Sunday Irish Times interview

Louise was lucky enough to be interviewed on her recruitment and business techniques for the Sunday Irish Times on the 14th of December 2014.

 

How to hire the higher fliers.

As competition hots up, there is a battle for the best recruits, writes Sandra O’Connell

 

After cutting her workforce from five to three during the recession, Louise Lonergan finally has recruitment on her mind. While a positive sign, it’s also a cause for concern.

She set up Lonergan Corporate Gifts, which provides a gift selection and delivery service for corporate clients, in 1998, but it is the events that followed a decade later that are foremost in her mind. “In June 2008 the phone just stopped ringing,” she said. “We had to re-engineer the business to remain profitable.”

From the middle of 2014, the company finally started to see growth again. “Ideally we hope to take on a salesman next year but we’re nervous,” she said.

Recruitment costs more than just a salary. “For a small business like mine, it’s the time it takes to train someone up, particularly at a time when existing staff are already stretched to the max,” she said. “Also, there’s the worry of getting the wrong person. That has a much bigger impact on a small company than it would on a big one.”

If and when she does identify the right candidate, she faces a further challenge: how to compete against bigger companies that have deeper pockets.

“The best way we can compete is with flexibility,” she said “Nine times out of ten, the people we take on here are mothers who want to work in a place that lets them nip out for the school run, or finish early to be with their kids.

“It has helped us find really well qualified staff we wouldn’t otherwise be able to get.”

Christmas Reviews

At Lonergans this year we have being working really hard at playing. We have recruited the best and brightest young playtime experts on the scene to help us in studying toys, so we can get our selection just right.

Based on our Christmas reviews, we have found that Sluban, one of our newest ranges, promises to be very popular. Sluban has a series of themed collections each with its own look and design and because Sluban bricks fit on other brand bricks, you can use them with your current collection without a problem.

We have had a brilliant response from our testers, who seem to be as excited about this new range as we are.

First off we have Daniel Murtagh, who is 6 years old, reviewing the Sluban Air Bus.

Christmas reviews - Plan review

Back on Campus in Maynooth

Every year Lonergan Corporate Gifts takes on a Maynooth University business student as an intern for 6 months. This is part of a work experience program that Maynooth have in place for students coming into their final year.

This hands on experience is invaluable to them and gives them a really head start on how to move in the professional world. This program has also had huge benefits for Lonergan’s as well. We get fresh new talent that only want the chance to test their new ideas and strategies and are keen to cut their teeth in the world of business.

Louise & group (Maynooth University)

As a result of positive feedback from us and much more importantly from our interns, Louise was invited to be a part of a Marketing event held by Maynooth University on the 14th of October. This event was an informal gathering that allowed business students to ask Louise questions about her work.

These ranged from how and why Lonergan Corporate Gifts marketed itself, what advice she had for those entering marketing, to asking her what she would look for in a new employee. She was able to inform them about the way that the corporate gift business has changed since she started 17 years ago and how marketing, including the concept of business as a brand, has developed. It wasn’t a one way discussion either, with each student making suggestions to Louise on how to improve Lonergan’s techniques.

It was a great event over round and Louise is anxiously awaiting her invitation to the next.

Louise & group 2 (Maynooth University)

St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Bowl

Emerald Crystal have had a very proud St. Patrick’s week this year. They were selected to produce the St. Patrick’s day Shamrock Bowl that was presented to President Obama, on behalf of the people of Ireland. Afterwards a ‘St Patrick’s Day reception’ was hosted by Obama, Kenny and their wives in the White House East Room where the bowl of shamrock and a certificate of Irish Heritage were presented to president Obama.

We are delighted to have added Emerald Crystal to our suppliers this year and are so pleased to be able to offer a replica of the “Obama Bowl” to our customers. The bowl is available in its original size and a mini version. It’s a beautiful example of the fine craftsmanship we have come to expect of Emerald Crystal.
Each piece is lovingly handmade by dedicated artisans and so each is unique. The inspiration for the design is the holy mountain Croagh Patrick, the site where Saint Patrick fasted for forty days in 441 AD. The tradition of pilgrimage to the iconic summit is carried on to this day and the bowl beautifully captures the long winding path laid out before the devoted traveler.
Obama with St. Patrick's Day bowl