We didn’t always make camphor laurel cutting boards and grazing platters. The Fab Slabs ‘partnership’ started about 30 years ago when Ricky and I used to go to High School together. Back then we used to go fishing and chase girls. We weren’t much good at either.
After High School Ricky went to Sydney and learnt two trades. He was foreman on many projects helping Sydney get ready for the Olympics. In Sydney he met Marea and they were married in 1998. I went to University then worked around Queensland meeting Trudy along the way. We also got married in 1998 and moved back to the Sunshine Coast to start a family.
Ricky and Marea had the same ideas and moved from Sydney to the Sunshine Coast as well. Ricky and I started milling some timber and making some furniture every Saturday as we both had full time jobs. We made solid slab coffee tables , kitchen bench tops, dining tables, surfboards and a few cutting boards on the side. At our first show we sold out of cutting boards. We took our cutting boards to our local IGA supermarket and we got our first order for 30 boards. Well we thought we had hit the big time. Ricky’s dream was to start making 100 boards per week. I thought he was dreaming but it wasn’t long before we were making 200 a week as the demand for our quality handmade cutting boards grew.
Our camphor laurel cutting boards were discovered by an internationally renowned restaurant in Dubai and a Homewares chain in the USA. It was then we knew it was time to shut down the furniture side of our business as the demand for our camphor laurel cutting boards was growing quickly. We bought a state of the art kiln which is capable of drying around 7000 boards at a time. This process takes around 5-6 weeks. A year later we bought another kiln which increased our production to about 2300 boards per week.
We started supplying a company in South Korea and our camphor laurel cutting boards appeared on just about every cooking show in South Korea over the next few years. The first time our boards were sold on the Home Shopping network 9000 boards were sold in less than 30 minutes.
Since then we have expanded and we now send boards to Germany and Denmark as well. Our product range has increased and we now make grazing platters, cross cuts, pizza and paddle boards as well as a range of premium boards as well.
Ricky and I still enjoy making boards but we take the chance to go fishing when we can. We no longer chase girls like we did 30 years ago as we are way too busy running around after our wives – ha ha.
Even though we make thousands of boards every week Ricky and I are still very much hands on in making the boards, the quality control and running of the business. We love meeting people at shows and we love getting feedback from happy customers.