Student Enterprise Competition – Senior Category Carrigallen Crafts

Members of our team: Daniel Bohan Jack Ledwith Fintan Gallogly Ronan Halton Luke Conroy Transition Year Students Carrigallen Vocational School, Carrigallen, Co. Leitrim

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Introduction
Carrigallen Crafts has been set up by a group of five Transition Year students: Ronan Halton, Jack Ledwith, Daniel Bohan, Luke Conroy and Fintan Gallogly. (Pictured below from left to right). It was formed as part of Enterprise Studies Module within the Transition Year Programme.

We chose the name: Carrigallen Crafts, because it captures exactly what our business entails- we are based in Carrigallen, Co. Leitrim and produce hand crafted wooden objects.. We felt that this name would be catchy, recognisable and memorable and that its visual strength would be greater due to the use of alliteration. Our business idea was to manufacture a variety of wooden products such as;     Christmas decorations, Clocks in the shape of counties, GAA themed clocks Medal plaques

We also decided to give the option for customers to get any product they want, made personally for themselves by us, out of quality wood.

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Section 2: Summary
Our choice of Products
We believe our choice of products were good as all of us had a mutual interest and talent in woodwork so production was easy and enjoyable. We were able to source the raw materials locally and manufacture the products ourselves keeping expenses to a minimum. Our products are different to those of competitors’ as we individually hand craft our products and they have a personal touch. We believe we made the right choice of having more than one product as this gave us a larger target market. Our Christmas decorations were a success over the holiday period and our other products can be sold at any time of the year. Also we have received very positive feedback from a number of customers that have bought or products. We asked every customer if they had any recommendations, suggestions or feedback that would help us achieve a product range of the highest possible standard. Their positive feedback confirms our belief that we have created unique and valuable products.

Where the idea came from
All five of us did woodwork for the Junior Cert and fully enjoyed it. When deciding on an enterprise idea, we decided to do something with wood as we all have experience at it and enjoy this type of work. Our initial idea was to just make regular clocks. But after further research we realised there was not a big enough market for this so we decided to have a wide range of products and improve our clocks by making them more personal and more appealing to local people who were our main customers. Our Christmas decorations were created when we were practising wood burning on a dried out log. After seeing the result we decided to wood burn Christmas symbols on the pieces and turn them into Christmas decorations. We wanted to expand our target market even more so we offered the option for customers to choose whatever they wanted made, and we would make it especially for them.

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Our skills
As we approached this venture we were aware that we had a bank of useful skills, we were also aware however that we had a lot to learn! Skills that we already had:  We all had a good knowledge and experience of woodwork.  We knew each other and had an understanding of what it takes to be a good and productive team.  We had good designing and communication skills. Skills that we learned:  We learned the quality of finish, the products need to be at, in order to attract customers  We learned how to create a website  We learned money management skills  We learned how to settle arguments/differences of opinion democratically.  We learned how to become organised as individuals and more aware of the importance of sticking to deadlines.  We learned what makes good market research and promotion of our products as this was our first ever experience of it.

Our Target Market
Our Target Market includes:  Teachers and students from our school who would have seen the product and would be more likely to be interested in it.  Retail outlets in our locality who may be interested in stocking our products.  GAA clubs who are interested in the plaques for holding medals.  Cultural families all over Ireland who would like a clock in the shape of their county.  Family and friends abroad, who would the clock with the two clock faces for both time zones, both abroad and Ireland.

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Promotion
We have promoted our product by:        Attending our school open day to promote and sell our products to parents. Designing and distributing leaflets to students, teachers and parents which outline what our products/ business is all about, including pictures and prices of our products. Creating a Facebook, Instagram and Twitter account for Carrigallen Crafts and adding people in the locality. Created an online survey on survey monkey and asked people in the locality to complete it through Facebook. Handing out surveys to first, second and third years relating to our products. Creating a website on Weebly. Posted photos on club websites and Facebook pages to reach a greater market.

Risks
 We took both financial and personal risks when embarking on this project. We invested our own money into the business in order to buy raw materials as we felt that we wouldn’t have enough money to get started otherwise . If the business wasn’t a success, we therefore would have lost this investment. We also risked losing credibility if the business failed or if the products were not of a high enough quality. We had never worked together as part of a team and there was always the risk of us arguing or disagreeing on issues. We never ran a business before. Other competitors created similar products at a higher quality.

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Difficulties
Initially we found it difficult to get consensus in relation to developing our business idea and this generated some arguing within the group. We also disagreed on the amount of stock to buy in at the beginning and there were issues relating to the division of tasks at one stage. We handled disputes by sitting down together and talking it out in a non-confrontational way. We tried to put the business first in all decision making and we always looked at all the options letting everyone have their say before a democratic decision was made. Once decisions were made all team member had to put their feelings to one side and get to work to achieve the tasks at hand. Once production began to take place, we had to design and make numerous prototypes before we were happy with the overall appearance and functionality of our products, this was very time consuming and delayed us from selling them, but we wanted to sell the best products we could make. We had a limited period to make our decorations and fulfil our orders on time for the Christmas market. We have all learned valuable lessons about team work as a result of completing this project and we have enjoyed the experience.

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Business Structure
These are the members of our team: Member 1 Member 2 Member 3 Member 4 Member 5 Luke Conroy Fintan Gallogly Daniel Bohan Ronan Halton Jack Ledwith

The following roles in our enterprise had to be filled: Production and Quality Control Manager
They are in charge of the production of our products and making sure they are of high quality standard for our customers. They are also in charge of health and safety and making sure there are safe working conditions while production takes place.

Marketing and Sales Manager
They have to carry out market research by composing, distributing and analysing questionnaires. They have to research all our competitors and find out what price they were selling their products art. They have to promote our products by designing posters and business cards. They are also in charge of designing our website and promoting our business through social media.

Managing Director
They are in charge of our enterprise and oversee all sections of our business to make sure everything runs smoothly. They are also the main decision makers.

Finance Manager
The Finance Manager has to keep record of all money our business received and paid out. They have to prepare a Trading Profit and Loss Account and a forecasted Trading profit and loss account. They have to carry out pricings which were used when deciding on the selling price and when buying materials.

Secretary and HR Manager
They act as a referee if any rows take place within the business by settling them as quickly and as democratically as possible. They are also in charge of contacting possible customers such as retail outlets.
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Functional Organisational Structure
The members of our team and their positions

Managing Director- Luke conroy Production & Quality Control Manager Marketing & Sales Manager Finance Manager Secretary & HR Manager

Daniel Bohan

Ronan Halton

Fintan Gallogly

Jack Ledwith

Although we adopted a functional organisational structure with each student having a specific responsibility, it was necessary on a number of occasions for team members to help each other with certain tasks. An example of this was when we were manufacturing our products. The five of us came together to make the products and this greatly reduced the workload.

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Our Product
Carrigallen Crafts has a range of wooden products. We make all out products our self’s outside of school. We make for example county clocks, plaques, and mantelpiece clocks, Christmas decorations. We saw a gap in the market as so many people are travelling abroad in search of work. We thought that a county clock or our ball and Hurley clock would be a great present to bring with them. This would be a nice reminder of home and also be a fancy touch in their home.

Our product is unique and we have not come across any products similar for sale in our locality. Many young people have left their homes in search for work in other countries. Our ball and Hurley clock is has a special feature of two clocks one for Irish time and one for the time of the country our relation is in. Our county clocks are a nice addition to any home we make them to a high standard with a nice varnish finish. Our Christmas decorations we a simple idea of just cutting a log for the fire into thin pieces and burning Christmas trees and other Christmassy objects. We could also customise them with names and dates for presents

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We conducted a questionnaire in which we had good results from and we have received a couple of orders from. We have an order form ready to be handed out to people who are interested in our products. We have improved our quality of our county clocks by making them more to scale and more accurate. We are also looking to buy better finishes for our products when we have more money invested in our clocks. We can then raise the price of our product because they will be of an even higher standard. For our Christmas decorations we experimented with packaging. We had a see through bag made from cloth we had at home. We also went the recyclable way of reusing cardboard boxes (e.g. cereal boxes) and we put coloured paper and straw in the box with the decorations on lying on top with a clear cover over it.

The Stages of Production
County Clocks Step 1: The wood is marked out with a pencil and stencil of the county the customer wants. Step 2: The shape is cut out using a jig-saw. Step 3: The edges and face are sanded and the clock numbers and county name are drawn on the piece. Step 4: The numbers and county name are then wood burned on. Step 5: The base is cut out, sanded and screwed into the object. Step 6: The clock is varnished several times until the product is well finished. Step 7: A hole is drilled and the clock mechanism is inserted.

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SWOT Analysis
During product development we carried out a SWOT analysis in order to establish where the businesses’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats lay. Our results were as follows: (Carrigallen Crafts)

Strengths
    We use good wood Use have nice finish on our products Authentic handmade crafts Attractive piece of merchandise

Weaknesses  the clocks are very time
consuming

 the clocks are expensive to
make which shortens our profit

 they are hard to make

Opportunities
  there is no products like our in the locality more and more people are immigrating in search of work which means our products could be sold as presents to remind them of home 

Threats
other clock companies use high powered machines to make their products which is faster and more affordable

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Section 5: Marketing/Promotion
Target Market:
Our first target market was set to students in our school, teachers, parents and local retail outlets. We expanded on this as our business progressed and soon we were selling our products to all ages, young and old. Below we have a bar chart showing our sales for the years 2013 – 2014 so far. We believe that these figures may double by summer of 2014.

Graph reprsenting number of clocks sold.

10 8 6 No. sold 4 2 0 Retail Outlet Teahcers Students Others

We were surprised to see that so few teachers bought our products. We were also surprised that the students had a wide interest in our clocks and gave us great comments on how to improve the clocks to make them better.

Market Research:
For our market research we first went online to check if county clocks were already being made. We had checked numerous websites and we could find no other company making county clocks of our high standard so we immediately knew there was a niche in the market for this product. We then made up a survey to ask each class in the school would they buy any of our products or any other wooden handcrafted object.

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The questions we asked on our questionnaire were as follows:

Would you buy a clock in the shape of your county? Yes? No?

If yes, which county would you like to order?

What price range would you be willing to pay if you were to buy one?

€10 - 15

€15-20

Would you like to buy a plaque for holding medals?

Yes?

No?

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Questionnaire Results

Number of people who wish to purchase a clock

Yes No

We were very surprised with this result. We did not know that there was such a demand for mantle piece county clocks. Some of the students quoted that they did not know that there was such a thing as county clocks and we were happy to provide the product.

Most popular Counties chosen

Leitrim Cavan Mayo Westmeath Monaghan

This result was expected as Carrigallen Vocational School is located in Leitrim, so we knew that Leitrim would be the most popular county.

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Number of people who wish to purchase a plaque

Yes No

We were not very surprised with this result. Coming from a school which takes part in all sports there are plenty of students who would love to buy a plaque to hold their medals. We had talked about this product long in advance knowing there would be huge interest.

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Product
Our main competitors are Derrycashel Crafts, Eire Wood, Joe Monincx All Wooden Clocks and Timeshapes. These different companies design and make wooden clocks. Our company wanted to venture further with clock making and decided to make clocks that bring a sense of home, that’s the reason we chose to make county clocks. We provide a service to our customers where we will

design anything they ask for out of wood. For quality control we bring our finished sellable products to our woodwork teacher who does a quality control on our products. Our unique selling point is that we can design and make anything out of wood. We provide a service to our customers where we will design anything they ask for out of wood.

Price
We sell our county clocks for €15.00 euro, this is broken down into:

• €6.00 for labour • €2.00 for wood • €1.00 for clock mechanism • €6.00 left as profit

Our competitors sell their clocks for €30.00. Our clocks are of the same quality and are €15.00 cheaper.

Place
We have ventured out of our comfort zone and asked some local retail outlets to stock our clocks. They were happy to do so for a small fee. We also have a website where people can purchase our clocks and ask us any questions. All our customers have to do is fill out an order form and leave their contact details and we can make their clock, decorations etc … in less than a week.

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Promotion:
Promotion was a big factor in setting up our mini company. We first of all got word out by word of mouth which is the best way of promotion. We then had a stall at our schools parent teacher meeting which got the word out to all the students’ parents in the local area. We then put up a website on the internet and the published it so the whole world can see it, from this website we can take orders and get feedback from customers. Next we put an ad in our school newsletter which was sent out at Christmas to tell the students and parents about or product range and give them an insight to our business.

For our promotion we have given out surveys and order forms to one hundred people in our school. We have handed flyers around and put up a website to get our business going. We have ordered 250 business cards and put an ad in our schools newsletter. We also put a stall up at our schools’ parent teachers meeting. Our company name 'Carrigallen Crafts' is also very catchy as it has two C's at the start of each word. Our logo has our company name in it and two hammer symbols symbolising carpentry and woodwork.

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We are five Transition Year students in Carrigallen Vocational School. We are making hand crafted products such as county clocks, plaques and decorations crafted out of quality wood and finished to a high standard.

Contact us by: Email: carrigallencrafts@gmail.com Phone:
0861927505

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

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Packaging
Our packaging is very efficient and effective. For our Christmas decorations we have an elegant net wrapping which looks very rustic. We have chosen the colour Orange for our logo as it symbolises autumn seasoning and wood. Our logo appears on all our packaging and is easily recognised when seen. We source our packaging material from our local retail outlet where we stock the clocks.

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Finance
We financed the business by receiving a €40 grant from the student Enterprise Board. Also, all five of us contributed €10 each towards the business. The money went towards paying for raw materials and advertising. Trading Profit and Loss Account for Carrigallen Crafts for the period from 02-10-13 to 12-1-14 Sales Less cost of sales Opening Stock Cost of Production Less closing stock Cost of sales Gross profit 165

0 50 15 35 130

Less Expenses Travel Stationary Research Telephone Wages Total Expenses Net Profit

2.1 1.1 0.5 0.97 70 74.67 55.33

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Forecasted Trading Profit and Loss Account for Carrigallen Crafts for the period from 03-02-14 to 03-03-14 Sales (unitsxcost) Less cost of sales Opening Stock Cost of Production Less closing stock Cost of sales Gross profit (17x15.00) 255

0 40 30 10 245

Less Expenses Travel Stationary Electricity Telephone Wages Total Expenses Net Profit

2.1 1.1 0.48 0.27 78.78 82.73 162.27

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Conclusion
How did you get on as a team?

We got on well as a team as all five of us were good friends before creating the business, We could distribute the work throughout the group depending on the our skills (marketing, production, sourcing materials, finance).

Did you have to overcome any difficulties while working as a team? Yes, we had encountered many difficulties working as a team.

How did you solve any conflicts that arose? If it were a problem within the team we would sit down together and talk about the problem in a calm and peaceful environment.

Will your business continue trading? Yes, We hope to continue trading throughout the rest of the year, we have only started selling our clocks and if we continue trading after this year we may expand our product range. If we do continue trading we hope to expand our market outside of the school.

What advice would you give to other students thinking of participating in the SEAs? We would advise you decide if the enterprise will be profitable before you start producing your product, figure out the production price and if there is a market for your product then use that to decide if the business will be successful.

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