A Pocketful of Squares

They say great style never goes out of fashion, but it’s taken the rise to prominence of slick dresser Conor McGregor, and the popularity of TV programmes such as Peaky Blinders and Mad Men to turn a whole new generation on to the appeal of such fashion.

Mainstream brands such as Ted Baker, Paul Smith and our own Louis Copeland have played their part too, but the dedicated follower of fashion (and his other half) is likely to want to develop his own distinctive style, and wander away from the high street to find those off-beat accessories that finish an outfit with a flourish.

Hip To Be Square

This week’s guest on Kickstart Your Business, William Jenkins, has long been a dedicated follower of fashion. When he and his partner Maeve were exploring potential opportunities in the world of gentleman’s attire, they identified the once-popular but now lesser-spotted pocket square (or handkerchief) as a classic accessory that’s been largely overlooked by the main fashion retailers.

They’ve set up their own fashion accessories brand MrJenks.com, and are working closely with traditional craftsmen and designers in Italy to bring a range of 100% silk and uniquely patterned pocket squares to market. Their pocket squares are available to purchase directly from them online, or through a small number of high-end retailers such as Louis Copeland and Henry Jermyn in Dublin.

A range of cuff knots and lapel pins are also coming into the mix, and the pair are determined to become a leading men’s fashion accessories’ brand in a world crying out for those little flashes of colour and detail that finish off a suit.

Celebrity Squares

Mr. Jenks appealed hugely to George’s sense of style; he was quick to remind us that the young George Hook typically sported a silk pocket square back in the day.

I suggested that William and Maeve’s challenge is to drive demand whilst establishing themselves as the go-to brand for sharp accessories, no easy task for a start-up. Whilst celebrity endorsements are often an elusive prize, George generously offered to model Mr. Jenks’ pocket squares; in Ireland in particular the support of highly-visible figures can go a long way towards building the profile of the ambitious start-up.

Throw Your Hat In The Ring

How do you suggest William and Maeve build their profile and business in this highly competitive market.

Listen back to William on Kickstart Your Business (with thanks to Energia) and tell us what you think? We’d love to hear from you.


Kickstart Your Business is broadcast on The Right Hook on Newstalk every Thursday around 6.25pm and is available for playback immediately afterwards on Newstalk.com.