If you had to describe your biz in one sentence for someone who’s completely new to it, what would you say?
We are a husband and wife duo creating our dream lifestyle, whilst designing and building custom timber furniture.
A book shelf AND bed in one... who woulda' thunk it?! Shop their custom designs here.
Check out the behind the scenes reels of this shoot @al_and_imo_handmade did for their newest Sage x Clare goodies HERE.
Your brand came to life after you built a bed for your own home and you loved the process + outcome so much that you decided to make a career out of it. Was it a hard decision to leave your jobs and the security they provided? What advice would you offer to anyone wanting to turn their passion into a profession? What gave you the confidence to take the leap?
We started designing and building furniture in 2016 on the weekends. The confidence to move full time came once we knew the demand for our product was clearly there. In 2017 Al officially quit working as a carpenter to focus solely on Al and Imo, then I joined full-time in 2020. It’s pretty exciting when you start pulling a ‘proper’ wage from your business!
We have a slow-growth mindset and are happy for our business to expand organically over time. Al loves building and I love designing, so turning into a huge operation that takes us away from those positions isn’t in the pipeline!
Our mantra from the beginning has been ‘above all choose lifestyle’ Because what’s the point of building a business together if we can’t enjoy it?
Our advice for anyone dreaming to turn their passion into a profession is to ask yourself these two questions -
- What will my day-to-day look like if I turned my passion into my profession?
- Can it be profitable enough to support the lifestyle I want?
If you’re happy with the answers then we say bloody go for it!
Can you tell us more about your pieces... What does the range extend to? What’s the process for a customer from start to finish and how do you work with them to achieve the outcome? Which is your most popular design and why?
We do customisations when the project excites us and feels like the right fit. All of our furniture is handmade to order by Al. We firmly believe in only making what is needed which is why you won’t find our pieces in shops. One thing we love about our customers is that they are dedicated to sustainable living just like us.
The sweeeetest corner in Goldie's nursery.
And this is where the *maaaagic* happens! The Al + Imo workshop.
We spy Sage x Clare featured in Goldie's nursery: Hayfolk Linen Cot Sheet... sahhh dreamy!
We worked on a bed and desk custom design together, which I am IN LOVE with (featured below) and enjoy using each and every day. Have you collaborated with many others on custom furniture? Do you have a favourite project and why?
Your bed + desk combo is the ultimate working from home setup and we LOVED designing and building these pieces for you - It’s definitely up there as one of our favourites! We also recently completed a drawer bed with extended headboard and floating side tables for a client in Sydney. This was a great project as the design was left completely up to us. We love the finished product so much that we’ll be making this bed for ourselves in our new house!
This custom-made bed + bookshelf + desk is my pride and joy! Chris uses the desk when WFH and luuurves it! Such a great use of space & a unique design I'll have FOREVERRRR!
They say don’t mix business with pleasure (or rather, family) but I beg to differ on this notion. Having employed both my Dad and twin sister at Sage x Clare, I think it can totally work + bring you even closer. Can you share your favourite parts about working together and how you found your groove?
We’ve recently realised the incredible freedom and flexibility that comes with running your own business with the arrival of our first baby; Marigold. We’re in a really fortunate position that we both work from home which has made the transition into parenthood a smooth one. For example... as I write this, Al took the afternoon off to look after Goldie so I could get some work done!
We are both so passionate about our business and over the years has become such a huge part of our identities. We play to our strengths, trust each other completely and make sure to have fun everyday!
The Al + Imo workshop.
6. You share resources on your Insta & website for those wanting to complete DIY projects. How did this idea come to life? What has the response been to this amazing video content and the free content on your website?
We started filming projects and creating DIY plans during lockdown as a way to stay connected to our community and give people things to do. There’s a real sense of achievement and satisfaction when you build something for yourself, so we wanted to share the joy of making with others. Our DIY Surfboard Rack plans have been downloaded over 3k times and has been built in all corners of the world! We also recently designed and built the furniture for Goldie's nursery and created DIY plans for most of the smaller projects.
Your philosophy is ‘good design + good people’. Who taught you the importance of both kindness and sustainability?
Al’s family home is filled with furniture and artwork that has been passed on through generations. We feel there is a great responsibility that comes with manufacturing products, ‘good design’ to us means creating pieces that are built to last a lifetime (or longer).
The ‘good people’ comes from our customers, they are the best! They make conscious decisions to support small businesses and invest in quality over quantity. They invite us into their homes and share their stories.
In turn we hope that by sharing our story so openly it becomes embedded in the furniture we make. We love the idea of someone having friends over in their house and saying “come and look at my bed, it was made by ... these hands”.
Kindness and sustainability are both things we are continuously working on and believe it’s the small decisions you make everyday that create the world you want to live in.
You’ve recently become parents, congrats! Biz aside, tell us who you are outside of your work? What fills your cup and brings you joy?
Our daughter Marigold brings us so much joy! We also welcomed our gorgeous puppy Edwina into our family the same week as Goldie - so our house is bursting at the seams with love at the moment.
Like I mentioned earlier we love making things for ourselves and spend most weekends in the workshop- we’re currently designing our first home so that’s a pretty exciting project!
We love our Saturday morning routine going to the Torquay Farmers Market and try to take daily family walks along the beautiful coast we call home. Al’s a very keen surfer so you’ll find him out there as much as possible. We love to travel and although we can’t go very far at the moment due to Covid we’ve been exploring a lot of Regional Victoria.
Nothing fills our cup more than sitting around a table with friends and family enjoying a delicious meal or laying in bed on a Sunday morning in a big cuddle puddle!
BRB packing my things and moving to a farm the coast.
Gorgeous Goldie girl as happy as Larry... laying on our Hayfolk Cot Sheet.
Another lovely corner of Goldie's nursery - find the DIY tutorial on how to make this floating shelf here.
You can read more about their story + browse their custom-made creations on their website here and I’d highly suggest giving them a follow on their Insta @al_and_imo_handmade for some FAB-u-lous DIY tutorials and happy snaps of their day-to-day adventures.
With love x