Signature Furniture Pieces is owned by Shaun Frith and Alistair Holmes. Alistair had a successful career in finance as an underwriter and as a financial advisor both locally and in Europe, all the while having a passion for woodworking and making handcrafted furniture. “When my eventual wife turned out to be an interior designer, the opportunity to work together on more than just raising the kids, evolved from a passion project to a viable vocation,” says Holmes.
Shaun started his work career as a software developer but his deep passion to explore took him to the Superyachts and all around the world. He worked his way up from a deckhand (where he learned his carpentry skills) to being a Captain. 14 years later and having a son, he took the leap to make his hobby into his new career.
Alistair and Shaun played rugby for many years and when Alistair moved down to Paarl in January 2022, at a braai with Shaun it was clear they shared the same passion for craftsmanship. “Our shared love of woodwork seemed like a great idea and we started making custom pieces for Interior Designers such as Ivy Decor and Design and Lederle Designs… the rest is history,” adds Shaun.
The name, Signature Furniture Pieces, or Signature for short, was no accident. “We all know the term a signature piece of furniture, but it didn’t start that way. Before the company was even a dream, let alone a consideration, Alistair’s wife got him a branding tool of his signature for the pieces of furniture he was hand-crafting in the garage. When the time came to focus on woodworking, the name chose itself… and every house needs a Signature Furniture Piece.” says Shaun on behalf of his longtime friend and business partner, Alistair.
“I once heard that stress doesn’t come from doing what we dislike and have to do, but rather from not doing more of that makes you feel alive. Perhaps this and the life stage I am in made me decide to take the plunge and do what makes me happy, and the simple act of making things with my hands and creating pieces that others love and use in their most personal of spaces, their homes, is all the inspiration I need,” adds Alistair.
Signature Furniture Pieces is a boutique workshop, with much smaller processes in place to create something new and exciting for their clients. This generally leads to shorter waiting periods on custom orders and allows for their e-commerce store to be stocked with more contemporary, unique pieces, not found elsewhere.
“We are fortunate that we have the flexibility in our shop to make pieces we love the look of and derive inspiration from. A complete opposite to bigger furniture brands with a production line and a much more stringent process to get new pieces into the market,” says Shaun Frith. “This allows us to be innovative in design and craft while keeping our expenses as low as possible, delivering an impeccable design and product offering with a non-exorbitant price tag,” adds Alistair. “We can move quickly with what the designers and customers want and make pieces we feel proud of!” he adds.
With a very successful wife, who is also a second-generation interior designer in the fray, the Holmes household is never far from a piece that needs to be made or designed for the smallest of reasons. The team’s inspiration comes from places they’ve visited and experienced. With both Frith and Holmes being very well-traveled and exposed to the most incredible raw material and design, their creative process always starts from a place of memory, supported by their client’s brief.
Every brand has its favourite picks, and for the team from Signature, their best-selling items are also their chosen three. “There are lots of variables in a piece of furniture in terms of angles, joins, thickness, and finish, but when they all click the piece just works. With all of these pieces, the customers and designers are just drawn to them. It’s almost like the fun – we had in making them – comes through.” says Shaun.
These pieces are:
An unique design with a timeless marble top.
For custom orders, clients typically invite the Signature team into their homes to quote or offer advice on a piece they may be looking for. Most often, it is working hand-in-hand with interior designers or the clients themselves, to conceptualise their core thinking with the Signature look and feel. When it comes to their E-Comemrce platform and offering, they mainly service the Winelands and greater Cape Town surrounds, but of late, they’ve had clients order from London and Mauritius. “Our online shop is for items that can be shipped both locally and internationally; for those clients looking for something more unique in their desired space,” adds Alistair.
The team at Signature is very excited about what’s next, “we’re in the process of focussing our attention on designing and creating pieces for boutique lodges, hotels, and wedding venues, all while focussing on our core business to interior designers. We love working with people and creating something from nothing. We honestly get to do what we love, every single day.” adds Frith.
To book a consultation with the Signature team, click here.