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Barry sells shirts, vintage ones
Pádraig O’Connor chats with Barry Treacy about vintage football jerseys, Liam Brady and the anxiety that's part of the territory with starting a business from scratch.
While most people were kept busy during lockdown learning how to make banana bread or watching documentaries about Michael Jordan and the Tiger King, one local entrepreneur decided instead to start selling some football shirts from his own personal collection.
Since then, Barry Treacy has gone from strength to strength and he recently launched his own business - Golazzo Football Shirts. Last Saturday, at a pop up shop in The Franciscan Well, Tripe + Drisheen caught up with him to discuss how it all got started and his plans for the future.
Barry, what inspired you to start out on this venture?
I have always had a great love for football, playing it, watching it and talking about it. It creates some of the most vivid memories, and football shirts are like the trigger for these memories. I am a romantic and very prone to nostalgia, so I fell head first into collecting football shirts. From there I built up experience and a wealth of knowledge on various shirts down through the years, and so applying that knowledge and experience as a business seemed like the next logical step. It allows me to spend more time trawling through shirts, and talking about them and sharing them. I love doing what I do, and that passion drives me.
You’ve got an absolutely incredible selection of shirts, is there any shirt that has a special place in your heart or one you couldn’t bring yourself to sell?
I do have a fair few that I like particularly but this can change from time to time, just like fashion trends. But there is one in particular that I would deem to be untouchable. It is a match worn Republic of Ireland shirt from the late 1970’s. I bought it a few years back from a relative of a sports photographer, and my belief is that it was worn by Liam Brady but I have yet to confirm if it was his, or Gerry Daly. I like to believe it was Brady, although as a Man United fan, Gerry Daly sits well with me too. This shirt is hanging up on my wall and there it will stay.
I don’t see any Liverpool shirts here, is there a reason for that?
It might have something to do with the fact that I have been a Man United fan since I was a child but I do appreciate there is a demand there, so I am more open to sourcing shirts from that particular club now.
Have you received any assistance in getting the business up and running?
I have had a lot of help and support, particularly from my partner Paula, but also from my extended family and friends. The Cork City Local Enterprise Authority has also provided me with some great opportunities and assistance, helping me with my website, training in areas like social media etc. They’re very nice people to deal with as well. Local Cork businesses have been very open to collaboration and are so supportive and positive.
In particular, The Franciscan Well Bar, who have taken me in to run a pop-up shop on their premises, and share my excitement about what I do. Our web designer, The Digital Department, is also Cork-based. They have built us a very professional and sleek website, and are always on hand to answer an email. Cork is a very close community, even though it is Ireland’s second city, though only in terms of size! So in turn we help out where and when we can.
We auctioned off a match day football signed by Lionel Messi last Christmas, and all proceeds went to Cork Penny Dinners. They do phenomenal work around the area, and contributions go directly to who needs them most. The draw took place at Ballymaloe Christmas Market, and two weeks later Messi had won the World Cup. So it was potentially worth a lot more then but to me, we raised some much needed money for those less fortunate leading up to Christmas, and a young Messi fan ended up winning the ball, and it made their year.
Can you tell us about something you learned along the way, which really surprised you about becoming an entrepreneur?
There is a level of anxiety that does come with stepping into business by yourself, and it is something you have to embrace and use to your advantage to drive you on. So that did surprise me as I had wrongly assumed that I would take to it like a duck to water, and just be my own relaxed self. But with something that means that much to you, there will always be an element of pressure coming with it I suppose.
What were the biggest obstacles to getting up and running?
The biggest obstacles are often psychological, and this was the case with me. Just convincing yourself that the obstacles can be overcome, and taking that plunge. Obviously funding can be a big thing as well, but that depends on the industry you are in. Luckily for me, this company is something I can grow organically, and at my own pace.
Any advice to someone looking to start their own business?
I would say, don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice, and never stop listening to others. The mind can be a lonely place for an entrepreneur, so you may as well let others in when you can to share the burden. I would also say to try not to burden yourself too much early on, and to try to let your business grow naturally. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
What are your plans for the future of Golazzo Football Shirts?
I hope to grow our presence across Ireland by doing more pop up shops around Cork and elsewhere in the country, and also to do the same internationally. We have our first event outside Ireland organised for next month, in Berlin. So that is very exciting.
Visit Barry’s website to see more of his amazing collection. Barry will also be in The Franciscan Well on the North Mall every Saturday afternoon from 1pm-6pm for the next month.