James started work milking cows at the age of fourteen when he left school but by the time he was seventeen, he decided that he didn’t want to work on a farm for the rest of his professional life. So James went back to college and studied woodwork. He then worked as an apprentice to Sawle and Vaughen cabinet makers. In time the owner retired and he took on his business with another partner. After a few years, his partner bought James out.
After 12 months of working for another cabinet maker in London James decided to rent a workshop in Devon and started designing and manufacturing kitchens. He was working in London for a client whose builder was impressed by his work and suggested that he find a showroom in Richmond.
James needed to borrow money to rent the showroom and found that the banks wouldn’t help because it was a new business venture. As James owned his own home without a mortgage, he couldn’t understand why the banks wouldn’t invest in the expansion of his existing and successful business. It was an extremely frustrating period for James until he came across Folk2folk.
James said, "We knew a few people locally who had used Folk2Folk and spoke highly of them. So we contacted them to see if they could help finance our showroom in Richmond. We found them extremely efficient and easy to deal with. After a straightforward application and decision process, the money came through in a couple of weeks and I was able to rent the showroom. I would recommend them to others wanting to borrow money to help grow their business."
"Without Folk2Folk my business would not have been able to move forward. A lot of referral work has come through and with help of the showroom I am now able to show clients examples of two complete kitchens as well as attracting passing business in Richmond. There is no way that people from London could feasibly visit a showroom in Devon."
The Folk2Folk loan has enabled James to expand the business into wardrobes, cinema rooms, boot rooms and other luxury designs such as wine cellars. As a result of the expansion and increased demand, he has also been able to invest in employing more local carpenters in Devon creating jobs in the local area. Other areas of investment include new machinery which James says makes the production far more efficient.
"I would definitely recommend Folk2Folk and would certainly use them again if I needed to borrow more money to expand the business further in the future."
James now tends to work full-time in the showroom in Richmond whilst employing five cabinet makers in Devon to make the units and woodwork