Appreciation Post - Santander and Belfast Enterprise Academy

As you know, times have been tough for everyone since the start of lockdown.

I have been working to adapt my business to be completely online and increase my reach beyond NI and predominantly tourism -based retail. Thanks to Santander Universities providing the Student Enterprise Support Grant and thanks also to working with Belfast Enterprise Academy I have rebranded (slightly) and am able to diversify into a new range of prints and textile designs. 

Thanks to James from Rapid Agency, I have been able to set up a new website with a built in web store so you can now purchase everything in my portfolio directly from me and not through third party sites like ETSY. (Though I still maintain my presence on the platform).

Thanks to Tim McCullough of brand agency Journeyfor my website now has a new brand identity and logo to fit my diversification from illustration to a range of illustrations, prin·ts and textile designs inspired by urban vistas.

Thanks to Niamh from Digital24 my brand now has a full online presence. You can now find me on Google, Linkedin, Facebook Shopping, lnstagram shopping (see profile) and I'm in the process of beginning a blog on my website!

There are so many other mentors from Belfast Enterprise Academy to thanl( for helping me work on the brand during lockdown - over so many zoom calls - but my last thank you is to Nancy from BEA for helping me to see the potential for other products and target markets. 

I'm now working on a range of photography prints; printed textiles and diversifying my illustration portfolio beyond NI - starting with Dublin and London. I'm also figuring out how to incorporate more of my fashion and textiles skills from my degree into my business.

Thanks to Santander University's grant I'll be able to start production of the printed textiles and trial Giclee prints of my new photography range which will hopefully launch soon on my web store.

Watch this space ...

There are loads of things planned to help me diversify and help the business survive this "new normal" but beyond Katie Ireland Designs, for those who don't . know, I am launching a business I co- founded with Samanta Radek and Rachel Okungbowa called Mala Belfast (

I also am graduating this summer with 1st Class Honours from Fashion and Textiles at UUB and going on to study MSc Fashion Retail Management - also at Ulster Uni.

I can't wait to see what happens next ...

So watch this space for:

• New product ranges/illustrations

• Photography Prints

• Printed Textiles

Thanks to:

Belfast Enterprise Academy 

Santander Universities

UUSU Enterprise


Journey For,

Rapid Agency,

Nancy (BEA) and more ...

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