Waterford's Womenswear Designer Wowing the World….

Waterford based entrepreneur and designer Bébhínn McGrath left her job in the costume department of film and TV to set up her own ethical clothing label right here in Waterford.

If you haven't already heard of the trailblazer that is the label BÉBHÍNN the lady behind the ethical womenswear brand is Bébhínn McGrath. This Dunmore East girl has spent her life albeit young dedicated to studying and working in fashion, costume, and design. She spent the last 5 years working in costume for film and TV including costuming for the movie Brooklyn and the series Viking before moving back to Waterford and worked on Redwater in her hometown of Dunmore & she decided to stay!

Using all Irish materials including linen from Wexford and wool from Donegal the debut BÉBHÍNN was launched in mid-May 2017. The collection features 16 pieces that can all be mixed and matched and are classic pieces that will never go out of style. Bébhínn says, "The aim with this brand was to produce items that are long lasting, that you can come back to time and time again and that won't go out of fashion." With a focus on modern cuts and styles made using traditional fabrics and techniques, these pieces offer a new perspective on linen.

We caught up with Bébhínn now some 12 months after she put her first business ideas on paper to see how she is getting along.

Beibhinn McGrath

"I'm delighted to say that my label BÉBHÍNN is doing brilliantly. Since the day that I launched my online store www.bebhinn.ie I have had customers from all across Ireland and also international sales. I'm very proud to have many repeat customers that say a great deal for the quality of my designs and pieces. I have also had a huge deal of media features and articles and have had a really brilliant response all around. I am blown away that it took off so seamlessly."

Speaking about choosing to do business from Waterford Bébhínn says, "I was delighted to be able to choose Dunmore East to work from, all of my national and international sales are conducted through my website so in terms of location I am in the lucky position to be able to work from anywhere in the world really and being beside the sea here in Waterford offers me an unparalleled quality of life too."

I had thought that I might possibly start my business from home and perhaps move back to Dublin but I can see that this now, need not be the case and that there is a shift in peoples interest in buying local, handmade and bespoke products and that I can run a very successful business from here.”

In setting up her business Bébhínn first got to work on her business plan in September 2016 and took part in the Enterprise Ireland New Frontiers Programme which is a program run in Waterford at the WIT Arclabs. She also participated in Ireland's Best Young Entrepreneur having been approached and encouraged to do so by the Local Enterprise Office in Waterford.

Bébhínn cites these experiences as really helping to refine and hone her business plan, cementing who her target markets are and helping to improve her presentation skills.

“I feel the participation in the programs and mentoring sessions helped me to evolve my business idea into an actual business. Each program helped me in different ways. Each programme challenged me to ask so many questions of my idea and my potential business at the time, the expert speakers also offered insights which were otherwise unattainable, it also made me see that just because I thought my business would work on paper, didn't mean that it would actually work; through each programme I put a great deal of work in to identify my unique selling points and this helped me to finalise a business plan which would result in a success."

I also went back to the Waterford Local Enterprise Office in early 2017 to discuss the launch of my first collection. The team there arranged from me to participate in a mentoring program for Digital Marketing and also for finance and accounting and I found these sessions invaluable.

Following her participation in both programs and her mentoring sessions, Bébhínn refined her designs and produced her samples to later launch her first collection to much acclaim in mid-May 2017.

Bébhínn is presently finishing the samples for her second collection which she says she will be unveiling in mid-October and judging by the success of her first collection we can't wait to for the unveiling. Find out more and keep an eye on www.bebhinn.ie for all of Bébhínn's news.

On finishing our chat with Bébhínn she urged all potential entrepreneurs to ‘talk to the experts' to help develop what could potentially be a global business. "My advice to anyone with a business idea would be to go and speak to their Local Enterprise Office, you never know where it could take you. I'd also highly recommend taking part in Ireland's Best Young Entrepreneur perhaps in the new idea category, I am so happy that I did this, it really helped me to figure out exactly where I was going and there is always help there, even in terms of mentoring and teasing out ideas. They are the professionals and they can really set you in the right direction."

- SEPTEMBER 7, 2017 -