At McKenzie & Willis we have long been passionate supporters of NZ brands and NZ Made products. Which is why we are bringing you our “Meet the NZ Designers and Makers” blog series! In this series we delve into the stories of some of our much-loved NZ brands so you can get to know the people behind these incredible companies.
This week we caught up with Fraser who filled us in on the story of the Southern Creations brand.
Tell us a bit about the story behind Southern Creations. How was it started?
Southern Creations was started by Phil Brown 20 years ago when he built the existing workshop. Handcrafted oak furniture with French polish finish was the mainstay of the workshop in those days. To this day Phil still comes in from time to time to help with production! After the 2011 Earthquakes, Southern Creations merged with Davies Furniture after the Blenheim Road workshop was “red stickered”. The team from Davies Furniture doubled the size of the workshop overnight and with a company that had been supplying the highest quality furniture in New Zealand since 1961, the amalgamation was a great fit.
How do Southern Creations designs begin their life? What is the creative process?
Designs usually begin in the minds of our customers and through a combined effort a concept is drawn up. With trust in our skilled craftsmen and quality material, the end product usually exceeds expectation.
Can you elaborate on the custom made process?
All our furniture is made one by one and so custom design is really no different to standard items as we do not produce stock along a repetitive production line.
How are they are made? What techniques and materials are used?
Most of our furniture is made from American White Oak, of which we have personally selected the best timber yard in Pennsylvania USA for the quality of the timber and the sustainability of its forests. We still use plenty of other high quality timbers such as Black Walnut, Mahogany, American Ash, Maple, European Oak and also native timbers such as Matai, Swamp Kauri, Totara, Rimu. We make each piece of furniture by hand from the raw timber planks and sometimes from the milled slabs.
Do you have a favourite piece from your range?
My favourite piece in the NZ Made Expo is a Hall Table in the Classic Kauri Range which has been made in Totara. The traditional form of the hall table and the magnificence of the timber is timeless our Classic Kauri Range has items for every room.
What emerging styles/trends in furniture should we be on the lookout for?
There is a growing trend toward solid well-made furniture away from the regurgitated IKEA style pieces. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of materials and production methods and are wary of cheaply made imported products from companies that are stripping forests, paying only third world wages and providing third world employment conditions. Natural timber features whether it’s our soft touch natural finish or our hand planed / aged pieces bring warmth and character to any home.
That concludes our interview with Fraser from Southern Creations. Did you know, that right now and until the 19th of August 2018 we’ve taken 20% off selected NZ made furniture brands and selected NZ brand upholstery fabrics + some incredible deals on NZ made beds!
We are also hosting some of the top designers from our NZ Made brands in the McKenzie & Willis Christchurch showroom during the NZ Made Expo. Come in store for your personal consultation between 12 and 4pm on the weekends of the 11th/12th and 18th/19th of August 2018.
Click here to find out more and to see a full schedule.