Meet the woman who taught herself woodwork to launch Scouse Girl Timber
12 months ago
When Danielle Clair set about panelling her home on a lockdown impulse she didn’t own a single tool and admits she was clueless about DIY.
“Honestly, I don’t think I knew which end of a hammer to use,” laughs the 32-year-old behind Scouse Girl Timber. “But I decided I was going to do my house up like everyone was doing at the time, and I wanted to try panelling on the walls.
“I didn’t have any tools, I borrowed my neighbour’s chop saw so I could cut all the panelling down, I balanced the planks over my dining table, and the rest was just No More Nails and a glue gun.
“So I learned lots of things on YouTube, I did it and I loved every minute of it – working it all out and putting it all up.
“Then, when I decided I wanted a new dining table and it was going to cost about £500 I thought, I can do that, no problem.”
Although her first effort fell apart, Danielle spent hours researching online and watching TikTok videos and the second one, which is definitely still standing, helped change her life.
“I put that one on my own social media and everyone was saying ‘that’s amazing, where did you get it from?’ and I could say ‘I made it.’
“When my friend asked me to make her one, I told her I’d do it but not to expect anything great. She put it on social and it blew up, it went absolutely mad.
“Friends and family encouraged me to make more just in lockdown for a bit of extra cash so I put an example on Facebook marketplace and within 20 minutes someone asked me how much, how long did it take to make, then she bought it. I was with my grandma and grandad at the time and I screamed the house down I was that excited!”
As more orders came in via social media, Danielle’s woodworking quickly outgrew the old garage at home in Croxteth Park where she was working and the shed that replaced it. When that was also too small, she knew she needed to make a choice whether to invest more money into her hobby to get a proper workshop and make it into a full-time business.
At the start of 2021 she quit her previous job in logistics, buying and selling warehouse space, to launch Scouse Girl Timber.
“I built a workshop, built a website, set up social media and went all in and I haven’t looked back,” she says.
As a self-taught female carpenter, Danielle has got used to people thinking her work has been done by a man.
“Things often get mistaken for being made by my ‘husband’ and people think I just do the selling. It used to bother me at first but now I get a little buzz from it because I love seeing the shock on their face when they realise I’ve made it.”
Danielle’s future plans include setting up workshops for women who, like herself just a couple of years ago, don’t really know where to start when it comes to DIY.
“I’ve now outgrown my workshop at home so over the next 12 months I’ll be looking for a unit to move to and the plan is to do workshops for women. Lots of women have gone through a separation or just bought their own house and they end up needing to get a handyman or phoning their dad or their brother. I want to teach women the basics, how to put up a shelf or how to do panelling or how to use a circular saw. It’ll be for women, by a woman, doing things that aren’t typically done by women.
“I want to show people that it really doesn’t matter what gender you are, how old you are, how long you’ve been in a job for, if you set your mind to it you can do it.”
Scouse Girl Timber tables, benches, units, and shelving are now in homes and venues across the country, and Danielle’s had high profile clients closer to home.
Tate Liverpool’s café has some, so does Red Door on Berry Street and Safi’s desserts. And one unusual commission gave her national exposure she hadn’t expected.
“Someone messaged me on Facebook because they’d seen the tables I’d done for Tate, and they asked if I could make some medal trays so I said of course, no problem.
“It wasn’t until she asked me to send her an invoice and it came up World Gymnastics that I realised it was massive and they were going to be at the Arena and on the telly! I think my whole family watched BBC every day just to see the medal ceremonies for my trays!”