Learn Business

a student at one of our woodworking classes at Rowden Atelier

The Business of Woodwork

For many students, Rowden is at the beginning of a change in direction. Many students join with little to no experience in furniture making or running a business in a specialised creative field. The Rowden business syllabus is a vital cornerstone of our Twelve Month course. It provides an education not just in the generalities of sound business management but the critical specifics of the business of professional furniture making and design. This syllabus reveals the practices and methods that will give our students the best chance of success after leaving and seek to understand how each individual’s unique and seemingly unrelated experience will contribute to their efforts as a professional woodworker.

Syllabus Overview

In these sessions, we look, in detail, at the practical aspects of setting up as a successful cabinetmaker. The knowledge and discussion here are of significant value, applying whether students intend to set up on their own or seek employment after leaving. We examine project management, marketing, brand development, pricing, workshop efficiencies, a wealth of insight moving our students forward beyond Rowden.

General business management insight is easy to come by, but as is true of everything we do at Rowden, what we provide is specialist. Jonathan Walter teaches the business syllabus, a successful furniture maker running Bark Furniture in nearby Bude and new sideline Mallo Surfboards. Jonathan’s previous life was as an accounting VP with major investment bank Goldman Sachs. Realising he was on a path that he did not want to go down, he retrained and now lives and works a very different life as a successful furniture designer/maker.

A tutor at Rowden instructing a student on a woodworking course for beginners
student notes on a furniture building course at Rowden Atelier

Our students learn to conceive and create outstanding furniture and we push each to achieve their own potential in a year at Rowden. It is too often the case though, that what happens next is not given due attention. A year is over quickly and too many newly trained woodworker go into the world with little practical consideration as to their next actions on leaving.  

Rowden students invariably want to go beyond designing and creating precise furniture; they want to make it as professional woodworkers. It Rich with crucial information; this syllabus is a cornerstone of what we offer at Rowden. We incorporate 1:1 sessions to discuss individual specifics and ideals in detail, the path forward realised, and a roadmap on how to get there. Knowing what works and what doesn’t, beyond the safety of a fine woodworking school, is vital. Clarifying each individual’s intentions and rigorously working towards them is necessary if there is to be any chance at success as a furniture designer/maker.

Rowden student checking box components in the workshop