Fri | Aug 18, 2017

MaraMade Designs carving a successful business

Published:Friday | August 12, 2016 | 8:00 AMDaviot Kelly
Tamara Harding (second right) is ready to get to work with her core team (from left) Marlon Bryan, Timothy Stewart and Clive Smith.
Harding stands in front of her expanding workshop.
Harding shows a butterfly (or bow tie) piece, one of the many accessories she adds to her wooden creations.
Wooden frames made by Tamara Harding.
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With the first anniversary of her wood carving/shaping business coming up, Tamara Harding is thinking big.

Since introducing itself officially with a launch event last November, Mara Made Designs has grown steadily. Harding now gets orders for every type of display area, from the most private section of your home to a public venue.

"I get orders from hotels, restaurants, and a lot of designers," she said. This year's Caribbean Fashionweek, for instance, featured some of her neck pieces. But she's branching out even further.

"I'm going to start a maintenance part of the business," she said, noting that wood continually contracts and expands, so pieces may, over time, start to crack. Clients can call her to perform repairs when they spot these issues. With establishments like CafÈ Blue (that has about 30 of her pieces), she has a set maintenance schedule. Harding also said her main goal, though, is to export. She will be off soon on a woodworking conference.

"A big part of it is picking people's brains and seeing if there's a product that exists, which I think there is, that the wood can be soaked into, to help prevent it from splitting," she said. "So that's a big puzzle I need to solve before I start exporting."

 

DEFINED WORKSHOP

 

From initially doing everything herself (except cutting down the trees and branches), Harding now has three full-time staff, as well as a welder, wood cutter (and supplier) and electrician (she also does lighting). There is now a defined workshop, complete with designated workstations. The workshop is properly wired for the various equipment, and to provide lighting for those late work nights.

In August 2014, Harding and husband Zachary closed their advertising business. She first made wooden Christmas decorations later that year and "if I had made a 1,000, I would have sold a 1,000. They took off!" Mara Made Designs had begun. Despite not being a trained carpenter, Harding does all the design work and initial carving. The time between order and delivery will vary.

"You could come to me now and ask for a mirror, and I can get it to you by tomorrow because I have the piece that suits what you need, based on what I see that fits you," she explained. "But I've had cases where people want something specific, and the wood doesn't exist, as in, I don't have it. So when a piece comes along that suits what you need, I will put it aside. In a case like that, maybe six months, because anything that's cut now, I won't be doing anything until it dries out for at least six months."

For more information, visit: www.maramadedesigns.com or call: 1-876-260-MARA.

daviot.kelly@gleanerjm.com