Connor Harkin is opening a modern menswear store in Ennis, hoping his unique offering will spark the local retail scene.
AT JUST 25, Connor Harkin is now one of the new generation of entrepreneurs who have emerged in Clare over the past 18 months. Last Friday, doors opened at his new men’s clothing store Truth, located on the High Street in Ennis.
Inspired by the department stores of Oxford Street in London, the clean layout and open spaces of Truth’s studio are certainly a departure from the norm and Connor explains that this is not a typical Irish men’s clothing. At the heart of Connor’s vision is a stylish, comfortable and convenient shopping experience paired with regular stock arrivals that will keep the store cool. Traditional men’s clothing stores typically get two big shipments a year – spring-summer and fall-winter – but Connor expects something new on the rails every two to three weeks. And for those who are trying something, extra-large changing rooms have been fitted to ensure maximum comfort.
“It’s a men’s clothing store, but we’re moving away from your traditional men’s clothing store altogether,” says the Ballyea native. “We’re going to have capsule collections coming out every two to three weeks, so every time you walk into the store there should be something new.
“The way it’s presented, you’ll see less of it on the shelves here, but it’s very easy to navigate. It’s set up so that you can come in and see if there’s something here for you or not. You don’t need to go digging or rooting, there are no rails scattered around the store. You should come in and there will be the correct T-shirt, shirt, sweater, jeans, what’s the matter; but if you decide a week or two later to go for another walk around town, you will definitely find something new.
Despite his young age, Connor has nearly 10 years of experience in the menswear industry and worked in the management of Club Dangan’s CD2 store. He says customer habits are starting to change with many people getting fed up with your “fast fashion” stores – “things that don’t last and go in the trash after three or four uses”.
“So what I’m trying to achieve is a shopping experience that people want; it’s fresh, it’s new, it’s presented in a very attractive way but they want something that lasts and they don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for it. So, Truth will be put together in such a way that it is a pleasant shopping experience for everyone and there will be something new and you can guarantee that it will last and you will get a few years of wear and tear from it. Most of this has been taken into consideration.
Most age groups are catered for by Truth, while it will offer trendy street style as well as sportswear. “I’ve devoted a fair amount of space to the athletic guy, your gym fan or your GAA guy, if he wants a workout t-shirt or swim shorts I have a range of sports equipment called Gym King. And then everything else is clean – that’s what I would describe as a clean continental look, your London style, very clean, ”says Conor, who says there will be a wide range of stock for the“ professional working age ”.
Connor admits he lucked out with the timing. Plans for the Truth have been underway since late 2019, and the store was set to launch just before the pandemic brought the local economy to a halt. So despite his young age, Truth “took a long time to come.”
“Since the age of 17, 18, 19, I’ve been saying I’m going to start a business. I have looked at a few other ideas in the past and didn’t pull the trigger, in the end I chose something that would be a hobby for me which is menswear and used a hammer and tweezers to make sure it crosses the line.
While admitting that the last few months have been filled with challenges, with the help of his family and friends, he is now open for business.
Visit Truth on instagram at @ this.is.truth.