This month one of our local magazines, INCheshire, ran a series of feature interviews with local entrepeneur’s to find out what had motivated them to set-up and run their own businesses. Read what Darren had to say below in his interview with David Johnson from INCheshire magazine.
After leaving school at 16 years of age, with little in the way of formal qualifications, Darren Dronfield decided to make good use of his excellent practical skills, becoming an apprentice joiner working for an entrepreneurial builder called John Dempsey.
Darren found himself working on conversions, renovations and luxury developments throughout Cheshire I learnt general building skills in addition to joinery. During the 5 years I worked for John the desire to own my own business started to grow. It was here I started tiling floors with marble, and really enjoyed working with marble as a material
As a means of developing his specialist skills further, Darren joined a firm of stone masons I began by templating worktops utilising my joinery skills. I then learnt all aspects of fabrication and worktop fitting over a period of 7 years, honing my skills until being made redundant in 1994.
With John as his inspiration, and with 3000 in savings, he decided to go for it and open his own business. I rented a small workshop under the railway arches in Manchester and DJD Marble Granite was born.
All the equipment was bought second-hand and painstakingly refurbished. Much of the work done today in minutes by CNC machines was all done by hand, often late into the night to get a job done on time.
Following a change in personal circumstances, Darren decided to relocate his business activities, setting up a new company, Cheshire Granite Worktops Limited, in Knutsford with his new partner.
We fabricate and install mainly kitchen worktops out of granite, quartz and marble, supplying kitchen studios and directly to the public. We also make bespoke tables of all shapes and sizes. The biggest change affecting our business has been the number of customers now deciding to buy from us directly.
Darren, 46, thoroughly enjoys being his own boss and the control it gives him over all aspects of the business Doing things properly and never giving a customer a mediocre job is important to me. People are paying a lot of money for our worktops and they deserve the highest standards and best results. Being the boss I can ensure this happens, from quality of workmanship through to exceptional customer service.
Two years down the line, Darren has a clear vision for the business Still being a relative newcomer to Knutsford, our aim is to continue to grow and strengthen our reputation locally, whilst developing into other areas of Cheshire, which we are now doing. Customer testimonials are helping to drive our business forward and each quarter our sales are increasing as a result.