By Cass Selwood
Four years ago, Claire Checker and Damien Russell were hunting for the perfect outdoor table for their house in the Barossa Valley.
They wanted a good quality, affordable table that was the right size and shape, durable, and looked great. When they couldn’t find what they were looking for, Damien, a boilermaker by trade, decided to take it into his own hands and build one himself.
They had no idea at the time, but it was from this decision that their successful Evanston-based business, Weldz End Bespoke Furniture, was born.
The table took pride of place under their pergola, but a year later the family moved and instead of taking it with them they decided to sell it on Gumtree, thinking they could always build another one to suit their new house.
That’s when they discovered they were onto something.
“We couldn’t believe the response,” says Claire.
“We had over 4000 views, hundreds of calls and we actually took four custom orders before we even sold the original table!”
A steady flow of custom orders since, combined with a recent series of commercial fit-outs, meant they were eventually able to give up full-time employment to focus on the Evanston-based business.
“One of the best things, and one that we didn’t necessarily expect,” says Claire. “Is how good it’s been for our family. We’re still busy, but on our own terms, and we’re now available for the kids in a way that neither of us could be before.”
Weldz End furniture can now be found in private houses in almost every region of South Australia (and several interstate), as well as businesses like The Co-op in Nuriootpa, Joan’s Pantry in Hawthorndene, Our Place Kitchen in Mount Barker, the dining room at Barossa Balloon Adventures, and the staff room Caritas College in Port Augusta.
Every piece is built entirely from quality South Australian materials – from the BlueScope Steel legs, to the re-purposed timber for the table tops, sourced from a local salvage yard.
Any work they don’t do themselves – powder coating, timber preparation and shipping – is outsourced through a network of small businesses within the local area.
Despite their success, Damien and Claire have resisted the temptation to hike the prices for their unique bespoke pieces.
“We’ve modelled the business so our overheads are minimal,” says Claire.
“That way we can afford to be on the cheaper side without compromising quality. Ultimately, we’re building furniture for people like us, so we want it to be attainable for ordinary families.”
And their furniture is definitely built to withstand the rigours of family life.
“It’s solid,” says Damien, thumping his fist on their own kitchen table.
“And it’s made to last. This one will be an antique when my kids have grandkids.”
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