Ronan O’Brien never wanted a job with a salary. At 14 he was making more money than his teachers. Now he runs a growing empire.
Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?
I’ve never had a full-time job working for anyone else and I worked for myself since I was 14 usually earning more than my teachers. I did manage to keep up the education on the side. I don’t think people want to be entrepreneurs per se, that’s just a tag given to people who choose not to take a salary job. I think entrepreneurs want to change the world in their own little way and control their destiny.
Where did it all begin for Zatori?
We started with TheCostumeShop.ie. At the time I was a professional DJ and there was a huge Halloween event I was playing at. I had been talking with a friend about trying to find a company to partner with to encourage the punters to buy costumes from – but there wasn’t anywhere in Ireland. So jokingly, I said I should start my own. Within four weeks, I had a basic e-commerce shop up and running and we were making sales. After Halloween I was relieved the rush was over, only to get a call from the National Concert Hall a week later asking if we were going to be advertising Christmas costumes, with an attached list of the items they needed. So then I realised it had potential.
Zatori, your holding company, has a number of business brands. How do you divide your time between each different brand?
A lot of my work is project based. If we are launching a new brand or targeting a new area, there is a lot of time required to build that company. We try to build a great team around us, then