My wife Dieuwertje is an artist. Through her I have had my eyes opened to the world of art, architecture and design. When we first met she was working as Chef and I was a waitress. Although I knew she was a creative person, this fact did not really hit home to me until she decided she had had enough of the restaurant business and wanted to retrain. She entered the Fine Furniture program at Camosun College Upon graduation she took a six week intensive artisan course at the Inside Passage School of Woodworking on the Sunshine Coast.
We both took a business course and in 2007 we opened a business called Victoria Wood Studio. She was to be the “creative” side to the business and I was to run the “business” side. Our original idea was “Fine Gates and Passageways” where we designed and built gates, arbours and Pergolas using the beautiful western red cedar available on Vancouver Island. Now we do a combination of custom work both indoors and out and we also sell product such as outdoor furniture, bird houses and laundry racks.
From its inception our business attracted attention probably as much for the uniqueness of our work as the uniqueness of our company. It is very rare to have a design/build business owned and operated by women. It is also rare to see such attention to design and detail in work that is made for the out of doors. In 2009 we were selected as one of 10 businesses to watch by Douglas magazine.
The last few years have seen many changes in both the work we do and our business model. It is very interesting to me how we both have changed our idea of the division of labor. For one thing, Dieuwertje has turned out to have a very good head for the “business” side of our business. She has great intuition in dealing with customers, marketing and pricing and she is unafraid to follow her instincts. In turn, I have unleashed a much more “creative” side of myself. I have always loved words both spoken and written. Observing the creative process Dieuwertje goes through has shown me that I too am a very creative person. In fact I am much happier writing this blog than dealing with customers, marketing or pricing.