Workwear for women clothing range to be launched at Ploughing
A new range of functional but stylish workwear for women farmers will be launched by Grace Roche at the Ploughing
The only daughter of a suckler farmer - and with three brothers, Grace Roche was bound to be a tomboy.
However, five years ago Grace, from Kylemore Abbey near Loughrea, found herself frantically looking around the Ploughing Championships for feminine farm wear and was in shock to find that there was little on offer.
"Myself and my husband, Raymond were on the way to the Ploughing. He said he was looking to buy some overalls and wellies and I said to myself that I could do with some overalls and wellies, and had a vision in my head of buying a purple pair of overalls. I looked around though and there was nothing," recalls the 31-year-old.
The last few years, the idea of setting up a female clothing brand for farm and outdoor wear played around Grace's mind. She would travel to the Ploughing year after year and while printed wellies soon came on the market, there were few fashionable and functional pairs to be found. "If you're living in wellies you need a decent pair," she says.
"I just always found myself wearing smaller overalls that were meant for men but I wanted to look like a girl, so that's why, on my 30th birthday last year, I gave myself a present and set aside money to get samples of female overalls made," she adds.
This was the birth of Grace's new outdoor clothing brand, Pretty Bird. The brand includes denim and floral dungarees which Grace buys in from Europe, wellies from Norway, printed T-shirts and overalls, which Grace - along with a manufacturing company in Cork - have designed themselves.
Grace manages running Pretty Bird while helping out on her in-law's dairy farm in Kylemore Abbey and working as head of European projects for marketing company Momentum, which is based in Co Leitrim. She said coming up with the name Pretty Bird was a combined effort of herself and her husband Raymond, who she married last year.
"I'd played around with names like Farm Girl and Funky Farmerette, but I didn't want it to just be limited to farming. I wanted it to incorporate all outdoor wear like DIY and gardening. Raymond said I should call it Fine Bird but I liked Pretty Bird as I felt it softened it a bit and was generic but still gave the nod to nature and the outdoors," she explains.