Online Learning Grad is Owner of Egan Street Design
Lora O'Shaughnessy is an artist and arts educator who lives and works in Texas. She earned her B.A. in Film, TV, and Theatre from Notre Dame before her path led her to FIDM's online learning program in 2012 where she earned her Advanced Study A.A. in Merchandise Marketing. Five years later, she started her own business, Egan Street Design. We caught up with the enterprising artist to learn more.
Tell us about your business: Egan Street Design is a purveyor of weird and whimsical handmade creations. I also run various art related workshops for adults and kids. As a solo-preneur, I do it all. I design, source materials, and create the art. I also photograph, market, promote, sell, and package the work. I also have created all my own branding materials (for better or worse)!
While at times it can be overwhelming, I love getting to wear so many hats for my job. Taking a project from concept to launch is really satisfying for me. I’ve learned that I excel when working on projects I am passionate about, and having my own business is the ultimate passion project.
Tell us a little about yourself: I am an artist and arts educator living in Denton, TX, a small college town north of Dallas. It was a bit of a long and winding road to end up where I am today, but I am thankful for the journey. I studied Film, Television, and Theatre at the University of Notre Dame and graduated with a B.A. in 2011. After working in various fashion retail and film/TV industry jobs in Austin, TX, my path led me to FIDM in 2012.
I worked in retail merchandising and did some non-profit work. Then after taking a Graphic Design course at SMU in Dallas, I decided I was tired of trying to fit into a career path and decided to start my own business. In 2017, Egan Street Design was born and while there have certainly been some ups and downs, I am very passionate about my business and career path.
Why did you choose FIDM? I chose FIDM because it was highly ranked among fashion schools. It had a program that focused on merchandise marketing, which is what I was looking for at the time. The fact that they had a program that catered to students who already had a Bachelor’s degree also appealed to me, so I could skip the “core college course” I had already taken. Finally, its location in the heart of the LA Fashion District also played a role in my choice. The direct connection with the fashion industry made FIDM my number one choice for fashion school.
How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? The business strategies I learned at FIDM, helped prepare me for running my own business. In my classes I learned how successful companies build their brands, through providing the right product to the right customer at the right time. That tried and true mantra applies to all businesses regardless of product. I learned how strong cohesive marketing allows a successful business to connect with their ideal customers across a variety of platforms. And how to manage the financial side of things through knowledge of profit and loss statements and a healthy understanding of Excel spreadsheets.
When running a small art business, the tendency can be to not think of it as a business. Or that the business and marketing side of things is “icky.” But because of my time at FIDM I embraced the challenges of not only the art side but the business side as well.
What went into your decision to enroll in FIDM's eLearning program: I started with in-person classes at FIDM, but due to health complications I chose to complete my degree online. I was over halfway through my degree at that point and knew I wanted to see it through to completion. Online classes allowed me to complete my degree at my own pace.
Tell us about your online learning experience -- what was the best part? I love that I could build my own schedule with the online classes. Each week we were given assignments to complete, but total freedom as to when we could consume the materials. Not having a set class time and place, allowed me to learn at a pace that suited my learning needs, as well as pursue interests outside of the classroom.
How did your in-person FIDM experience compare with your online one? I feel I received the same great instruction both in person and online. While the way you consumed the information was different, with more reading and writing in the online courses in lieu of lectures and class participation, the quality was the same. As an introvert, I really enjoyed my online classes, because I excel in written communication.
Any advice for current FIDM Students who are experiencing online classes for the first time? The same principles apply to online classes as in-person classes—you get what you put in. If you apply yourself and try your best to understand the materials presented, you will leave each course with more knowledge than when you started.
Because you don’t have the accountability of being at a specific time and place for classes, it can be important to have designated work times and a workspace. Your workspace doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a quiet space where you can get in the “schoolwork” headspace.
Also, if you aren’t a person who is a self-starter, find ways to motivate yourself. Breaking down your weekly assignments into bite sized tasks, and rewarding yourself after each accomplishment is a great way to turn schoolwork into a game.
What is your biggest goal right now? My biggest goal right now is to continue to grow my business and make it sustainable for the long term. I’ve experienced a lot of growth recently, both in social media and in sales. I’m in the process of diversifying my product offerings to include “merch” products as well as handmade art. This will allow me to continue to grow without maxing out my time and resources.
Anything else you’d like to share? Wishing everyone health and safety! Remember don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it, both in school and in life.
Keep up with Lora O’Shaughnessy at eganstreetdesign.com and on Instagram @egan_street_design.
FIDM has been offering eLearning courses and entire majors online for over 15 years. We’ve been able to build on that foundation to deliver a true FIDM experience for our students currently experiencing an online-only quarter. FIDM's holistic approach focuses on academics, research, student activities, and career planning. Please contact FIDM Admissions to apply.