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Targeting architects who are working on heritage and conservation projects, the company is planning a marketing campaign in New York later in the year.
They identified a niche in the market for a company which slotted in between small joineries and large scale manufacturers. Most traditional joiners were small scale operators who could not produce the 40 sash windows a week required for this contract, while most large scale operations couldn't produce bespoke windows, explained Mr Harrigan.
"We have combined a high tech approach with traditional joinery skills to achieve modern performance standards,'' said Mr Harrigan.
During the height of the building boom, Mr Miskella worked as an engineering director and Mr Harrigan as financial director for a consulting engineering company. In 2009 they established a small construction company in Galway, named Douglas and Stewart, which mainly carries out renovation projects for the heritage market.
Company founders Eamonn Harrigan and Paul Miskella have also produced windows for a number of other heritage projects including an 18th century castle in Scotland and a manor house in Wexford.
Working on refurbishment projects in Ireland and Britain, they became aware that a US company was seeking tenders from companies who could fit out an apartment building with bespoke timber sash windows. "We researched the market and saw that if we won this Nike Vapormax Platinum University Red contract there would also be more work Green Nike Vapormax
"You only have to look up from the streets in these cities to see old sash windows which need to be replaced,'' he added.
While the cost of transporting heavy windows across the Atlantic might have been expected to pose a problem, I Con hasn't found this to be the case.
"We started in the teeth of the recession. While the construction of new building had stopped, we saw there was still a need for maintaining and renovating heritage buildings, especially at the higher end of the market,'' revealed Mr Harrigan.
helping it find new clients.
IDENTIFYING an export opportunity in the midst of the construction industry slump, Carlow company I Con Windows started in business by shipping 1,200 large bespoke sliding sash windows across the Atlantic.
Building slump opens window of opportunity
Creating such a company involved recruiting a large number of joiners and utilising Mr Miskella's engineering and design skills.
This year the company, which now employs five full time staff and five part time workers in addition to the directors, expects to achieve 60% or 70% of this. Mr Harrigan says the biggest opportunities for I Con are on the east coast of the US. The company aims to take advantage of having the Manhattan building as a reference site and is now planning a marketing drive with a PR firm, assisted by some grant aid from Enterprise Ireland.
Starting in Jan 2012, the company shipped 40 windows a week and partnered with a US company, which did the installation work.
With some assistance from Carlow Enterprise, and funding from a private investor, I Con windows was set up at a 14,000sq ft rented premises in Kildavin.
Winning a contract to replace the sash windows in a 120 year old, seven storey apartment block in East Manhattan, I Con sent over a container with 40 windows every week for more than eight months last year.
The company's speciality is producing bespoke sash windows made of sapele mahogany, which combine modern design with traditional joinery skills.
"We started in July 2011, put in the tender in September and secured the contract in November,'' said Mr Harrigan, explaining that they were in competition with two Canadian and two US companies.
I Con has partnered with the US company which fitted the windows on the New York project, which is also Nike Vapormax Plum
Shipping heavy sash windows across the Atlantic may not appear to be a profitable venture during a recession, but it produced turnover of 2.6m for an Irish firm which hopes to have found a niche in the US market, writes Trish Dromey
He says the firm is now tendering for projects in Dublin and Scotland, has applied to produce Nike Air Vapormax Flyknit White Red
The contract for the East Manhattan building helped the company achieve a turnover of 2.6 million last year.
in this area,'' explained Mr Harrigan.
The aim is to get on the radar of architects working on heritage projects.
new windows for a castle in South East Ireland, and "if we win the New York project it will bring our turnover back up to 2.6m in 2014".
While the company was working on the order it employed up to 35 staff, mostly on a contract basis.
"We discovered that it is cheaper to send a 40ft container from Ireland through Liverpool or Rotterdam to New York than it is to get it sent from a central state in the US," Mr Harrigan said.
"We currently have a number of other projects in the pipeline and in the last two months have tendered for another large project in New York of a similar size to the one we completed last year. We expect to hear in the next six weeks,'' revealed Mr Harrigan, who has identified the cities of New York, Boston and London as prime targets for I Con.
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