Handcrafted furniture with a contemporary aesthetic from Louw Roets’s Epping workshop
A passion for traditional craftsmanship combined with his studies in industrial design has resulted in Louw Roets’s strong contemporary range of wood and steel furniture. Louw tells us about his manufacturing workshop and studio in Epping.
How did your business start?
I came back from working in England in 2006 and wanted to purchase a bed. I could only find cheap pine beds of poor quality and a total disregard for good aesthetics. I bought wood, some cheap tools and built myself a massive queen size bed in my bachelor apartment on Adderley. In the process I totally destroyed my landlord’s dining table which was my “workbench”. I started acquiring the necessary woodwork equipment over a period of eight to nine years while working in other businesses. The woodwork business became something I did on the side. In 2012, I sold a piece of land that I’d bought when I was younger, to pay for my studies at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). During my third year as an industrial design student I officially started my own furniture design and manufacturing business.
Why did you choose Epping for your business?
I can reach most of my suppliers within 10 minutes’ drive, and being very close to the N1, N2 and N7 makes delivering and receiving goods very efficient. Langa train station is two minutes’ walk, so it’s easy for my workers to get here.
How did you find your premises?
I frequently searched on Gumtree and OLX as well as contacting every possible real estate agent in the Cape Town area.
Why are the premises ideally suited to your business?
It’s affordable and large enough for me to take on bigger projects while the two roller shutter doors make loading easier for larger pieces. Because I do my own product photography, ambient light, the floor and wall construction was very important. Three-phase electricity with enough amperage also played a major role. There’s a small office where I can design, do admin and discuss projects with clients.
Who are your neighbours?
Mostly manufacturers: Felix’s mattresses, NC Glass and Aluminium, Kaskazi Kayaks and Muller’s Autobody repair shop.
What are the rental prices like in this area?
They vary from R35 to R55 per square metre excluding VAT depending on your needs and condition of the building.
How many people go through your store each day?
I receive about four to five clients per month at my premises, the others I meet at their premises or on site.
Do you have any expansion plans?
I’m planning on doubling the size of my premises, employing more admin and skilled staff to manage the manufacturing side, and investing in new machinery to keep up with demand. This will allow me to tap into new markets and incorporate other design fields such as architecture into my business.
Do you operate online as well?
My website has an online shop.
What’s your most popular item?
The Hombre chair which comprises a sturdy steel frame, solid wooden legs, back rest and seat which can also be upholstered.
See for yourself:
071 912 8004
Words: Kit Heathcock | Images: Supplied