The Big Interview: ‘A brand doesn’t have to come out of Paris, London or New York, it can come out of a small little village’ – Joe Queenan, managing director of Foxford Woollen Mills

The gates closed on Foxford Woollen Mills in 1987, but the business was rescued by Joe Queenan, one of the receivership team, who put together a package that saved the firm and made it the successful enterprise it is today

Joe Queenan, managing director of Foxford Woollen Mills: ‘We had to modernise, we had to try and become a lifestyle brand.’ Picture: Michael McLaughlin

When Joe Queenan first arrived at Foxford Woollen Mills in Mayo in the economic depths of the 1980s, he was tasked with a rescue mission of saving a dying textile firm. Now he leads a modern Irish business that sells internationally and attracts 200,000 visitors to a village which he describes as “in the middle of nowhere.”

Changing tastes can often have a detrimental impact on businesses that fail to innovate. For Foxford, which had ...