Q1. Katie, tell us about your clothing company?
Katie: K.T. Clothing Co. is Ireland’s first gender neutral clothing line. For a long time, I have and still do believe that clothes are just clothes and we add the labels ourselves. I think that there is an unnecessary stigma surrounding the stereotypes associated with clothes and that having a gender-neutral clothing line could help to combat some of the stereotypes. There are a lot of people who feel gender neutral in some way or another in Ireland, and gender neutral clothing can help people feel comfortable.
Q2. Can you describe your experience in the NFTE competition and congrats on your Award!!
Katie: I was the school’s nomination for the Foróige NFTE Regional Final section of the competition. I arrived in Letterkenny IT and was up first to present to the Judges. I presented to three Judges from the area; this process involved a 10minute pitch and 10 minute Questions and Answer session with the Judges. I got a call that evening to notify me that I had been picked as the entry for the Donegal area. I then competed at National Level in the Mansion House in Dublin last week (Thursday 30th March, 2017). I went head-to-head against 6 other businesses. I made a business pitch to a selection of Judges that was supposed to last 20 minutes but between questions and pitching I ended up spending 45 minutes with the Judges! After the pitch, I did an interview with RTE. Then the awards ceremony started and I was announced the National Winner/Youth Entrepreneur of the Year!
Q.3. How did your interest in Business first develop?
Katie: My interest really developed when I was in first year. I was and still am a huge fan of One Direction, and living in Bundoran there was no outlet selling One Direction merchandise so I decided to design a different business that supplied merchandise for bands, singers etc. I’ve also worked as a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) Consultant and IT Specialist in ABM Financial Advisers every summer for the last three years developing my knowledge of the financial sector.
Q.4. What other Business initiatives have you been involved in, prior to setting up your clothing company?
Katie: As I mentioned above, I was involved in an enterprise project before. I think that has given me the knowledge to know my own strengths in business and to know what has not worked before for me! It has definitely given me experience, whether it be the production side of things or presentation skills.
Q.5. What advice would you give to other budding entrepreneurs in Magh Ene College?
Katie: For me in my business now and for my past business: resilience is definitely key, not everything works but it’s important to find different routes to get things to work. Things definitely change quickly!! K.T. Clothing Co. was a lot different when I was originally looking in to getting the product to market. It seems for me and my business, since I began, everything is moving at a million miles an hour!
Q.6. What are your plans for your future – education/career?
Katie: K.T. Clothing Co. was never something I just did for the NFTE programme. It has a high scalability; peoples’ minds are moving away from the stereotype and are becoming more open minded. K.T. Clothing Co. is what I want to continue, I really enjoy running a business: from organising the production right through to making pitches! There is not one part of it I don’t enjoy. I want to do a Bachelor of Business Studies in the future because I really feel that it will aid me in the future in taking my business in the right direction!
Everyone in Magh Ene College wishes Katie all the best with her business in the future and we are very proud of all her successes so far!! A special word of thanks also to Business teacher Mrs. McSharry, who has encouraged so many students in Magh Ene College to tap into their own entrepreneurial skills.