One of the great things about the Chippendale school is that we have incubation space into which graduates can move and set up their own businesses.
It means that students can avoid the cost of buying machinery while negotiating the early months of self-employment.
It’s a route that was taken by Ewan Ogilvie when he graduated in 2013, and who has been in workshop space at the school since then.
His company, Ogilvies of Haddington, gives employment to three other graduates from the school, and therefore helping to create a vibrant community of both woodworkers and students on our campus.
In the years since graduation, Ewan has worked on a whole variety of projects from kitchens to wine cellars, and from garden offices to furniture design and making.
He was previously an accountant with the City of Edinburgh Council, but had always wanted to run his own business.
Most of his commissions have come from word of mouth and he cautions graduating students to only design and create to the highest standards.
“Your previous customers can be your best advertisers,” he says, warning students also to have realistic expectations when they graduate.
“It’s a fantastic way to make a living,” says Ewan, “and I wouldn’t now change it for the world, but establishing yourself in the market takes time and hard work.”
It’s why, as part of our professional course, we require students who want to set up their own companies to create a business plan and to design and create a business website.
We’ll help them to do both of those things, as well as give them ideas and advice on how to then promote themselves to local markets.
Ewan’s experience is that there is no shortcut to success and that, while woodworking can be a rewarding career, it also takes determination and hard graft.
“The good thing,” he says, “is that, for me, it’s been well worth it.”
Ewan is pictured on one of his rocking chairs with Ringo the dog.