Two brothers from Lisburn have turned their passion for woodwork into a successful custom woodworking furniture business, Alderwood Studios, thanks to help from the Go For It programme in association with Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council.

This project is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth and Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) programme.

Tony and Joe Murphy, from Lisburn, launched Alderwood Studios in 2021, having spotted a gap in the market for custom uniquely designed epoxy resin tables when they were furnishing their own home.

Having both worked away from home as a project manager and a civil engineer, the brothers were keen to return to Northern Ireland and combine their professional skills with their passion for woodworking and launch a successful business venture together.

Tony explains: “Deciding to finally take that leap of faith and launch Alderwood Studios was a long conversation between myself and my brother. It was a real combination of wanting to fulfil a childhood dream of using our hands, creating unique pieces of art, running a business together and getting back home to Northern Ireland.”

Joe continued: “We had been hobbyist, weekend woodworkers for about a year until we realised that we could really make a statement and fill a gap in the market with epoxy resin tables, which there was, and continues to be real demand for in Northern Ireland.”

The brothers launched Alderwood Studios after taking part in the Go For It programme through Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council.

The Go For It programme is delivered free of charge by a team of experienced business mentors through Northern Ireland’s wide network of enterprise agencies.

It provides expert advice and support to develop a business plan that helps entrepreneurs turn their ideas into commercial businesses.

Tony initially heard about the Go For It programme when travelling to Belfast and hearing an advert on the radio. “When I heard the advert, I immediately thought this is our moment. Joe and I had conversations about how we could do this, and the programme was an obvious first step to take!”

Joe explained: “The Go For It program helped us in various ways. First of all, it gave us confidence that there was a market for what we were doing. We were able to network with a lot of similar minded businesspeople while helping us with the creation of a business plan to give us direction on the aspect of business that we weren't so familiar with.”

Tony added: “We had lots of creative ideas but hadn’t thought about the numbers just enough, and for us that was one of the most important elements of the business plan.

“The business plan really helped start us off in the right direction and we still refer back to it today. It also has set us up for future funding if we need it, so it’s really investment friendly.”

Councillor Scott Carson, Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council said: “I’m delighted to see Tony and Joe successfully launch Alderwood Studios having received support from the Go For It programme.

“The woodwork both Tony and Joe are creating is truly unique and it’s great to see two brothers turn their hobby for furniture and making it into a successful business and I wish them all the very best for the future!”

Martina Crawford, Chief Executive of Lisburn Enterprise Organisation Ltd commented: “It was a real pleasure to help guide and support Tony and Joe through the Go For It programme, and I’m delighted to see the business doing so well.

“We provided Tony and Joe with support in developing a comprehensive business plan as well as offering advice in areas such as market research, financial planning, marketing and goal setting.

“From this, the brothers have successfully launched their once bedroom business into what is now a 4000 square foot workshop and showroom. I’m delighted to see the brothers’ achievements, and I wish them continued success with their woodworking venture!”

If you have a business idea you’d like to develop or if you are thinking about starting a business contact the Go For It programme on: 0800 027 0639 or visit: