Getting to Know You: Ronan Higham, founder, Pure Fitout

Pure Fitout Ronan Higham

Ronan Higham talks to Business Matters about why being transparent is everything in everything and its essential to learn as you go

What do you currently do?

I am the Founder and Managing Director of Pure Fitout – an independent, award-winning fit out specialist with extensive experience in high quality, eye-catching interior fittings and installations.

Aside from holding regular meetings with prospective clients, my day-to-day includes overseeing projects and company performance, to ensure that they are running to schedule and maintaining the high standards that are central to the ethos of the company.

What was the inspiration behind your business?

Working in the fit-out industry for over two decades exposed me to all facets of the business – including the challenges. These experiences on-site, both in the UK and abroad, made it clear to me that big parts of industry weren’t hitting the mark in terms of delivery.

Having identified that third-party suppliers were a key reason for why projects overrun, the solution was obvious to me: to create a fitout business that would bring as much as possible under its control. This would provide certainty for clients regarding budget and programme dates, a big issue in our industry.

On founding Pure Fitout, it was fundamental to bring joinery, metal fabrication and stone craft in-house as these disciplines have long lead times. No other fit out company had these capabilities, so I knew that this would be a key differentiator for the business, building trust with clients and helping secure new contracts.

Who do you admire?

My late father is my biggest role model – he had a great outlook on life and was always on hand to give good words of advice to me: “keep smiling and don’t let the bastards get you down.”

Looking back is there anything you would have done differently?

Everyone will always look back on their journey and wonder whether they could have done things differently, but I wouldn’t change anything about our business. Our trajectory has gone exceedingly well and in the three years Pure Fitout has been in existence, we have consistently seen a year-on-year growth rate of 50%; and there is no sign of this slowing down.

We’ve also delivered a number of exciting projects over the last couple of years including the award-winning restoration of the Stella Theatre and every Five Guys in Ireland – I really don’t think that we would have had this success had we not done what comes natural to us

What defines your way of doing business?

We are transparent in everything we do and this translates to how we deal with clients. We are crystal clear when it comes to reporting and budget management, so the people we do business with are confident that we can deliver their project to the highest standard, on time and within budget.

For us, communication is crucial to the success of any project, and the ability to speak candidly and honestly with clients has played a big part in our success.

What advice would you give to someone starting out?

It’s simple: take the leap and do it. There isn’t a Haynes manual for starting a business – you pick things up and learn as you go. Of course, there will always be curveballs thrown at you, but you need to believe in yourself and always remember what drove you to begin the journey in the first place.