After growing up with a dad who made her furniture and later living in New York, where the shopping is (let’s be honest) a lot better than in Australia, Rebecca Tyndall finally came to start her own wall-hung furniture business after having her first child.
“The first item I designed was the Baby Bunting, which is still one of Willow and Wood’s most popular pieces. It’s a really beautiful piece of furniture for a nursery and there just wasn’t anything available to buy here in Australia that was similar. I spent nearly three years living in New York when I was younger and of course they have everything you could possibly want over there. I had serious shopping envy so I thought I would just make it myself.”
That’s when she called on her dad, Russell, a builder, and now co-director of the business. He makes all the prototypes by hand in Sydney and most pieces are then manufactured overseas. “After I had designed a few pieces, everyone seemed to love them so much that in a moment of extreme confidence (because who would just start an online furniture company with no experience?) my Dad and I started Willow and Wood. Not that it happened overnight; in fact, it took about nine months to tweak the designs and get the company and website up and running. We launched with just six products.”
The Bookworm Bookrack is the most popular product by far. “I designed it because we live in a small house but with heaps of wall space because the ceilings are so high. My boys just devour books and even with bookshelves everywhere we needed something more practical that would show off the artwork on the book covers. The artwork on kid’s books is so amazing and why wouldn’t you want to display them all the time? It attracts little ones to the books and because they are easy to access, more books are read. And you can never have too much storage.” Amen to that!
Rebecca says she is her own customer which is great because she knows her well! “Pretty much everything that we design has been in my house at one time or another. It’s because I design what I need and that’s what we sell. Women are the biggest deciders on decor in the home but they don’t just want things to look good. We want things that are also practical and that make our lives easier. And in my world, storage is king.”
Rebecca and Russell recently decided to open a bricks and mortar store in Sydney’s Willoughby, so customers could see the products for themselves. And Rebecca believes what they offer is really unique.
“Most furniture stores have some items of shelving but we are unique in that most of what we sell is wall mounted. We do this to create more floor space in a home. We also like to decorate walls with our products. The Cloud Shelf and the Alps Shelf are cute pieces to decorate kid’s rooms with. You’re killing two birds with one shelf, so to speak.”
They have just branched out into hallway storage with their Cloak Room Series, which is a take on the traditional American mud room and they’ll soon be adding the increasingly popular barn doors to their product line.
“Willow and Wood wouldn’t exist without my dad, Russell. Most weeks, he gets handed a design that has been scribbled on a scrap of paper by me and magically, it appears in the shop a few days later.”
Visit Willow and Wood online or at 553 Willoughby Road, Willoughby, NSW 2068.