Young Couple making the most out of wood
You may not find F and G Williams Furnishing in the Yellow Pages, but this small operation has been producing quality furniture for more than five years.
Frances Rookwood-Williams operates F and G with her husband George Williams. She has been involved in the woodwork industry for 28 years.
"I did secretarial courses, but after I left school nothing was happening for me. So I asked my mother to let me learn a trade. I told her it was either mechanics or woodwork, anyone that came first." Rookwood-Williams said she was always fascinated by woodwork; she would look at furniture and wonder how they were put together.
"I've been doing it ever since. If I have to stop, I don't know what I'd do with myself. It's just a passion now," she smiled. Rookwood-Williams learnt her trade at the Operation Friendship skills training programme for a year and then got more practical experience.
"Moving from workshop to workshop, you get more experience. Every workshop that you go to, somebody teaches you something different," she said. "You learn to make different types of furniture and in different styles."
Once Rookwood-Williams decided to open her own business, her husband George joined in. They currently use a workshop in Chambers Lane, off Old Hope Road. Most of her orders are for bedroom sets. Persons also heavily request bathroom and kitchen fixtures. Able to produce any design, Rookwood-Williams leaves the choice up to the customer.
"I ask them to look on the Internet and see what they like. Anything they bring, I can build it," she said. After buying wood from various lumber yards, Rookwood-Williams waits for the wood to dry. After the drying process, jobs usually take two to three weeks. She has also handled jobs outside of the Corporate Area. The frequency of orders varies, but Christmas is usually her busy period.
MOSTLY CUSTOM BUILT
Apart from George, there is no full-time staff. One person does carving for them, but other than that, young men from the surrounding areas help out during the holidays. Rookwood-Williams is 'head cook and bottle washer', responsible for building, fitting and spraying. Not blessed with a great advertising budget, her business largely depends on word of mouth.
"It's mostly custom-built stuff I do. So when I build for you, you tell your friends, and so on. So that's how I get work," she said. Other than building furniture, F and G offers other services including repair and restoration. But Rookwood-Williams is hoping to grow the business. There are always expenses, including the purchase of new tools.
"For small businesses, it's hard to get loans. I wish in some way they (financial institutions) could help small people like us. We don't have the collateral to back it up. So maybe if they can work with us, we will see if we can expand."
F and G Williamsfurnishing can reached at 836-7259 or 425-5183