How These Brothers Took Over Their Dad’s Bespoke Furniture Biz
Rogers & Sons is a curious mix of old and new established carpenters, with older workers working alongside younger carpenters, experimenting with modern techniques.
Founded by Roger Yeo in 1988, the company was originally incorporated as JR&P Industries and began as a manufacturer of system furniture.
In 2014, Roger was sadly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and brothers Yeo, Morgan, Lincoln and Ryan, decided to step in to carry on their father’s legacy.
They renamed the company Roger & Sons, in tribute to the late Roger. The brothers also restructured their business model to focus on creating personalized and bespoke furniture.
The company is now led by Morgan, 32, who has a vision to revitalize staud carpentry.
The Singapore University of Management graduate told Vulcan Post that when he first joined the company, there were only four workers in the company. Although they were excellent craftsmen, the company did not have the resources for large machines.
“All we had were skilled workers, so we focused on creating products with better craftsmanship and better design,” Morgan said.
Today, the company has a team of 21 people and an impressive client base, from Google to Facebook to The Warehouse Hotel.
Since then they have also diversified into sustainability, research and development (R&D), education and development of the next generation of carpenters.
Give a new lease for life to abandoned logs
According to Roger & Sons, around 15,000 trees are expected to be felled over the next 15 years, and there is no immediate goal for these unwanted trees.
There are various sawmills around Singapore with huge stocks of abandoned logs, and over 100 are arriving every day.
Stocks are the result of cutting down trees for urban development. However, due to the lack of infrastructure to process logs into usable forms and a preference for importing timber, these logs are simply left to rot.
Thus, as part of the Local Tree Project, Roger & Sons rehabilitates these abandoned logs by transforming them into durable and evolving objects and furniture.
Every part of the tree is used in a conscious effort to minimize waste.
Morgan told Vulcan Post that the Roger & Sons team realized that in carpentry jobs in Singapore there was a “high level of wastage” and it was often “cheaper to throw away. things than to refurbish them ”.
“As a company, we want to be more responsible in our actions and the products we make. So we decided to see what we could do to be more sustainable, ”Morgan said.
Roger & Sons is also set to launch a furniture retail line next year. Morgan said the focus of the retail line will be The Local Tree Project, and furniture will be created from local trees as much as possible.
According to Morgan, Roger & Sons’ new line of furniture will not be “mainstream”. Instead, they plan to run “small batches” of each item.
“The idea is that we hope the furniture will last for generations,” Morgan said.
However, sustainability comes with its challenges, especially in Singapore, where convenience is of great importance.
Morgan said that due to the company’s commitment to sustainability, slightly higher prices are inevitable. Thus, education is extremely important to help their customers understand that sustainable options are factored into the cost price of products.
Educate the public about crafts
For the past two years, Rogers & Sons has been organizing workshops to educate and educate the public about woodwork and carpentry.
In addition to corporate workshops and those aimed at the general public, Morgan shared that Rogers & Sons also runs workshops for students.
To give back to the community, Roger & Sons also organized discussions and workshops with voluntary organizations such as SG Enable and St Andrew’s Autism School.
R&D is another way Morgan highlighted for the company to move forward. Much effort is put into R&D and research on local wood, in order to find methods to make it stronger and more durable.
The company is also in talks to create its own durable adhesive and wood finishes.
Roger & Sons recently received funding from the DesignSingapore Council’s Good Design Research initiative, which will be used to conduct further research into local wood.
Relaunch traditional carpentry
Carpentry is widely seen as a declining industry in Singapore.
To add, Morgan said there will likely be a shortage of skilled carpenters and handymen in the near future, as many of them are seniors preparing for retirement.
Thus, Morgan made it his mission to prepare the next generation of craftsmen and carpenters.
The team hopes to gain certification for their courses on SkillsFuture and expand their courses to polytechnics and universities.
Eventually, they hope to open their own carpentry school and extend woodworking skills to anyone interested.
In a way, Morgan understands the experience of being a young craftsman in the industry. When he started six years ago, it was difficult for him to earn the respect of other staff.
“I had to break through many obstacles to gain their trust and respect,” he said.
“However, I don’t see it as a challenge. It was more of a journey to learn and grow on my own, something like a rite of passage.
Featured Image Credit: Roger & Sons
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