January 12, 2020 Creative

Burlesque and millinery.

The events and entertainment industry were a good fit for Paige and her creative, outgoing personality. But employers can lose clients and contracts, or just make changes. That was Paige’s introduction to unemployment. Wanting to stay in the industry, she applied for many jobs, often making it to the final two applicants, but ultimately missing out. “I became extremely discouraged and quite anxious,” admits Paige.

“Through Centrelink, I was signed up with jobactive, and my case worker Jerome was fantastic. He quickly realised I was creative and that I made hats in my spare time. He listened to my anxieties about going back into work; and suggested the NEIS program to me. I had heard of it before and had even worked for a woman for many years who had started her business through NEIS.”

Starting NEIS training with MTC in Marrickville, Paige went through the process of turning the hobbies she loved into a business. Burlesque performing and modelling had been the perfect space for the hats and headpieces she created. They were extremely popular and commissions had started to come in. Putting these skills together with a business plan, ‘LadyHart‘ took shape and went full-time!

Burlesque is a theatrical performance. Often with dance, often with humour and usually with more than a dash of risqué glamour.

As a showgirl by night, LadyHart has become known throughout the NSW burlesque and cabaret circuit for her eccentricity and glamour. Her remarkable handmade costumes dazzle on stage with a unique fusion of fashion and freak-show. Through this showcase her creations are featured with a captivating demonstration of how to use them.

“I sell online on my website. Mostly performers, artists, models and stylists get in touch with me to have a custom piece created,” says Paige. “In October, the commissions were so much fun; from creating a Game of Thrones style headpiece out of kewpie dolls that lit up; to making winged headpieces for an international band’s album cover art.”

Paige found the NEIS training accessible and user-friendly. She appreciated her trainer who took the class through the assignment questions together as a group. There was also individual coaching, where Paige was happy to find the unconventional methods she preferred to use for finances and planning, were confirmed as perfectly valid ways to continue on with. Very reassuring for someone uncomfortable with numbers and spreadsheets. Finding this reassurance and building confidence through research and planning are hallmarks of NEIS training.

In only a few short months after completing the NEIS program, LadyHart has featured in Israel Fashion Week, at music festivals, burlesque shows and exhibitions all over the world.

“It really is a dream come true,” says Paige. “I entered Australia’s first DIY Burlesque competition, creating a routine and head-to-toe costume for under $100. I made my costume almost entirely from placemats and wire. When they announced my name as Australia’s first DIY Burlesque Queen I couldn’t believe it, I just started shaking! From that moment, so many messages and likes and follows flooded in on social media; and so many new people ask me to create something incredible for them.”

LadyHart’s live performance work combines with online platforms to find the largest audience and new clients. “I am making DIY videos weekly on a variety of topics, and it brings me so much joy to be able to share all my random skills with the world.”

In 2020, LadyHart travels to NZ, Brisbane, Melbourne, the Blue Mountains, and Newcastle to perform! Drum roll please!

If you have a new business idea, take the first step to self-employment with free NEIS training. NEIS is an Australian Government sponsored new business training program, to assist with self-employment. Use the postcode finder for your local provider and contact them for a chat. 


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