When Morgan Yeo took over the reins of his father – Roger Yeo’s – carpentry business, it was under unfortunate circumstances, with the senior Yeo diagnosed with terminal cancer in January 2014. JR&P Industries specialized in handmade furniture, and the business had allowed Mr. Yeo to provide for his wife and three sons for over 28 years. Morgan and his younger brothers were involved in the business and started learning the ropes since they were kids, helping out with various odd jobs and given room to tinker and experiment in the workshop.
It was never their plan to join the business, but when their dad was diagnosed, Morgan and his brothers were determined to keep their father’s legacy alive, while also allowing their dad to focus on fighting the disease. It was a decision that came instinctively to them, as second-generation carpenters, to keep the vanishing trade alive in Singapore.
JR&P Industries had built a reputation for making handmade system furniture, with a carpentry wing on the side but since restructuring, they have focused on bespoke carpentry, in line with their pledge to preserve the craft. They also rebranded the business to Roger&Sons, as a tribute to their late father.
Morgan notes, “Craftsmanship to me is history and character—it tells a story of how and why things are made in the way it’s made, and is a reflection of the person and company making it.”
That’s one of the reasons why Morgan, who graduated from Singapore Management University with a degree in Business Management, has gone on to pursue and receive a professional certificate in interior design at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA).
He’s constantly learning on the job, working closely with his team of skilled carpenters and craftsmen, who possess a great wealth of experience and knowledge, with many having worked for his father for more than twenty years.
Morgan raises the point of how carpentry is a skill requiring many years of training to master, yet is viewed by society as a lesser skill for the uneducated, which is a perception he hopes to change with his work at Roger&Sons.
“The business will always be part of the family and the family will always be part of this business,” Morgan adds, as he and his brothers continue to take the company and carpentry as a whole, further.
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