Bundoran teenage entrepreneur Katie McGloin is starting the year on a high after being named as a finalist in the Irish SME Awards.
Katie, the 17-year-old founder of K.T. Clothing Co., was nominated in the Young Entrepreneur of the Year category of the inaugural awards which celebrate the hard work of the best professionals and businesses in the Irish SME business sector.
Katie’s company is building on the immense success of 2017 when she earned recognition as an inspirational young leader in enterprise.
K.T. Clothing Co. is Ireland’s first completely gender neutral clothing company. The collections of tshirts, sweaters and accessories are designed to be comfortable and to fit males and females, with affirmative slogans enforcing positive messages for young people and adults.
Katie established the business in 2016 during her Transition Year at Coláiste Mhaigh Éne. The company has since been gaining attention and praise in the business, youth, social enterprise and LGBT sectors.
This latest award nomination, Katie said, came as a great surprise:
“It was a bit crazy to learn of the Irish SME nomination. It seemed kind of unimaginable, especially when I learned that people had been voting for me in an online survey! I had no idea, I think it is a bit surreal to think that people now associate me heavily with youth enterprise,” she told Donegal Woman.
— K.T. Clothing Co. (@kt_clothing_co) January 4, 2018
The Irish SME award winners will be announced at a black tie event on Monday the 5th of February. Katie counts her place in the competition as another major highlight for herself and the company and an achievement for gender-neutral clothing in general:
“It really shows that we as a society are really taking to idea that clothes are just clothes and we add the labels ourselves. I think the more publicity K.T. Clothing gets the more people it reaches that could benefit from it,” she said.
The Irish SME’s come ahead of a year in which Katie has big business development plans, which she revealed this week:
“Really for 2018, I want to expand my product range so that there is really something for everyone. I am also looking to get more shops stocking K.T. Clothing so that there is more availability in more areas around the country.
“I have opened a stockists application form on my website for anyone interested in becoming an official stockist for the brand. I’m excited for everything that 2018 holds after a truly amazing 2017!”
2017 brought with it much local and national recognition for Katie and the brand. Katie was the winner of the Foróige Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, she won Start-Up of the Year Award at U Magazine’s 30 Under 30 awards and won a bronze medal for European Enterprise.
— U Magazine (@U_Magazine) August 28, 2017
She was counted among well-known female leaders and achievers by the Daily Edge on a list of leading ’50 Irish women who absolutely killed it in 2017′, which she considered a true privilege:
Katie said: “It’s crazy to think that people see me this way. Like, I am a 17 year old with so many of my own inspirations and to be counted in a list with Katie Taylor and Alison Spittle to name a few was unbelievable. That’s not something I take lightly, I think it’s really important to have people to look up to, because we can be inspired in so many ways.”
— Katherine Zappone (@KZapponeTD) December 9, 2017
Last year saw Katie forming business and political connections that will pave the way for her to achieve more change in society. There were many stand-out moments:
“2017 was such an exceptional year. I’ve done so many things, I wouldn’t have even dreamed of a year ago. Meeting Minister Katherine Zappone, someone I admire so much, that was an inspiring day. The NFTE National final was also a phenomenal experience because for me that was really the starting point for all the success I have achieved.
“But I think that stand out moments are when you open a paper to an article, that shows someone is interested in what you’re doing or when someone comes up to you and tells you that it’s such a fundamental idea or that your idea could change society for the better. They are really the stand out moments,” she said.