From Biology to Bank to Bowties
If you told collegebound Oneil that his career would culminate in fashion and photography, he’d say you’ve got the wrong guy.
I studied biology in college and headed straight to grad school at the University of Virginia, eyeing a PhD. But as the lab hours multiplied, my excitement for biology dwindled. I needed a new start.
When I decided to shift gears, I was conveniently living above Wachovia bank. I walked into the bank, asked about a job, and started as a teller. Within the year, and three promotions later, I was branch manager. I loved my work, mostly because I loved people. My day job sparked unique relationships and my own creativity.
I used my off-hours to launch a style blog called The Creative Gentleman. At first, I said yes to everything and everyone who approached me. That’s what bloggers do, right? I jumped at any opportunity to work with a brand and to build my blogger cred, even if the brand wasn’t the best fit for my personality. While working with more brands was exciting, my online personality wasn’t reflecting the real me, and it showed.
That changed in 2017 when I turned on the real me, authentically and unapologetically. I worked with menswear brands to show off their latest looks and tied them back to my own brand. I remember one company asked me to post their clothes but with a focus on how I defined my own success; there were no limitations wore my passion on my sleeve (literally and figuratively), and hoped a likeminded community would understand, join the ride and get inspired.
For the first time, my content was real and meaningful to people. My audience grew, and it started to pay off. Earlier this year, I committed to this passion project fulltime. My wife and family have been incredibly supportive. It’s all still so new that I haven’t shared this major life change with many people…until right now.
My days evolved from rigid and regular to fluid and flexible, filled with exciting meetings, sunrise photoshoots, and non-stop travel. My love of men’s fashion and expertise in photography flourished along the way. Now as I work toward my next goal of becoming a go-to resource for likeminded people throughout the mid-Atlantic, I hope to inspire others to try on something new – whether a suit, a career or something entirely else. Your perfect fit is out there – go find it.