Author: Marielle Ramaekers
WHO? Seán Daly, owner of Bia Ganbreise Teoranta, West Cork, Ireland
WHAT? Turned a gluten-free bakery into a success.
WHY? Gluten-free section was growing rapidly.
The Dawsons had a conventional bakery in West Cork. When they saw a gap in the market for gluten-free foods in 2011, they started to make gluten-free bread. Bia Ganbreise Teoranta, trading as Freefrom foods, was born. By May 2012 the Dawsons decided to look for an investor, but they were not seeing a return on sales just yet. Around the same time, Seán Daly read an article that said the gluten-free section was growing rapidly.
Daly: “Hence, I got started. I was looking to set up a gluten-free bakery and buy the acquired technology. I had a number of agents looking at investment opportunities on my behalf and we found Bia Ganbreise Teoranta.” Seán Daly had been a farmer, but his entrepreneurial disposition had brought him on a different path. Inspired by local businessmen, Daly set tirelessly about growing companies including tool making, construction and rubber hose manufacturing. When the recession hit in Ireland, he was looking for a sector that was growing.
When Daly became involved in Dawsons bakery, he focused mainly on the profitable lines and set about improving the taste and quality of these products and was developing new ones too. He employed somebody with knowledge of gluten-free foods. The new team also reshaped products from other producers and turned them into a success, such as “Gookies”: a role of cookie dough that can be baked at home by the consumer. “The product must be of a high quality and costs must be kept at a competitive level as there are many competitors coming on stream in this sector" according to Seán.
“While there is no doubt that there were strong business reasons, my heart and soul were also invested in the project,” Daly explains. “Travelling to West Cork one cannot fail to be inspired by the warmth of the people there and the breath-taking beauty. This region is renowned for its passion for quality food. Another catalyst was my wife’s coeliac diagnosis, coming just weeks after we signed the contracts. Then I knew I had made the right decision and it motivated me through the early teething problems.”
One of the reasons for his success is good financial management, says Seán. “The biggest risk is to overspend and then sales not to come through on time.” Bia Ganbreise Teoranta became profitable after 16 months. “The biggest problem was to get people to realise that the business needs to break even at the very least. If people take the attitude that it won't make money for the first 2 years, it won't,” Daly explains. To new entrepreneurs Daly advises: “Share your idea with someone who has succeeded already, take on board what they have to say, cover all the potential pit falls, then halve your projected sales. If it still will work, take the plunge!”
Seán is always open to new and worthwhile business opportunities. Contact him via the get in touch section below! Curious to see his products? Visit www.freefromfoods.ie.