We had the good fortune of connecting with Jacques Schroeder and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jacques, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I think it was the thought of aging and not much to show for it that was my main motivation. I started this business in my garage at the age of 46 while I was waiting tables and bartending, I was having a hard time envisioning myself in my fifties and later years still working at a restaurant. It was out of fear and despiration that I started this.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I started my woodshop in my garage having very little prior formal training. I have never worked in a woodshop. though i have always loved the craft. I have spent some time in and around boats and boat yards and I guess those experiences have certainly led me to do what I do now. At my woodshop we make Architectural woodwork such as corbels and brackets. We also make furniture such as armoires dressers and tables. I love Victorian and French country styles with swirls, finials, raised paneling, French curves, hand carving and spindles. We love to do things the old way. I am learning as we go and love to buy new tools and try to expand our repertoire when its possible. I am so lucky have some incredibly talented employees that have a real passion for woodworking. I learn more from them than they do from me, that’s for sure. My biggest revelation is that my role as a business owner is not to know everything there is to know about woodworking, but rather to put together a great team of people who can teach me and others about the craft and who can push the business in new directions. We learn from each other. Its not for me to control everything, but rather to trust in the people that I’ve chosen to work with.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m into coffee, so i will have to take them to a few of my favorite coffee spots. Hawthorn Coffee on Adams ave.,Oliver Coffee in Hillcrest and Storytellers Cafe in Barrio Logan. Balboa Park and San Diego Zoo are a great way to spend a few days just wandering around. At some point we would have to take a long drive up and down the PCH stopping in Carlsbad, Solana Beach, DelMar, and La Jolla. For lunch i would have to take them to Ketch on Shelter Island with their fantastic patio overlooking the marina, or Miguels in Portside Pier with an awesome view of the bay. Happy hour would include Garibaldi in the Intercontinental Hotel with a spectacular sunset patio over San Diego bay. Baja Bettys in Hillcrest is another Happy hour not to miss with excellent margaritas and a fun atmosphere. For dinner i’d go to Bleu Boheme in Kensington, a really good French themed restaurant. Counterpoint in Golden Hill is another great dinner place with a focus on cocktails.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My partner Jeffrey deserves all of the credit. Though I am the one who came up with the business idea, and I work the day to day in the shop, Jeffrey helped me all along the way, He helped in the beginning with encouragement and later with helping me set up all of the necessary licensing, insurance, and accounts. He helped financially by taking care of the majority of our personal exspenses. Basically he paid all of the bills while I continued to build the business. Without a strong and supportive partner, I would not have been able to make it work.