Dundalk busi­ness­man Ro­nan tells of liv­ing the Shang­hai dream

The Argus - - FRONT PAGE - By OLIVIA RYAN

A Dundalk man has be­come a ma­jor player in for­mal made to mea­sure menswear in China, af­ter launch­ing his own com­pany, RJ Cloth­ing.

Ro­nan Kent, who is orig­i­nally from the Dublin Road has been based in China for a num­ber of years, and in 2016 de­cided to put his en­tre­pre­neur­ial en­ergy into set­ting up his own busi­ness fo­cus­ing on the ‘ pre­mium pro­duc­tion of Madeto-Mea­sure menswear gar­ments and ac­ces­sories.’

‘We of­fi­cially be­gan re­tail­ing to the Shang­hai mar­ket back in Septem­ber 2016 in a Gen­tle­men’s Whisky bar,’ said Ro­nan.

‘ The re­sponse was in­cred­i­ble, we couldn’t be­lieve it,’ he added.

Three months into the ‘ pop up’ ex­per­i­ment, the for­mer De la Salle stu­dent said ‘and we re­ally be­gan to think we could make a more sus­tain­able plan for the com­pany.’

The brand man­aged to es­tab­lish a foothold with Shang­hai com­peti­tors and was see­ing con­sis­tent repet­i­tive busi­ness. ‘ This only went up­wards and we have never looked back.’

The main mar­ket for the newly crowned ‘ RJ Cloth­ing’ were for­eign­ers liv­ing and work­ing in China, peo­ple who Ro­nan ex­plained ‘re­ally wanted a high qual­ity, made to mea­sure ser­vice that was con­ve­nient.’

‘All gar­ments are or­dered, cut, sewn and fin­ished in our mod­ern work­shop, based out of down­town Shang­hai, China. We use au­to­mated and cloud com­put­ing tech­nol­ogy for mea­sur­ing, or­der­ing, cut­ting and de­liv­ery.’

Ro­nan’s own path took him from Dundalk to DCU, to Berke­ley Col­lege in the US. But it was a sum­mer teach­ing English in China which first in­spired him to move there.

Dur­ing a visit home to Dundalk over the Christ­mas hol­i­days, he had a chance to re­flect on the suc­cess of the busi­ness.

‘Our growth has been noth­ing short of bril­liant in the Chi­nese mar­ket. Europe is next, and we are just about to launch a ‘ trav­el­ling tai­lor ser­vice’ in Mu­nich in Ger­many.

The com­pany is led by a three per­son team, Ro­nan, his friend Joseph, who is also from Dundalk, and Ro­nan’s part­ner Camilla who is lead­ing mar­ket­ing.

His own aims for the com­pany are to com­bine tech and fash­ion, by cre­at­ing an app which could trans­form the made to mea­sure in­dus­try by pro­vid­ing ac­cu­rate data to their work­shop from any­where in the world.

‘ To­day, we are grow­ing faster than I could ever have imag­ined in my wildest dreams, but we are not com­pla­cent, and hope to push for­ward with new tech­nol­ogy which will put us ahead of the game.’

From hum­ble be­gin­nings in Dundalk, where Ro­nan cred­its his mother Susan for ‘ be­ing the best role model I could have,’ to the bright lights of Shang­hai, the Dundalk man is thrilled to be lead­ing a new gen­er­a­tion of fash­ion for­ward gen­tle­men.

Dundalk man, Ro­nan Kent is mak­ing a big im­pres­sion in China.

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