CONSCIENTIOUS CLOTHING Pure Clothing founders Peter Timlin from Ballina and Richard Grimes from Enniscrone. The pair recently won Arnott’s Pitch21 competition, securing a €10,000 business development fund and retail space at Arnotts, in-store and online. Pic: Sasko Lazarov/Photocallireland
There are mornings when the heart sings and the mind is carried forward on an avalanche of positivity. Last Thursday in Ballina was certainly one of those.
Spending time with the owners of Pure Clothing was good for the soul. Two young men, Peter Timlin (20) and Richard Grimes (21), were full of enthusiasm, dynamism and realism as they chatted about their business, Pure Clothing, and their inspiration. Their organic cotton range of clothes is now making a huge impression with discerning shoppers in Arnotts’ Henry Street store in Dublin and online.
“We’re very excited to have won the Arnotts’ Pitch 21 competition recently, it has given us a huge boost,” Peter told The Mayo News. “We’re working very hard on our business, and it’s great to get recognition like that.”
The duo’s thirst for business was whetted in the famed halls of St Muredach’s College on the banks of the Moy, but it was already part of their DNA. Peter’s family had been involved in the drapery industry in Ballina for generations, and in Enniscrone, the Grimes clan have been part of many positive developments locally in the farming, equestrian and property worlds.
“Pure Clothing is very dear to us. It’s a business we want to develop and make a success, but it’s also about sustainability and the circular economy,” Peter said, before being asked to explain what the circular economy meant in this case.
“It means we want our products to avoid landfill for as long as possible. We want our products to be worn and enjoyed, but when they’re old and worn we want them returned to us so we can make them into something else.
“We’re only in business less than two years, so none of our products are ‘old’ yet, so that side of the business isn’t really booming yet, but we have had a few items sent to us where the owner may have damaged them with bleach or something. We’ve been working to turn them into tote bags … this is exactly what the circular economy means in our business. Once an item is manufactured, we want it to be useful and used for as long as possible.”
Is Pure Clothing the duo’s first venture into business? “Not really. We were part of the F1 Racing Team in Transition Year in Muredach’s, and that gave us a real appetite for business,” Peter revealed.
The F1 in Schools is a STEM competition in which students design, build and race their own Formula 1 car, while raising sponsorship to fund its development and managing their brand and partnerships.
“We then set up a marketing company, and now we have Pure Clothing. We’re really passionate about it.
“We’re looking to avoid the pitfalls of ‘fast fashion’ with more sustainable logistics chains and materials. We can never blame consumers for buying fast fashion, but we would like to see brands acting more responsibly in the industry.
“There are 50 million garment workers worldwide getting paid less than $5 a day, and the [textile] industry is the second-worst pollutant on the planet, emitting 1.2 billion tons of CO2 [equivalent, or CO2e] every year.”
How is Pure Clothing combating the negatives of the clothing industry? How can two young men on the west coast of Europe make a positive impression in that testing environment?
For a start, Peter and Richard ensure the company’s textiles are ethically sourced, by tapping to standards set by the Fair Wear Foundation, an independent multi-stakeholder organisation that works with garment brands, garment workers and industry influencers to improve labour conditions in garment factories. They also use organic cotton look to use environmentally sound processes wherever possible.
“We are looking to get our message out there all the time and tell people what we do. We buy in from Fair Wear-approved factories across Europe and process everything in Ireland. We use a wind-powered embroidery unit in Belcarra outside Castlebar, and Ballina Costume Company sew on our recycled polyester labels, and they upcycle the orders we get back as part of our circular economy,” Peter explained.
Pure Clothing only works with recycled materials free from toxic or harmful substances; the products contain no animal-derived components and no animal testing is involved in their production; and their supply chain complies with a slew of ethical and sustainability certification standards. Even the products’ accompanying information is printed on a sheet of seed paper, which can be planted after use to grow pollinator-friendly flowers.
Pure Clothing’s range – which includes T-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, shorts, jackets and joggers – is extremely popular in the 18 to 24 age group, and both Peter and Richard are extremely thankful to all who have supported them in their drive to build their company into the exciting business it is today.
“We’re very excited about the project and absolutely delighted to have won the Pitch 21 competition, but we wouldn’t have achieved that without the brilliant support from family and friends,” Richard explained.
“The amount of driving, picking up, dropping off done by family and friends is something else. I honestly don’t know where we’d be without them,” Peter added. “Richard and myself run the company and develop it, but without the help of our support circle we’d be in a very different place.”
Speaking with Peter and Richard and seeing how passionate they are about their business is uplifting, but the most impressive aspect of our meeting is the realisation that the duo are serious, realistic, driven businessmen with a solid and deliverable dream.
Pure Clothing is destined for big things, and one can only marvel at the possibilities awaiting the two friends.
For more on Pure Clothing, its ethos and its practices, see www.pureclothing.ie, where the clothing range is also available to buy.