Melbourne’s Ingrain Designs are committed to the craft of handmade timber furniture. With sustainability at the core of what they do - their crew of woodworkers handcraft bespoke pieces using 100 per cent recycled or reclaimed timbers.
Ingrain’s timber is salvaged, so every piece of furniture they create tells a story. We caught up with founder Ben to hear the story behind building the business.
Ben, tell us about your business — how did it start?
I’m from three generations of carpenters and joiners, and grew up working with timber and on building sites. I went against the grain and became an electrician, but I wanted to get back into woodworking. I started out making custom furniture commercially for cafes and restaurants in Melbourne. I then took a punt and got my own workshop so I could have the space to make more furniture for the home — and the business pretty much grew from there.
Tell us about your products…
All our furniture is handmade using 100 per cent recycled or reclaimed timber. Our timber is salvaged from demolished buildings or warehouses, to old wharves or railway bridges, and we even use a stock called Hydrowood which is dredged from the bottom of Lake Pieman in Tasmania.
In a world where flatpack has become pretty popular, are we seeing a shift back to people wanting bespoke and well crafted furniture?
We’re finding people are increasingly making more conscious buying decisions and wanting to know where their products are coming from. By choosing custom made over flatpack, there’s less furniture going to landfill. Plus, you’re supporting smaller makers in the process, and you’ll have a piece that will last a lifetime. The beauty of custom recycled timber furniture is that it tells a story and becomes a talking point in the home.
Where do you produce your products?
All our furniture is Melbourne made by our crew of makers, with our workshop based in Preston and our showroom in Collingwood.
What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced as the business has grown?
As your business grows, naturally I find myself less “on the tools” and I miss that, but I feel lucky to have a legendary crew behind me, who share the same principles and work ethics. I appreciate more than ever when I am in the workshop and I get to work on something new with the team.
Have you noticed an increase in the number of people paying by card?
Definitely, I’d say 99.9% of our customers pay by card, whether that’s online or in-store
How do you handle getting paid?
We send customers an invoice via Square which offers credit card payment options or they can pay in-store using our point-of-sale.
Square enables us to combine point-of-sale with the invoicing system, and we can easily set-up reminders that go out to our customers. By combining reminder emails with the credit card facility, this allows customers multiple options to pay online (or in person) in a safe and secure way, rather than over the phone.
It streamlines follow-up for payment and self-reconciles with Xero for accounting services. Since we started using Square, it’s become our sole payment option and we no longer need to chase customers or wait for payments.
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