Belfast Telegraph

Meet the woman behind one of NI's most exclusive shirt makers

Bronagh Griffin, Co-founder of Nineteenthirty

7.30

Today I’m on my way to London, which only happens every other month. With a coffee in hand, I join the many red-eyed travellers who head south-east to the big smoke to do business.

9.00

First stop is a meeting with my manufacturing agent — a dry-humoured Kiwi who manages all my production. We manufacture in Europe where we can get perfect quality, ethical production and small quantities; our shirts are limited editions of only 50. We give retailers new styles four to five times a year. We also sell online at www.nineteenthirty.co.uk.

11am

I need to get my fabric production sorted, so I head up to the West End to meet my Italian fabric agent to discuss designs, costs and lead-times. The mill I use is the best, in terms of quality and colouration. It also produces the best digital prints. They have the finest photographic quality with crystal-clear definition. I love colour so working with a team that understands it is essential. As soon as we have produced one collection of fabrics we start |the artwork for the next; it is a constant process.

I meet Liberty of London to view their fabric collection. I love this company. The brand is ‘so on the money’ as Simon Cowell would say. We mix their fabrics with our exclusive prints to give an added twist.

Afternoon (2pm)

My sales agents, Gary and Daniela, are the next on my list, so over lunch we plan the strategy for the following months. These guys are always full of craic and banter. There is nothing they don’t know about the men’s retail market in the UK.

They are also patient enough to wait for a small brand to grow. Independent high-end retailers in the current economic climate need a lot of support, encouragement and great customer service.

We have 20 retailers and hope to grow this number over the next year.

Late afternoon

Heaven, I am at one of my favourite places in London, the Victoria and Albert Museum. As soon I have one collection sorted I need to get ideas and inspiration for the next.

We always have new designs in the pipeline and each collection has a story — Speakeasy, Voyager, Road Trip, so I am constantly looking for new ideas.

You can watch what is happening in the shops or on the catwalk as well as looking comparatively at other brands but I like building an idea from research, to drawings and stories and then create something unique.

Evening

I don’t travel every day, a lot of days I’m in the studio, project managing the collections, talking to wholesale customers and packing orders.

A new aspect of my job is marketing the website. So I regularly blog, tweet, and write on our Facebook page. This is challenging but I’m getting there.

I have a lovely family and need to be a mum as well as working. My days are very busy, hectic but never dull and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Belfast Telegraph