The year 2023 in our carpentry workshop was like a rollercoaster – moments of doubt, occasional fear for the next day, challenges, but also joy from incredible successes and endorphin rushes. However, there were times when we got sawdust in our eyes.
The biggest challenge and success was our leap to Lisbon.
We designed, built, delivered, and installed furniture for 41 hotel rooms – massive structures including double, single, and bunk beds, wardrobes, and other wonders of hotel furnishings, all in 100% plywood construction. Does it sound like no small feat for a workshop of a dozen people? It was, indeed! For this project, we opened a separate dedicated production line and reorganized the entire carpentry operation, as part of the team focused solely on hotel furniture. We made it, closed the project on time, while simultaneously working on other projects. You can see many photos of this amazing place at the link at the end of the article.
The hotel in Lisbon is not just a story of furniture creation but also a road movie. Since Portugal is not an easy destination, after a few initial deliveries with external transport companies, we decided to take matters into our own hands and personally drive to Lisbon with a freshly purchased vehicle for this journey. The final tally was almost two months on the road and four months on-site in Lisbon, which we now know like the back of our hand.
What else happened at Wood Republic?
The wind of change was blowing. Raw materials, energy – the situation was like the stock market – there were moments of a fierce storm. Well, the entire furniture industry got a serious kick. Rising inflation in Poland, a war in Ukraine, an economic slowdown with a simultaneous rise in prices for everything, and changes in the law increasing the costs of doing business – this year was a challenge and really put us all to the test. We witnessed how big brands we collaborated with or simply observed were sinking in unfavourable waters. Fortunately, our little ark is still sailing and that’s what we wish for other cool people from the industry.
However, the most challenging aspect for us was dealing with the unstable market for birch plywood, which is the foundation of our business. At times, it looked like searching for the Holy Grail. The whole year was basically spent finding a reliable partner who would ensure steady supplies of high-quality raw material. We went through several suppliers, spent a lot of time testing the material, some furniture went to waste, and we had to return several pallets of “perfect” plywood because it didn’t meet our quality standards. Inventory shortages and difficulties with suppliers forced us to fight for every sheet. Despite the challenges in accessing raw materials, we were determined to find a good source. And we succeeded!
Here, we tip our hats to our customers who experienced delays in order fulfillment due to the above. Thank you very much for your understanding, patience, and support!
Nevertheless, despite all the difficulties, we end this year with a positive attitude because, in summary, we have reasons to be proud:
- Over the past 12 months, we managed to build around 400 custom-made pieces of furniture.
- In addition, we completed a significant project of built-in furniture for 41 hotel rooms in Lisbon, made furniture for a hostel in Łódź, and a restaurant in Warsaw.
- We are taking on more and more comprehensive projects, not just individual pieces, but furniture for entire interiors. We have learned to listen even more to the needs of our customers, making most projects accepted immediately, without reservations or the need for changes!
- This year brought a record number of returning customers with new orders.
- Our furniture reached many distant and unusual places, such as northern Norway or an island in Croatia.
- We made furniture for several well-known individuals, but we cannot reveal here more 😉
- We have found a trusted supplier who provides the highest quality Latvian plywood.
- Once again, we realised that we have a greater ability to adapt to changing conditions than we thought. We still have the fighting spirit and hold the helm, despite the tsunamis.
We are grateful for our solid team and the trust of our customers, which have strengthened us as we conclude this year.
A big thank you to everyone for the support and collaboration!
We are curious to see where this carpentry adventure will take us in the New Year 🙂
Click on the link to see the amazing interiors of Hotel Independente in Lisbon and its rooms furnished by Wood Republic.