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Friday 22 August 2014

Island knitwear firm doubles profit to €68,000

Gordon Deegan

Published 11/02/2014 | 02:30

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Inis Meain Knitting specialises in traditional knitwear
Inis Meain Knitting specialises in traditional knitwear
Inis Meain Knitting specialises in traditional knitwear

A REMOTE island knitwear firm that counts Barney's and Bergdorf Goodman in New York among its clients last year enjoyed a substantial increase in profits and revenues.

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Located on the smallest of the three Aran Islands, Inis Meain, Inis Meain Knitting employs 16 on an island that has a population of around 160, making the business arguably more important to the island than Intel is to Kildare or Apple is to Cork.

Accounts recently filed by Cniotail Inis Meain Teoranta show that the firm's accumulated profits more than doubled to €68,358 in the 12 months to the end of December 2012.

The firm's cash pile during 2012 decreased to €183,762.

Founding managing director of the firm Tarlach de Blacam said yesterday that the firm enjoyed a substantial increase in profits and revenues in 2013, going up 10pc.

Established in 1976, the firm sells high-end knitwear garments ranging in price from €250 to €1,500 and has stockists around the world, including shops across the US and also some in Japan, Australia, Germany, France, the UK, Sweden and Italy.

Mr de Blacam said that the only market to be in is the high-end market.

On the numbers employed by the firm, Mr de Blacam said that there were other industries apart from fishing and tourism that employed those kinds of numbers on the country's offshore islands.

"We design, market and produce our products on Inis Meain," he said.

The Dublin-born Mr de Blacam added that the business had come through a couple of difficult years.

"We had a few very difficult years as a result of the financial crisis, but in 2012 and 2013 the business has come back and has now moved forward," he said.

He said: "I believe that the future is bright for us. There is a great revival of interest in authentic products like ours and the provenance of those products – and long may it last."

Mr de Blacam said that he lives in fear of the Government withdrawing the year-round air connection to the mainland.

"It is absolutely critical to what we do here and we would be in real trouble if that service was withdrawn. It would be disastrous."

Mr de Blacam said that all the staff live on Inis Meain, apart from one member who commutes from the mainland.

The business is in place over 30 years and Mr de Blacam said that "some of the youngsters I employed when starting out are still with the company".

Irish Independent

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