Chatting with Colin Baxter
Metier Rendezvous were super lucky enough to have Colin and Suzanne Baxter (Owners of Creo Cabinet Makers) join us at our last Brunch event in March at the beautiful Aubaine Mayfair.
Creo Cabinet Makers produce high-end bespoke furniture and cabinetry. They have an industry established reputation for designing and building quality cabinetry for a diverse range of clients all over the world!
Here they fill us in on their inspiration for joining the industry, the biggest challenges they face within their business and give us tips for Interior Designers on joinery design!
Who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing now?
Colin and I purchased the business around 8 years ago – we were not cabinet makers before this! The previous owner ran the business for 25 years. Colin’s background was in the oil and gas industry (25 years experience) in the UK as well as overseas. We had always aspired to run our own business – to have the responsibility and accountability.
What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?
To literally break things down into small boxes. Or cabinets even! Every day we learn something new!
How do you structure your time over a typical day?
Colin and I begin each day by both preparing our to-do lists for the day. We then have a workshop meeting with all the staff and organise our plan for the day as a team. It’s then all action for the rest of the day! We end each day with an ‘end of day review’ to be sure we all know at what stage we’re at with our projects.
What is the biggest challenge you face within your own business?
Employing skilled cabinet makers ! Unfortunately there seems to be a huge shortage of skilled workers in the industry.
What software or business tools do you find indispensable for accomplishing your day to day work?
Colin and I find our Apple products indispensable! We both have iPhones and Colin couldn’t live without his Macbook pro! Our Apple products are integral in our day to day work – as an excellent form of communication as well as file sharing.
We also both try to use the principles of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People“ by Stephen R. Covey to help us in our day to day work. It’s a great framework for personal effectiveness. We also religiously document everything in our Franklin Planners each day. It may seem a bit old school now that everything is digital but we find this a really useful tool – and we enjoy the motivational quotes each day too!
If you could step inside a Designers’ mind and provide Your Top 3 Tips when it comes to joinery design, what might they be?
- Communication! Make sure you know what the client wants – and more importantly what the client does not want!
- Be sure that you are clear about the purpose of the cabinetry. Is it fit for it’s purpose – or is it just aesthetic?
- Clearly define:
- your budget/value engineer or not?
- finishes and whether they are achievable within the clients budget.
From your experience, what do you find are Interior Designers’ biggest stumbling blocks or most common mistakes with regards to joinery design?
Lack of communication with the Cabinetry supplier and assuming that the Cabinetry supplier will be able to deliver at short notice. Lack of detailed planning and then having to move deadlines which has a negative knock on effect to scheduling. Ideally there should be clear, consistent communications from the start about manufacturing lead times and installation bookings.
What do you want your business legacy to be? How would you like to be remembered for your impact in the design industry?
We really enjoy the development of apprentices into Cabinet Makers. We feel its important, in order to create strong foundation for the future of the industry!
What’s the best advice you ever received?
Keep at it – if at first you do not succeed try again! and again!
Would you have done anything differently if you knew 10 years ago, what you know now?
That’s a tricky one – possibly taken on more apprentices !!!
What are you looking forward to most in 2018?
Developing new relationships, building team and working towards further success.
Do you ever struggle with joinery design or other supplier issues?
Metier Rendezvous is a support network for Interior Designers! We provide day-to-day pro-active peer support for all our members.
Collectively, we share business ideas, tips and collaborate on projects together.
Are you interested in becoming part of our friendly community of Interior Designers?