Marhaba interviews Qatar-based craftsman and entrepreneur Habib Alfar, Founder of CREU Handmade Furniture Qatar, about his talent in building unique and funky home furnishings in Qatar.
Habib Alfar moved to Qatar in 1994 at the age of nine with his family, who like many other expatriates, relocated in the country for work. Having lived here for 17 years, Alfar considers it to be his ‘home-from-home’. The 28-year-old British artist spent the first six years of his working life following in his father’s footsteps in the oil and gas industry. But he felt that the career path he was following did not suit him. Submitting to the call to creativity, earlier this year, Alfar decided it was time for a change and resigned from the company for whom he worked for in Qatar and began looking for a new career in a different industry.
During the job hunt, Alfar developed a hobby where he began refurbishing old furniture, which later developed into bigger projects, building furniture. ‘Once I realised that I had a knack for furniture building and decoration I was hooked. I decided that there was no way I was going to get another office job so I stopped the hunt and turned my hobby into the small business CREU,’ he said. CREU is the Welsh word for create. Born to a Welsh mother and having been born and raised in Cardiff, Wales, Alfar felt CREU is a fitting name for the business. But why make furniture? ‘I was drawn to furniture making by the love I have for building and fixing things. I was also given a big shove by my wife who was desperate for me to recreate a dining table she had wanted but was far too expensive,’ he said.
Alfar is quite a family man, saying, ‘At the moment CREU is a wholly family run business. The team consists of my wife, Victoria, who helps with the research of new product ideas. She also handles much of the marketing and advertising of items for sale. My son Theo (3) is the chief pet-bed tester and is responsible for ensuring that each bed is sturdy and cosy enough for their new pampered owners. I also receive great support from my parents, sister and in-laws.’ However, Alfar is the man behind the building and decorating of items and helps with the ideas. CREU is hoping to expand the team by bringing in skilled carpenters and other talents.
Having only established CREU this year, Alfar has been facing challenges running the business such as the high cost of rent for commercial properties and the lack of certain materials needed for the projects we would like to try out. To make his crafts, Alfar mostly uses various types of wood, much of which are recycled. ‘CREU items are not mass produced; each piece is handcrafted and bears their own special and unique features. Much of the material we use is recycled and reclaimed which makes our products very environmentally friendly,’ said Alfar. ‘The furniture and artwork I create is rustic with a modern twist. The pieces created are often made depending on whichever materials we have at hand. The ideas come from a number of places. I often use the internet to search for ideas and also receive many suggestions from friends, family and customers. Mostly my ideas are self inspired.’ The self-taught artist prices his crafts between ‘Ikea and The One.’
Alfar’s crafts are available for purchase through CREU’s website and Facebook page.With his passion for craftsmanship, Alfar has created a Facebook page called Handmade Qatar, which is dedicated to the buying and selling of handmade products in Qatar.
Author: Ola Diab
Copyright © Marhaba Information Guide. Reproduction of material from Marhaba Information Guide’s book or website without written permission is strictly prohibited. Using Marhaba Information Guide’s material without authorisation constitutes as plagiarism as well as copyright infringement.