Making it Work: Huge growth in mortar materials sales paves the way for Joint-It expansion

The founders of the Galway-based manufacturing company plan to almost double its headcount to expand its global operations after sales have grown by nearly 70 per cent in the last two years

22nd August, 2021
Making it Work: Huge growth in mortar materials sales paves the way for Joint-It expansion
Martin Fox, managing director, and Gary Duffy, technical director, of Joint-It, Milltown. Picture: David Ruffles

Joint-It, a Galway-based manufacturing company which claims its paving mortar materials are the “best in the world in their category”, is planning to almost double its headcount to 45 in the coming years as it expands its global operations.

The firm was founded more than a decade ago by Martin Fox and Gary Duffy, two veterans of the hardscaping industry who previously ran their own paving centre.

In the years since, Joint-It has become a market leader in the supply of jointing, sealing and cleaning materials for paving upkeep. It has increased its headcount during the pandemic, and plans to expand into a new 60,000-square-foot factory in Galway to keep up with rising demand for its products.

Joint-It products are now sold in more than 300 outlets across Ireland and Britain, and the company also exports to the US, Israel, Belgium, France and Canada.

Duffy said the idea for Joint-It came after he and Fox grew weary of using poor-quality jointing materials.

“Everything we were using between the paving joints failed and cracked out, so we decided to go out and make our own product,” he said. “When we founded the company, our vision was Ireland and the UK. But then we discovered that with the product we had, we could go anywhere.”

While Joint-It is not a direct-to-consumer business, it still puts strong emphasis on its customer experience, according to Duffy. “We really try to make the products as simple as possible to use - we want anyone to be able to use them.”

The Enterprise Ireland-backed company has also been careful to retain a small-firm feel for its staff, even as sales have increased and its headcount has grown.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a guy in a forklift or you’re making the tea, everyone is involved and everyone is equally motivated. Everybody feels like they’re wanted,” he said.

The approach appears to be paying off in terms of sales. Despite the challenges of Brexit and the pandemic, Joint-It has grown its sales by almost 70 per cent in the last two years.

It has done so without the need for major investment, and does not intend to court angel investors or open a funding round. “Myself and Martin have a vision for where we’re going, and we have our own plans,” Duffy said.

He also was realistic about the company’s growth trajectory, particularly in foreign markets.

“If we were to grow the business in the US like we’ve grown in Ireland and the UK, we’d probably need 15 factories. We only want to take the markets we’re going into piece by piece so we can maintain a standard,” he said.

“You can go out and take on the world if you want, but if your standards drop then it’s not worth it. We don’t want to take on the world. We want to keep growing aggressively and maintaining a standard.”

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