Rami Zoabi and Omar Najjerine are the Co-Founders of Go Natural Timbers, a business built on sourcing and supplying unique pieces of timber that can be made into benchtops, tables and furniture for their customers.
It’s a business that goes against the cookie-cutter consumerism that has infiltrated the furniture market, trying to bring back quality and rare items to the household, or as Omar says, “people can go back to having an iconic Australian piece of timber in their house which these days is quite rare.”
The uniqueness comes from the source.
“A lot of this timber is from trees that are falling down, it’s not plantation timber and that’s why they’re so big and so wide,” says Omar.
Their customer base continues to expand from hobbyists to the general public.
“Newlyweds for their first table, tradesmen, even new house owners who want to do that wow piece!”
The two are business partners as well as brothers-in law.
“We know each other by force; I didn’t choose to know him. We’re married to sisters, unfortunately, but hey this is where I’ve ended up today, with him,” jokes Omar.
Both have Lebanese heritage and a connection to carpentry. While Rami studied carpentry, Omar’s family history meant he grew up around wood.
“My last name means carpenter so I come from a family of carpenters, my father and my grandfather. I wouldn’t have minded being a carpenter myself, but my father insisted I choose a different path. So by profession, I’m actually a podiatrist," says Omar.
But he continued to make furniture as a hobby.
“I started sourcing my own timber to make my own stuff and this guy (Rami)came along one day and he said, 'let’s make it into a business.'"
"So it just went from there.”
The business is split up, with Rami focusing on managing the warehouse and Omar on the carpentry work.
“I love looking after the floor. Making sure all the stock is full up and I’ve got enough slabs there of all the different kinds of timber and that.”
The timber is sourced from mainly NSW, but they also source Australian Murray and Jarrah from Western Australia in order to find the most unique and non-defective slabs.
“There’s some timber pieces that are really rock solid you know, that have been underwater for a hundred years - for example, iron bark. You can’t even use a drill for that, it’s concrete, it’s rock,” Says Rami.
Working with hardwood does present its challenges.
“Some companies won’t touch hardwood because they know of the maintenance that has to go with it in terms of their tools. The drills and the drillbits still break to this day. And we had to get a stronger sanding machine because the hardwood it’s like metal.”
After going through the initial processes of dressing the timber, sanding it and filling in the gaps, the fun really starts in the customisation.
“Many of our customers come with an idea or concept and we try to put that to life in that piece of timber. We can use casting resin to put like shells or something of value to you inside the actual slab.”
A finished product can average anywhere between $1,500 to $9,000 depending on labour and size of timber. It’s a growing business seeped in a love for timber and seeing the possibilities it presents.
“We love what we do. You see a raw piece of timber turned into something unbelievable like with what you can do with it you say, "wow!"
"You just fall in love with every single piece,” says Rami.
Watch this story at the top of the page, or catch the full episode on SBS On Demand.