OT’s furniture: Over 50, but still number one – A chat with Omroy ‘OT’ Mayers
Local Vibes
September 15, 2017
OT’s furniture: Over 50, but still number one – A chat with Omroy ‘OT’ Mayers

QUESTION: OT Mayers and Finishing and Furnishing are synonymous with local furniture manufacturing, how did it start for you?

RESPONSE: I started it from 1959. I was an apprentice at the Government apprentice shop in Arnos Vale, under the supervision of one Carlton Cole. I worked there for two years and six months and I must say I had a daytime vision. Around 12.30, when I finished eating my lunch, a thought came to me: “How far can you reach in the workshop?” I analyzed my position and saw that I only hit third, because there were two gentlemen before me who would have succeeded Mr Cole, first and second. I would have been third. I got angry with myself and decide[d] I cannot die a third man; I must be either first or second, preferably second; the reason why I prefer to be second – if anything happen to the first, I will be second to none.

So… I left at the same moment when I caught that vision and I started working on my own.

QUESTION: What furniture did you start with?

RESPONSE: I started with the normal household furniture, like chairs and beds and tables and so on. I [did] it to the best of my ability; but the strength of Finishing and Furnishing [and the variety] comes around when we started doing private work. Some will bring a magazine, some will bring a clipping, and my eyes were trained to know measurement from pictures to try to satisfy the customer.

QUESTION: How much of that is done now?

RESPONSE: A lot of that is being done. Before time, when things were good in the country, we catered for mass production; we deal with the fifties, the hundreds and the two hundreds. Now, we still like to do that, but they are not selling fast enough, so we go the one on one customer, because we’re sure when we build for you as a personal customer, you want it, so you will pay for it, but when we do mass production, we are not certain they are going to sell, so that changed us a lot.

QUESTION: When did Finishing and Furnishing come into being?

RESPONSE: That is a nice little story. I had decided to go public with my furniture. I used to sell to the department stores and I didn’t like their prices. I sold one of them a piece of furniture for $50 and immediately, they went and sell it for $105. I thought the mark-up was a little high too quick, so I decided to set up my own outlet – OT & Company Furniture Show Room.

We had the sign and a maid from the hospital passed and see a bed and say, I like that bed, but I not buying no communist bed…(because of the political ideology of one of OT’s brothers); so, it’s like I get a vision the same time and I put Finishing and Furnishing…. that was in October, 1983.

QUESTION: Finishing and Furnishing received the award for ‘Best Furniture Maker’ in the Best of SVG 2017 Awards; what stands out about OT’s furniture?

RESPONSE: Customer satisfaction. The bottom line of every business people say, is money. For Finishing and Furnishing that is not it. It’s to know that the customer is served and served well and the people are satisfied with what you do for them. That is our bottom line.

If you go to Finishing and Furnishing outlet, you would see a lot of furniture there, but that is not the strength; the strength is where people can come to the factory and say what they want and get it how they want it.

Finishing and Furnishing is located at Tyrell Street. Opening hours are: 8.30 a.m. – 4.30 p.m. Monday – Friday and 8 a.m. – noon Saturday. Contact numbers are: 457-2206 (Kingstown) and the factory at Diamond : 457-1374.