The Chippendale International School of Furniture has just won a local Chamber of Commerce Award for a successful Family Business by “demonstrating sustained success across a broad range of measures”. The award is sponsored by local accountants and tax advisors, Springfords, and the ceremony was hosted by Queen Margaret University.
Anselm Fraser and his wife Antonia set up the international furniture school near Gifford more than 25 years ago. More recently, they have been joined by their son, Jamie, who graduated from the furniture school this June and is now one of five tutors.
“The school’s success means that for the second year running we have a full student roll for our furniture making and restoration course”, says Anselm Fraser. “Forty per cent of this year’s new furniture school students come from overseas, including Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Barbados, Mexico, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.
“We’re unique in that our bespoke kitchen and furniture restoration business, Anselm Fraser Furniture, operates in parallel with the furniture school. The ‘Chippendale approach to learning’ combines lectures and lots of hands-on bench time; the students also learn from each other on a collaborative basis.
“The course is particularly suited to students who want to be furniture making entrepreneurs. This year, for example, five of our most recent graduates have set up furniture making and woodworking businesses in the Chippendale Incubator workshops adjoining the school. They also benefit from our support and from being part of our 34-strong woodworking community.”
At the awards ceremony, the international speaker, author and business strategy guru, Roger Harrop, gave an inspiring presentation entitled ‘Staying in the Helicopter®’. Roger reminded the 200-strong audience of the four basics of business: be exceptional at what you do; create a great place to work; prospect for business; and focus on the bottom line.
“In today’s competitive climate where weak businesses don’t survive, successful companies must have belief, passion and courage. Business owners have to ensure they ‘Stay in the Helicopter®’ to give them a high level, strategic perspective on their business, and not be too focused on the all-consuming, day-to-day details.
“I congratulate all the businesses that won the Chamber’s Awards: GMP Print Solutions, Network ROI, Pure Malt Products, BSS Gas, Qik Serve and the Chippendale International School of Furniture.
“Family businesses employ about half the workforce in Scotland, contribute some 45% of GDP and play a really important role in our communities.
“The Chippendale International School of Furniture deserved to win the Family Business Award for their record of long term success. I admire the premium position they have built in their international education market and the way in which they’ve condensed a 2 to 3 year course into an intensive one year course; the fact that they have a full student roll speaks for itself.
“It’s also great that the furniture school is helping spawn about 10 new furniture design businesses each year and supporting some of their graduates’ businesses in their Chippendale Incubator workshops.”