Our one year furniture making course puts you in a great position to start your own furniture making business – and plenty of our students do! So we wanted to chat with some of our alumni who have gone on to start their own businesses, so you can find out what they thought of the course and how they’ve been doing since. First up is Simon Robson of 71 Designs.


Which course did you take?

I booked in for a three month course and ended up staying eleven months in total.


Why did you want to study furniture making?

I have a background in design and project management in retail environments and always wanted to be on the other side of making furniture to a high standard. I wanted to go through the process of design through to delivery.


Why did you choose our course?

I did my diligence and visited other courses. A lot of the courses were teaching you a traditional way of making with not a lot of progression in terms of materials and application of materials. I am a strong believer that first impressions do count and liked Marc and his manner.


What part of the course did you enjoy most?

It has to be the making and the process of making. We as makers have so many hats to wear at times but its has to be the the making, when you have the process sorted out and it all comes together. Marc and his team are always close by to help and encourage, all adding different points.


Which of your projects was your favourite?

It has to be the box that you make on the course. To this date it has not opened up at the joints and has maintained its design, look and feel and is a functional part of my home.


How did you transition into starting your own business?

It was slow and hard, as you have so many hats to wear and competition is hard out there. I would say start out with a small company and learn the basics of commercial furniture and the process of making. Once you have this sorted out then venture out on your own, as you’ll stumble along the way and every day is a learning curve. I worked for a few good makers that were established and gained experience making commercial and bespoke furniture. I then set up my own company and do bespoke and commercial work.


What kind of work do you produce now?

Commercial work as this pays the bills. If a client requests a bespoke item than it’s great to get that kind of work, it’s always a pleasure working with and influencing a client with what will work in their home, and what’s good furniture and furniture that will last them a lifetime.


What advice would you give a new student starting a course with us?

Do your research. You’re not going to make a fortune and it’s going to take a lot of hard work and skill, but stick at it and if you believe this is your path, learn and take as much as you can in.

Start your course with the attitude that you will have your own company or brand and do all the online media and branding from the start, and network with other makers and at shows.

You can view Simon’s website here.

Student Success Stories: Simon Robson