What's The Story From Glasgow

Here’s the story, then, of our first, 2007 Scottish Adventure.  Our seven-day mission was to run a photo framing weekend, a complete Business Development Week, offer 1 day training workshops to those not looking to do the  business week and then exhibit for four days at the Hobbycrafts show at the SECC.  Did this involve a highly trained team of skilled craft workers and show staff?  No – one trainer, one “exhibitionist”, a van and, oh yes, a third bloke who popped in from time to time to tell us he’d bought a kilt and was having fun walking the hills (part-timers!!).

The serious point of this first part is to mention the three who completed the business week, because their “stories” illustrate the variety of people joining our business weeks as well as demonstrating their range of ambitions and aspirations.

MIKE stayed with the group for the whole week (7 day programme).  He has had a career in the forces, joined a major supermarket chain and is now taking advantage of a package to leave that line of work, to develop his arts and crafts work.  For many years, Mike has been designing and making decorative mirrors in the style of Charles Rennie McKintosh, one of the most important names in the early 20th Century Arts & Crafts movement.  Mike has sold the mirrors through craft fairs and has also developed a couple of retail contacts for regular sales.  His aim is to see if he can extend his product range further and open up new markets by offering framed pieces as well as the usual style of mirror.  He also has ambitions to add bespoke framing as an additional income stream and wanted to develop a more complete range of framing skills.  Mike clearly already had a lot of the knowledge about marketing and selling his work, so the emphasis for him was more about the practical side of setting up a framing workshop and how to create a healthy, framing order book.

ALAN completed the 5 days, which form the core of the business week.  He has worked in IT until recently and has followed his career working both in the UK and the USA.  His reasons for change are, as for many people, all about improving his quality of life … BUT bills still have to be paid.  Alan has already set up a framing workshop and is trying to develop a service, which will mean visiting customers over quite a large area of West Scotland.  As a talented photographer, he also has ambitions to exhibit and sell his photography all year around, as well as tapping in to the seasonal, holiday market.  Having already undertaken quite a lot of framing, he was particularly keen to extend his knowledge of framing through the three 1-day, more specialised framing workshops, which form the core of the business week.  Even though his skill levels are clearly very advanced, there are always the little “handy hints” that you pick up on these days.  Alan’s big challenge was how to make sense of working across a large geographical area, develop work routines that allow him not to spend so long on the road and how to give the operation a really high profile, bringing business to him.

JOHN completed 4 of the 5 core “business week” days … 1 day off for a football match in Milan – this does actually tie in with business, as you will see.  Here is somebody who has had a career in sales (management level in a major electrical stores chain), a second career in the police and is now looking ahead to turning a hobby into a means of earning an income.  The football is a vital ingredient in these new plans, as John is a part of the whole fan / memorabilia world for his chosen team.  As well as the practical issues about setting up a workshop and getting to grips with the tools and skills of the trade, he was really keen to think about how to develop a product range within his area of interest, how to market it and how best to reach his core customers.  Even after his sleepless night, having returned from Milan in the early hours of the morning, you could still see a glint in his eye when he framed the logo and writing from an old t-shirt – it was a masterpiece! 

So three completely different people, each with their own future paths, but all having several important features in common:

  • Enjoyment of working creatively and practically
  • A good “aesthetic” eye
  • An existing product in mind, as well as offering a bespoke framing service
  • Individual, existing skills and knowledge which transfer very well to setting up as a bespoke framer
  • A real interest in what they intend doing and an openness to new ideas
  • A great sense of fun and many tales to tell … believe me I could write a book.  Another time perhaps

Read on for details of next Business Development Weeks

Posted on: 10 Apr 2007@09:24:43, updated on: 10 Apr 2007@09:30:11.