From handcrafted pieces to large scale production, a successful career in furniture making needs dedication to quality craftsmanship

Alex Rau - Persistence pays off

Alex Rau

Blame a broken guitar for getting Alex Rau where he is today. To be precise it was a visit Alex paid to a craftsman to fix the guitar that first inspired him to get into working with wood. ‘I walked into this workshop and saw all his tools and all these handcrafted instruments and I thought that’s what I want to do with my life.’

Freshly motivated, Alex took up furniture making at school and fell in love with it. He was good at it too. Three years on, and only a few months away from being qualified, Alex recently won the Competenz Furniture Apprentice of the Year award for 2013.

Alex got his first break with a company manufacturing kitchen cabinetry. While Alex learned a lot during the year, his real passion – working with wood – was not being satisfied. That’s when Alex heard about Molloy Furniture, a company with a great reputation for handcrafted furniture and a team of master craftsmen. ‘I called every week for nine months,’ says Alex proudly.  

Persistence paid off. When Molloy’s decided to take on an apprentice, they knew exactly who to call.  ‘I know a lot of people would like an apprenticeship here. Just knowing you’re coming to a place where you’re going to be taught by the cream of the crop.’

The high-calibre team at Molloy’s has been a real inspiration to Alex, particularly his manager, Chris Bateman, who represented New Zealand internationally in cabinetry competitions. Funnily enough, Alex works alongside Ben Subritzki, another former recipient of the Furniture Apprentice of the Year award.

‘I wouldn’t mind doing some management papers – to get some more skills on my CV or in years to come when I start my own business.’ But for now, Alex seems pretty keen to stay just where he is.