Alastair Adams, founder of The Moustache Maker, talks to BQ about what makes his business different and why he has entered this year's If We Can You Can competition.
What did you do before setting up your business?
Prior to setting up The Moustache Maker I was at Northumbria University where I studied and graduated with a degree in building surveying. Following this I went on to work and study to become a chartered building surveyor. I worked in the industry for four years before I decided I wanted to work for myself. I started a property development company building up a portfolio of student rentals and residential developments.
What inspired you to set up your business?
I needed a table for my flat and when shopping for a table in Newcastle I couldn’t find one I liked, and any I did like were quite expensive. From here I employed a retired joiner I knew to help me construct a dining room table from reclaimed timber (he has a moustache, hence the name The Moustache Maker). From this point, I found that I had a real passion for working with reclaimed timber and making something usable from other wise discarded timber.
My new passion drove me to set up The Moustache Maker to provide bespoke high-quality tables and other pieces of furniture at an affordable price.
What makes this business different?
Providing a bespoke service, crafting a product made to measure for the client needs, at an affordable price. Throughout the process I keep the client updated with photos and updates to ensure they are happy with the end product. I feel this makes the client involved in the build from start to finish and when they receive the product they feel its truly theirs.
What inspired you to enter the If We Can You Can Challenge?
I was told about it by my girlfriend and she thought I should put myself up for the award. So, I had a quick look into it and thought why not? It would be great to see what a panel of professionals think of my business and any help would be great as I work alone doing everything from meeting the clients to building and delivering the furniture.
Where do you see your business in three years’ time?
In three years’ time I want to have an industrial unit with a showroom at the entrance with a window looking through from the showroom into the workshop where customers can see the whole process of the reclaimed timber in its natural state as we receive it and how it is turned into the bespoke piece of furniture they have ordered or potentially are going to order.
At this point in time I would like to have at least three joiners and a steel fabricator employed to construct the furniture and I would take a role front of house meeting new walk in customers, driving online sales and marketing.
What has been the most rewarding part of your journey so far?
The most rewarding part of the job has to be delivering the finished product. Usually the kitchen/dining room table is the final piece of the puzzle for the customers new extension or house refurb and to see them so happy with the end product is very satisfying.
What has been your biggest challenge?
As I have never trained as a joiner, I suppose learning how to make tables from scratch was the hardest part, but after a year I am more than competent at turning my hand to construct most bits of furniture - which I am very proud of.
Who/what gave you support or advice?
The original joiner who showed me how to construct tables and work with reclaimed timber has gave me the most advice.
What advice would you give to someone looking to set up their own business?
Carry out market research, test your product or idea, if these indicators are positive then the rest is hard work. Don’t be scared to ask for help or advice. Also, when working alone some days you lose motivation and everything feels like it gets on top of you. I find if you take a step back, set yourself daily goals to achieve before you finish for the day and also remember to focus on your end goal, this really helps me.
Our BQ Bulletin emails will land in your inbox at 7.30am, Monday to Friday, with a mix of the latest local business news, national news, and features to inspire you. Sign up here!
Click here to read our privacy statement