Three Brothers Share How Their Woodworking Business Survived COVID-19

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In part one of this interview, published in our August issue, Morgan, Lincoln and Ryan Yeo of Roger&Sons spoke about continuing their father’s woodworking trade after his passing and making the business more sustainable and responsible by using trees felled for urban development. Below, the trio share more about their inclusive woodworking workshops and being conscious consumers, as well as tips for surviving as a business during COVID-19.

squarerooms roger and sons woodworking brothers workshop singapore local sustainable family business lincoln

Lincoln Yeo

Your business seeks to minimise waste and is also very community-oriented. Do you have tips for consumers who would like to be more ethical and eco-conscious?

For consumers, it is key to understand the material and the manufacturing process. There’s a ton of materials available in the market and the word “sustainability” is loosely used. Being sustainable and eco-conscious requires research and knowing how the materials are processed and sourced. The manufacturing process is key as well. Consumers must also pay particular attention to the finishes of the furniture pieces. Most finishes such as lacquer contain high VOCs which are harmful to the environment.

It’s great that you host inclusive workshops which suit a variety of ages, skill levels and physical abilities. What are some ways you’ve seen these workshops help people?

To us, it’s all about educating and exposure to the craft. We want to share our love and passion for wood through what we do on the daily—woodworking.  Even though our workshops are normally only one-off and only take a couple of hours, we see sparks of joy in people’s eyes when you see them overcome their fear of using machines and just enjoying the process of making something from scratch.

squarerooms roger and sons woodworking brothers workshop singapore local sustainable family business morgan

Morgan Yeo

This experience is not easily accessible in Singapore, even though it’s the complete opposite in other countries, making it all the more special for individuals who participate in our workshops. At the end of the day, we hope that our workshops provide a place of comfort and an opportunity for individuals to divert their own stresses into learning something new.

During the circuit breaker, many people started picking up hobbies or revisiting crafts they enjoyed. Any advice for those interested in starting a business?

Do more than ample research, come up with plans and be resourceful. It’s important to be prepared for any outcome. COVID-19 has been a huge test for many businesses, and unfortunately we see many SMEs closing their doors during this uncertain time. Our own production facility was closed during the circuit breaker, resulting in a number of projects that have been delayed or cancelled. Our sales dropped tremendously. We spent much of our time doing research in sustainability and woodworking, improving our systems and processes, and just planning for the company’s future.

Now that Phase 2 has resumed, we have taken up productions again and are hopeful that things will slowly pick up. But it’s no easy feat, and we are definitely still facing a challenge even after the circuit breaker has been lifted.

squarerooms roger and sons woodworking brothers workshop singapore local sustainable family business ryan

Ryan Yeo

Read the first part of this interview in the August 2020 issue of SquareRooms.

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