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Couple secure overseas stockists

Framing hobby turns into export business

Kristen and Ross Hunter
Kristen and Ross Hunter: turnover soaring (pic: contributed)

An artisan business which began as a hobby has secured 80 stockists in the past two months, including a leading Australian department store.

Husband and wife Kristen and Ross Hunter used just £1,000 of savings to begin making photo frames out of reclaimed single malt whisky barrels.

Since launching at the end of 2015, they have taken on five employees and turned five shipping containers into a workshop, allowing them to produce up to 1,000 frames per month.

With support from Business Gateway Midlothian, the Midlothian-based couple are targeting a turnover of £308,000 by February next year, a four-fold increase on this year’s figure.

Kristen said: “It’s fantastic and scary in equal measure. When we decided to really push the business last October we turned to Business Gateway to see what help was available to us, as my husband’s other business had benefitted from a range of support in the past.”

The couple have signed up Peter’s of Kensington in Sydney as a new stockist and is in discussions with an American retailer.

Having studied sculpture and architecture at Edinburgh College of Art, Kristen used her artistic flare to design each of the company’s five frames, which are all made from casks obtained from cooperages and directly from distilleries across Scotland.  

Kristen said the inspiration for the frames came after the couple’s dog died and she wanted to buy husband a frame to hold a photo of her.

“I couldn’t find anything I liked so ended up finding one in America made out of reclaimed barn wood. That search made us realise there was a gap in the market for gifts geared towards men. We then came across an old whisky cask in a salvage yard and Whisky Frames was born.

“Ultimately, we want to be exporting worldwide and for the frames to become a national gift of Scotland.

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