Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Local mum launches quirky Irish language t-shirt range

A Mullaghbawn mum of seven month old twins has managed to juggle the demands of new motherhood (multiplied by two!) to launch her own quirky and unique Irish language t-shirt range – which is already appealing to a global market. 

Despite “being cocooned on the sofa” breastfeeding her twin girls, entrepreneurial Louise Smith, says she was determined to keep her mind active and began to look into a creative home business she could undertake while on maternity leave.  With the idea of a t-shirt printing business suggested by friends and family,  Louise began to search YouTube to get clued up on how to start her own print-on-demand t-shirt business from home. 

In a bid to come up with some innovative designs, the Irish language enthusiast decided to combine her love of the language with her flair for puns and wordplay to develop ‘smigsmig’ (meaning chin chin), a range of funny, stylish t-shirts, which include slogans ‘Fleadh-ed Out’, featuring traditional Irish musical instruments, and Teanga Bheo, meaning a living tongue.

Translations and explanations of the slogans accompany the designs online, and smigsmig has already found a demand among US customers for its Slán a Bhalla t-shirt, which plays on the phrase ‘slán abhaile’ meaning ‘cheerio’ and features President Trump peeking over a wall. 

“Once I put the idea out there, anyone who knows me and my love of silly puns and Irish agreed this could be the perfect business for me!”  Louise told The Examiner.

“While the girls slept or fed, I used whichever hand was free to reach for the laptop and research how to do this,” says the busy mum, who set about designing t-shirts and developing an e-commerce site to access a global market of Irish people at home and abroad.

After months of manic multi-tasking, Louise launched her tees among musicians and makers at the recent SOMA festival in Castlewellan.  Her puntastic offerings proved to be a huge hit, with slogans such as Faoi Lán Cheoil, (Alive with Music) and Fleadh-ed to the Mat well-suited to the festival, as Castlewellan prepared for the Ulster Fleadh and for Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann this month.  Some musicians proudly wore their new tees on stage, with world renowned uilleann piper and whistle player,  John McSherry, declaring the smigsmig tees as “really clever” and “a fresh way to show you’re proud to be Irish.”

Adding to her range on a regular basis, Louise’s latest design is Póg mo Shrón, meaning Kiss My Nose and features an elephant with a very long trunk.  The creative business woman hopes to take her fun range of t-shirts to this week’s Fleadh in Drogheda and she reveals she has also been busy networking with international contacts at home and abroad to get the smigsmig brand out there.  

Global shipping is available to over 40 countries including the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and most European Countries, offering Irish people at home and abroad the opportunity to choose style with a smile at or via the Smigsmig Facebook page.

Local stockists include Ti Chullain in Mullaghbawn and Good Craic Gifts in Rostrevor.