Pitch '23 The Winners

We are delighted to announce KALO as the winner of Pitch ’23.

Founders of KALO, Kate and Michael win a €10,000 business development fund and have secured the amazing opportunity to sell their range at Arnotts, both in-store and online.

Now in its third year, Pitch ’23 is an initiative that gives Irish start-ups and entrepreneurs the opportunity to retail their product in Arnotts and the chance of winning a €10,000 business development fund to grow their business.

Kate and Michael were amongst hundreds of applicants, who were reviewed and shortlisted to five finalists by our expert judging panel. The finalists worked with our judges over the past six months and traded in-store and online throughout November and December, the busiest time of the year.

Speaking about the Pitch ’23 winners, Head of Enterprise Vena Doyle, said "KALO stood out among tough competition. The brand's dedication to innovation and sustainability aligns perfectly with the values we cherish at Brown Thomas Arnotts. Embodying the stringent criteria we set forth, their remarkable journey showcased not only a robust sales performance but also a passionate engagement with the process. The brand's scalability and potential for growth were evident, marking KALO a deserving winner of Pitch '23."


is a vegan leather accessories brand, designed in Ireland with apple leather hand selected by founders Kate O’Neill and Michael O’Malley. Born out of the need for high quality vegan accessories at a reasonable price, KALO launched its debut product, the Everything Bag, in November 2022. With a leather made from apple waste and lining from recycled bottles, their bags are the perfect staples that are also kind to the environment.

As a significant enhancement to the Pitch'23 initiative, all five finalists will have the opportunity to benefit from exclusive legal workshops provided by Eversheds Sutherland. Delighted to partner with Eversheds, Brown Thomas Arnotts acknowledges their valuable skills and experience. These workshops aim to address legal requirements and empower finalists with enhanced entrepreneurial skills. This collaboration will extend over the next three months (January to March 2024), providing tailored legal services to support the finalists and winner in leveraging their success and realising their business potential. This strategic partnership exemplifies Brown Thomas Arnotts' commitment to nurturing emerging businesses and fostering sustainable growth.

Joanne Hyde, Partner and Head of Employment at global law firm Eversheds Sutherland, and partner with Brown Thomas Arnotts for the Pitch ‘23 competition, said:

“We are delighted for Kalo founders Kate O’Neill and Michael O’Malley and look forward to providing them with legal advice from a team of lawyers in Ireland who understand the consumer and retail sectors, and, being part of a global network, we can give them a real advantage should their ambition be to transition seamlessly to international markets. In addition, we are delighted that sustainability is KALO’s number one value and at the core of everything they do,  such as using only sustainable and recycled materials in their stylish and durable products. At Eversheds Sutherland, we are also focused on being a responsible business and we always welcome the opportunity to work with businesses that share our values – this is one of the reasons we are excited to partner with Brown Thomas Arnotts on this competition to support Irish talent and entrepreneurship, ultimately contributing to the enrichment of our shared communities.”

Keep up to date with more Arnotts initiatives supporting Irish designers, creators and entrepreneurs across our social channels.