I never would have imagined that I would land up in business or manufacturing, yet here I am. My journey here has been unexpected, filled with challenges, and ultimately rewarding. Let me share with you how I stumbled into the world of dowels and why it has become not only work, but a keen interest.

Wall Art 2 WA Profile
Dowel Wall Art with Lights

The Beginning

In 2017 Pretoria Dowel Manufacturers decided to sell and after relocating the machinery and stock from Waltloo, Pretoria, to Chamdor, Krugersdorp, I started my dowel journey.  I have always admired the craftsmanship that goes into wood and the beauty of timber, and soon, these wooden sticks, used in a myriad of applications, started to fascinate me with their simplicity yet versatility.

I have always been passionate about art and design, and both my then-husband and brother were involved with timber, one in bespoke furniture design and manufacture, and the other in the manufacture of laminated beams, mouldings, shelving, windows and doors.

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Signage Installation

Learning the Ropes

Starting a business was daunting enough, without adding machinery and a living product. Fortunately, I have two sons, Tyron and Kyle, to learn with me, and to teach me, as we delve into researching wood species, manufacturing techniques, and market demands.  While Kyle is managing dowel operations, Tyron has branched into cross-laminating timber.

I also sought guidance from seasoned woodworkers, machinists and the like, and slowly but steadily I gained confidence and the expertise to produce high-quality dowels that meet industry standards.

Timber Log
Timber Log

Overcoming Challenges

Like any entrepreneurial venture, my journey was not without its hurdles. Sourcing the right timber sustainably, optimizing production processes, and ensuring consistent quality are ongoing challenges.

And then there are the tests that come from being a woman among men, who often legitimately know better what I am making, and understand the material and manufacturing processes and machines better than I do.  Yet I must bear forward, each obstacle is a lesson learnt, pushing us to innovate and to refine our approach.

Building Relationships

One of the most fulfilling aspects of this journey has been connecting with fellow artisans, craftsmen, and businesses in the timber community. Collaborations and partnerships have not only expanded my reach but have also enriched my understanding of the industry.

Staff 3
Our Team

The Reward

Today, as I reflect on my journey into dowel manufacturing, I am proud of how far we have come. What started with hesitant steps, has blossomed into a thriving business. Providing high-quality dowels to artists, designers, artisans, fabricators, joiners, carpenters, cabinetmakers, and other customers who share my passion for woodworking is incredibly fulfilling.

Dowel Shelf
Packing Shelves

Looking Ahead

As I look to the future, I envision further growth and innovation. Expanding product lines, stimulating creativity, exploring eco-friendly practices, and embracing new technologies are all part of my vision for the business. My journey into dowel manufacturing has taught me that with determination and a love for what you do, anything is possible.  Who knows?  Maybe soon we will introduce robots.

Conclusion

In conclusion, my unexpected venture into dowel manufacturing has been a testament to the unexpected twists and turns of life.  What began as a mere possibility has evolved into a flourishing business, driven by a deep appreciation for timber, and craftsmanship. If there’s one lesson I’ve learned from this journey, it’s to always look for to new opportunities—because you never know where they might lead you. And always expect to be overcome by joy.

Sustainabuild Ash Handrail 4
Sustainabuild Ash Handrail

Are you interested in woodworking or perhaps starting a business of your own? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

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