My Name is Ted aims to become the ‘Mulberry of Ireland’ for luxury bags
A row of Georgian houses inspired the signature design for the handcrafted leather accessories firm whose name is a tribute to the original founder
There are two years that especially matter for My Name is Ted, the luxury accessories company based in Westmeath. There’s 1942, when Ted Carberry started the company, and 2016 when it was restarted by Kasia Gaborec-McEvoy and Brendan McEvoy, her husband and Carberry’s grandson.
“Ted was a saddlemaker, originally from Kildare, but spent most of his life in Laois. The trade left the family after Ted. We first heard about the business from family members where we found out he had lost the movement in his right arm after an aneurysm and a stroke. He had to stop being a saddlemaker. Instead he started making smaller leather goods, using his left hand and his mouth to sew,” Gaborec-McEvoy told the Business Post.
Gaborec-McEvoy and her husband were fascinated by the idea and initially set about trying to create just one bag as a gift for her mother-in-law. That brought them on a journey to source materials and makers, which led to them unintentionally creating an idea for a product.
“We launched our first men’s collection in 2017. It was bespoke – we picked the finest materials on the market. We chose to be a men’s brand initially, but through trading we learned that 75 per cent of our customers were women buying for men, mostly for gifting,” Gaborec-McEvoy said.
“We had been discouraged from entering the female-focused market because it was so saturated, so we took our time coming up with the perfect design to stand out.”
Brendan McEvoy was stuck in traffic on a rainy day and noticed how much he admired the doors on Georgian houses. From there, the idea to use a door as the signature element to the brand and its design was put in motion.
“There’s always a story behind every door. You open a handbag like you open a door – your possessions are behind it. We released the first collection in 2019 and it sold out, so we knew it was the way to go,” Gaborec-McEvoy said.
The pair were unsure as to how the business would manage the pandemic, but it experienced a pick-up in online sales.
“We’re growing by 50 per cent every year. It will be difficult to maintain that, but we’re agile, we’re omni-channel. We sell online, through retailers, we do phone sales, and we are setting up a showroom in Mullingar,” she said.
The business has been supported by Enterprise Ireland since shortly after starting out, joining the high-potential start-up unit (HPSU) and getting competitive start fund investment.
“As we are export focused, we are working with the London, New York and Singapore offices. We’re selling in all three markets. We’re quite busy and we’re trying to link up with different retailers through the Enterprise Ireland network,” she said.
“We want to be a household name. We want to be the Mulberry of Ireland. When anyone is buying a handbag, we want them to consider us. We want to be globally recognisable for our quality.”
This Making it Work article was produced in partnership with Enterprise Ireland