Free Range Frames

 In Business Loans

I’m Kath, owner and frame maker at Free Range Frames. I’d been working in the legal sector since leaving university until one day I worked out that I still had as many years left to work as I’d worked already. That thought filled me with dread and dismay, not having enjoyed my work for a long while, if I’d ever really enjoyed it at all. So began the process of working out what I did want to do, what work would make me happy and fulfilled. It always came back to one thing – I worked for a bespoke frame maker to get me through university and, work-wise, it was the best time I’d had.

So, during the course of a very leisurely breakfast with my wife in a Barcelona apartment in April 2014, Free Range Frames came into being. Several breakfasts and lunches later the business had a name, a logo, an ethos, and I had more design ideas than I could keep up with.

I invested in some basic equipment, some supplies, and in July 2014 started to take my first commissions while my wife created Free Range Frames a website, gave me a crash course in using social media, and taught me to use spreadsheets. However, working in the kitchen was far from ideal. Sawdust lasagne does not taste good. So I was chatting to a friend about my need for a workspace and she declared that what I needed was someone with, say, a double garage they only use half of with glazed patio doors and an electricity supply. Turns out that all of those things she had and was willing to let me make use of. We came to a very agreeable arrangement whereby I had free access to a workspace in exchange for chocolate for her and beer for her very patient boyfriend.

Over a period of time I was able to invest in professional framing equipment, such as my Morso guillotine – Danish engineering perfection that performs it’s function exactly and is beautiful. This did mean, however, that my friend’s garage gradually became ever more full with machines, benches, stock piles of wood, pots of paint, and lots and lots of sawdust. Although my friend said she was going to miss her garage gnome we both knew it was time for me to move on. And that’s where ROCBF came in…

At that moment the business was caught in a vicious circle in that I needed a proper workshop but didn’t have the funds to acquire one because I wasn’t generating enough income because I didn’t have a big enough workspace… However, I successfully applied for a business loan from ROCBF and with their financial assistance, business advice, and encouragement Free Range Frames found a better home and was not only able to keep going but to grow and develop.

A year on from that Free Range Frames is now based at The Bone Yard, a wonderful creative community in Canton in Cardiff, where it’s been since March and where it has really found its wings (my logo has a chicken in it – pun totally intended). It’s taken a lot of graft to get this far and there’s a lot more grafting to be done, but it doesn’t feel like work because I’m having just too much fun. There is no doubt, I’ve definitely found my thing and I couldn’t have done that on my own.

You can see some of the frames that Kath has on offer on the Free Range Frameswebsite.  If you’ve got a business idea of your own that you’d like to get off the ground, take a look at our Start Up Loans page today.

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