Thursday 22 February 2018

Propaganda? More like success off to a T

The creators of T-shirt design company Counter Propaganda are beating the recession, writes Daniel McConnell

They have been mates since school -- one an artist, the other an engineer. They launched a T-shirt design business seven years ago, and against all the odds, that business is now a roaring success.

At last, here is a genuine success story to champion, to support and to enjoy.

Counter Propaganda's Fergal Swan (the artist) and Richard Doody (the engineer), both in their early 30s, have been friends since they were in school together in St Benildus College, Kilmacud, Dublin, and are at the cutting edge of Irish youth fashion.

In the midst of the worst recession in history, CP is not only surviving but growing the brand.

Recently described by Sunday Independent fashion editor Constance Harris as "the most exciting brand to come out of Ireland in the last 10 years", Counter Propaganda has created 15 jobs since 2008.

Such is CP's appeal, its clothes are favourites of the likes of Brian O'Driscoll, Cillian Murphy, Des Bishop and actor Chris O'Dowd.

"What began as a small, hand-printed T-shirt collection has grown into a full clothing brand and we are growing despite the recession," Mr Doody said.

So how are they managing to expand at such a rough time for retailers?

"Our attitude is that any concrete plan is a brittle plan, likely to fall apart. We have to be nimble and react quickly. At the moment, retail is what works, but we have wholesale, international distribution and our online shop. We have to rely on all aspects to survive."

Mr Doody said the recent bout of snow had been extremely difficult, with sales down 20 per cent, far higher than the seven or eight per cent figure put out in recent days. "It's been very tough, but since we started we have come to anticipate a bad shock like this out of the blue every now and then. But at least everyone has been hit the same so there is a fairness to it," he said.

Sunday Independent

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