Why I Work In… is a monthly feature, sponsored by Huddersfield-based Scriba PR, where we ask people about their jobs and the industry they work in. This month is Steve McMann who is the owner of bespoke furniture and homeware handcrafting business, The Man Who Makes, in Slaithwaite. We put our questions to him.
Tell us a little bit about The Man Who Makes
Well, the man is me and I like to make!
I launched the business in September this year after growing what was once just a sideline hobby into an enterprise that has allowed me to leave the corporate world behind. Based in my cosy garage in the hills above the beautiful village of Slaithwaite, I handcraft anything from photo frames and easels to dining tables and bars, using locally sourced and reclaimed materials where possible. But I don’t just make – I’m also a dab hand at mending!
What’s your role – how would you describe your job to an alien?
I essentially bring people’s ideas to life, turning Pinterest boards and mental mosaics into real pieces for them to enjoy in their homes and workplaces.
I also mend the same kind of things that I make, giving products a new lease of life through restoration, or even taking a step further by repurposing them altogether. I like to think of it as tackling the jobs that homeowners never get round to starting.
How long have you worked in this sector?
Not very long – my last 16 years have been based in commercial glazing!
Making furniture has been more of a hobby for a while, but it’s something I’ve always dreamed of – even as a young child. Granted, my interests were in Lego construction rather than furniture, but building and being creative has always been a passion of mine. Hopefully it’s now a long-lasting career.
What skills make someone ‘good’ at furniture crafting?
The role definitely requires high attention to detail and a strong set of communication skills, so you can make sure you nail your client’s brief.
But I think the most important thing is just to have a keen eye for design, be creative, and don’t be afraid to let your imagination run wild!
What’s your advice for people looking to get into furniture crafting?
Try it out as a hobby and go from there. It’s the kind of job you have to be really passionate about.
And it definitely takes time to hone your expertise and skills – so don’t give up too early and never stop learning.
If you could describe your job in only three words, which would you choose?
Find, design, create.
What do you love most about your job?
I love the ability to craft something from scratch and decide every little detail that goes into a piece.
I also think it’s so rewarding to see a customer’s final reaction when you bring their ideas to life – it’s a really special moment.
What word would your colleagues and clients use to describe you?
As the only member of my one-man band, I don’t have any colleagues – but I’m hoping my new clients will say that I’m patient, relaxed, and considerate.
I just want clients to be happy with my service and feel like they can trust my expertise.
Where do you hope your career may take you?
Out of my garage and into my own workshop, to put it simply.
I’m currently operating from my home in Slaithwaite, but it would be great to expand and get my own little base somewhere else. Although I love my garage workspace, it’s always good to separate ‘work’ from ‘home’ – but I definitely want to stay local.
I just want the passion to keep on growing, especially now that I’m finally doing something that I really love on a full-time basis.
If someone is reading this and thinks, “I have a passion that I really want to pursue, but I’m not sure how to go about it”, what should they do?
It’s easy to say, ‘just do it’, but sometimes that’s the way to go. What’s the worst that can happen?
I know someone who started a business on the flip of a coin!