A former plumber from Ardboe who started his high-end fashion business when off work injured, now dresses Conor McGregor’s entourage.
Dee (Diarmuid) Graham, who operates out of premises at Dungannon Enterprise Centre (DEC), is a fast-rising name in the fashion industry.
Just 10 months ago, the father-of-one was creating one-off menswear pieces from his bedroom.
But after moving to The Cube at DEC, his designs have donned catwalks at both Belfast’s Alternative Fashion Week and a Dublin Style Warriors event.
It was after the latter that he said demand for his bespoke suits “exploded”.
And he now counts Dublin born UFC World Champion Conor McGregor’s entourage among his clientele.
His designs are even being sought after for London Fashion Week.
On his work dressing the entourage of one of the hottest names in sport, Dee said: “The Mac Life Official contacted me when McGregor was fighting in New York. I thought it was a joke at the start!”
A phone call so many of us can only dream of, but Dee seems modest and unassuming about how far he has come as a businessman.
He and his full team of tailors have even been asked to provide the suits for the Mac Life crew for a wedding.
And with such a famous following, it would appear the sky is the limit for someone who, in a previous life, fixed leaky pipes for a living.
“I was a fully qualified plumber”, Dee continued, “but I played a bit of soccer and when I got a bad injury I had to take 13 months off work.
“From a very early age I was always into clothes and fashion and I always wanted to start my own brand.
“I used to make custom motorcycles and sculpted with wood too, so I suppose I was always creative and artistically minded.”
Dee admits it was “very daunting” to finally start out on his own - particularly when his wife Aine was seven months pregnant with their daughter - but credits Dungannon Enterprise Centre with giving him the confidence and information he needed to launch his venture.
“Dungannon Enterprise Centre were a great help because when I went to see Jarlath it was amazing just to speak my idea out loud to somebody. That gave me a bit of confidence to take it a step further.
“I worked with Jason Bullock on a logo, just to throw it out there, and got a business plan together, which was all about putting my ideas into practice.
“The Cube was a great thing for me too, because it was a fixed place of work and it gave me flexibility, and being around other businesses is brilliant as we all feed off each other. And I have to mention Brian MacAuley, because I can just nip over to him with any queries I have and he always gives me sound advice.”
Asked whether he has any tips for anyone thinking of starting their own business, Dee said: “You might as well do something you want to do. Ask yourself, ‘What if I don’t do it?’”
If you want to find out more about starting your own business, get in touch with Dungannon Enterprise Centre on 028 8772 3489 or email email@example.com
You can also keep up to date with workshops and other useful events and programmes by checking out Dungannon Enterprise Centre on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.