Student story: Moving to the other side of the world to start a furniture making business

Have you thought about moving career, and maybe even moving country? Jason Hicks has done both! Originally based in Australia, Jason made the decision to move to Scotland to study at the Chippendale School, after a year spent travelling around Europe and the UK. 

Here is the full story of how Jason got into woodworking and started up his own furniture making business.

Jason Hicks with his graduate collection

Wood calling

I have always worked creatively, spending most of my working life as a graphic designer, dabbling in photography, and I also worked as a furniture maker for a year almost 20 years ago and enjoyed using my hands to make something that was practical, long-lasting and that people enjoyed. 
After meeting with Tom who runs the school (really more of an exciting melting pot of creative and practical learning) and showing us around, I decided that a career change was something to consider.  
We visited a similar school in New Zealand and on comparing the two, I decided that the Professional Course at the Chippendale School was the one for me as it also included all of the timber for the duration of the course in the tuition cost, and let’s face it, Scotland is also amazing and stunningly beautiful. 

Studying at Chippendale

I was lucky to have a great tutor (shout out to Graham) who has an amazing amount of knowledge. The rest of the team were also fantastic, each bringing different knowledge including modern techniques and technology to compliment the traditional ones.  

The biggest highlight was coming to the realisation that I now had the confidence and knowledge to build just about any piece of furniture I could design. 

I feel extraordinarily privileged to have been able to take a year off working and spend it with a great bunch of like-minded people, learning fantastic new skills. For that I have to thank my amazing wife Rebecca who has supported and encouraged me through this amazing journey.

Breaking into the woodworking industry

We are now fortunate to call Scotland home and have just relocated to the Scottish Borders. Here, I now working closely with a Scottish Borders company to expand on their already successful range of furniture, exciting times ahead. 
My company, Yarrawood Furniture has the motto, “delivering a quality product every time, for every client – WHERE TRADITION MEETS INNOVATION.” 
Sustainability plays an equally important role in Yarrawood. In a world of disposable products I feel the need to make and contribute to a sustainable furniture future. Wood is a renewable resource you can use to make new furniture, repurpose old furniture or repair damaged furniture rather than throw it away. The trick is to make sure we plant more of the right trees than we use to regrow and create new forests that help sustain nature. 

At Yarrawood we support organisations that are making a difference to rewilding Scotland so that we can heal the damage we have already done and make sure these natural resources are available for future generations.

One of Jason’s pieces in its new home

Each of our client’s needs are different and we create custom designs that suit each request. As a result, each day is different too, and that is what makes being a bespoke furniture maker such an exciting profession. 
Now that we are in the process of moving the business to the Scottish Borders, we hope to become part of the amazing community of incredible, friendly people down here and we look forward to what the future holds.

Thank you to Jason Hicks for his contribution to this blog.

We are now taking applications for our Professional Course in 2022/2023  – find out more information about it here or get in touch.

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