Design company plan to open London office following Brexit

By Maurice Garvey

THE impending uncertainty of Brexit has led a growing Ballymount business to look at the establishment of a London office, in order to maintain their upward trajectory.

Uniformal designs and manufactures premium uniform clothing and work wear for the hospitality sector and drinks industry.

Khiara Keating 07

Last year, they opened a design studio and factory in Fashion City, bringing all of its bespoke production in-house - increasing turnover by 500 per cent and staff by over 600 per cent.

They are currently in talks with potential new distributors in Europe, with the intention to replicate this approach in the US, and co-owner Chiara Keating feels it is the right time to circumvent potential pitfalls of Brexit.

“We don’t just export, we bring in a lot of raw materials from the UK,” said Ms Keating.

“With distributors in the UK and mainland Europe, we are hoping to open an office in London.”

Uniformal is run by partners Chiara Keating and Barry McCabe, who merged their pre-existing independent businesses – which were both focused on clothing and work wear.

“He had a corporate wear bespoke business and I had a ready-to-wear uniform business,” said Ms Keating.

“It is mostly hospitality although we do corporate also. We do a vast amount of five star hotels, including the Shelbourne Hotel, also four and three star hotels, bars, restaurants and the drinks industry with the likes of Diageo and Irish Distillers.”

Ms Keating is also the 2018 Ambassador for National Women’s Enterprise Day, and was among a panel of speakers at a Dublin Region event for women’s enterprise, at Citywest Hotel on October 18.

Being involved with the South Dublin County Local Enterprise Office (LEO) has provided the Fashion City business with the boost it required, according to Keating.

“The LEO have helped us with grants, we are where we are today because of employment grants,” she said.

“When we started in 2016 we had three staff, now we have 20 and three full time designers. We’ve now put in a fitting and design studio at our Fashion City premises and need another 10 staff, and have had LEO help with a development grant.

"This is so we are able to handle the increased workload.”

Chiara spoke at the half-day event with networking lunch at Citywest Hotel on October 18.

Itwas organised by LEOs in South Dublin County, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal and Dublin City Council.

Special guests included Minister of State Pat Breen, Oonagh O’Hagan from Meaghers Pharmacy, Helen Smyth from Facebook, Julie Sinnamon from Enterprise Ireland, Caroline Gleeson from BidRecruit, Síle Ginnane from Liberty Bell, Sarah-Jane Brangam from Cult Drinks and broadcaster Colette Fitzpatrick.

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