Derry’s sustainable and functional linen apparel is Boston bound
02 November 2018
A Derry-based linen apparel company is one of nine companies from the North West City region travelling as part of a high level trade and investment delegation to Boston later this month.
Bridie Mullin Irish Linen will bring her eponymous label of handcrafted quality Irish linen to Boston and Philadelphia in an effort to tap into the US market.
Bridie is among nine businesses from the Derry City and Strabane District and Donegal County Councils who are travelling as part of the delegation that is being led by the two Mayors, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr John Boyle and An Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council Cllr Seamus O’Domhnaill, alongside representatives from local further education providers and development organisations.
Speaking ahead of the visit, Bridie says she is hopeful the visit will have real benefits for her company.
She said: “The trade visit to Boston is an opportunity for me to build on the desktop and product research that I have carried out and provide me with a unique opportunity to visit stores and meet with possible clients to get a deeper understanding of what exactly the customer is looking for and how my current designs, colours and delivery drops are currently suited and whether I need to make adjustments to reflect this market.
“It will also provide me with an opportunity to network with other personnel not directly associated with the clothing industry in order to gain a better understanding of the logistics of exporting and models of operation through B2B. The visit will also be beneficial in giving me an insight into the potential hidden costs involved in finalising price points for trading. “
Since establishing her business, Bridie has been very focused on quality control and producing striking and quality designs that are not only fashionable and functional but sustainable.
She explained: “Ireland was once known as the centre of the world’s linen industry but with a growth in synthetics, production on the island declined. Thankfully today however, a renewed interest in sustainable fashion and ethically produced goods has seen a welcome resurgence in demand and in order to meet this demand I have established my business targeting discerning customers with an eye to quality and design.”
She believes the uniqueness of her product and the fact that all materials are sourced from factories in Northern Ireland and are designed and produced within 15 miles of the studio is a big selling point.
“Linen derived from the flax plant, requires no pesticides or herbicides in the fields. As a natural fibre linen has inherent temperature-regulating properties. In hot weather, linen absorbs moisture and excess heat, whilst in winter it retains body heat. Linen also increases in strength when wet, which is why it stands up to repeated home laundering so well thus avoiding the chemicals of dry cleaning. Operating a local production process means garments can be produced and delivered to outlets within a two to three-week time frame compared to two delivers per year in the traditional model. This allows stores to order in relation to local climate and demand thus avoiding surplus build-up of stock.
Bridie added; “To support the retailer, designs change regularly throughout the year so there is always something new and fresh to attract customer attention. Customers are particularly attracted to the collection as designs are created to take the wearer from the office, to the restaurant or to a social event by simply ‘layering up’ or changing accessories. It is the ideal range for the minimalist’s wardrobe. I am very proud of the fact that all waste fabrics are used to create items for the craft industry and the tourist market thus creating zero waste.”
Bridie is confident that cities like Boston and Philadelphia with their large ex-pat population is the perfect location for her to expand her customer base.
“I am really hoping that I can tap into this market with my authentic Irish product and build on the origin of the raw materials and production process and how the designs meet the needs of the busy consumer. I will be taking a capsule wardrobe for women and a collection of men’s tailored linen shirts with me to test the market.”
Bridie Mullin is located in the fashion and Textile Design Centre on 31 Shipquay Street, Derry. You can view her collections online via the website at www.bridiemullin.com - Facebook- @bridiemullinltd; Instagram- mullinbridie; [email protected]
The trade mission will run from 12 to 16 November with the two Mayors and officials visiting both Philadelphia and Boston and the businesses travelling to Boston only. The aim of the visit is to build on the strong political, economic and cultural linkages already established in both cities with the North West City region.
This visit is part of the ongoing positive work being done by the two Councils to establish strong economic development links and initiatives in the US and will build on the work done over the last number of years in promoting the North West region as an attractive investment proposition and on developing new market and network opportunities for businesses from Donegal, Derry and Strabane areas.
Among the companies travelling are from Donegal - Triona, Fire Cloud 365 and CFish. While Atlantic Hub, Joule Group, Northern Ireland Clinical Research Sciences, Automated Control Systems, Baronscourt Brewing Company and Bridie Mullin Ltd. from the Derry and Strabane area will also be taking part alongside both Councils, third level and further education providers and development organisations from across the North West including Ulster University, Letterkenny Institute of Technology, the North West Regional College and Udaras na Gaeltachta.
For more information visit www.IrelandNW.com #IrelandNW18.