Husband and wife team Rebecca and Damien Leijer decided to fast forward their lives and recently launched their eponymous furniture business, Leyer. The couple often spoke of the distant future and dreams to live by the beach in a home that they’d built with a shed out the back where Damien could make furniture. “It’s all he has ever wanted to do, and following our recent relocation to Torquay from Melbourne, to where we now live 20m from the incredible Fishermans Beach it all happened quite organically, and a few years earlier than planned,” Rebecca says.
Damien is a carpenter with more than 13 years’ experience in commercial and residential design while Rebecca’s background is marketing and events. In May they launched Leyer with a view to focus on simply designed, Australian made and well-priced furniture.
Which five words best describe you?
Rebecca: Creative, loyal, open, determined, problem solver.
Damien: Honest, loyal, pedantic, thorough and thinking.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since?
Rebecca: I have a Bachelor Degree in Sociology and a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Relations. After university I took a gap year and then started a short career in recruitment before moving into marketing. I worked in marketing for over 13 years mainly in event activation and sponsorship and while on maternity leave following the birth of our second child we decided to start our business Leÿer with the bit of spare time I had.
Damien: I studied very hard in Year 12, got a very good ENTER score, went to uni for three weeks, quit, started a Carpentry Apprenticeship and now work as a foreman for a large carpentry contractor on large scale commercial projects.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way?
Rebecca: Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Damien: Read the instructions, and don’t worry about things outside your control.
What’s your proudest career achievement?
Rebecca: Building our own brand from nothing.
Damien: So far, completing a carpentry contract to a high standard for a significant Victorian cancer hospital project.
What’s been your best decision?
Rebecca: Going to a random house party in London in October 2008 where I met a blonde Aussie surfer.
Damien: Marrying my wife.
Who inspires you?
Damien: Great leaders and ethical businessmen big or small.
What are you passionate about?
Rebecca: Developing our business while keeping our little family healthy and happy.
Damien: Doing a good job and building a legacy for my family, something that is very important to myself and my wife. We want our little girls to understand that you need to work very hard to achieve what you most want out of life, and we want them to be immersed in everything we do with this business, so they can see something evolve from nothing into, hopefully, a successful career for us both.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet?
Rebecca: Ricky Gervais
Damien: Bill Hicks
What dream do you still want to fulfil?
Rebecca: We plan on designing and building our family home next year, which is a huge dream for us both. It will be filled with Leÿer furniture pieces.
Damien: To build our family home
What are you reading?
Rebecca: I am more of a podcast and magazine person. I listen to Girlboss Radio with Sophia Amoruso and read every interiors magazine on the market.
Damien: The Organised Mind by Daniel Levitin.