Ashbourne’s new menswear range on brand with mental health message
A YOUNG Ashbourne entrepreneur has launched a new clothing brand which he hopes will help start informal conversations about mental health, while 10% of all sales are donated to mental health charities.
Mark Donnelly (26) shared his passion for mental health and came up with the idea of starting a clothing business focused on mental health awareness.
After finishing college, he took on the role of brand ambassador at Tullamore Dew in the United States and when the pandemic hit, he decided to start researching his business idea and put the wheels in motion. movement to set up its line of clothing.
After spending time in the United States where the expression “HUH” is commonplace, he had the idea to put “HUH” (how’s your head?) on a hoodie and that’s how the brand was born.
Since its inception almost two years ago, HUH clothing has donated over €30,000 to various mental health charities in Ireland and the US and sells a range of hoodies, vests and hats on her website huhclothing.com.
“Our goal for HUH is to create a stylish and comfortable clothing brand while raising funds and awareness of the importance of mental health.
“At HUH Clothing, we donate 10% of every sale to mental health organizations that provide valuable services to individuals across the country,” Mark said.
“The goal of HUH clothing is to spark casual conversations about your mental health through something as simple as a hoodie or a t-shirt. We want people to ask what does HUH mean?
Conversations about mental health should be normalized and take place daily and weekly, with yourself, loved ones, friends, family and co-workers,” he added.
Mark studied Retail Services and Management at DIT and after graduating he moved to the US where he started working as a Tullamore Dew Brand Ambassador for the State of Wisconsin in 2019, which he said was a “dream job”.
But then the pandemic hit. Mark had a choice to go home or stay, so he decided to stay in the US and use his free time to develop his business idea, source suppliers and work on his brand.
“After years of working in the bar industry in Ireland and the United States, I noticed time and time again that people who were underperforming or not showing up for work, you knew something was up. was going on, but they weren’t talking about it. Every community is affected. I wanted to do something like this to help spark informal conversations about mental health,” he said.
The phrase “Huh” was everywhere when he was in the United States, whether it was in text messages, emails or even on TV shows, and Mark kept coming back to the phrase and had the idea to put it on a hoodie.
“I put HUH on a hoodie to see if anyone asked me what it meant and within 20 minutes someone asked me and I told them it was a clothing brand for mental health, and a conversation has started around mental health.”
Whether at home or at the gym, he wanted to start the conversation about mental health and get people talking.
Mark moved home in July 2021, spending two weeks in hotel quarantine before getting started with his business plans. He remembers how he started working in the storage room of his parents’ house and before long there were boxes all over the house.
HUH has now moved to a unit in the Ashbourne Industrial Estate. Mark’s family and friends have been very supportive in helping with various aspects of the business, from accounting to photography.
He said he also received great support from his local Donaghmore/Ashbourne GAA club and was very supportive of the locals.
“I have great local support and I can’t leave the house without seeing someone wearing a hoodie or asking me about it,” he said.