I completed my A-Levels at Ballakermeen High School in 1992 and went on the IOM college where I completed the 1 year Art Foundation course

I then attended the University of East London, reading Fashion Design and Marketing and graduated with BA (Hons) upper second Class degree (2:1) in 1996

Through my time in university I supported myself, and had many jobs which, (learning from my parents work ethic in retail on the Island) ensured I understood hard work was always required and taught me the true value of money – as you’d expect, even in the early 90’s living in London as a student was a struggle, but I am proud of going through hardship to be where I am today. (sometimes living on just Weetabix!)

I did an internship post university and then worked at the Global Fashion brand Burberry for 10 years. In this time I managed international supply chains, a large team, managed and scrutinised very large budgets, considered infrastructure strategy and capital investment, dealt with international stakeholders, worked globally at an operational and strategic level, notably in New York and Italy for the Brand. I was part of the management team when the company went through it’s IPO and ended my time at Burberry as Head of Product Development.

I then moved to a Company Called Hardy Amies, dress-maker to the Queen as Head of Womenswear, and finished my time in London working for Melissa Odabash, another luxury brand based in Mayfair as COO/Head designer.

In 2010 I decided to change career, having reached the top in the fashion industry, and made the decision to re-train as a teacher. I qualified as a teacher in Design and technology through a GTP programme and spent one year as an NQT. Despite 14 years in fashion at a very high level, I have to say the 2 years I spent teaching were the most enjoyable of my life. We moved to Northumberland and I worked in the largest school in Newcastle, with over 2600 students with very mixed social backgrounds (there was a very high proportion of children who qualified for free school meals, indicating a high level of poverty or near poverty in the area). I have never worked such long hours but the reward I got from helping and developing children and young adults was humbling and I am exceptionally proud of my achievements, and those of my students over this time.

I relocated back to the island with my Manx-born husband in 2012 and immediately started to look for employment as a teacher, only to find there were no teaching jobs in Design and technology available on the Island at that time, which was hugely disappointing.

As such, I decided to start my own business, Claire Christian Couture, which started off as a home-based bespoke service, developing into a ready-to-wear & bespoke brand and finally moving into retail. I now have a very successful Boutique store in Victoria Street, which is managed by a small team of very dedicated staff for me. I have provided over 120 internships through the business, working closely with Schools, the IOM College and Universities and continue to provide mentoring and guidance, together with employment for full time and part time staff.

From a personal perspective, I live in Douglas South and have done for over 6 years, my elderly parents live in Union Mills, and my Husband works in the financial sector of the island, having re-trained following a very successful military career. We are both involved with multiple charities on the Island, and somehow he finds the time to also volunteer as a special constable. We do not have children, but have 3 dogs – which keep us fit and busy!