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Relatively Speaking: Father and son, Nigel and Philip McGowan

By Karen Ireland

Published 17/06/2015

Strong bond: Nigel McGowan and his son, Philip
Strong bond: Nigel McGowan and his son, Philip

Nigel McGowan (57), from Killinchy, is an owner of bedrooms, kitchen and furniture firm McGowan Brooks and has three children. His son, Philip (25), returned from Australia recently to join him in work and is a huge sports fan.

Name: Nigel


Age: 57

Occupation: Owner of McGowan Brooks

Relationship to Philip: Father

More than 30 years ago I set up McGowan Brooks, supplying kitchens, bedrooms and bespoke furniture. The business struggled during the recession as fewer people were spending money or investing in their homes, but thankfully, things are starting to pick up.

My son, Philip, came back from working in Australia recently and joined the business with me. We are slowly building it up again with the help and support of our business partner, Chris Brooks.

I love working with the guys and they are making some really beautiful pieces of furniture.

We make what the customer demands, crafting unusual and different pieces to help make homes more beautiful. I was even asked to make a full-scale model of an Apache helicopter for Shorts - complete with all the pieces. It was 54ft and we made it in the workshop, that was something a little bit different.

I'm excited to see what the future holds for the business and to sit back and watch what the two lads transform it into.

I live in Killinchy and have three children, Michael (32), Laura (30) and Philip (25). We are a very close family and spend as much time together as possible.

My youngest, Philip, and I are close as we work together and live together, so I see him all the time.

Philip works hard. He likes to create the perfect piece for the customer, and know that they are completely satisfied. He is a real people person, so he's great with customers, and always ensures that they get the best service possible.

He pushes himself to get ahead and is working really hard to make a success of the business.

He is really ambitious and tries his best at everything.

I really admire that he went out to work in Australia. He was forthright enough to give it a go. He learnt a lot and grew from the experience of working out there. He is very easy going and laid back, but when it comes to the business, he takes things very seriously - the customer and their needs is paramount.

Making sure he leaves the customer completely happy with the job is the most important thing to Philip.

He also likes to enjoy life, and gets out and about and makes the most of everything. He is extremely close to his brother, Michael, who would be his best friend.

Michael has two children and we love spending time together as a family, with the kids there."

Name: Philip McGowan

Age: 25

Occupation: Owner of

McGowan Brooks

Relationship to Nigel: Son

I live in Killinchy with my dad and have a long-term girlfriend, Rachel. We went to Australia together to travel and work. It was an amazing experience for me, but in the middle of it, I got really homesick.

I missed my brother and my dad and I wanted to come home.

We had made arrangements to return to Northern Ireland, but by then I was starting to settle down and enjoy Australia. As the plans were made, though, we had to come home.

I really admire my dad and love spending time with him.

He is very knowledgeable and knows the trade inside and out. He is extremely hard-working and has been very successful in growing the business over the years.

The recession was tough on him, but he worked hard and kept the business going as he didn't want to put people out of jobs.

He struggled on for longer than he should have, because he is very selfless and always puts other people first.

Dad has a great sense of humour and sees the funny side of things. He is a very positive person.

We enjoy spending time together and doing things outside work.

We are both big Manchester United fans, so we watch matches together.

We also love rugby and are big supporters of the game, as well as enjoying a round of golf when we have the time.

Working with dad is great, as I am honing my skills and learning all the time.

It is great building up the business with him again, and I am excited to be taking it to the next level.

Dad isn't into material things and is always telling me not to buy him things, so I won't be buying him an actual gift this Father's Day. Instead, I will take him out and spend the day with him and treat him to dinner."

A trio with style...

Father and son team, Nigel and Philip McGowan, relaunched the business with friend and former colleague, Chris Brooks in January 2015

The three skilled and passionate cabinetmakers, with a combined experience of 55 years between them, produce signature, handmade bespoke kitchens from their workshop in Killinchy

The trio's style is tailored to the exact customer requirements and can range from traditional farmhouse to sleek modern, using the best locally-sourced materials

Belfast Telegraph

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