Kylie Hearne

Kylie Hearne studied Classical Civilisation at Swansea University, graduating in2010. She is owner of Stardust Boutique which sells evening wear.

Why did you decide to study at Swansea University?

The reputation of the Classics department.

What did you enjoy most about your course at Swansea?

My course was fantastic and taught me so many skills that are relevant to my line of work now. The lecturers were really amazing at what they did.

What are you doing now career-wise?

I have started my own business - Stardust Boutique Ltd - selling beautiful evening wear.

My business has won numerous awards including South Wales Retail Business of the Year, and I have won the Prince’s Trust Young Ambassador of the Year Award.

How has Swansea University and your course helped you with your chosen career path?

My degree in Classical Civilisation has been vital to my chosen career path. I have the ability to analyse critically and precisely, which has been essential when deciding where I spend what little money I have. Whilst studying I was confronted with unfamiliar texts and problems and had to try and deal with them and find solutions where possible. My work throws up new situations all the time, and I have to be extremely adaptable, sensitive, and thoughtful (customers are not always straightforward to deal with!).

I have always been very self-motivated and self-disciplined, but my studies enhanced this side of my character, especially my dissertation, where I had to think of, plan, and execute a large-scale project of my own. Needless to say, you can’t hope to run a business successfully without both self-motivation and planning! I’m also a much more confident communicator and am comfortable writing and speaking to suppliers, customers, the media, and even the Prime Minister and Prince Charles!

Finally, my degree encouraged me to think independently and creatively: Classical Civilisation is fundamentally about working things out for yourself, being able to argue for your point of view, and not being afraid to be imaginative. My career path requires me to be independent and creative all the time, and I need to be imaginative in how I market my business and in presenting myself and my work in the best possible light.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

Running a business is tough! There are so many things to do on a daily basis that I find myself working up to 18 hours a day. Luckily my degree has provided me with fabulous multi-tasking skills which enable me to prioritise more important tasks.

What are the most rewarding parts of your job?

The achievements of my clients, such as Sophie Moulds who not only won the Miss Wales competition but went on to place first runner up at Miss World. I have also enjoyed being a young ambassador for the Prince’s Trust (the charity that helped me start my business) which has taken me to Downing Street to meet David Cameron and other politicians such as Vince Cable to discuss youth unemployment and entrepreneurship.

What was the best careers advice you were given?

“Rome wasn’t built in a day”

What advice do you have for current students and new graduates?

I am regularly asked “did you study fashion or business?” - I am greeted with surprise and disbelief when I reply that I have a Classical Civilisation degree. My degree taught me so many key skills that I apply to my job.

I truly believe that it has broadened my horizons so much that if I wanted to, I could work as an archaeologist, writer, administrator or as a business woman directing a fashion boutique!

The experiences that I gained while being at University prepared me for ‘the grown-up world’ and I have matured as a person through this. I have made fantastic friends, and my confidence has been lifted.

What are your plans for the future?

I would like to make enough money to buy a property which I could gain a rental income from and some security for my future. I would like to sell the business and write a book.

What have you done that you are most proud of?

Opening my shop was a huge milestone for me, having started the business with just five dresses on a rail from my bedroom and no money. It was quite an emotional day as it was something that I had worked very hard for.

What are your favourite memories of your university years at Swansea?

Barbecues on the beach, going to JCs in between lectures for a coffee and a catch up with friends, late nights in the library working for deadlines.

And finally, describe yourself in 3 words…

Imaginative, Intelligent, Determined.