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Stim Craftsmanship: Rejuvenating old timbers into new items

Based out of the Hawke’s Bay, husband-and-wife duo Paul and Sharron Freeman jointly run Stim Craftsmanship, a woodworking business that uses old wine barrels and recycled native timbers to supply customers with repurposed goods like chairs, tables, and bottle openers.

Repurposing and recycling is of primary concern to the Freemans, who ensure that nothing is thrown away. Co-owner Paul Freeman estimates that roughly 95-98% of each barrel is used for making products, with scraps and sawdust finding local repurposing as carbon neutral biofuel, compost, and more.

The Freemans want to be true to themselves, opting to do things in a way that might seem difficult, but is actually easier than it looks.

“It’s about being true to who we are personally, embracing what’s around us as opposed to going for what might initially seem like a cheap, easy option. We’ve chosen to do things in what might look like a hard way, but it turns out to be easier in the end.”

Making the most of resources

In the last financial year, the Freemans have utilised around 150 wine barrels, producing a variety of things including small products like wall mounted bottle openers, as well as larger items like leaners and stools. Freeman adds that: “pretty much anything you can make out of a wine barrel, we’ll make it.”

While he doesn’t have a concrete understanding of Stim Craftsmanship’s point of difference, Freeman believes that customers enjoy the level of detail that goes into his products, as many are searching for special items to have in their homes.

Concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, thankfully for the Freemans, it had no effect. Stim Craftsmanship was able to keep going throughout the lockdowns, working alongside suppliers while the country was shut down.

Why Stim Craftsmanship is NZ made

Freeman explains that by being New Zealand made, Stim Craftsmanship have the ability to properly reach out to suppliers and clients, working through elements like designs.

“By being New Zealand made, using New Zealand made products, and doing what we do, we can talk to our suppliers. Our clients can pick up the phone and talk to us, and they can meet us and we can go through a design process…”

It also helped during the pandemic, when a lot of people were happy to buy NZ made products to show support for local businesses.

Freeman makes it clear that he actively loves and cherishes his job, as well as the products he crafts for others.

“I have never got up and gone: I don’t want to go to work today. I love my job. I love what we do. I love the beautiful things that we create.”