Developing a start up in Ireland can be challenging to say the least. High production costs and a saturated market can leave a company struggling to stay afloat.
Fresh Cuts Clothing is a fashion lifestyle brand based in Dublin that designs eco-friendly clothes and active apparel. While still in its infancy, having only launched in December last year, the company has already taken part in a national charity campaign and have just released their newest range.
We spoke with Steven Murphy, founder of Fresh Cuts, about the company’s origins, social responsibility and their plans for 2016.
First off, how did Fresh Cuts Clothing come about?
A lot of it came from being unhappy in my previous job and wanting something more exciting and fulfilling in my life. This and the fact I live in t-shirts and hoodies was basically where it started. I had no experience in any of it, but thankfully it’s come a long way since then – or so I hope!
How do you differentiate yourselves from other clothing companies within the market?
I like to describe the company as an athleisure wear brand. At the end of the day it is casual clothing that people wear every day and feel comfortable in. I don’t see it on the catwalks of Paris Fashion Week any time soon, but in saying that it does have some great qualities that differentiate it from other clothing companies within the market.
Our Fresh Designs line are limited edition pieces that are printed on a run of 100. You know buying that t-shirt or jumper that there is only 99 others printed. All these items are screen print, labelled and designed here in Dublin. Our Eco-Cuts line is simple in design, but superior in fabric. We source top of the line fabrics and processes to create that unmissable feel of our hoodies and jumpers. This, coupled with the fact that they are ethically produced under fair working conditions [makes] for a very guilt free purchase!
Have you faced many challenges as a relatively new start up?
The company is pretty much a one man band at the minute. Working from a spare room I do everything from website development to sewing labels. As with all start-ups there is always challenges. Time and money has been a huge factor for me so far as I’ve been working by myself.
My plan was always to start off small and grow naturally. I didn’t have the resources to do it any other way and it’s working out so far. The industry itself is very tough and competing with global brands was always going to be a challenge, but what’s life without a few challenges? It makes it all the more sweet when you succeed.
One of Fresh Cut’s main slogans is ‘Designed by you – For you’. Why did you decide to outsource the majority of your designs?
This was really to build on the commitment of limited edition pieces. Along with wanting to showcase Irish based designers and illustrators, I wanted to have a constant flow of new designs available to the public. I see the brand growing to the size where new designs aren’t available for long once they go online.
In order to have constant access to new designs I had to open up this facility to work with new designers when this growth is achieved. With most of our designs being done in house at the moment, this is really something that will be built on in the future and something that could potentially be very exciting for the collaborations we come up with.
As a company, you seem to put a strong emphasis on social change and responsibility through the production of your clothes. Is this something that Fresh Cuts feels very strongly about?
It’s something I feel strongly about and definitely something I think we should all at least think about! Some clothes now are just becoming disposable, you buy them and throw them out after two washes. It’s great to get a t-shirt for €3, but you need to ask yourself at what cost was this made. I put a lot of effort into the fabrics and the process in which the clothing is made and where I source our products. At the end of the day, some people will appreciate this and some won’t unfortunately.
How would you describe Fresh Cut’s latest range?
The line has grown considerably since it launched last Christmas. From the first run of limited edition tee’s to the introduction of the Eco-Cuts range, I still try to keep things simple and in tune with the brand.
With our new line I really think it’s the quality of the garments that stands out. The materials and processes used to make them make for an incredible feel. This coupled with our exciting designs and unique colours makes for a really exciting line that shouldn’t be missed. It’s something you won’t find any other Irish brand offering at the moment.
Recently you joined forces with the National Centre for Youth Mental Health, Headstrong. Do you plan on working with other charities in the future?
Yes, 100%. I think if you are in a position to help out in some way, big or small, you should. We had a great response from the Headstrong campaign and raised over €1000 for the charity along with some vital awareness regarding mental health in Ireland.
I had plans to do one more before the year was out, but as mentioned in the challenges I faced, time and money got in the way of this. I put my own money into the charity tees and it does put a bit of a financial strain on the business, so I wasn’t able to get it worked out before Christmas. However come the new year I hope to do another one for an equally worthy cause that I would be passionate about.
What can we expect from Fresh Cuts over the next few months?
Having just launched the new line it is full steam ahead until Christmas. Along with our online store, I have a big presence on the Dublin Market scene. I pop up in various markets throughout the city, but you can catch me in The Designer Mart in Cows Lane every Saturday, Smithfield Market Fair and I will be trading in the I Believe in Christmas market in the IFSC from the 26th November right up until the 23rd of December.
Early next year I am hoping to get a permanent location in town and am currently working out the details on this, so fingers crossed. This will be the next big step for the company and I see it as a huge move forward with the business.