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How A Master Craftsman Grew His Business with Rural Funding

Nick - Master Craftsman Grew His Business with Rural Funding

Nick Waldron designs and creates beautifully crafted kitchens, free-standing and fitted furniture and specialist items, for private and commercial clients. He works closely with interior designers and architects who often seek his expertise in the early stages of a project, to capitalise on his traditional skills combined with modern manufacturing methods. This combination enables Nick to provide a cost-effective and creative solution that meets the client brief. Nick is a very commercially-minded person as well as a creative, which is a great combination for an entrepreneur.

Quality & Speed to Market

Prior to 2011, Nick says, his business was “successful but small-scale”. He was considering buying some second-hand machinery to modernise the business, but was concerned about the likelihood of the ongoing maintenance costs associated with equipment that had already been used commercially. Following a conversation with fellow local entrepreneur Mike Gillman, who had already received funding under the Rural LEADER Program, Nick decided to apply for the funding himself. His growth plan was to install a machine he didn’t already have in order to speed up the manufacturing process and make it more cost-effective for both himself and the client, getting his pieces to market faster while maintaining the quality, to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. He made an application to the LEADER Program for £16k to purchase a 4-sided wood moulding machine and an upgraded dust extraction system to support the new equipment.

Business Benefits

The business benefits of the new 4-sided moulder are clear as Nick says it now takes 1 hour to complete wood moulding processes that previously took 8 hours with 7 processes each carried out on different pieces of equipment. The machine also freed up his team from doing repetitive manual and machine work, enabling them to focus more on the creative process and client experience. He was also able to take on a larger quantity of jobs and much larger projects. By helping Nick to grow his business, the LEADER funding was also a catalyst for hiring more staff and his team has grown from 1 full time and 1 part time employee to 4 in the last few years.

Secrets to Success

Nick feels the secret to the success of his funding application was that he did a lot of groundwork and preparation supported by the LEADER Program Managers Huw Jarvis and Richard Hall and then took a full week off work to complete the form.

“I read the funding requirements really carefully and made sure I addressed every one of them and showed how my growth strategy matched each criterion. As my business is highly creative and the pieces we make are aesthetically pleasing, I included lots of images to illustrate the benefits of the proposed project. I demonstrated my passion for my work and made my application stand out from the crowd.”

If you are looking for high quality furniture and joinery skills you can contact Nick Waldron via his website www.nickwaldron.co.uk or by email at nick@nickwaldron.co.uk.

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