This local business first came to my attention last year when Bill and I organised a quote for a bookcase in our family room.
We were impressed with both the friendliness and professionalism of Chris and Viv, as well as the lovely bookcase we had built to our specifications after we accepted the quote.
I met up recently with Chris and Viv Bortolotto in their home for Our Patch, where every piece of furniture (see photographs) was made by Kookaburra Woodcraft.
The business is all about custom building furniture, kitchens, robes, doors, stairs, shop fronts and so on. One of the current projects Chris is building is a library for a house. (I was so jealous when he told me this!) ‘That’s where the heart and passion is in…[the business] custom building, I guess, one off pieces,’ said Chris.
Prior to starting up the business, Chris worked for other people building kitchens. He is a qualified joiner, shopfitter and stair-builder and his first job was building wooden model aeroplanes, trains and making parts for Spitfire and Tiger Moth vintage warplanes. ‘This is what got me passionate about…customising and building not the norm,’ said Chris.
‘He’s always said that he’d like to plan the job, do the job…and deliver it to the clients and get that satisfaction of them being happy, I think [it is this that] drives us to do what we are doing really,’ added Viv.
Viv, a qualified hairdresser, currently divides her time between looking after their two children, the administrative paperwork of the business and studying interior design.
One of the challenges of running their own business is the hours the couple needs to put in. In the week I interviewed them, Chris was starting his work day at four o’clock in the morning.
The couple would definitely recommend to anyone considering working for themselves to do it, remembering that, ‘‘It is a lot of hard work, you’ve got to stay focussed and you’ve got to keep organised,’ said Viv. ‘The clients are the most important thing, that’s what makes your business.’
‘You’ve really got to believe in yourself,’ said Chris, ’Because if you have doubt, before you know it you will get nowhere, you’ve got to believe in yourself and work hard and always move forward.’
‘You’ve also got to be cautious, in some ways, not to over-commit yourself,’ added Viv.
Kookaburra Woodcraft was established in 2005 and offers a range that can be anything from modern contemporary to heritage styles.
Chris and Viv can be contacted on (03) 5439 4320, or mobile 0407 521 209.