MULTI-AWARD winning furniture business Jah Roc has won yet another award to adorn its mantle-piece, with the unique business taking out the first generation award at last week’s Family Business Awards.
The successful boutique furniture company is now also in the running for the 2003 Australian Family Business of the Year Awards, which will be held in Tasmania in August.
Headed up by old surfing buddies turned business partners, David Paris and Gary Bennett, Jah Roc has carved out a niche in the high-end furniture market and its work has received awards from within both the furniture and art industry.
Despite initially finding it difficult to sell its contemporary style designs, Jah Roc furniture can now be found in homes and businesses around Australia and the world.
After being based in the Old York Flour Mills for the past 10 years, Jah Roc recently opened a second gallery in Margaret River.
The new gallery has done much to raise the business’s profile, with sales doubling in the 12 months to December this year.
Mr Paris said the Margaret River gallery was a bit of a punt as getting into real estate was expensive, however the decision had paid off and strengthened Jah Roc’s position in the marketplace.
“York has been incredible too, but in Margaret River we are entering into a slightly different market,” he said.
About 30 per cent of Jah Roc’s furniture sales in York are to overseas or interstate buyers, whereas in Margaret River overseas and interstate purchases make up around 70 per cent of their sales.
Mr Paris said within Australia, Western Australia had a strong timber furniture industry, however the industry was being squeezed by the Federal Government’s move to reduce timber quotas.
“On the one hand we are a burgeoning [industry] while on the other we are being bludgeoned,” he said.
While Jah Roc has always been committed to using recycled and salvaged timber others view as waste, Mr Paris said that last year the sale price of their end product rose 30 per cent to cover increases in the cost of raw materials.
He said the reduction of WA’s timber quota from 240,000 cubic metres to 130,000 cubic metres would not meet what the industry used now.
Mr Paris said the industry would have to move towards using more timber veneer in furniture design and construction.
“Veneers have been used for hundreds of years, there is nothing wrong with them,” he said.
“We have been a bit spoilt; we have big bits of timber and we have used them.”
Mr Paris said he was currently designing an exhibition with an eastern States designer focusing on using veneer and less timber but still getting the same result and natural feel of solid wood furniture.
p A commemmorative edition celebrating the Family Business Awards will be published on August 7.
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