I build and design rocking chairs, rocking ottomans, kids’ rockers, quilts and crib bedding. Custom orders are my focus, and many people send me their own fabrics and choose their own wood finishes, so the customer is always involved in the design process. This is much more exciting and rewarding than shopping at a big-box store!
How did you get started? Have you worked in other creative areas before the kind of work you’re doing now?
I started woodworking in 2003 and developed an interest in rocking chairs when a friend brought me an antique family heirloom rocker to repair. I was hooked on rocking chairs. Later I learned to sew and found that went hand-in-hand with my upholstery work.
I’ve always been a creative person, writing, drawing and building things since I was a child.
Is there a story behind the name of your shop?
My partner Matt suggested it, because he feels sometimes I am a bit “off my rocker”! I was going to call my business “Franks Fine Furniture” but he said that sounded stuffy, and his idea was much better anyways. Sometimes you have to listen to your better half!
Do you work alone? With a team? Do you engage your family or friends in the work? What is your process? How do you ensure you get your work done yet still have a life?
I mostly work alone on my customer orders, but sometimes I engage my partner Matt to help out with cutting fabrics and painting, and I am always bouncing new design ideas off him. Matt looks after my website and clerical work, freeing me to concentrate on building rockers.
It is important to take breaks from work and so I make time for simple pleasures like bike rides and day trips.
Where do you sell your work? Which venues are your favorites? Do you prefer selling online or in person? Do you attend shows or fairs? Is your work in a gallery or brick-and-mortar store?
I have tried numerous venues to sell my work, including local craft shows, word of mouth, blogging, Ebay, Etsy and my website. By far the most successful venue is my stand-alone e-commerce website, where I can showcase my rockers and other items to a very large market.
What inspires and motivates you?
I get excited when I can build a custom chair for a new customer, and esp. when they received their new rocker and tell me how much they love it. Every customer’s order is different and unique, so this keeps my work fresh. It’s a great feeling knowing I’ve built an item that will be someone’s treasured heirloom
What do you wish I had asked you?
“Do you think people still appreciate hand-made quality?”
My answer would be absolutely yes! I’ve had tons of people tell me they were delighted to find my website and were happy to buy something unique and made with care just for them