A business carved from stone
STONE has been a favoured building and decorative material since time immemorial, with the exotic rocks of far flung locations still commanding a high price even in today's uncertain marketplace.
This provides a unique market opportunity to an entrepreneur with the knowledge and connections to carve their way into this business, with Ronan Delahunty being just such a person.
Greystones-native Ronan has been a rock-enthusiast from a young age, having grown up to become a qualified Geologist. His one man business Delahunty Stone, officially launched on October 1 (after a period of trial trading) sees him serve as an agent, retailing natural stone products from all around the world to both domestic and commercial clients across Ireland.
The business may be young, but Ronan is no stranger to the stone industry, bringing over two decades worth of experience to the table.
'I worked as purchasing manager for a company called Stone Development for over 25 years,' he tells the Wicklow People. 'Unfortunately, with the downturn they no longer needed my services, but they also no longer needed the supplier's services.'
These same suppliers now provide Delahunty Stone with the various products it now retails, from tiles to monuments to garden paving.
Many of these do not come cheap, and Ronan admits that carving a niche out in cash-strapped Ireland - as can be the case with many specialty businesses - can be tricky at times.
'Price is king,' he explains. 'If the price isn't right you're not going to get the order. The consumer is on the lookout for the cheapest alternative.'
However, his passion for the industry and the benefits it brings ensures that Ronan remains committed to this path, regardless of the obstacles.
'I like stone,' he enthuses. 'I'm a qualified geologist. I've travelled the world and had friendships built out of it. I absolutely do enjoy it.'
Before launching the business, Ronan completed the 'Don't Get a Job, Build a Business' programme facilitated by QEDTraining, which he insists helped increase his social media proficiency and general business acumen. He recommends that other aspiring entrepreneurs look into courses to fill their skill gaps before embarking on their own business ventures.
'Do a course,' he advises. 'It gives you self-belief and self-confidence. It gave me the opportunity to think about the business more and how I should go about setting it up.'