Our nine-month professional course equips students with all the skills they need to set up in business as fine furniture designers and makers.

As part of the course, we also make sure that students understand the basics of business planning and marketing, the two fundamentals that underpin success.

It’s why we require students who want to set up their own companies to create a business plan and to design and make a business website.

We’ll help them to do both of those things, as well as giving ideas and advice on how to then promote themselves to local markets.

Over the next few days, we’ll pass on advice from recent graduates who have created successful businesses.  First up, Ewan Ogilvie:

Ewan Ogilvie, Scotland (2012-2013)

One of the great things about the Chippendale school is that we have incubation space into which graduates can move and set up their own businesses.

It means that students can avoid the cost of buying machinery while negotiating the early months or years of self-employment.

It’s a route that was taken by Ewan Ogilvie when he graduated in 2013, although he’s now moved into his own workshop nearby.

His company, Ogilvies of Haddington, gives employment to three other graduates from the school, and in the years since graduation, Ewan has worked on a whole variety of projects from kitchens to wine cellars, and from garden offices to furniture design and making.

He was previously an accountant with the City of Edinburgh Council, but had always wanted to run his own business, and cautions graduating students to only design and create to the highest standards.

“Your previous customers can be your best advertisers,” he says, warning students also to have realistic expectations when they graduate.

“It’s a fantastic way to make a living,” says Ewan, “and I wouldn’t now change it for the world, but establishing yourself in the market takes time and hard work.”

Ewan’s experience is that there is no shortcut to success and that, while woodworking can be a rewarding career, it also takes determination and hard graft.