Makers Lane is a platform set up for makers to meet clients, clients to find makers for the desired outcome.
Today they posted a little blog post about me, Theory of Willow.
Head over and have a read, Ive cut and paste the story.
Feel free to go check out Makers Lane's site, www.makerslane.com.au
THE INDUSTRY CHOSE ME
Theory of Willow was started in 2013 (I think) by some good friends of mine in Melbourne. They have another business (2nd Chance Tables) and didn’t have enough time to be doing both. I had been working for myself for a few years making furniture and some shop / studio fitting as I’m a qualified furniture maker, joiner. Prior to TOW I had been working for others for many years and making things my whole life.
I had a bunch of ideas that I wanted to start exploring on my own that were similar to what TOW started out with so I approached my friends about.
I was informed that Theory of Willow was about to be deleted! I suggested keeping it alive and growing it into something else, taking it over, making it my own.
Basically from that day on, Kyme Farley was Theory of Willow. In a way I up-cycled the business to what it is today. I redesigned the logo for my own use and made a few other changes to a few things that were already in place. I then started moulding the business to what I wanted to be doing, more bespoke work, while still trying to keep some of the original elements. The bespoke style of work is more suited to what I do and the way I like to approach job opportunities. This works well for me as I'm a creative minded person who likes trying to come up with ideas.
Today the majority of the work done at TOW is all private commissioned. Most of the time people seek me out to build something for their space. Personally I lean more towards this style of private work mainly due to the finished outcome. I really enjoy adding to someone's private space or home - giving them something that will last and adding to the space they have created.
I do deal with a small handful of professional clients. Not a lot of work comes from these people though, more is always welcome as I'm always happy to chat about future opportunities that fit with what I'm doing and am about.
Due to most of my work being private commissions there is a fair amount of design involved in this process. I really like giving a client the opportunity to have input into the final outcome. Some people just want me to do everything and leave it at that, others are the opposite. I then basically source the materials and build the finished product.
I really enjoy all the aspects of making something for my clients, this way you get to see the whole process and see something come to life. Although for me there isn’t one without the other. I properly enjoy the building a little more, particularly if it's recycled timber. Nothing better than giving something a 3rd life.
My background in the industry started a long time ago. There is a long history of timber workers in my family, carpenters, joiners and shipwrights from generations gone. As far as I know from my past family members, I’m 10th generation. Something I find very interesting and something I am very proud of today.
In a messed up kinda way, I think the industry chose me in the end!
I worked in the industry on and off when I was younger. I was always making stuff, even if it wasn’t my job as such. I then got stuck into it full-time working for some other higher end makers for many years. It was these years I learnt the most as I was working for old school furniture makers from Italy, who had been leaders in the industry for a long time. Im very thankful for these years.
I then had a bunch of heavy stuff go down in my life, combined with working for a not so nice boss at the time. I basically packed up my tools and said see you later, after I was abused! It wasn’t the first time I’d had that in a work place so I was out of there pretty quick. From that day on I just ran my own race really. I still enjoy working with others mainly due to the social side. Working solo can be kinda lonely sometimes. My 2 kelpies are my best mates all day everyday and to be honest I'd be a little lost without them and my lady.
Working for myself has made me really work to the theory of “ smarter not harder” and the KISS method (Keep It Simple Stupid). This may sound a little odd to some, why you ask? I’ll explain a little. I don’t have a huge space as my workshop, lurkshop, is on my own property on Phillip Island, Victoria. Most of my timber is stored under my house as it's on a hill. Office is inside. So workshop is for working, making.
I don’t want every fancy, new and exciting tool, machine that people are trying to sell me. To be honest I like old tools due to the quality and simplicity. I learned that many of the old style techniques were about using what you have, to achieve the desired outcome. For example, using a thicknesser to make moulded shapes instead of having a spindle moulder. If I can do something with what I have then I will, problem solving really. An extra 10 minutes of thought can go a long way sometimes.
Being organised and clean is also a huge one for me. I hate messy work space and keeping everything clean and in its place really makes life easier. Plus my health is always a priority.
I also find that just setting some time aside to be in the office space everyday really is a good method and being consistent also makes a big difference to the outcomes.
Less stress, more stoke. Major priority, the biggest thing I could recommend to any workplace. If you can start the day with a smile on your face then you’ll properly finish the day in the same way. For me surfing is my stoke. A day's work is always done better after a morning surf or even a beach walk with the girls. This could be anything for others, just having something that takes you out of the headspace of working can have a massive impact. We all need to switch off in some way at some time and when you do everything in a business it can be harder to achieve than you think. Making sure you do, will impact on what you do, in more ways than you think. As someone who’s experienced both sides of this I can say it's a fair call to prioritise your lives well being over making money.
THINGS I HAVE LEARNT
My advice for any future makers. Do the trade if you can, find the people who you want to work for and approach them. Learn as much as you can about what you want to do. Don’t sit there with your hand out waiting, because someone else with more drive will be a step ahead and you’ll get left behind. Plenty of people are picking up tools and timber these days and making items for sale, the internet is helping this ten fold. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that. What I am saying is that you will learn a lot more than you think off someone who knows the trade inside and out and has trade experience.
Like they say, 10,000 hours at anything before you really become good and master of what you are doing. Do your time as such and if you are working for a business and you find you’re stuck doing something you don’t like then speak up or find another workplace. Don’t go stale!
I had many years on the tools prior to taking a step backwards and becoming an apprentice. Yes, it was hard due to the money and starting at the bottom of the ladder. Everyone does though, that's the way it works. If you go into something thinking you’re the man, you’ll properly be the idiot. Listening and learning is something that a lot of younger people can’t seem to do these days? It's something I personally find a little strange and somewhat disappointing. My dad always told me if you want something then you need to work for it and if you don’t know how to do something then ask. Speak up, don’t be a sheep! I also think doing research or work experience can really have a larger impact than you think, finding what you really like before locking yourself in. Jumping head first into something because it's there isn’t always the best situation in the long run.
Learn to do something right before you just try to do it fast. Try as hard as you possibly can to be as original as you can no matter what!
Its very hard to be these days and it's easier said than done. But just taking what you see on line etc and making the same really doesn’t give you much credibility in my eyes. I guess it falls back on the individual. Don’t fly on others coat tails as some say. That's my opinion anyway, take it as you will.