From CEO of Cowboys NRL club to new womens' fashion label

HE WAS the Chief Executive Officer of one of the most successful NRL teams in the league and he has just launched a new women's fashion line with his partner.

Denis Keeffe, the former CQ NRL Bid CEO and former CEO of the North Queensland Cowboys, has hung up his footy boots and swapped the footy field for shiny bright silk outfits.

Denis and his partner, Charmaine Saunders (the brain child behind the fashion venture), have just launched Maine - a fashion label that specialises in Chinese silks with Aboriginal Dreamtime designs.

One of the designs offered by Maine
One of the designs offered by Maine


Maine, launched on Monday, offers 12 unique designs of scarves, wraps, sarongs and tops are sundrenched in glorious colour inspired by and reflecting the natural beauty of the Australian outback.

Many years in the making, Mainie represents a special melding of ancient cultures; Aboriginal Dreamtime designs from the Yuendumu community in central Australia's Tanami Desert and luxurious silk fabrics from the fabled Silk Road city of Nanjing in China.

From their Cairns base, Charmaine and Denis make a dynamic team whose vision and passion for their Australian heritage, combined with a great appreciation for Indigenous art, has culminated in the launch of Mainie.

Charmaine Saunders and Denis Keeffe
Charmaine Saunders and Denis Keeffe

Denis' business background has spanned a long career in management for major multinational companies, as well as CEO roles for national sporting teams including the Townsville Crocodile NBL franchise, the News Limited appointed CEO of the Toyota North Queensland Cowboys, and most recently the chief executive of the Central Queensland NRL Bid.

Charmaine is a descendant of the Gunggari people from southwestern Queensland. Her love of Aboriginal fine arts has grown over years of working in remote Aboriginal communities in Queensland and the Northern Territory. Charmaine left her executive level role in the Australian public service in 2013 to focus on the couple's vision of creating an iconic Australian fashion label showcasing genuine Aboriginal artworks.

Mainie's maiden collection comprises 12 designs of silk scarves and wraps in varying dimensions and featuring a selection of original artworks. These are available for sale online on Mainie's new website ( and at the same time, via wholesale distribution in a blend of retailers spanning fashion boutiques, tourist gift and major art gallery shops.

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