Belfast Telegraph

Sales success is just 'wee buns' for Rhoda

By Clare Weir

If you wear 'gutties', you have a 'mir' and a 'par shar' in your bathroom and you just can't resist 'wee buns' then you probably need to purchase one of Rhoda McClure's T-shirts.

The Omagh woman was working in England back in 2007 when she was served by a barman from Northern Ireland who used the term 'stickin' out' - and thought that the phrase deserved to be immortalised.

She got such positive feedback from her new top that she decided to start her own business using local sayings and, within six months, she was able to leave her job as a marketing and design manager to set up her Norn Iron Tees firm as a full-time concern.

Rhoda returned home two years ago and is now emblazoning T-shirts, hoodies, aprons, bags and gifts for men, women and kids with over 130 much-loved colloquialisms, including 'Boyzadear', 'Bout ye', 'Wee dote' and 'Gutties'.

And she is still open for more suggestions.

"I still get suggestions and I am always open to new ideas," she said. "This just started off as a hobby for me, but it got to the stage where I was able to run it as a full -time business.

"I used all my own money and I did not have to invest too much and now I am enjoying excellent returns," she added.

"I've got a design background as a product designer with a bit of marketing, so that really helped me get started.

"Seventy per cent of sales would be to Northern Ireland but the T-shirts are really popular with ex-pats in places like Australia and Canada.

"Sports is a big thing - at the moment our biggest sellers would be the 'gutties' T-shirt and the golfing and rugby designs are very popular.

"One of the good things about the T-shirts is that they are a talking point - if someone doesn't know what it means, you can get chatting to them and explain it.

"If they are from here, they will automatically know why the T-shirt is funny, no matter where in the world you might happen to bump into a fellow Northern Irish person."

Rhonda's designs can be found at www.nornirontees.com

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