In the early 90s, I was a commodity broker and with nothing better to do one weekend I went to an art auction, just thinking that I might buy a few things for the house. I quickly observed that the framed artworks were being sold for a lot of money. Eventually they got to things in the back room, unframed artworks, and raw framing materials, by that time the crowd had dwindled and these items were being sold for a pittance; so, I began buying and ended up going home with a twenty foot truck loaded up with art and framing materials. The interesting thing about not being formally trained in a field is that you may have no guidelines, but you also have no limitations. I began doing art shows to sell some of my booty and at the same time to educate myself in the field. It quickly became apparent that framing can be a time consuming and arduous process and people will only devote so much time to something and then their mind moves on to other things. So, I thought that if I could use a small handheld computer to do some of the calculations it would expedite the process and make it easier for the customer to make a buying decision. I began tinkering and as I was successful doing one thing, It would lead to another and the program kept getting bigger and bigger. Finally, after a year of tinkering, I had a program (app) that did everything. Only then did it occur to me that with this, almost anyone could do custom framing and that it would be a great franchise concept. We opened our first store in the Spring of 1995 and have been developing and refining the concept ever since and now Fancy Art, NFP has just recently begun franchising. The new website, FranchiseYouNiversity.com; gives people the knowledge and confidence needed so that they can go out and live their dreams; the course is free, but the knowledge you will gain is priceless. To view a short video about the course go to: bit.ly/Preneur hopefully it will inspire you to register and take the first step to opening a door that could change your life for the better, as it did mine.
Question: What is the name of your business?
Your Answer: Fancy Art, NFP
Question: Where is your business located (city & state)? Who are the customers you serve? What products or services does you company provide?
Your Answer:Barrington, ILLinois
Question: When did you start your business? Why did you decide to start your own business?
Your Answer:Opened our first shop in 1995. I started developing the computer program (App), because I realized that framing was arduous and time consuming and people shy away from doing things that are difficult and painful. After a year of tinkering, I completed the program and only then did it occur to me that with this almost anyone could do custom framing and that it would be a great franchise; so I opened our first store and we have been developing and refining the system ever since.
Question: Did you quit your "day job" to start your business? How did you initially fund your business?
Your Answer:As I got more involved in the business and realized its potential, I transitioned from being a broker and focused more on the business. When we first started, I had the inventory I had purchased at the auction and the system I had developed through real life experience, but very little excess capital. I was able to get a small business loan to get started and we plowed ahead initially with baby steps and they kept getting bigger and bigger.
Question: What has been the biggest challenge in running your company?
Your Answer:Managing all of the different aspects of the business and at the same time developing new concepts and innovations to grow the business
Question: What’s been the biggest opportunity that came from owning your business?
Your Answer:The freedom of building something from scratch and seeing it flourish and gaining the respect and acknowledgment from the community which it serves.
Question: What has surprised you most about being your own boss?
Your Answer:I enjoy being in control of my own destiny as well as the challenges that come along with it
Question: Is there a success tactic you’d like to share that could help other business owners (i.e. implementing new software, tactic to grow sales, etc.)?
Question: What’s the best piece of advice you could give to other small business owners?
Your Answer: Don't shy away from challenges; the only way you can grow individually and/or professionally is by expanding your horizons.