Business Articles

 

A talent for crafting bespoke joinery designs for the hospitality and the residential sector has seen a Downpatrick-based business win fans across the globe.

 

Founded by Ciaran McMenamin and Simon McAllister, Lignum Interiors is based in the picturesque surrounds of Crossgar in County Down.

 

And with decades of experience in the industry between the founding duo, the company have carved out a reputation across Northern Ireland, the US and the Middle East for high-quality interiors. 

A Community Business

Originally from Downpatrick, the duo joined forces to set up a business after Ciaran was prompted to find work closer to home. "I worked abroad for years," he explains. "It was 12 days on and 2 days off, so I was away from home a lot. I decided to see if I could get work closer to home and stay home for longer periods of time. I knew Simon in school, and knew his work."

 

Simon adds: "Ciaran has a background in commercial joinery and I had a furniture making background. The two of us got together then to set up the company."

 

With a team of experienced joiners and carpenters, the company specialise in creating high-end interiors for bars and hotels. A niche area, Ciaran says the work is rewarding. "I love seeing how we start with a pile of wood and timber, and then this turns into furniture and fittings. The men in the studio here are really good. I love seeing the craft of what they do."

 

Lignum Interiors specialise in bespoke fittings

Collaborating with Local Businesses

From initial plans, the team create pieces from scratch in the workshop that go on to fit into clients’ businesses across the globe. "We work with designers on the initial moodboard and then take it on, add in CAD drawings and look at how the product needs to be made. We then go out and source the right timber and make sure that it will work in the environment it’s going into. For instance, in the US the timber we use must be able to withstand cold temperatures in the winter, and warm weather in the summer," Ciaran explains.

 

Based in the midst of County Down, working with businesses locally is important to the duo. "We find the local community really supportive. I’m from the area and so is Simon, so we know everyone already and we find that a lot of businesses recommend us and we work with them," he adds.

 

Simon adds: "We’ve worked for bars all over the world from Canada to Russia, Geneva and France. Without the support of local suppliers, your business wouldn’t exist. "

 

Lignum Interiors specialise in crafted pieces

Collaborating for Success

Along with local collaboration, the team in Lignum stay in constant touch with customers. Using social media and digital channels, Ciaran works to keep clients up to date with projects 24/7. "My phone is never off; I’m always emailing or skyping clients. It’s important that we’re contactable whenever needed for clients across the world. Social media is a big part of our business - we share pictures of projects as they progress. It really helps to connect with people."

 

"The tradesmen around here are brilliant but they are humble," Simon says. “We try and let the work do the talking but you still need coverage to get the work out there."

Along with marketing the business, working alongside First Trust Bank is important for the team. "First Trust Bank are brilliant and very supportive," Ciaran says. "They’re on the phone to us all the time and are always in touch. "

 

Lignum Interiors are based in County Down

Building a Business for the Future

With his eldest son now part of the workshop team, Ciaran’s ambition is to build a business for the future. "We’re trying to create a company that lasts," he says. "My son has started an apprenticeship with us now and has really taken to it. It’s nice to be here working with him every day. And I’m really close to all the workers here – that’s what I enjoy about it all. It’s like having a big family."

 

Simon adds: "I have a positive approach and so has Ciaran. We started the business in the recession with no funding and we’ve set up, we have our crew here and work. We’re currently working 90 hour weeks. You have to be committed and have the right team, who are happy to work overtime."

 

No strangers to working in diverse environments with clients dotted around the map from Iraq to New Jersey, Lignum are set to make the move into the Dubai market. An exciting new addition to their business, Ciaran reveals: "We’ve set up a partnership in Dubai now. We’ve been working on this for two years, so it’s great. We’ll be making the pieces here and shipping them over for the hotel sector and in time, we may set up a studio there as well."

 

Find out more about how First Trust Bank can support your Start-Up business. Contact your local advisor today.