Sharon McDermott of Ky Ky Kids

‘Mind your customers, listen to them, know them and most importantly, take on board what they are saying.’

Sharon McDermott from Ky Ky Kids talks to GS1 Ireland about self-employment, her new collection and the merits of doing business the old-fashioned way

 

We recently sat down with one of our GS1 Ireland members, Sharon McDermott of Ky Ky Kids, a kids clothing and accessories Sharon Mc Dermott of Ky Ky Kidscompany based in Co. Cork. She filled us in on how Ky Ky was set up, her biggest successes to date, and what the future has in store for the Co. Cork kids clothing company.

Background

When Sharon left Ireland in 1993 for Turkey she never expected she would end up staying for over 22 years. Working as a travel rep, she married and settled down there, but it wasn’t until the arrival of her son in 2009 that the seed of the business idea that would become Ky Ky Kids was planted. The long, hot Turkish summers meant that she needed cool cotton bed linen for her son that would be suitable in temperatures of up to 50 degrees. Not being able to find anything suitable, she began to make her own. Living in Turkey for so many years, a country well known for its textiles and tailoring, she was able to source the best cotton and demand grew among Sharon’s friends for her pure cotton baby bed linen. In 2015, she made the big move back to Ireland and decided to turn her hobby into a business venture. She sourced a company in Turkey to start producing matching duvet covers and fitted sheets and threw herself into marketing and selling her items at pop up shops. Her range expanded to include clothing and baby gifts and Ky Ky Kids was born.

Biggest Successes to Date

Nowadays, her clothes are designed here in Ireland, made in a factory in Turkey and then shipped back to her in Cork.  She considers her biggest success as getting her kids clothing collection together and seeing the dresses in shop windows with her own label on them. Sharon said that she gets a huge buzz when she sees little girls out and about wearing her clothes, ‘it’s about creating occasion wear that is a little bit different…something both mothers and little girls will like’.

Plans for 2019

Ky Ky Kids Dress with Yellow CoatAt the beginning of February, Sharon received delivery of her new Spring / Summer collection from Turkey which is full of fresh pinks and canary yellows for the summer season. However, things move fast in the world of fashion and in early March, Sharon will travel back to Turkey to start work on her Autumn / Winter collection. Between designing, visiting retailers, talking to customers, she is a busy woman but she says her main focus for 2019 is on growing Ky Ky sales.

Getting Barcodes with GS1 IrelandKy Ky Kids Dress Close Up

Sharon was first prompted to look into getting barcodes on her products when she was approaching potential stockists for her boxed baby gifts, ‘It’s a requirement for the big retailers’. She found the process of barcoding her products very straightforward, ‘Barcode Manager (our online tool) is so simple to use and the lady on the phone talked me through it all’. She also found that it had another effect in that it made the process of controlling her inventory easier to manage., ‘When you have your own business, you have so much going on…the process needs to be simple’.

Advice for Up and Coming Irish Designers

Ky Ky Kids Dress PinkWhen asked what advice she would give to up and coming Irish designers, Sharon stressed the importance of cultivating a personal connection with your customers, ‘I visit my retailers on a regular basis and they really appreciate that personal connection.’ Many retailers lament the loss of connection they had with suppliers, ‘They tell me no suppliers call in anymore and everything is done digitally’. She said that the way she does business may be considered old-fashioned but it works. ‘I set up an appointment to visit them, they know me and I know them, that’s the difference between me and the bigger companies’.

While it’s important to cultivate the relationship with retailers, the relationship you have with customers is equally if not more important, according to Sharon, ‘Mind your customers, listen to them, know them and most importantly, take on board what they are saying.’

For more information on Ky Ky Kids, see https://shopkykykids.ie/

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All photo credits: Ky Ky Kids