When only bespoke quality will do, Rathkey's crafstmanship and service may be the right choice for you.
ONLY BESPOKE WILL DO
Vale Life spoke to owner Paul Rathkey to find out why customers choose him and what it is that makes Rathkey's service so special.
Paul, what's your role in Rathkey's?
I manage and organise a team of staff and ensure the safe and creative crafting of bespoke furniture to the client's requirement. I meet clients at their homes or premises and discuss in detail what their options are and put forward ideas.
Where did you train?
Rycotewood College, where I gained a diploma in Furniture & Design. The owner, of course, is Viscount Linley, the Queen's nephew, and I worked there for the next ten years making fine bespoke furniture for some very rich and famous people. The furniture manufactured was fine inlay work and precise cabinet making!
Describe your typical day
From the moment I arrive in work, at 8am most days, I begin by answering phonecalls and meet with the team to ensure they all have enough work to keep themselves busy through the day.
I also have to make sure that all orders for materials are placed in plenty of time so that we have the correct stock and materials to complete the jobs we have. In between all of this I visit clients to discuss projects and, back on site, answer any enquiries and liaise with the team regarding any technical issues that may arise.
Do you see any trends developing?
Recently, the call for contemporary furniture as opposed to traditional furniture has been in higher demand, working with more oak and walnut furniture. A large proportion of our work is for bespoke kitchens in natural timber or hand-painted finishes.
Do you enjoy your job?
I am passionate about wood and making bespoke furniture. I get a sense of immense satisfaction when we create beautiful products. I love the feel of the timber when the furniture is completed and enjoy seeing the faces of satisfied customers, many of whom have become firm friends.
Who inspires you?
My wife - she is my driving passion and supports me the most. What
was your proudest moment?
After the birth of my two beautiful children, Oliver and Lucy, it was making furniture for David Linley as the level of workmanship that had to be achieved was absolute perfection.
How do you get most of your work?
We are pleased to say that we have had regular work and are very lucky that clients have highly recommended us to new potential customers, even allowing us to show clients their houses and the quality of work we produce.
What do you do when you're not creating beautiful furniture?
We enjoy eating out and if we're shopping on a Saturday afternoon in Cowbridge we'll often pop into Bar 44 to relax with a refreshing drink and tapas food. I like to keep fit and enjoy running, swimming and cycling.
What are your future plans?
To continue to give an excellent service to our clients.