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Ronan displaying his craftmanship to visiting French and German tourists this year.

Pen-making Donegal schoolboys worth 'a million'

Not quite in euro, but they’re getting there.

A PAIR OF Donegal schoolboys who began making wooden pens from their garden shed have reached an online watershed. Their website has now had over one million page views since 1 January this year.

The online interest reflects the ongoing growth of the business run by Ronan and Conor McGarvey from Loughanure since highlighted (sorry) it in early 2011. Back then Ronan was just 14 and Conor only 10 but they were already producing pens made out of bog oak, ash, yew, elm and beech which they then shipped all over the world.

They had persuaded their parents to allow them to use the garden shed – which was then converted into a workshop – in the evenings and weekends after they had finished their homework.

This year has been a sterling one for the boys, now aged 16 and 13, as they appeared on the junior version of the entrepreneurship show Dragon’s Den, securing a €2,000 bursary and an order for €2,000 within minutes.

Christmas orders

They are currently “flat out” fulfilling Christmas orders but will take a well-deserved break after the last shipment goes out on 23 December. The plan for 2013 is to personalise pens to order by lasering names and logos onto the wood of the pens. They can do this currently, but only by outsourcing the engraving work, so they want to buy the laser equipment themselves next year.

As for the online success, the boys said that they thought their website designer John Michael Sweeney was “joking” when he said they had passed the one million page view mark. Ronan said:

Unfortunately we can’t cash the ‘hits’ in for euro but we are just delighted that the site is proving so popular.

Half of the hits were generated by the interest surrounding their junior Dragon’s Den appearance in May:

via John Michael Sweeney/Youtube

February 2011: Are these two brothers Ireland’s youngest entrepreneurs?>
Ireland named Europe’s most entrepreneurial country>
14 very Irish Christmas present ideas>

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