How did we get here?
When people ask, "How long have you been working with wood?" My answer is "All of my life". This is the story of how Woodzone became what it is today...
1966 - The start of a growing passion...
Born in 1966 I became a menace to my parents, climbing trees wanting to use all of my dad's tools from age 2. Asking Santa for an axe and a saw at age 5. From there, my passion for wood just kept on growing… Running the school woodwork class in form 1 explaining how to make a chopping board. Saved up and bought my first lathe at age 13, the same lathe that I use today 43 years later.
1989 - Colonial Woodturning and Furniture
Leaving school at 15 knowing exactly what I wanted to do, I got a job as an apprentice woodturner. Working for 8 years in various different sectors of the woodwork industry I quickly gained experience in many areas.
In 1989 I decided to take the plunge starting my own business “Colonial Woodturning and Furniture” operating from my home garage. It was only a matter of months until my new Wife, Vanessa was required to join, helping out with the business bringing her own set of skills selling our wares at markets and dealing with the growing amount of admin and office duties.
1996 - Moved to Clevedon
Two years on with our first daughter, Chelsea on the way it was time to move to a bigger property and start to fulfil our future dream of having our own rural roadside woodcraft shop. Finding the perfect location in Clevedon we set about the task of building our new workshop/showroom etc.
Things quickly grew, employing apprentices of my own and shop staff, increasing our production abilities to include more furniture and another daughter; Danica. Time to upgrade and modernise our Image in 1996; Woodzone was born.
2000s - Keeping up with a fast changing world
Peaking around year 2000 we employed 14 full time staff and became a well known, reputable solid wood furniture manufacturer taking on large contracts including supplying of all of the Cock & Bull Pubs and the NZ Navy with furniture. Running at this scale our premises was pressed to max capacity and included our house, this was taking me away from the workshop and my passion, so rather than move and grow more, the decision was made to scale back. This was also timely due to high competition from cheap inferior imported furniture and a change in trends.
Continuing for another 20 years our business matured and adapted to keep up with a fast changing world. I never lost my passion for wood.
2021 - The end of an era
Our daughter Chelsea graduated as a graphic designer assisting us to adapt to a digital world and evolving our website. Deciding to further decrease staff and stop making furniture allowed us to focus more on our true passion of making woodcrafts. Our second daughter Danica now a qualified accountant has also been key to helping with our success.
Having worked hard in our business for 30+ years working weekends, having two Grandsons to enjoy, pressure from an expanding community and ever increasing compliance issues meant that another change was in the air…
And so the dream lives on...
Time to chase the next dream, let's close up our retail shop and live in Golden Bay. Run our business solely online, allowing more time to enjoy life and follow our passion without the tie of a retail shop.
So here we are in beautiful Golden Bay, in the top of the South Island building a new smaller, more modern workshop and looking forward to the next chapter of Woodzone.