Aims, Objectives, and Vision 2020

My mission is simple – to help people see the beauty in life through my handcrafted creations, and promote our rich Irish culture. I have always aimed to achieve perfect design aesthetic and quality craftsmanship, which comes into play every time I make a piece. I remind myself that millions of years of evolution has landed at my lucky hands. 

My main objectives are:

* to be no.1 person to go to for wedding goblets in Ireland

* to have the highest quality Irish wedding goblet products

* to use ethically sourced, sustainable materials

* to produce innovative and original pieces targeted at the high-end market 

* to improve people’s quality of life by having natural materials around them

* to enthuse and excite each customer

* top class customer service

* to constantly learn and improve my craft

* to promote and keep Irish culture alive

Milestones and Future Plans 2020

Primary milestones over the next 12 months include; contacting wedding planners in Ireland and the US, improving my website SEO and online marketing, retailing through design and craft shops throughout Ireland and the US, improving my workshop equipment, and further training.

With 60 – 70% of couples using wedding planners today, it is clear that developing my ‘Business to Business’ strategy is essential as a route to market. I am already in contact with a couple of local wedding planners that specialise in traditional Irish and Celtic weddings, who are planning to offer my goblets as an ceremonial option to couples. 

Traditional Irish Wedding Goblets by Cian Magill

The next main milestone is to develop and improve my website. Although I have built this platform to a semi-professional level, I don’t have products available to purchase just yet. This is certainly one of my weaknesses which is why I will be attending a Local Enterprise Office ‘Build your Own Website’ course in May this year. Having an Etsy shop has been a great avenue to sell my work and test the market, however it is vital that I have my own website for potential customers to find me.

It is evident that when potential customers make a physical connection with a product, the chances of a sale drastically increases. This is why having my work available through more design and craft shops would be a huge benefit to my business. By allowing people to touch and experience the product, they can get a better sense of craftsmanship, quality, and authenticity. I currently have some products available from the ‘Secret Garden’ craft shop (Kinvara, Co. Galway) and will also be selling through ‘2 Wild Geese’ (Co. Galway) from this October to January. There are, however, many other retailers along the Wild Atlantic Way, and throughout the county, which I plan to contact, and present by most popular products to.

To improve my local presence, I will also be attending several craft fairs throughout the county such as the Tiny Traders Village (Galway city), the Tuam Christmas Craft Fair, the Clifden Christmas Craft Fair (Co. Galway), and the Kinvara Farmers Market. Through attending the ‘Building Craft and Design Enterprise Programme’ next year, I will be applying for an exhibition stand at Showcase Ireland 2020, as part of the LEO Galway section. Other routes to market will include applying to exhibit in small, local art galleries.

Since I began my degree, I have been gradually adding to my workshop machinery and equipment. Investing in my business and tools has proven its worth with each and every purchase. Improving my workshop has enabled me to increase the quality of my work, and essentially the value proposition of my products. I have managed to make do with what I have but plan to purchase better machinery in the future. Some include; a new woodturning lathe, which would increase my production rate, sufficient dust extractors, and better woodworking machinery. Due to the amount of time the finishing process takes when making a piece, I usually have to wait till the finish dries before I can continue to the next stage of shaping. If I had two lathes I could essentially double my rate of production as I would move from piece to piece. I also also intend to make my workshop more customer suitable, which would allow me to invite potential clients in to my workspace, and show them what really goes on behind the scenes. 

With training and other business courses on my roadmap, I hope to truly master my craft and use my ambition to succeed. My long term goal is to employ at least one other maker, and eventually teach the art of woodturning to future generations.

What we offer…

There are two main parts of my business; (a) bespoke furniture and (b) wood-turned gifts. Bespoke furniture makes up 32% while my wood-turned gifts makes up the latter.

In terms of the bespoke furniture side, I offer the customer a one-to-one experience through designing a piece that satisfies their requirements. As most of my work is made to order, I would usually meet the customer face-to-face, discuss what they have in mind, and get back to them with a couple of design options. Details such as material type, measurements, type of finish, and more can be altered during this process, depending on what the client requires. This process offers a great solution to people who are looking for something unique, local, and customised to their needs and style. I also inform the customer where exactly the materials are sourced, which is usually Co. Galway or throughout Ireland.

In regards to my wood-turned gifts, I currently have 32 different listings available on Etsy, the online marketplace. These listings are divided into 6 categories – wedding gifts, baby gifts, bowls and platters, sculpture, and spinning tops.

However, I have learned that there are two most popular products in particular. These are my ‘Dúchas (Native) Ancient Bog-Oak Spinning Tops’, and as mentioned previously, my ‘Aontaithe le Grá (United with Love) Traditional Irish Wedding Goblets’. My products have been shipped to 6 different countries so far including the UK, Greenland, Germany, Canada, Ireland, and 21 states in the US. I also offer two forms of personalisation with the wedding goblets. These include a message of the customer’s choice typed on the product’s accompanying information card, and a lazer-engraved message underneath the goblet’s base.

Story behind the traditional Irish wedding goblet:

”In 17th century Ireland when a man fell in love with a woman he would carve a goblet to present to her. He lovingly crafted the goblet, with 2 captive rings, all from a single piece of wood. These two rings are said to symbolise love and unity. At their wedding feast they both drank from the goblet for, so long as the rings would remain unbroken, they would love each other for eternity.”

Below are some images of my most popular products:

These goblets in particular were made from native Irish spalted-Ash. Spalting is any form of wood colouration caused by fungi, which is sought after by woodworkers for it’s unique and wood colouration caused by fungi, which is sought after by woodworkers for it’s unique and beautiful grain details.

I have refined this design over time and have recently added a photosensitive, recordable sound chip to the product’s box. This is hidden within the box and plays a traditional Irish tune as the box is opened. I wanted to add another dimension to the product, which enhances it’s overall value and unique selling point.

Also included is 100% organic cotton draw-string bag which is Fair-Trade, and screen printed with my brand’s logo. Within this bag includes various info cards. These explain the Irish wedding goblet story, information about the material used, celtic symbology, the Magill Woodcraft story, a hand-written thank you note, and some business cards.

Magill Woodcraft – A Natural Progression 2020

I was born in 1995, and have been lucky enough to grow up in the beautiful countryside of Belclare, Tuam, Co. Galway. I had a great childhood, which involved a mixture of world travel, education, and practical experience. Having creative, hands-on, and self-employed parents has truly been a blessing, and has always given me that drive to be different, and independent.

With my mother’s main occupation being a commercial artist and father’s a film set carpenter, I have been able to watch and learn so many important skills, not to mention all of the creative opportunities I have had. Some include; experience in the film industry from a young age, helping construct St. Patrick’s Day parade floats, learning how to sign-write and paint murals, and many more.

Although I attended an English speaking primary school, it didn’t take me long to become fluent in Irish when I started my secondary level education at Coláiste an Eachréidh, Athenry. I may have been reluctant to begin with, but by the time I completed my leaving certificate, I couldn’t be more grateful. Attending a small school suited me very well. Not only did I develop as a person, but I also became more aware and proud of our Irish heritage. I especially enjoyed the more practical and creative subjects at school such as art and woodwork. History and Irish also fascinated me and can certainly be attributed to the design of my products today.

At this stage I was already thinking of how I could make some extra income off my creations. I utilised techniques I had learned such as print-making, and began producing artworks that I could sell directly from market stalls. You could say that these were the early days of my entrepreneurial journey.

Thanks to the persuasion of my Dad, I also started working as a stage-hand in the Welsh film industry around this time. Working for 4 Wood T.V and Film Construction enabled me to work for a couple of months every summer and gradually build up my set-construction skills as the years went by.

All of this experience could not have come at a better time as I went on to study Furniture Design and Manufacture at GMIT Letterfrack. This proved to be the perfect course for me as I learned my trade and developed skills I wasn’t even fully aware of. I had not realised there were so many different sectors in the furniture industry. From knowing what areas I didn’t want to go into, I was able to define the route I intended to take. This included setting up my own business as a bespoke furniture maker and woodturner-artist. I took to woodturning during the second year of this course, and made the decision to purchase my first lathe. I have never looked back and have learned the true value of investing in my business. By the end of my course I came to the conclusion that I had an eye for design, like no other, and continued to develop my brand.

Spending the last 5 months of my course on work placement at GMIT CCAM (Centre for Creative Arts and Media) was a fantastic experience. This enabled me to attend a mixture of film and art classes, which opened up yet another door of inspiration. Working with like minded students increased my confidence as an artist, and furthered my creative skills. It also gave me the chance to go through the process of exhibiting my work to the public for the first time.

Since graduating in 2017 I have been heavily prototyping and testing the market. Making hundreds of products has narrowed down my most popular; my hand-turned ‘Aontaithe le Grá (United with Love) Traditional Irish Wedding Goblets’. These have proven to be particularly popular with the American market, especially those who have connections to/ or are of Irish decent. I have been improving this product little by little over the last couple of years which has brought to where I am today.

I have always strived for quality craftsmanship, authenticity, and innovation. The market response to this has proven that there is a sufficient demand for my work. My true vision for the future of my business is to provide a joyful experience for each and every customer, whilst keeping Irish culture alive through my products.

Business Summery 2020

Magill Woodcraft Ireland was established in 2014 by Cian Magill, a graduate of GMIT Letterfrack. Studying Furniture Design and Manufacture gave Cian an insight into the world of woodcraft, and high-end furniture making. This truly opened Cian’s eyes to the endless possibilities ahead, and as time went by, he found his niche in the market.

Magill Woodcraft Ireland specialises in bespoke (custom) furniture making and woodturning which is mainly aimed the American-Irish market. Growing up with creative and self employed parents has always made Cian driven. This has also given him many ‘hands-on’ opportunities to explore his potential. With Cian’s upbringing, education, and experience within in the commercial art and film industry, an entrepreneurial path was the inevitable choice.

Magill Woodcraft is currently a one-person business, which enables a close relationship with each customer. However, Cian does have a strong team of advisors that have been truly valuable and motivating since the beginning of his business venture.

Although there are two main parts of Cian’s business; (a) bespoke furniture and (b) woodturned gifts, one product in particular seemed to capture his audience. Cian’s ‘Aontaithe le Grá (United with Love) Traditional Irish Wedding Goblets’ offers an ideal solution to people looking for a one-of-a-kind, personalized Irish wedding gift, that is handmade. They are made from a single piece of wood, and have two captive rings around their stem. These two rings are said to symbolise love and unity. The product is designed to be used occasionally and thereafter, as a display/ conversation piece. Each piece comes with original Magill Woodcraft packaging, and can be personalized with a message of the customer’s choice.

Being able to hand-turn hundreds of pieces has allowed the maker to refine and improve design details, which gives the product that innovative edge and international appeal. As most of his work is currently made to order, Cian always aims to create as many positive memories for each customer during the making process. The presentation, story, and experience of a product has also always been prioritised from the get-go, which previous customers have loved.

With a US wedding market valued at $55 billion a year, and 32.6 million American-Irish living in the States, it is clear there is scope for expansion. Previous customers have provided Cian with a good picture of his typical customer and target market, which has helped define his plan going forward. It is clear there are various competitors within the bespoke furniture and woodturning industry which all have their unique selling point. However, the design authenticity and whole experience of Cian’s products provide an innovative advantage over such competitors.

The journey of Magill Woodcraft has just begun, and there are several key milestones ahead for the success and expansion of this business. Some include; networking with wedding planners, increasing presence locally and in the US through design and craft shops, building Magill Woodcraft’s website to a high standard, improving the maker’s workshop and equipment, and additional training.

Although Cian has a number of objectives, his mission is simple – to help people see the beauty in life through his creations, and promote our rich Irish culture. Investing in Magill Woodcraft would enable Cian to take his business to the next level. By enhancing his website, improving his workshop, and continuing to train, the expansion of Magill Woodcraft is inevitable. In the long term, Cian aims to employ at least 1 other maker, and once trained as a master-craftsman, teach the art of woodturning.