THEY say necessity is the mother of invention and that was certainly the case for Randalstown based entrepreneur, Jeff Walker.
A keen gym goer with a firm interest in health and fitness, Jeff was left disappointed time and again as flimsy or inadequate active wear simply didn’t hold up.
And he certainly isn’t alone. Many of us have been left frustrated with non-squat-proof leggings or t-shirts which just cling in all the wrong places.
Athletes and fitness fans needed quality gear which could meet their needs - and so Duty Ready Apparel was born.
In just over a year, the fledgling brand has stretched its wings and well and truly flown the nest as it was embraced by well known local names in fitness and sporting circles before scrummaging for attention on a bigger stage - or rather pitch.
The brand has most recently been spotted adorning a top name in international rugby union - Nemani Nadolo.
The Fijian - Australian is a world class wing and centre who wears the shirts of both Leicester Tigers and his native Fiji with pride.
And now he’s proudly sporting a little piece of Randalstown too!
Despite lockdown, Nadolo has been keeping his fitness on track, ready for a return to the pitch and it seems that Duty Ready gear is his training wear of choice as he has proudly posted photos of the brand’s popular ‘Disruptor’ t-shirt taking centre stage in his workouts.
“I was delighted to see Nemani wearing the gear after he was introduced to it by a mutual friend,” Duty Ready proprietor, Jeff said.
“He has been in touch to say that he was loving training in it so it’s been fantastic to see in action what we knew from our extensive product research and testing - the gear really is duty ready for every eventuality.
“Nemani joins some well known local faces in the Duty Ready family, including Northern Ireland’s very own answer to Joe Wickes - Ian Young of The Hurt Locker Gym who has quite the following on @ifitni on Instagram.
“Indeed, we actually collaborated with Ian on a special project last year and look forward to working with him even more going forward,” father-of-one, Jeff continued.
“We also have our own Duty Ready ambassador in the form of the incredible Crossfit athlete, Louie McMaster.
“He’s exceptional in what he does and he’s just come through a highly publicised battle with Covid-19 and - amazing guy that he is - he was straight back to training in his Duty Ready gear - inspiration for us all.”
Of course, it hasn’t been the plainest of sailing launching a new business just on the mouth of the first lockdown but with hard work, determination and stellar products, Jeff has proved that the market truly is there for quality training and fitness wear.
“We’ve had our difficulties, like any business in the current climate,” he explained.
“There have been supply chain wrinkles to iron out and we’ve had to delay some projects and put off product shoots and so on but we’re working through it and we’re determined to keep building to meet our customers’ needs.
“We are currently stocked in the wonderful Biopunk health store in Limavady and we’re working on our next physical outlet.
“Next up, we have an exciting new range with technical fabrics in the works.
“These will be brilliant for sweat absorption and they’ll have four way stretch to match even the toughest workouts.
“They will complement our existing range of tees, hooded sweatshirts, leggings, training vests, shorts and hats.
“And, like everything, we will test them every possible way and ensure that each and every product meets the Duty Ready standard.”
For more, visit www.dutyready.co.uk or find the brand on Instagram @dutyreadyapparel or facebook @dutyready.