With his woodworking workshop Craft Cafe Hamburg, Alex offers custom furniture and carpentry services. In this interview he shared why passion and his customers’ gratitude are so important to him and why he had trouble sleeping at the beginning of his self-employment journey!
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You studied mechanical engineering in Ireland, worked for well-known companies in leading positions and were constantly on the road. Now you’re building wooden terraces, shoe racks and kitchen tables in Hamburg – how did this change of lifestyle come about?
I’ve always enjoyed working, but in the end things got stale. I got fed up with being on the road all the time. On Sunday evenings everyone was sitting in the park, enjoying the sun and I was on my way to the airport. So I quit my job. And then, I accidentally came across a portal where you can offer your skills as a craftsman.
So you got into carpentry purely by chance?
Not really. I’ve always enjoyed tinkering with wood and have always been a handy person. So I took on a few jobs just for the fun of it.
And you liked it so much that you stuck with it?
You could say that, yes. Two things totally surprised me: first of all, how great the need for this type of work is and secondly, how amazing the gratitude felt that I received!
What do you value most in your work?
Besides a professional result, the personal and sometimes even amicable contact with my customers is very important to me. When my client says „we enjoy having Alex here“: That’s the nicest thing my customers can say about me. I want to be the kind of craftsman that customers like to have around and that they can trust.
That’s a nice approach. What has been the biggest challenge for you personally in terms of Craft Cafe Hamburg?
I had the passion, the motivation and also the talent, but I lacked experience. I often lay awake at night thinking about the best way to approach a certain project. At the beginning this really racked my brain, but thanks to colleagues and my own research, I quickly improved.
What did you learn from your journey?
In retrospect, it showed me one thing above all: If you’re really passionate about something, that’s more important than being perfectly skilled. Having a basic talent is helpful of course (laughs), but you shouldn’t be afraid to tackle something new!
What do you love most about your work?
The joy in my clients‘ eyes when I show them the final result. For example, the other day I built a nursery. Nothing incredibly special: but when I saw how happy the parents were and how the child used the furniture – that is what warms my heart.
Looking back, was it the right decision to embark on the adventure of self-employment?
Absolutely. When I finish work in the evening, it’s these little moments of gratitude that make me realize again and again why I enjoy doing this work so much. And that it was the right decision to give my passion a chance.
What great projects Alex has already worked on, he shows you on his website Craft Cafe Hamburg and on Instagram. Take a look!