Starting out as a self-taught hobbyist woodworker at age 14 in 1994, Chris Vesper began making some tools for personal use after school hours, and was inspired to improve on the quality or design of tools available at the time. After humble beginnings in 1998 selling his first production tools, Chris went on to full time toolmaking in September 2003. The early days of self-taught woodworking experience gave Chris the exceptional ability to design tools that above all else would function as the best in the world while the pleasing aesthetics can be considered a welcome bonus.
To generate sales in the early days he relied on manning a stand at various exhibitions. In 2004 he extended his market base by developing his first web-site, and today he has 50,000 followers on Instagram.
Although exports represent around 50% of his turnover, Vesper Tools is still a humble business today. Chris and one staff member produce around 1,400 hand-made precision tools each year and these tools are not available in Bunnings or Mitre10 – in fact every tool is sold directly to the end user - without door to door selling or sales staff on the payroll.
Over the last 20 years Vesper Tools has earned a reputation for quality tools second to none, with mutual respect from peers, publishers and woodworking notables around the globe. A quick review of his website shows unsolicited praise from all around the world from people who, in the main, have bought his products without being able to feel the tool in their hands. And when they do, they are so delighted that they take the time to tell him how pleased they are. The quality of his tools has also allowed Chris to offer a life-time guarantee on materials and workmanship, and whilst he doesn’t track data on re-work he thinks that only about 5 or 6 tools have needed fixing over 20 years.
And even though this is a small business in every definition of the word, and staying alive has been hard, Chris has moved into his own 500 m2 factory and owns all of the mills, lathes, grinders, and a full suite of woodworking and metalworking equipment in it.
Chris’ passion is also evidenced by an office library of books that pay homage to the history of making things - from the beginning of the industrial revolution or even earlier, and his story is a terrific example of making a career out of self-belief and hard work.
It is clear that Chris Vesper has poured his heart and soul into trying to make the BEST tools available anywhere in the world – and he is loving what he is doing.
Vesper Tools website - www.vespertools.com.au