Today we meet Gary Staple, who graduated in 2014, and who owns and runs his own business Gary Staple Fine Woodworking in Nova Scotia.  His first bit of advice to new woodworkers is to keep their overheads low.

“The first few years will be the most difficult and high overheads can sink a new company.  My advice is not to rush out and buy lots of shiny new equipment, but do buy quality in the tools you use the most.”

He also emphasises the importance of pricing.  “It’s easy to price too low, but the fact of the matter is that custom furniture is a high-end market product.

“So, look at what established makers are charging in your area, and be guided by those prices.  Remember, you are not competing with IKEA.

Gary also recommends finding people to connect with – other people who also work with your client base, such as interior designers, architects and home builders. “Seek these people out in person and sell yourself,” he says.

He also advises new woodworkers to document everything and take lots of photographs.  “The internet is your greatest sales tool, but only your best pieces should make it onto the website.

“Remember, four great photos of really nice work are better that 20 lousy photos.  Build your online presence with good content.”

Lastly, Gary also warns new woodworkers to have sensible expectations.  “Grow slow, be patient, and don’t rush into your dream workshop until you’re sure you can afford it,” he says.