readers to support local. Combining this with thoughts and ideas on the newest trends, season looks and the ever popular shopping hauls!
How would describe your own personal style?
Hmmm that’s an interesting one – often it can depend on the day of the week, how much time I have and my itinerary for the day.
My style is probably a little out there for some peoples tastes – I love bright colours and prints and something that’s little bit different.
However it must be said that black is undoubtedly my favourite colour. It’s always chic and can be effortlessly dressed up and down. On weekdays I’m all about the comfy chic, so you will usually find me in cream jeans or leather trousers and a brightly printed blouse or plain black tee, teamed with my leopard print kicks, glitter flats or red brogues. Then at the weekends if I’m heading out it’s all about the glam – a little dress and the highest heels I can find with plenty of bling.
Danielle on holiday in Italy
You got engaged last year, do you have a clear vision of what you want your wedding style to be?
Haha I’d like to say yes but honestly it changes with every prettier dress or accessory I come across. We are getting married in Italy so I don’t want an overtly formal affair. I want it to be fun so I’ll probably break a few typical ‘rules’ and it will undoubtedly be marmite, but sure isn’t that part of the fun!
Do you have a motto you live by, and if so what is it?
I have a few to be fair, but overall I just try to be as positive as possible because I believe so much good can come from it. Whether it be hard work, helping a stranger, getting through a tough day or simply having a better outlook. I was once told years ago that it takes less muscles to smile than it does to frown so I do my best to keep smiling. From a business perspective the Henry Ford quote always sticks with me: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
How do you like to unwind?
Oh, I’d say a bath and a book, followed by a CSI marathon in my pjs with a cuppa and some chocolate. Bliss!