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Hairy Baby Clothing Company



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Company History

One Saturday afternoon during the summer of 2007 a computer made the best sound ever. Bing! That was the sound of the first t-shirt sold on It was music to the ears of Kerryman Daragh Murphy, founder and owner of Hairy Baby online clothing company. Could he possibly prove the numerous bank managers that turned him down for a loan wrong? Armed with a computer, a printer and a bucket load of ideas, he was willing to give it a try. Now 13 years later, the company is turning a healthy profit and sending t-shirts to Irish people all over the world.  Even bank managers. It was music that originally gave Murphy his inspiration for Hairy Baby. A regular DJ on the Dublin nightclub scene, he spent many a Saturday shopping for new records. While he built up his record collection, he also built up a fine collection of t-shirts to wear while playing. The only trouble was that they were all imported brands from the UK and US. So it got him thinking. Wouldn’t it be nice to start a company that offers people cool Irish t-shirts?

On a ‘brand Irish’ research mission, Murphy visited retail shops up and down the country to see what was on offer. There was plenty to choose from, that’s for sure. But every t-shirt he laid his eyes on was covered in harps, shamrocks and leprechauns. Perfect if you’re selling to Tom Cruise in Far & Away. But for people like himself, the country was crying out for something a little less begorrah. There and then Murphy decided that he was going to offer the Irish public a new range of high quality t-shirts, t-shirts that expressed who they really were.

He now believed he had a great product and that there was a gap in the market, but he also knew that in order to establish the business in the market he would also need a great brand. So he turned to his family. With a sister in advertising and a brother running a digital agency, he knew they were the perfect people to help shape the brand. And they did. When Murphy was shown the Hairy Baby logo for the first time, he thought ‘that’s it’. Quirky, funny, unique. But it didn’t end there. Months were spent getting the website, packaging, messaging, labeling and all the other bits and pieces just right. Attention to detail was and always has been an important part of Murphy’s business plan.

Where we are now

The Hairy Baby offices in Cork are now the proud owners of 7 full-time employees with plans to take on 2 more before the end of the year. Brainstorming ideas, printing t-shirts and arguing the finer points of Tayto crisps are all in a day’s work. With a rapidly growing online presence, Murphy took it up a notch in 2010 and started a Facebook page and has since added various other social media pages. Spreading the Hairy Baby gospel, the social media pages now boasts over 100,000 fans, all joining in on the banter and the craic. Sure where else would you discuss the best Irish ads of the 80’s or the most essential items to bring to the beach?

Unique selling point

The t-shirts themselves are a great conversation starter and all contain a 'you have to be Irish to get it' message. Popular slogans such as 'State Of Yerman', 'Chalk It Down' and 'Who Said Mass?' not only offer the reader a good laugh, they give the wearer a sense of pride, much like an Irish badge of honour. “You could meet a man walking up the street in downtown Manhattan in a bright green t-shirt with a shamrock printed on it”, says Murphy, “now he may be Irish but you're not gonna give him the nod because deep down you know there's a good chance he's not”. He adds, “on the other hand, you see a man walking up the same street with a Hairy Baby t-shirt that says 'I'm a savage for bacon and cabbage' and you know exactly where he’s from”. This is the key ethos behind Hairy Baby, creating Irish t-shirts that Irish people 'get'.

The Name

It's something we get asked quite a lot at Hairy Baby, 'what's with the name, how did you come up with that?'. Over the years we've invented loads of different stories for a laugh but the truth is, it came about purely by accident. A passing comment which caused a giggle stuck. At the time of getting ready for launch Murphy forgot one of the most important things when setting up a company - the name. What am I going to call this creation? Names were bandied about like hang sandwiches at a county final but nothing really worked. From 'Funky Irish Tees' to 'Smar-Tees' nothing was working or indeed reflected what the brand was about, funny, Irish and entertaining. And then out of the blue, while flicking through an old family photo album Murphy's wife Deirdre commented on how 'you were a very Hairy Baby' after noticing a pic of Murphy as a 6 week old baby sporting a head of hair that would put Elvis to shame. Everybody laughed and that was the type of reaction Murphy wanted from a name. Something that would get a laugh and be memorable. Taking the bull by the horns and defying logic Murphy said, 'that's it, we're calling it HairyBaby'. And the rest is history! 

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