Online facility is tailor made for export success

Invest Northern Ireland today welcomed plans by Belfast based shirtmakers Smyth & Gibson, to expand into new export markets with the help of a new online bespoke shirtmaking service developed as part of a £500,000 investment.

The 22 year old firm is already renowned for high quality shirtmaking centred at its store on Bedford Street in Belfast. It has now developed a new custom grade shirt facility which will be launched online to customers around the world on 1st November and is expected to double turnover by 2009.

Invest NI has been working closely with the company which recently established a specialised Smyth & Gibson shirtmaking facility in the North West, a move that has expanded the firm’s  workforce of highly skilled seamstresses to meet increasing market demand.

Richard Gibson, Founder of Smyth & Gibson said: “The Made-to-Measure and Custom Grade facilities are a new element of our unique, high quality product offering. It allows customers to enjoy the luxury of a bespoke product at an affordable price.

“We take the measurements of each individual customer – often travelling to their home or place of work. They can then choose the design and fabric as well as cuff and collar options so the shirt is unique to them. The final handmade product is delivered within two weeks, with personal details held on file to facilitate repeat orders.

“Building on the success of these product offerings, the new online ordering system, developed in association with Tibus, will take elements of our custom services to clients around the world.” will open up new export markets particularly in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland, whilst strengthening the Smyth & Gibson brand. In addition, more than 1500 ready to wear products will be available to worldwide customers.

Donal Durkan, Invest NI’s Director of Life Sciences and Creative added: “Traditional industries such as textiles continue to face increasing global challenges so it is important for such firms to find innovative ways of maximising competitiveness and adding value to their business.

“Smyth & Gibson has achieved this, with demand for its new custom product offerings already exceeding expectations. The new e-commerce site will maximise export opportunities for the firm and further reinforce Smyth & Gibson as a high quality international brand.”