As businesses around the globe rush to embrace technology in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s old hat for the Hanna family of Hanna Hats, Donegal. “Since my grandfather, David Hanna Senior, set up the business in 1924, we have continually reinvented and adapted our business model to diversify, reach new markets and grow, “says Eleanor Hanna, General Manager of third generation family business, Hanna Hats. While many businesses are looking to e-commerce in recent months, Hanna Hats have been exporting their luxury, handmade products for several years and have built strong sales channels across global markets.

“All our products are expertly crafted by hand at our facility in Donegal Town by our team of skilled cutters and machinists using the highest quality woven tweed. Our products are steeped in history and heritage which really resonates with the growing appetite among consumers for authentic yet affordable, sustainable fashion. With the rise of e-commerce, we saw an opportunity to penetrate new markets and diversify our export strategy by selling online. We have built a strong sales pipeline in America, Canada, Asia, and Europe. We have also been exporting to Russia since 2018, a market that is rapidly growing and expanding for us.  We have plans to expand our presence in Scandinavia and Germany also. Earlier this year we were awarded “Exemplar Status” by Intertrade Ireland for our export driven growth.”

And while the business has faced many challenges over the decades, Eleanor Hanna notes that resilience has been key to the ambitious growth of Hanna Hats.

“Like many businesses we have had our fair share of hurdles. The global recession was particularly tough but we bounced back by diversifying our product range from caps and waistcoats to bags, scarves, bow ties and household accessories as well as other items of fine tweed, linen and wax apparel.“

With the covid-19 pandemic and the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, Eleanor recognizes that challenge come with the territory.

“Business comes with many challenges but we have found that adapting and planning ahead is the key to overcoming them. I would advise businesses to seek support in preparing for Brexit and the challenging trading environment ahead. Risk assessment and advance preparation can help to mitigate the effects on your supply chain.”

“Our global market presence left us less vulnerable to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic than other businesses but one of the positives to emerge from this crisis is the sheer number of small, independent retailers who have moved their business online and increased their visibility in recent months.”

The Hanna family hopes that the upcoming #BuyDonegalWeekend will prove to be a feather in the cap for Donegal businesses.

“It’s wonderful to see the “shop local” message so widely reinforced throughout Ireland in recent months, particularly in Donegal. I think as we approach Christmas, initiatives like the #BuyDonegalWeekend by Donegal County Council will really help to shine a spotlight on the sheer caliber of businesses in Donegal. Local businesses are the cornerstone of the local community, providing economic growth and new opportunities across villages, towns and cities in Ireland. The “shop local” message is more important than ever.”

“We are delighted to be taking part in the #BuyDonegalWeekend initiative. There are so many amazing businesses in Donegal and it is wonderful to be given this opportunity to not only showcase our locally sourced products but also to unlock the stories behind them.”

#BuyDonegalWeekend takes place from Friday the 6th November until Sunday the 8th November. Find out how to get involved at http://buydonegal.com