While companies such as Urban Outfitters©, Nike© and Ben & Jerry’s© are apologizing for their negative depiction of our Irish heritage, the guys who founded Ireland Shirt™ have received nothing but praise for their positive reflection of Irish heritage, pride, and values.
On July 30, 2012 Irish Central did a discovery piece on Ireland Shirt™, an apparel company dedicated to delivering a clean, simple, back-to-basics shirt that positively reflects Irish heritage, pride, and values, and that is comfortable to wear in any setting - the antidote to all of the mindless, stereotyped nonsense that most apparel makers push on Irish people. Recently Irish Central had a chance to check in with the Ireland Shirt guys.
At the time of the discovery story, Ireland Shirt™ was developing brand recognition with a fresh offering that was tapping into Irish pride by relying on the silhouette of Ireland for annunciation. We would always ask ourselves, "what do we like most when we think about Ireland?" says co-founder Jason Darby. "Invariably, the answers were always the rolling hills, the Irish coast lines, the lush green landscape, and the numerous geographic sites. The geography and the image of Ireland is her own brand to reflect Irish heritage, pride, and values. We developed the brand identity a bit more and really have never looked back from there."
The growing popularity of the Ireland Shirt™ line of clothing continues to surprise. "I would say our Facebook engagement always raises our eyebrows" commented co-founder Mike O'Brien. "Our followers are so passionate about Ireland and we do our best to provide a social platform for people to share his or her views with their world." Ireland Shirt™ has an interesting social strategy, aimed at cutting through the clutter of everyday apparel marketing. "We like to think of ourselves as being innovative in the social space, mostly because we have to!" laughed Darby. "We certainly don't have the advertising budget of the large apparel makers, but we recognize that we can engage people far beyond showing them how great they can look in an Ireland Shirt. We are creating a 'social-fashion' hybrid where people can express their heritage with or without an Ireland Shirt purchase. We mix subtle advertising into the content and we certainly hope people buy an Ireland Shirt product, but we also see value in providing a forum for people to celebrate Ireland within our social platform."
Growth and success continues to be part of the Ireland Shirt story, something the founders are quite proud of. "The company keeps us pretty busy" says O'Brien smiling. "I think the growth and success of the business is rooted in personal frustrations with stereotypical clothing options being foisted on us" added Darby. "People are so tired of all the 'Kiss me I'm Irish' and 'Drunk Leprechauns'. We were so frustrated that we decided to make our own shirt line and launch our company, Ireland Shirt. I think that passion has resonated with real Irish folks and that has fueled the growth."
In fact, the growth and positive response by consumers has been so stark that Darby and O'Brien expanded the Ireland Shirt™ principles and created a new apparel business called, Shirts of the World. "Shirts of the World is a wrapper for the Ireland Shirt concept,” explained Darby. "Each country is its own brand and behaves independently, however they are all tied together as a Shirts of the World offering. It’s an ambitious idea no doubt, but we have seen the same level of engagement with other countries so we think we are on to something." Now with 6 countries launched, the guys who started Ireland Shirt are looking forward to continued growth. "We now have Ireland Shirt™, Italy Shirt™, Japan Shirt™, Mexico Shirt™, Great Britain Shirt™, and China Shirt™ launched and have 14 more countries in the pipeline - things couldn't be more exciting,” said O'Brien. "And we have Ireland to thank."
Ireland Shirt™ is a company brand in the Shirts of the World family. Shirts of the World have sales offices in Washington D.C. and New York City, and friends and followers of Ireland Shirt and Shirts of the World are from all over the world.