Tim Webber as photographed by Sarah Allen
Tim Webber Design is well on its way to becoming a common household name. This fast expanding business is not only making waves in New Zealand but is stocked in a range of stores in Australia and Hong Kong, with its sights set on America.
Tim’s subjects at school included woodwork and graphics along with an interest in architecture. Making furniture at school triggered his path to then go on to study a Bachelor of Design at Unitech, majoring in 3D object which he graduated in 2010. From there, things happened fairly organically with him working for his dad for six months after graduating, followed by designing his first collection for another six months. Tim’s first collection consisted of six products and once they were ready, he started door knocking at different retail spaces. This is was the beginning of Tim Webber Design.
Now, 4 years on, with a new retail space that has opened recently at BLOC, it was only appropriate to meet this design go getter and have a chat.
Refined and pared back is how I would best describe the sophisticated products of Tim Webber Design, the space perfectly representing his clean aesthetic.
With little knowledge about product design and always interested in learning the road a successful brand has taken to get to where they are, I was lucky enough to have Tim share with me his insight into product design and creating his brand and now I share it with you!
Your journey to where you are now seemed to happen fairly organically for you, when did you decide that product design, specifically furniture, was what you wanted to do?
I’ve always had an interest in design and making things with my hands. After my schooling years where I found a passion for woodwork and graphic drawing, I went on to study a Bachelor of Design and majored in furniture and sculpture where I did a lot of experimenting with various aspects of furniture and product design.
It was about 6 months after I graduated when I decided to step out and really put some effort into creating my own range of furniture. I had the opportunity to set up in the corner of one of my dad’s warehouses and squeezed myself into a little gap to create the tiniest workshop imaginable.
With the use of this small workshop it allowed me to experiment and explore how this first range would come together.
You have collaborated with Eight Paws recently. What was your favourite part about collaborating and how do you think it benefits both parties involved?
Peter from Eight Paws was a great client to work with because he was so open to any concepts I put on the table. Working with someone like this during the design process always makes things simpler as it leaves me freedom to create something unique without restrictions.
The great thing about collaborating with other people on projects is that there’s always something new to learn from it, be it how some other market which I’ve never had experience with works, or exploring new materials and manufacturing processes.
What was the biggest misconception about finding work in your industry?
I think opportunities have definitely got better. I’m not sure that it’s a misconception, but I know for a recent design graduate it can feel tough to get the right design job for you.
However I think work is definitely out there in the design industry, it’s just about looking in the right places and putting yourself out there to people. It may not necessarily be the dream design job straight out of the gate, but every job has skills to learn and resources you can tap into. You only get out what you put in.
After graduation you basically went straight in to creating Tim Webber Design. Many graduates may not know how to go about launching their own brand or where to start. What would your advice be to graduates wanting to go out on their own and find their feet in the creative industry?
Find someone you look up to or is at the place where you would like to be and ask them to grab a coffee. Ask questions about how they started and how they got to where they are. Soak up all that knowledge, then apply it to your own practice.
I can pretty much guarantee that whoever you speak to that has started their own business will say that it takes a lot of effort and determination to make it work, so be prepared to be driven and focused to start your own business.
What is your working process? How do you get your “creative juices” flowing?
I often find inspiration from all around me everyday, but especially by looking closely at how even the most mundane products are constructed and designed can spark new ideas and direction.
I also draw a lot of inspiration from the various manufacturers I use. Just walking around their workshop can jog ideas with the various tools they have lying around and the manufacturing processes available they use.
What are some of the qualities that you look for in a creative when employing?
Focused, intuitive, ready to learn and social.
Tim Webber of Tim Webber Design
All product photography supplied by Tim Webber Design.
Photography and interview by Sarah Allen for Studio Home.