Rodari Eyewear opens in Patrick Street, Fermoy
From Ballyhooly to South Korea and from heavy construction equipment to eyewear. That's the convoluted story behind a new eyewear company that has been set up in Fermoy.
Deirdre O'Shea from Ballyhooly was teaching in South Korea when she met Taj Hussain. They married and returned to live in Ireland in 2006. Taj used his expertise in the business to set up his own company exporting heavy construction equipment. Deirdre too became actively involved in Juma Plant Sales Ltd which is based in Glanmire and the couple worked to build what has become a very successful business. In the back of of Taj's mind though was a plan to get back into another business he had worked in - eyewear. With the plant sales company going well, the couple turned their attention to starting their new business. They worked on plans to create their own eyewear range for two years before launching Rodari Eyewear in mid February.
The name is an amalgam of their three chidren's names - Roisin, Daithi and Riain. They've based their new company in Patrick Street in the heart of Fermoy. Aiming to create a range of unique, stylish and distinctive frames reflecting global eyewear trends the couple travelled to China to meet with suppliers to learn about the manufacturing process as well as selecting the perfect colours, designs and materials to create their eyewear. They felt it was also iimportant to build up a strong relationship with their suppliers and Deirdre believes that has paid off in terms of quality control, efficient delivery and pricing which allows them to keep their own, in turn, in the mid price range, allowing opticians they supply to be competitive.
Three ranges have been established. The Rodari adult range is contemporary and chic, their Blinx teen range stylish and funky and their Eyespy children's range colourful and fun.
Opticians can order online through a confidential and secure process. A week ago Roadari Eyewear hit its 100th customer, no mean feat for the fledgling company.
"It has far exceeded our expectations. The feedback has been fantastic," a delighted Deirdre says. Mellerick's Opticians in Fermoy, Thornhill's in Mitchelstown, Fermoy Opticians and O'Connor Poole in Blackpool, Cork number among their local stockists. while the spread nationwide covers from Dingle to Donegal and Salthill to Swords. The business currently employs four people, two part-time staff members working for the summer in filling orders and Aileen Sweeney (financial manager) and Mary Sugrue (sales manager). Mary has long experience working in the optical trade. There's plans to hire an administrator in September.
A big change from her teaching background, Deirdre has immersed herself in the business. She particularly likes being able to indulge her flair for design to select fresh colours and unique designs. Taj meanwhile is responsible for ensuring the materials and moving parts of the frames are of the highest quality. They've had help in the form of marketing advice and assistance from North Cork Enterprise Board. Apart from that its been all their own work, 'and a lot of hard work', Deirdre admits, especially with three young children to care for as well.
Taj is 'fearless' Deirdre says, while she describes herself as 'a nervour entrepreneur'! Both are excited about their new business and delighted with its strong start. Their good news story is a positive too for Fermoy and encouraging for other would-be entrepreneurs.
Thursday 15th August 7:06pm