Rechapados Ferrer, a small family-run enterprise, is struggling to maintain up with demand since its boards appeared within the award-winning Netflix miniseries, The Queen’s Gambit
At David Ferrer’s manufacturing facility, staff are busy chopping, trimming and stitching collectively high-quality sheets of wooden to make chessboards to fulfill a surge in orders within the wake of the runaway success of the Netflix collection, The Queen’s Gambit.
Rechapados Ferrer, a small family-run enterprise, is struggling to maintain up with demand since its boards appeared within the award-winning miniseries about an orphaned chess prodigy.
“We have never experienced such a strong boom in demand for chessboards,” says David Ferrer, 30, who runs Rechapados Ferrer in La Garriga, the economic belt that surrounds Barcelona.
The firm often makes round 20,000 chessboards yearly, however has already acquired orders for greater than 40,000 to date this yr, because of each to the Netflix collection and renewed curiosity in board video games throughout the lockdown.
“And there are still many months left until the end of the year,” he instructed AFP.
Rechapados Ferrer, which has simply 14 staff, was based within the 1950s to provide veneer — or slender items of wooden — for furnishings, however a decade later it additionally expanded into making chessboards.
“If my parents could only see this,” smiles Joan Ferrer, David’s father and the son of the agency’s founder.
Although retired, he typically visits the manufacturing facility and may nonetheless bear in mind how his dad and mom made the primary chessboards in “a small room, stitching and trimming the strips of wood”.
– ‘Demand is loopy’ –
They initially solely labored with a close-by maker of chess items, however ultimately expanded to promote their merchandise throughout Spain after which the world.
Today, 98 per cent of their chessboards are exported, a few of that are utilized in tournaments, so that they weren’t stunned after they realized their merchandise had been utilized in The Queen’s Gambit.
Miquel Berbel, who heads the corporate’s chessboard division, noticed certainly one of their units within the last episode of the present.
In the nail-biting finale, chess prodigy Beth Harmon goes to Moscow to tackle Russian world champion Vasily Borgov in a match performed on a sublime black-framed board with an ornamental red-and-yellow border.
“There are very particular boards that only we make and that board was 100 percent one of ours,” stated Berbel.
The board was custom-made for the corporate’s first worldwide buyer, a board video games distributor in Berlin the place the collection was partially filmed.
When Ferrer heard about it, he was excited, however it wasn’t the primary time that their boards had featured in movies or TV collection.
“I was excited… but I didn’t expect this sort of response at all,” he stated.
“Demand is crazy. We’re getting a huge amount of emails and we can’t answer them all.”
– ‘Seek perfection’ –
Orders started to extend early final yr when the pandemic first hit and the lockdowns started, however they actually took off after The Queen’s Gambit premiered in October 2020, prompting the agency to rent three new staff.
“To meet demand, we ought to be doubling or tripling the workforce. And we don’t want to go down that route because we don’t know how long it’s going to last,” says Ferrer.
Making chessboards is a sluggish course of. A employee first selects high-quality wooden that’s trimmed into lengthy skinny sheets of sunshine and darkish colors.
With the assistance of a machine, one other craftsman sews the sheets tightly along with a sticky thread, checking always to verify there’s not the slightest hole between them.
The board is then varnished earlier than being packaged.
“We check the finishings a lot, we try to seek perfection,” says Oscar Martinez, a 40-year-old craftsman.
Even if he needed to, Ferrer says it will be onerous to search out extra staff to assist given the scarcity of expert craftsmen, whose coaching lasts “four or five years”.
“We want to grow naturally. It is very skilled work and everything takes time,” he says.
“Its real craftsmanship.”
Subscribe to Moneycontrol Pro at ₹499 for the primary yr. Use code PRO499. Limited interval supply. *T&C apply