Monday 22 July 2019

Living the Shanghai dream

Dundalk man, Ronan Kent is making a big impression in China
Dundalk man, Ronan Kent is making a big impression in China

Olivia Ryan

A Dundalk man has become a major player in formal made to measure menswear in China, after launching his own company, RJ Clothing.

Ronan Kent, who is originally from the Dublin Road has been based in China for a number of years, and in 2016 decided to put his entrepreneurial energy into setting up his own business focusing on the 'premium production of Made-to-Measure menswear garments and accessories.'

'We officially began retailing to the Shanghai market back in September 2016 in a Gentlemen's Whisky bar,' said Ronan.

'The response was incredible, we couldn't believe it,' he added.

Three months into the 'pop up' experiment, the former De la Salle student said 'and we really began to think we could make a more sustainable plan for the company.'

The brand managed to establish a foothold with Shanghai competitors and was seeing consistent repetitive business. 'This only went upwards and we have never looked back.'

The main market for the newly crowned 'RJ Clothing' were foreigners living and working in China, people who Ronan explained 'really wanted a high quality, made to measure service that was convenient.'

'All garments are ordered, cut, sewn and finished in our modern workshop, based out of downtown Shanghai, China. We use automated and cloud computing technology for measuring, ordering, cutting and delivery.'

Ronan's own path took him from Dundalk to DCU, to Berkeley College in the US. But it was a summer teaching English in China which first inspired him to move there.

During a visit home to Dundalk over the Christmas holidays, he had a chance to reflect on the success of the business.

'Our growth has been nothing short of brilliant in the Chinese market. Europe is next, and we are just about to launch a 'travelling tailor service' in Munich in Germany.

The company is led by a three person team, Ronan, his friend Joseph, who is also from Dundalk, and Ronan's partner Camilla who is leading marketing.

His own aims for the company are to combine tech and fashion, by creating an app which could transform the made to measure industry by providing accurate data to their workshop from anywhere in the world.

'Today, we are growing faster than I could ever have imagined in my wildest dreams, but we are not complacent, and hope to push forward with new technology which will put us ahead of the game.'

From humble beginnings in Dundalk, where Ronan credits his mother Susan for 'being the best role model I could have,' to the bright lights of Shanghai, the Dundalk man is thrilled to be leading a new generation of fashion forward gentlemen.

The Argus