A Mount Isa milliner has taken the opportunity to up-skill during the COVID-19 downturn of her business, calling it a "blessing in disguise".
Millinery by Mel owner Mel Atherinos has seen a 95 per cent decline in product sales over the last three months, but said it gave her time to rethink the future of her business.
Due to race meeting, weddings and social events being cancelled globally due to the COVID-19 pandemic, milliners are making very few sales and are turning their hand to online training.
"I have just finished a seven day course with a milliner in France, so what would usually cost me thousands of dollars is now extremely affordable," Ms Atherinos said.
"Classes are full of different accents with people from Ireland, United Kingdom, New Zealand and America.
"As they all have different styles it was also an opportunity to learns come new trends. I have learnt so much in the last three months and it has been a large benefit for the growth of my business."
Ms Atherinos said COVID-19 had a "huge" impact on her business but the industry had adapted.
"As I rely on events and races for the sale of my products, when that was restricted it also restricted my business," she said.
"Our industry has diversified a lot and have moved from Fashions on the Field trackside to virtual fashions. So I was getting a few sales but generally a lot of women were recycling outfits they already had. But this adaptation has allowed the industry to continue and not die off.
"I think it is a whole new avenue, it is good in a way because you have women competing from all different states in the one competition. Where as at local race meetings, you see the same girls entering every time, so it is nice to diversify the competition."
Another roadblock that Ms Atherinos faced was the halt of international sales.
"During the COVID-19 lock down I was still having international enquiries and collaborations with a fashion designer in America but due to the restrictions of overseas sales distribution has stopped," she said.
"Even though I have lost weekly trade, I have not stopped work. I have continued to stockpile all my products so when things do ramp back up, I will still have the product here.
"I have slowed down and enjoyed life a little bit more and not working so many hours. I don't think I'll ever go back to the amount of normal hours I was doing, because that was not normal."
Ms Atherinos hoped that patrons would be allowed back at country race meetings soon.
"We are grateful that we've had no cases out here and that things are starting to get back to 'normal', hopefully patrons can head back to the track soon," she said.
"Fashionistas are still planning their outfits hoping that restrictions will soon ease. Obviously it is all up in the air with Melbourne Cup especially considering what is happening in Victoria at the moment, but I think country meets will be the ones who start back first."
While you are here, subscribe to our weekly email delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Friday.