Interview: Lady Umbrella’s Robert Ryan talks t-shirts

September 17, 2010 § Leave a comment

Rob Ryan and Elena Montes Casado of Lady Umbrella Designer Ladies T-Shirts opened a shop in The Loft in the Powerscourt Town Centre a few months ago. Since then their quirky t-shirts have been selling like hot-cakes, with magazines and tabloids picking up on their success.  According to their website-

‘To us, Lady Umbrella represents funny, quirky, unusual yet cool clothing. We have put a lot of effort into each design and when you order and receive the finished product you’ll know exactly what we are talking about.’ Aside from their expertise they are also very nice people.

MW. So, why did you and Elena set up LadyUmbrella?

RR. We set it up because we felt we had to. Elena showed me the initial designs a few years ago and I set up a simple online survey to get feedback on the designs. What we received back was overwhelmingly positive so we figured we should give it a shot and try make the designs a reality. It’s better to regret trying something than not trying something and thankfully to date we have no regrets.

MW. It’s getting quite successful and well-received- why do you think that is?

RR. I think the main factor is the designs. Elena has done a great job at creating designs which all “fit” together inside the LadyUmbrella theme and I think this consistency has helped people recognise the “brand” and identify them as LadyUmbrella which might be a factor in how they are being received. Another key factor I think is the sheer randomness of the concept and designs, like, a lady with an umbrella for a head is pretty surreal and out there but also in a way somewhat memorable. This combo of recognition and being memorable, both thanks to Elena’s designs, are what I think is helping the brand be well received.

“The sheer randomness of the concept and designs, a lady with an umbrella for a head, are memorable.”

MW. Talk a bit about the designs and where the inspiration came for them?

RR. The fledgling idea for LadyUmbrella is a direct result of wet Irish weather meeting head on with Spanish inspiration. Elena arrived here a few years back during a typically wet winter and saw more umbrellas than Spaniards are accustomed to. The quantity of umbrellas on the streets hid peoples faces which gave Elena the idea for LadyUmbrella, a lady with an umbrella for a head. Once she had the concept for LadyUmbrella the specific designs themselves are just Elena looking through her surreal inner eye and delving into her design skills to see what images she can create. Elena wants to make designs that can have a few meanings (or none at all depending on how you look at them) but which ultimately are aesthetically pleasing.

“Setting Up A Business is Really liberating and Uplifting”

MW. Any tips for budding entrepreneurs?

RR. Do it. Live for the now, live on the dreams and hopes you harbour deep within you. If you’re an entrepreneur you’ve probably always marched to the beat of your own drum and setting up a business you can call your own (or your “baby”) is really uplifting and liberating. Don’t expect to make millions overnight but rather expect sleepless nights as you’re mind is whizzing with ideas or you’re up late working. Embrace the process of getting a business set up – even the parts your don’t like. Take responsibility for everything as the buck stops with you but delegate as much as possible and get good people around you. Get ready to lose a few friends (or at least not see them regularly) and be willing to make that trade off. The personal commitment to your own business is immense, it is all consuming, it will envelop you with enthusiasm and the things which were once routine to you will become things of the past (oh, how I miss watching sports as much as I used to) and, incredibly, you’ll have no complaints.

“If you have a passion, run with it, give it a go.”

If you have an idea, or more importantly, a passion, run with it, give it a go. You owe it to yourself to try. There are too many people stuck in jobs they despise purely for financial gain (or even just stability) which doesn’t do them or customers of that business any good at all. The old saying of “you only go around this merry go round once” is true, and not wanting to sound philosophical at all but try make the most of it..Life is short and if you think you are an entrepreneur, if you have something bursting from within you trying to get out then do it..Give it a whirl, give it 100% and have no regrets and see what happens…

Leave a comment and reassure Rob that he wasn’t ranting (too much!) 🙂


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