Queen B Athletics, the Carrigaline-based designers and manufacturers of sportswear for women are going from strength to strength! High profile athletes including Anna Geary, Briege Corkery, Linda Djougang, Sanita Puspure, Lizzie Lee, Brid Stack and Sonia O’Sullivan are among people who wear their clothing and last year they became an official partner with Hockey Ireland providing sports bras to the Ireland Women’s Hockey Team. The team qualified for the Olympics for the first time ever last year and Queen B Athletics could not be happier for their success. “To partner with a national team is a huge honour for a small business, but to see that team go on and make history by qualifying for the Olympics is really a dream come true” says Brid Ryan, Queen B Athletics’ co-owner with her sister Aedin.
The Carrigaline company’s one-year partnership agreement with Hockey Ireland ended at the start of summer 2020. “We knew it was coming to an end” says Brid, “and we were frankly thrilled to have had the opportunity at all. So when Hockey Ireland asked to renew our partnership for a further 4 years and also to add Queen B leggings to the team’s training kit we were blown away”.
It has been a tough year for small businesses across the country but Queen B have kept spirits up through Instagram stories with their “Lockdown Launches” scoring a particular highlight. “We were in a bit of a quandary” says Brid, “like so many other businesses we had big plans for 2020 including launching new products. We found ourselves in lockdown with boxes of new stock and new products arriving for events that had been cancelled. Rather than focus on what we couldn’t control we took to social media and started to launch our products online. Instead of models we had to wear the kit ourselves and instead of fancy backgrounds and settings it was me alone in the office. It was a lot of fun and our followers seemed to enjoy it as much as we did!”.
As a year none of us will forget draws to a close Queen B are optimistic about the future “To end such an awful year with a new contract from Hockey Ireland was more than we could have ever hoped for, but then just as we were thinking our work was done for 2020 Anna Geary wore our kit on The Late, Late Show and gave us a lovely mention. Our website exploded, our phones were inundated with messages and calls and it is beyond all our expectations to be ending this year, of all years, on a high”.
Brid is also quick to point out that Queen Bs local customers are what keep them going in the pandemic. “The big moments are amazing but it is being part of a community that also inspires us. Partnering with the Carrigaline Ladies Football Club, walking into the chemists in Carrigaline and seeing the staff who wear our kit, doing local deliveries. These are the things that keep our heads up during the bad times.” Brid goes on to say “A few weeks into lockdown I don’t think myself or Aedin had any idea what we were going to do, it was tough and we were both feeling low. I went for a walk and it just so happened that I passed two ladies wearing Queen B kit. That small moment, seeing our designs walking by and our customers waving and smiling from across the road in lockdown gave me the motivation I needed to move forward during such an uncertain time. The big wins are wonderful but sometimes a little win when you really need it can be just as powerful”.