'I knew I could make timber gates at a cheaper price'
A Leaving Cert student has hit the jackpot with his timber alternative to steel sheep gates
What started as a transition year project has turned into a major money-spinner for Carlow Leaving Cert student Stephen Agar.
"I was looking around for something to make for a mini-business project that we had to complete as part of our transition year programme, and we had all these pens made out of bits of pallets for the ewes lambing at home. I really didn't like all the messing around with baling twine, and looked at developing a better alternative," explains Stephen.
"I'd seen steel ones, but knew that I could make a timber version myself, and probably at a cheaper price," he says.
The result was a set of sheep gates that Stephen promptly put up on the website DoneDeal to see if he would get any takers.
"My dad thought I was mad - that sheep farmers wouldn't have the money to be buying sheep gates. But I proved him wrong within about 30 minutes, since I got a call from a Kilkenny man looking to buy all 15. He only had them home when he rang me to see if I'd make another 35 for him!" he recalls.
However, Stephen's first customer pointed out a flaw in the product that the young businessman immediately set to fixing.
"The first gates didn't have any anchors to fix them together - instead I was relying on cable ties.
"But I hit on using these adjustable galvanised eyes that allow up to four gates to be connected at one point, while still being able to cope with being set up on uneven ground.