Mucky lecture from mum boots Conor into business

At The Welly Club at Market St, Bandon, Co Cork, are entrepreneur Conor O'Callaghan and his girlfriend Kelly Gaughan with his range of handmade welly stands. Picture: Denis Boyle

A lecture from his mum about leaving mucky wellies lying around inspired an unemployed West Cork man to launch a business.

Entrepreneur Conor O’Callaghan, 23, who lost his job in the marketing sector some months ago has just opened a new shop in Bandon.

He is selling customised welly-holders for farmers, festival-goers, children, and anybody else who has wellies and doesn’t want them lying around.

It all started nearly 10 years ago when Conor’s mum, Carmel, told him off for leaving muddy wellies lying around outside the back door of the family farmhouse.

“I came up with the idea of a welly-holder,” recalls O’Callaghan, a native of Skibbereen.

Although his welly-holder was a hit with the family, Conor never did any more about it until he lost his job in marketing some months ago.

“I decided to develop the idea I had nine years ago when I made one for my mother. The idea of setting up a business was in my head for a long time,” he explains.

He tested his idea by making 20 welly stands and selling them at Bandon mart.

“They sold fairly quickly so I did a bit of research.

I found that there’s almost 140,000 farming families in Ireland so I felt there would be a market.”

Through the support of a Start Your own Business course with the West Cork Enterprise Board, Conor has now set up a business, The Welly Club, making and selling the welly-holders.

He opened his shop in Market St, Bandon, last week, offering a choice of holders — either wooden or ones made from golf clubs.

Conor makes the product in the shop, which also supplies boot-jacks, raingear, and adult and children’s wellies.

Not only do the welly-holders keep your boots tidy, the footwear ends up clean and dry, says Conor.

“You put your welly-holder outside the back door or in a shed. The wellingtons go on upside down and if they’re outside, the rain will wash them clean,” he says.

He also has special welly-holders for dog owners: “I make welly-holders to hang on the wall for dog owners because dogs like to play with wellies.”

He’s now making shoe-holders which can be hung on a wall, he says.

Find ‘The Welly Club Bandon’ on Facebook; Conor will shortly launch his website, thewellyclub.com


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