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Relatively Speaking: Spinning Wheel director Rory Curran

By Karen Ireland

Published 16/09/2015

Close bond: Rory Curran with father Harold
Close bond: Rory Curran with father Harold
Harold Curran
Rory Curran

Rory Curran is director of the Spinning Wheel, a curtains, fabrics and dressmaking specialist. His father Harold, now retired, established the business at Donegall Square West in Belfast some 40 years ago

Name: Rory Curran

Age: 35

Occupation: Director of the Spinning Wheel Belfast

Relationship to Harold: Son

When I was 12-years-old, I started working in the Spinning Wheel. Dad worked all the time so I just went along with him and I loved it.

I was really fascinated by the business from the beginning and I spent all my summers and school holidays working there. I really got the bug.

I started working full-time in the business when I was 16, and I have loved every day since.

I have terrific staff and I love interacting with the customers. My favourite day is Saturday when all I have to worry about is the customer in front of me as I am on the shop floor.

Home life is very busy as well with my wife Maria and our three children, Louis (8), Ollie (5) and four-year-old Gabby. I couldn't do my job if I didn't have the support of Maria at home.

We also have an online business, the Cotton Mill, and have just launched a new brand which is a whole new platform for us.

This enables us to branch out into new markets further afield such as Australia, Brazil and Canada.

My dad is the best salesperson I know, so I have learnt from the best. He retired seven years ago, but he still comes into the shop a couple of times a week to keep an eye on me.

He loves nothing better than talking to our customers and having a bit of craic. He often shouts in the shop 'is everyone happy?'.

We have lunch together every Monday with some business people my dad has worked with over the years.

I love listening to their stories of what it used to be like in the business.

I am the third generation of the family to enter the business. My grandfather was a tailor and then my dad went to work in the spinning mill before opening up his own shop.

I feel immensely proud to be following in his footsteps and taking on the mantle.

My dad was a hard-working man who always gave 100% to the business.

Personally, he is thoughtful and extremely good to his staff. In fact, we have long serving staff which I have inherited from him - they enjoy the job so much they stayed on.

The time we spend together is a joy and I turn to him for advice.

We go to the same gym and go sailing together when we get the chance - he is an amazing man.

Name: Harold Curran

Age: 67

Occupation: Retired founder of the Spinning Wheel

Relationship to Rory: Father

I still pop into the business every week, despite the fact I have retired. I love to see the people I worked with and have a cup of coffee and a chat.

When I'm there, I will see some of the faces of people who have shopped with us for years. The good thing is, if there is any pressure at all, I get to go home.

The company is in very good hands with Rory. Good customer service is the most important thing - everyone who comes into our shop should be treated like a king or queen. They could shop anywhere so it is a privilege that they choose to come into our shop.

Angela and I have been married for 43 years and we have four children, but Rory is the only one who followed me into the business. He was never forced or pushed - I would have been happy to shut up shop when I finished, but he got the bug from early on.

He is a great businessman - the best in the business as far as I am concerned. He has been around the industry from a young age, and has been watching and learning as he went along. He is a better businessman than I ever was - it just comes naturally to him.

He always makes the customers feel special and, if there is any complaints, not only do they get their problem sorted out, but they always end up going out of the shop with armfuls of stuff.

He has a good eye for style. It helps him being young and knowing what's what regarding social media. He is also a great husband and father, and that's the best you can hope for your children - that they will turn out to be good parents.

Our weekly lunches do tend to be spent talking shop. But owning a business can be lonely at times, so I try to be there for him.

There is no point in him making mistakes that I have already made. We have lots to learn from each other.

10,000 choices available online

- Established in 1975 by entrepreneur Harold Curran, the Spinning Wheel has been at the fore of fabrics, curtains and dressmaking in Northern Ireland for 40 years

- The company has just launched one of Ireland's largest online shopping sites for curtains - - with 10,000 options available, including made-to-measure and ready-made curtains in a variety of styles and colours

- The Spinning Wheel is at 9 Donegall Square West, Belfast, telephone 028 9032 6111 or visit

Belfast Telegraph

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