It was the early 70’s and Ross Triffitt was at a loss.
After selling furniture in Wagga and real estate in Sydney, Ross’ rock and roll moment came as he was on the train home.
“This man came in and we started talking. [The Angels guitarist] John Brewster. They were looking for a roadie and I was looking for a job, so we teamed up,” he recalls.
“It was the hardest job I’ve ever had in my life. I grew up on a farm, so I was used to working hard, but it was incredible – and I had no money.
After eight months of hauling amps in venues around the country, he got fed up with showbiz and returned to Wagga for another crack at the furniture game.
“I sold my car, opened a shop that sold all my beanbag-style furniture, and went into voluntary liquidation after 18 months,” he explains with a wry smile.
“I learned a lot, made contact in Sydney and decided to go back there again.”
A 40-year career has had a rocky start, and according to Ross, his hometown has proven to be a tough place to sell his edgy products.
“It’s always been a difficult market to bring something a little different to market,” he recalls.
Fed up with poor sales and unreliable suppliers, Ross and his new wife Juli decided to take matters into their own hands and manufacture their own furniture.
“I grew up on a farm, so I always had a hands-on mindset, so I quickly learned how it was made and hired experienced people who could do it,” he says. increase.
“But let me add that I have never made furniture in my life. But I don’t go out and make it myself.”
Roth says meeting furniture pioneer Nicholas Datner in Melbourne helped her move from using recycled pine to sustainable Australian hardwood.
“I walked into his showroom one day and was just blown away,” he says.
“Wow, this is amazing.
Working out of Juli’s parents’ Ladysmith owned shack, they began to look to Canberra as their interest in Eclipse Handcrafted Furniture grew.
Ross said the ACT has proven to be a fickle market, as spending fluctuates with election cycles. After his Tony Abbott win in 2013 and a huge drop in sales, they rolled the dice once more and headed to Sydney.
Coping with inner-city overheads and a global pandemic was no easy task, but the Eclipse team was able to hold on and now operate a large showroom in Sydney.
Ross and Juli employ nine artisans, including apprentices, in their Wagga Wagga-based factory, where Ross pursues his love of Australian hardwoods and distinctive timbers.
As we walk through a busy workshop where craftsmen carefully assemble a series of chairs and tables from speckled gum, he explains the ideology of Japanese wabi-sabi. – The art of finding imperfections and the beauty of nature.
“People these days don’t want pristine, perfect wood. They want wood that looks like real wood, and that’s what we do,” he says.
The designs mostly come from Ross’ imagination.
“I was blessed with a creative mind,” he says.
“I dabble in a lot of creative things and furniture design is part of my fun, so I find inspiration everywhere.”
He finds joy in combining his ideas with sustainable, natural tones to provide products that outlast him.
“We only appeal to a very small portion of a particular market because people are educated about factory mass-produced products,” he says.
“But at the same time, many people are obsessed with buying things that last a lifetime.
“It can be tough business, but I can’t imagine retiring. It’s incredibly satisfying.”
For more information, visit the Eclipse Furniture website.
Original article published by Chris Roe in Region Riverina.