As part of a new Supporting Local feature, the Tipperary Star caught up with Brian Hanly, Managing director of John Hanly & Co. ltd in Nenagh.
Celebrating 127 years in the textile industry, Hanly & Co specialise in the manufacture of scarves, throws and fabrics in wool, cashmere, lambswool, mohair and natural fibres.
All items are designed and made in their factory at Ballyartella Woollen Mills. Hanly also manufacture fabrics and accessories for top brands, designers and quality retailers around the world.
In 2019 the business achieved worldwide attention after the Duchess of Cambridge wore a Dubarry Bracken Heath jacket made with fabric from John Hanly & Co.
When did the business start: 1893 ( 127 years ago)!
How many people work in the company: 32
What inspired you to start the business: Ask my great grandfather! But I suspect it was to provide local employment and they had been weaving for many years before that in Ballina and then in Lacken.
What has been the biggest challenge since the business began: There have been many recessions, world wars, etc not to mention a couple of pandemics.
What has been your proudest moment in the business: Every day that we are here is the proudest day, competing constantly with cheaper imports, recessions, Brexit, currency fluctuations etc. You name it we have seen it!
Who/ what inspires you from a business perspective: The desire to continually create and colour new products and to sell them to people who appreciate their quality and value.
How has the business adapted in light of the Covid-19 pandemic: We have focused more on exports ( approx. 50% of our business) and online sales.
What is your advice to others starting out in the industry: Very few start up in this industry in this part of the world. Its very capital intensive and the figures don’t make sense. You need to be born into this to do it otherwise you would run a mile from it.
Where can people find out more: Check us out on www.johnhanly.com.