Happythreads is increasing our export sales into the UK next year and will be entering the French and Spanish markets. We supply clothing to healthcare professionals (Dentists, Medical and Veterinary Clinics, Pharmacies, Care Homes, Hospital).
The main brand we supply is koi, which is changing the way healthcare professionals wear clothing. We sell directly B2C and to medical supply companies B2B.
We entered into the UK market last year through both channels and have seen growth especially through a Healthcare Supply Company.
We have reached the end of a trial period and have agreed very ambitious plans for 2011. We hope to use this model to increase sales in other markets.
What is your role?
Why did you start the business?
My wife purchased a type of uniform with personalised embroidery in the US in 2009, she could not find anything like it in Ireland or UK. She contacted the company (koi) and enquired where she could purchase them in Ireland or UK, they informed her that they were currently looking for a distributor. I was unemployed, I registered a business name and contacted koi.
What is the biggest challenge?
Breaking into new markets.
What is your unique selling point?
We are a boutique uniform provider, we aim to make the purchase of healthcare uniforms a pleasurable experience. We are passionate about our products, they are not just a uniform. We currently offer free shipping to Irish and UK customers.
What makes you a good entrepreneur?
I get up at 5AM.
How are you marketing the company?
SEO, trade shows, email campaigns, cold calling.
What are the biggest challenges to growth?
Not being the cheapest is a challenge right now, persuading people to spend a little more to achieve a higher quality product they will make them happier at work.
If you were starting out again, what would you do differently?
About a hundred things.
What are your plans to develop the company?
We aim to make Ireland a hub for European distribution of boutique healthcare garments at affordable prices.
What are you doing that most excites you?
Exporting, its money and jobs into Ireland.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
I look at a picture of my new baby and ask myself if I want to explain why my business failed.