Modern Slashies: Meet Four Women Who Are Reinventing The Working Day

Denise Curtin chats to those who are juggling jobs, building businesses and pursuing passions.

Most of us are already very familiar with the term ‘slashies’. Often used in reference to celebrities who take on various roles at once, like djing and modelling, writing books while launching a fragrance range – think the ultimate noughties it girls for inspiration, the rise of Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. But nowadays, we’re seeing a more varied and modern take on the role of a slashie, and exactly who that is. We’re seeing women grow their own companies from within the security of a paid job, we’re seeing others turn hobbies into bona fide businesses, with the goal for every single one of them being to succeed while doing something they love. Using lockdown to their advantage to grow their side hustles into something great, we meet the Irish women who credit their drive to helping them carve out the career they want.

 

Gabrielle Luksaite

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by GABSLUK (@bygabsluk)

She’s a real life Hannah Montana. Come 5pm, Gabby trades her serious corporate role for her lockdown passion project turned booming business, gabslux. Creating beautiful handmade jewellery, earlier this year Gabby was inspired to wear something unique and different, thus turning her skills and sharp eye into her very own brand. Now juggling two very different roles, Gabby loves the variety and admits everyday is a learning day. 

“I live a corporate 9-5 life Monday to Friday and then between 5pm to 2am and weekends I run gabslux. Gabslux is my jewellery brand that I founded almost ten months ago now. At first, it was a bit of a secret, I was working on it by myself first before I published it and shared it on socials and since, it has really taken off; my boyfriend is even helping me now as well because I really needed the help. The reason behind starting gabslux was because I just wanted to see more fun jewellery and really use my imagination and all my ideas and designs come from thoughts in my head. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t and I think that’s the beauty of jewellery.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by GABSLUK (@bygabsluk)

“Gabslux really is a lockdown project, it started off during lockdown because we couldn’t go anywhere and couldn’t do anything, and since I express my creative side through the things I wear, it’s now lovely to have something to work for, and something on the side, expressing my creative side through gabslux too.

“With juggling two jobs it is a struggle and that’s why my boyfriend had to come on board and help me, even my mum’s beading in Galway right now because we just cannot keep up at the moment. So yeah, it is a struggle but I think I’m going to learn as I go along, and thankfully I’ve really supportive family and friends who help me as well so, we’ll see how it goes. Right now, my morning up until 4pm or 5pm, that’s corporate Gabby there and then, the second job comes in, so essentially it’s an 18 hour a day job but that’s what I wanted.”

 

Grace Lee 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by The Baker’s Niece (@thebakersniece)

Working as an international accountant, Grace already had a lot on her plate before she added delicious treats, cue The Baker’s Niece. After years of baking as a hobby and showcasing a real talent for it, Grace Lee’s skills soon turned into the demand of Dublin. Creating everything from incredible treat boxes that feature the likes of gooey brownies and cookie dough cups, to personalised and thoughtful cakes, Grace is one busy woman, but it’s jam packed days doing just what she loves.

“There was a point during lockdown when we couldn’t travel very far – some of my friends who know I bake cakes asked me to make a birthday cake for someone – I thought, with all that extra time on my hands and people wanting treats that seemed to be in short supply, it was a good idea to start making treat boxes and birthday cakes. It started mostly with very supportive friends and turned into a big hit with local businesses. I had been baking around five years, and I absolutely love it, so it didn’t really feel like extra work at first. When we were in lockdown there was nothing else to do, but eventually, I just had to prioritise what was important to me – of course work and family, but then when big businesses came calling asking for something regularly, I knew I couldn’t manage it. I’ve always liked my job more than most people, so I decided to cut back on the business and not advertise as much. I got a new job during lockdown which meant I had to take less orders, but it also meant I could really put a lot of thought into each of them.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by The Baker’s Niece (@thebakersniece)

“At this stage I’d still consider The Baker’s Niece a side hustle, but if I was to give advice to new business owners it would be to keep organised and on top of things, when it comes to a business like this, it’s easy to get burnt out. There have been days when I’ve been absolutely exhausted between work, gym, travelling, making videos, etc, and not wanting to do a cake at all – but it’s not something I can put off, and I feel good about it when it’s finished. The other thing is to keep going, things sometimes take time to pick up, and business can be slow, but if you put a lot of effort into it, you can really get the most put of your time. And enjoy it – it’s always nice doing something you love!”

Aisling Kavanagh

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by AISLING KAVANAGH (@aislingkavanagh_)

For Aisling, her business and her 9-5 job nicely complement each other. During the day, Aisling works in the fashion industry, designing for a global fashion brand, while post 5pm, the Dublin native gets to work on her second job, Aisling Kavanagh Design. An independent Irish brand specialising in bespoke Irish handmade accessories, Aisling’s passion for fashion is evident in all that she does and if you were every lucky enough to get your hands on one of her designs, you’ll certainly agree she was born for this role. Dropping collections seasonally that are both ethically made and one-of-a-kind.

“Lockdown really pushed me to start my own website and create a brand page on Instagram. I was incredibly nervous putting my pieces out there for everyone to see but I’m so glad I did. The pandemic gave me a chance to reflect on the brand and what I wanted it to become. I realised how quickly life can pass by and why was I waiting for everything to be perfect before I started a website? 

“Working full time and having my own brand on the side is tough, meaning I go to work, come home, and then straight into working on my own stuff. Having that ‘side hustle’ is exhausting, working myself to the bone, and my social life is non-existent, but it’s all worth it when I see my designs being worn. When I see the customer feeling confident in what she is wearing. These hand created pieces take time, design thinking and a lot of blood, sweat and tears, but when people make a purchase it’s so much more than buying a cute accessory.They are supporting a small business and they’re making my day. Even when it comes to likes and follows on Instagram, the smallest gestures, have the biggest impact and I am forever grateful for that.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by AISLING KAVANAGH (@aislingkavanagh_)

“Before Christmas when I launched the AW21 collection and had the launch of a new pop up shop Gifted By Greens Are Good For You in same week as my 9-5 day job, I found it so hard to juggle all three. Many tears and break downs, hoping everything would work out and I kept on having to tell myself ‘It will all be worth it in the end’. I think what any artist hopes for is to be understood, seen and appreciated for what we’re doing. I’m so lucky to be given validation, and the validation of people who think what I’m doing is special makes me push harder with my pieces. The pieces take time and care in construction. It’s extremely rewarding to be able to connect to so many people all over the world who resonate with the work I am making and in turn that’s what makes me want to keep doing and creating.

“My passion is to make girls and women feel truly themselves while wearing my designs – confident in their own skin and just feeling some type of way while wearing it. I think it really keeps you going and motivates you. Those kind of things make it more than just the material item.”

 

Johanna Dooley

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Johanna Dooley (@johannadooley)

Setting up not one but two businesses since the pandemic began, Johanna is the definition of boss goals and to quote Bratz, she’s got a ‘passion for fashion’ and she’s putting it to good use. Launching loungewear and accessories brand ToDyeFor by Johanna in May 2020, followed by luxury clothing rental service greens are good for you alongside best friend Kara O’Sullivan in October 2021, Johanna didn’t leave lockdown after lockdown deter her from creating her dream job and now, super successful businesses. 

“I started ToDyeFor by Johanna in May of last year. I actually had a fashion rental business before that called Borrower Boutique but because of the pandemic, it died down as nobody was going out anymore. Then I put my focus on loungewear as it was the way to go. However, there was no tie dye loungewear that I liked on the market so I decided to make a few jumpers myself. I put them on Instagram not really thinking it would become a business but people just loved them so I said I’d start selling a few. A few however lead to me not being able to keep up with the demand, hand dying in my kitchen while trying to get my mum and brothers involved, but we now have everything manufactured in India which is really exciting. We’re even stocked in Arrnots now so it’s going really well.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Johanna Dooley (@johannadooley)

“My style personality is I’ll either be at home and comfy on the couch, so that’s my ToDyeFor side, or I’ll be getting all dressed up – not just in occasionwear but everyday pieces, so that’s my greens are too good for you side. When Kara and I got together, she was always interested in rental having done a fashion internship in New York which turned into a job and inspired by the likes of Rent The Runway over there, she turned to me and said ‘Jo, what are you doing with rental [referring to Borrower Boutique]?’ And I said ‘you know, it’s gone a bit stale for me after covid’, but Kara had an idea to turn the concept into more everyday wear and bring in accessories, so the two of us came together and greens are good for you launched. We’re now three months in business.”

Have your say

More like this