Last year, the annual Dublin Horse Show took place from 5th to the 9th of August. It had long been my intention to take a stand at the event and use it to bring my designs to market for the first time.
The Horse Show takes place in the grounds of the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) and since it was first held in 1864, it has become an institution. It is one of Ireland's largest events and a highlight of the Irish summer season with over 100,000 people from Ireland and all over the world visiting during the 5 days of the show. It is a great day out with something to appeal to all and sundry.
As well as being a celebration of all things equestrian, with the annual battle for the Aga Khan Trophy being the jewel in the Horse Show crown, the event is also renowned as a shoppers heaven with over 300 hundred trade stands and the annual Horse Show Ladies Day.
The months and weeks leading up to the show disappeared in a blur of activity designing and building the BallyBoy stand, sourcing the tweed and silk we use in our capes, putting together a production schedule and then working with Ann O’Reilly at The Sewing Boutique to produce my first collection in time for the show. There was also the packaging to be organised, the hats, gloves and silver jewellery that accessorise our garments to be arranged and accommodation to be found in Dublin over the 6 days of the show.
It was, I have to admit quite manic but we got there in the end and the show was a great success for BallyBoy Design. We were delighted to get valuable pre-show publicity and headline an article in ‘Irish Country Living’ magazine on Horse Show Shopping, which drove many people to visit our stand. The feedback we got at the Horse Show was tremendous and people loved the designs, fabrics, quality of finish and the fact they are designed and made in Ireland. I was particularly pleased that our sales at the show reflected the broad appeal of our garments. At one end of the spectrum, a young girl home to visit family in Ireland and at the other end a discerning and experienced fashion buyer. One of our customers even bothered to come back and see us two days after her purchase to say how much she loved her cape, which was fantastic.
We will be back in Dublin for the annual Craft Fair that takes place at the RDS from the 2nd – 6th of December and after that we have the official launch of BallyBoy Design at the Leitrim Design House in mid December. So, as we drift into autumn, it looks like BallyBoy Design is going to be as busy in the second half of the year, as it was in the first half.
It remains for me to thank you, our customers, friends and family for your great support and enthusiasm. Without you we would not have achieved as much as we have to date.