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Tierna overcomes childhood tragedy to fashion dream business from the mayhem of lockdown

Mum launches online boutique

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Tierna has made a point of modelling the clothes herself

Tierna has made a point of modelling the clothes herself

Tierna has made a point of modelling the clothes herself

Childhood tragedy hasn't stopped one ambitious woman from realising her full potential and creating a lockdown business sure to catch the attention of many fashionistas across Northern Ireland.

The Cyber Closet spearheaded by Ballymartin entrepreneur Tierna Greene-McComb is giving women a chance to purchase boutique clothing with an affordable price-tag.

Tierna's online creation has brought more than 2,000 followers to her Instagram account since it opened in September.

The married mother-of-one, who lost her grandfather, father and brother in the 2002 Kilkeel fishing tragedy, has also drawn attention from fashion model Lisa Snowdon and Irish Instagram influencer Rachel Gorry, with both reaching out to her page.

Tierna (30) explained that she always found local and national boutiques extremely expensive and this is where her business concept came from.

"I've always loved fashion, what girl doesn't?" she said.

"Everyone wants to look good and feel good at the same time and this is really important to me as the owner of the boutique. My range is high quality boutique clothing but at an affordable price.

"Clients will be able to see from my product range that my prices reflect what I myself would be willing to pay, if I were a paying customer."

Tierna wants her brand to be personal and has made a point of modelling the clothes herself and making sure she responds to any comments on her social media pages as well as emails from customers.

"I am a huge advocate for women empowerment and with this in mind, I decided to include myself in most of my business pictures on the Instagram page.

"Unfortunately, the media, particularly social media, pressurises all of us to compare ourselves to unrealistic standards through an unrealistic lens."

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Fashion entrepreneur Tierna Greene-McComb

Fashion entrepreneur Tierna Greene-McComb

Fashion entrepreneur Tierna Greene-McComb

Tierna admits that putting herself out there wasn't an easy thing to do after only having her son Michael a year ago.

"Like most new mums, I had many insecurities about my new body shape and plenty of bad days where I just couldn't find anything to fit properly."

She has sourced suppliers from Italy, France and Spain, and took her time to ensure that her customers were getting quality goods with reasonable price-tags. "I'm a working mum, and I don't want to be paying through the nose for nice clothes," she explained.

"I want women, who are in a similar position to me, to be able to get a nice affordable outfit without breaking the bank.

"That's my goal and definitely the ethos of my business."

She hopes that by wearing the clothes in her pictures she will inspire her followers to wear the items with confidence while embracing their own unique bodies at the same time.

Despite the growing success after only opening her virtual doors back in September, it has taken Tierna a long time to get to the point where she felt confident enough to give the business a go.

And watching the struggles her own mum faced when she was growing up, she always wanted to carve out a better life for her own family.

At the age of 12, Tierna, her mum and her sister were thrown into the depths of sadness when three generations from her family perished at sea.

Her grandfather, father and brother (8), all named Michael Greene, lost their lives while out on the family boat fishing for prawns along the Co Down coast in February 2002.

"Things could have gone either way for me and I just thought I'm going to do something with my life," she recalled.

"I witnessed the struggles my mum had after the tragedy and I always thought I'm going to make something of myself and try and have a better life for all of us."

After finishing school, she moved to London and studied a degree in forensic science before becoming an operating department practitioner.

Having support from social media influencers has really given Tierna the confidence boost she needed.

After posting up a description about herself with a profile picture, she said she was "over the moon" when she discovered TV star and model Lisa Snowdon had liked her post.

Her husband Shane got in touch with Irish influencer Rachel Gorry, who was recently bereaved after her husband lost his battle with cancer earlier this year.

Rachel got in touch with Tierna and has been supporting her since her boutique went live.

"I am just so incredibly thankful to everyone who has supported me and for these amazing women for reaching out, it really means the world.

"We have to keep going in life, no matter what it throws at us."

Alongside her online business there is also a showroom - located in the village of Ballymartin and open to the public with all the necessary Covid-19 preventative safety measures in place - where customers can try on clothes.

Sizes range from 8 up to 16/18 and Tierna plans to bring in a plus-size range very soon.

She also has a very exciting new brand launch happening at the beginning of 2021.

Check out Tierna's online boutique at www.thecybercloset.com, on Instagram go to thecybercloset_irl and Facebook thecyberclosetirl

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