A former banker has launched an international online clothing company from her kitchen table in the North West of Ireland.
Kimberley Stripp set up Oh Hello Clothing after her passion for buying clothes – and taking selfies in them — turned into a viable business. She now operates the company, which sells occasion wear all over the world, from her offices and warehouse in Collooney, Co Sligo. “I was looking for certain clothes – mainly dresses – that I could not find in Ireland or the UK. So, I started sourcing them from factories overseas. I took selfies of myself wearing them and when I posted them online, other people started to admire them and wanted them too.
“So, I decided to buy in larger quantities and sell them on a Facebook page. It was very much a hobby but when I started making more money from it than my real job, I decided to take the jump and set it up as a ‘real’ business,” says Kimberly, who is the founder and owner of Oh Hello Clothing.
Originally from Brighton in England, Kimberley ended up in the North West of Ireland when she met her future husband, Graham Lee who is from Sligo, on her first day of a holiday in Lanzarote. As Graham was working managing two bars there, Kimberley ended up staying in Lanzarote a little longer — for three years in fact. The couple moved to Sligo in 2013, with their baby girl Daisy.
“I had visited Sligo a few times before we moved and it was very different to Brighton and Lanzarote but I loved the laid-back atmosphere. Sligo was buzzing and I was really happy to move here. Graham has a large family so we had great support.” Some of the vast range available from Oh Hello Clothing
Kimberley was a former banker when she lived in Brighton but began working part-time in retail when she moved to Sligo. As a hobby, she set up the Facebook page selling clothes that she had sourced herself directly from factories outside of Ireland.
“I started it from my kitchen table and anything I bought in was sold out really quickly so I had to get serious and I decided to jump into the deep end. I got so busy that I had to put all my energy into it,” says Kimberley, who set up the business in July 2015.
When the clothes started taking over the couple’s home, Kimberley moved the operation into a large warehouse in Collooney last year. What makes Oh Hello Clothing
different is that the company offers next day delivery to the UK and all of Europe as well as a ‘Click and Collect’
option within 40 minutes to all customers in the North West of Ireland.
“It’s always so amazing to me to see someone order and then they are in Portugal or wherever posting pictures of themselves in the dress the next day. We also offer live chat on the website so people can talk to us from nine to five – and beyond most days — so that really helps with the conversion rates.” There are now two people employed full-time in the business with one part-time, with plans to create another full-time job in the coming months. The company is also now moving into wholesale and are in talks with boutiques around the country about stocking Oh Hello Clothing.
“I have always taken one step at a time. I don’t want to grow too fast; I want to ensure the company is sustainable. Brexit has really impacted on the business as people from the UK have decreased their spend in euro since the fall in Sterling so we are focussing on other European countries, including Ireland where consumer sentiment is really strong.”