What is your business called and where are you based?
Our business is called Timber Creations and our workshop is based in Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, close to Powerscourt Waterfall.
How long have you been in business?
My colleague Darren and I started working together about six years ago, so we’ve been in business since 2013.
What do you specialise in?
At the moment we specialise in all kinds of carpentry. I do a lot of bespoke furniture, wardrobes, kitchens and all general carpentry.
Tell us about your own personal background. How did you start training in this area and how did the business start?
I started in this business later than most carpenters. I went travelling for a few years and then started my apprenticeship when I was about 23. Darren and I both did the full apprenticeship and while we were with FÁS we both won the Carpenter of the Year Award, so we were in contact with each other from that point and we were aware of the set of skills that we had. We had also known each other since we were kids, but Darren started his apprenticeship much earlier, probably when he was 16 or 17. When we had both made a good start to our careers we decided to get together and go into business.
Can you tell me about the trends you’ve seen in customer demands in the past year?
Trends come and go, and we see that all the time in the work that we do. A few years ago, timber finishes were very popular, particularly walnut. Now things have changed, and people are requesting different types of painted finishes. A lot of customers want to have their timber kitchens resprayed in matte or a satin finish.
Is there any colour that’s particularly popular at the moment?
It’s all 50 Shades of Grey at the moment. Grey is king this year and it seems to me that there are a million different shades of grey that suppliers have made available to customers.
Have changes in the wider construction industry changed your offering in any way?
There are always new materials entering the market and you certainly see that reflected constantly in Chadwicks and in The Panelling Centre. I think it’s probably true that trends in materials are evolving fastest in furniture design, with different panels, colours, textures, grains and various other things like that. And there are also changes happening in kitchens and flooring. If you were to compare the quality of laminates ten years ago with what we have now you would really see the amount of progress that has been made in improving quality. The range of available colours has increased dramatically too.
What do you predict will be the next big thing that consumers are asking for? What are you doing with your products to prepare for future trends?
We’re lucky in that we have several good interior designers who we work for, and they’re always challenging us with tricky new ideas that can sometimes be difficult to execute. To answer your question about trends, we find that we have to adapt to changes several times a year. Kitchens are being finished with paint in shades of grey lately, whereas they were previously more likely to have a timber finish like walnut, oak, beach or cherry.
How important is the quality of material to your business?
The only thing I can say is that it’s hugely important. I can never use poor quality materials because I have a good relationship with my customers, and there is no way that I can use materials that don’t meet the standards they expect.
How important is it to have a relationship with a supplier like Chadwicks or The Panelling Centre?
It’s vital. We visit their branches throughout the year and it’s very important to us to have a good relationship with them. It’s a significant benefit to us that you can call them on the phone and be safe in the knowledge that they have the experience to understand what you need and to deliver the correct product to the workshop. I have great trust in Chadwicks because you can call them when you have a problem and they will always be as accommodating as possible. If I ever need something priced or delivered the next morning, then they will do their best to help you out through their network of branches and suppliers. In those pressurised situations it’s very important to have a good relationship.
Do you have any exciting projects coming up that you can tell us about?
As I mentioned earlier, we’re very lucky to have a constant involvement with interior designers. They give us interesting designs to work on and some projects that challenge us. There are some very cool pieces that you can see on our Facebook page, and it’s great to avoid doing the same thing over and over. For some of these projects we really have to sit down and think about how we can achieve the desired result. Every customer is different, so we never say that we offer any kind of standard product.
What’s the best way for customers to get in touch with your company?
We’re very active on Facebook – Timber Creations. Darren is all over that and he puts a lot of pictures up so that people see what we do. You can contact Darren at firstname.lastname@example.org or catch him on 087 630 3448 alternatively you can contact me, Paul at email@example.com or call on 086-605-4971.