Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

My Inspiration: Barry & David Conaghan

Barry and David Conaghan from Chocolate Clothing who received the Enterprising Derry BT Award from BT's James Devlin with Mark Carruthers
Barry and David Conaghan from Chocolate Clothing who received the Enterprising Derry BT Award from BT's James Devlin with Mark Carruthers

Following their passion for fashion and the example of a successful businessman father

My brother Barry and I launched Chocolate Clothing store, on Foyle Street in Derry, back in 2007.

We launched our online operation in 2008 with the web store www.chocolateclothing.co.uk.

After great success with our online business we re-launched our site in early 2011 and have seen steady growth since.

Our biggest inspiration for launching our own company has been our father Gerry Conaghan who owns Derry’s longest running independent electrical retailer Strand Electrics based in Pennyburn Industrial estate.

Strand Electrics originally started out on the Strand Road in Derry in 1986, and has since expanded rapidly over the years from various larger premises to its current location in Pennyburn in a 2,000sq ft electrical superstore. We both worked in the family business for many years, and working alongside our father gave us the know-how and passion to be our own boss and get in involved in the retail business.

Our father Gerry is a very well-known and liked figure in the Derry business community.

He has always given us help and advice over the years and it is has been the kind of advice that you could never find in a text book — from someone who has been in business for over 30 years it is invaluable.

Helping out when I was young for my dad on a Saturday in his busy electrical store gave me the insight and buzz to eventually run my own company.

By growing up in the busy family business and watching our father run a successful retail business and buying and selling products, you could say it’s been in our blood to run our own company. Our passion always was in clothing and the world of fashion as a whole.

I completed my degree in fashion in 2005 following that I held various buying posts in London working on the menswear buying teams for retail giants Burton and River Island. I then returned home in 2007 and Barry and myself launched Chocolate Clothing.

Another business character who I admire is Duncan Bannatyne. I really like his own personal story.

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