Disposable towel venture looks to be home and dry as it aims to grow in foreign markets
Anne Butterly talks at a ferocious pace and with total passion about her invention -- the Easydry disposable eco-towel that was born out of necessity, or at least irritation.
Fed up with the way her flatmates ruined the towels when dying their hair, she created a new type of towel which she is successfully selling around the globe.
It can be used once in the same way as a cotton towel and it is cheap enough to appeal to businesses that are constantly laundering towels. "It is a towel for you that has never been used before by anyone else and it can save up to 25pc of the cost of laundering and drying cotton towels," she explains. Today, hair salons such as the House of Colour and Aidan FitzGerald in Ireland, as well as some Tony & Guy salons in the UK and the L'Oreal Academy all use it -- and the next big push for her company is to sell it to gyms, hotels and hospitals internationally.
Based in Dundalk, Easydry employs 12 people in Ireland and three in Australia and has ambitions to sell its product into the US market with an eye also on opportunities in New Zealand and the Middle East. "You have to get over people's perceptions," she explains. "You have to get it into people's hands."
The company was conceived during Ireland's boom times so finding finance to launch it wasn't a huge problem, but getting cash from the banks to grow it is.
"We have managed it ourselves and have had to streamline the business to grow," she says.
Inventing a new product is both "exciting and expensive" she says. "It is great for the ego but doesn't help the bank balance. It's when you see other people buying into it, that's where you get satisfaction".