An online business model introduced last year has opened up new markets for Tipperary Crystal Chandeliers, the Dublin company run jointly by Mark Fearon, its chief executive, and his father Declan.
The strategy, spearheaded by Mark, has allowed the business to sell directly to customers at a lower cost online at tipperarycrystal.com.
“Selling directly works really well for us. Cutting out the middleman lowers the price and we can offer an after-sales service, which is really important, especially with some of the bigger pieces we have,” Mark said.
Tipperary Crystal Chandeliers sells traditional and contemporary designs, larger “grande” options and crystal lamps.
The lamps cost from €225. Prices for the chandeliers currently for sale on the site start at €550 for a classic four-arm design, rising to €100,000 at the other end of the scale for the 167-arm Aurora chandelier in the Grande collection.
“We have hundreds of designs. The contemporary chandeliers are generally more suited to bigger projects. They can be made specially,” Mark said.
“The traditional designs cost a lot less and can go into any room. Traditional works for everybody, whereas contemporary is generally special order, usually for a bigger house.”
Having a wide selection of designs at different price points means the business can cater to the needs of a wider variety of customers.
“We have customers all around the country. We had a really big installation two weeks ago at a house on the northside of Dublin,” Mark added.
“We put in a chandelier weighing 100kg, a lovely contemporary piece, but our next sale could be a traditional four-arm chandelier for a homeowner somewhere in Kerry. It’s really varied.”
The company has also introduced flat-pack shipments, charging €15 for next-day delivery anywhere in Ireland.
“That’s the majority of what we sell now. Our business model has almost completely changed,” Mark said.
“When we were focusing on really big chandeliers a decade or so ago, and selling through retailers, our customers were often hotels or big homes in the likes of Foxrock and Killiney in Dublin.
“Today we see our customer as anyone with a house that has a ceiling high enough to take a small chandelier. It’s a completely new market for us.”
The company also sells overseas, and has installed chandeliers in homes in Spain, Portugal and the Philippines, said Declan.
“We sold a number of chandeliers recently to a customer in the Middle East for €100,000. What we have now is a very versatile business model, and in the current environment, it just works,” he said.
“There’s the flat-pack side of things, which is about speed of delivery and value for money, but some of the bigger chandeliers can be quite complicated.
“They’re big animals, so personal service is also really important. For those projects, Mark and his team can go to the customer’s home, do the installation for free and make changes, if needed, to suit the space.”
Tipperary Crystal Chandeliers is headquartered in Churchtown in south Dublin and the majority of its chandeliers are made in the Czech Republic.
“We started advertising online about a year ago and we use Facebook, Google and Instagram a lot now to reach customers,” Declan said.
“We went from selling maybe one chandelier a week to now selling between 20 or 30. All of that has really been led by Mark, who is taking the business in a new direction and really having a lot of success with it.”
Declan Fearon co-owns Tipperary Crystal with Declan Ryan, the co-founder of Ryanair and founder of Irelandia Aviation. Tipperary Crystal has a shared trademark agreement, allowing another Dublin company, Allied Imports, to use the brand in the Irish market.
Tipperary Crystal has, however, retained the exclusive rights to use its own brand worldwide. The company is a client of Enterprise Ireland, the state agency.
“They’ve been incredible for the business and not just in terms of money,” Declan Fearon said. “They’ve arranged important introductions for us and given us insights into different markets. For our various businesses over the decades, Enterprise Ireland has been a big door-opener.”