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, IL. We are a franchise that sells art & custom framing as well as other products that enhance interior decor.
Question: When did you start your business? Why did you decide to start your own business?
Your Answer: 1995. It's funny where life takes you if you give it a chance; I went to an art auction just thinking that I would buy a couple things for the house; I ended up going home with a twenty foot truck loaded up with art and framing materials. I started doing art shows to sell some of my goods and quickly realized that this was an under-served industry with a huge untapped market waiting to be served. Custom framing has been perceived as being difficult to do and very expensive, so I created concepts and innovations that make it fun and easy for anyone to create a personal masterpiece to their individual taste and within their budget; our customers love it, it's like "Build-a-Bear Workshop" for grownups.
Question: Did you quit your "day job" to start your business? How did you initially fund your business?
Your Answer: I transitioned over a period of time from one to the other.
Question: What has been the biggest challenge in running your company?
Your Answer: This is a fragmented industry with an antiquated distribution system, which has required us over time to create concepts and innovations that make it fun and easy to create something to their taste and within their budget and thereby change their perceptions about picture framing.
Question: What’s been the biggest opportunity that came from owning your business?
Your Answer: Taking control of my own destiny; creating something that is appreciated by others and the relationships that have been formed; creating a business model that will provide the opportunity for others to change their lives for the better
Question: What has surprised you most about being your own boss?
Your Answer: The joy felt in creating and building a business
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.)?
Your Answer: Don't be afraid to be different; if you follow the crowd and wait for something to become popular before getting involved, then the greatest part of the opportunity will have already passed you by.
Question: What’s the best piece of advice you could give to other small business owners? Plan your work and work your plan
Your Answer: See challenges as opportunities for growth.