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Whisky Frames toasts higher sales after dragons setback

Kristen Hunter: ‘great team’

Kristen and Ross Hunter, who have created a picture framing business using whisky barrels, has gone from selling 200 a yearmfrom their kitchen table, to 20,000 in two years, and will be creating six jobs.

The couple were knocked back in January when they presented their Whisky Frames proposition to the panel on TV show Dragons’ Den. But the business has taken off and now operates from a 3,000 sq. ft studio, featuring workshop space and drying kilns, in Rosewell Midlothian. Output is expected to rise to over 35,000 frames in year three.  

Minnesota-born Kristen set up the business in 2016 with her Scottish husband Ross when she was looking to buy a quirky Scottish photo frame and found a gap in the market for handmade frames which were steeped in history and could be personalised.

Each frame, available online, in various shops and distilleries including Glenfiddich, Isle of Arran and Bruchladdich, is also numbered so that customers can research which distillery or cooperage the barrel originates from.

The business uses recycled wood are re-uses waste wood for heating. The couple are also working on the sustainable development of their workshop including energy saving through solar panels, biomass, inverters and upgrades to workshop facilities. 

Ongoing support from Business Gateway Midlothian has included help to streamline production, digital strategy development and marketing, branding and growth advisory support.

Kristen said:  “We are delighted with the growth of Whisky Frames, which at the very early stages we had no idea would be this successful.

“We have a great team on board who have really helped drive the business forward and also received so much help from organisations like Business Gateway Midlothian, which has been instrumental in the expansion of our business.

“We realised early on that diversifying the product wasn’t the best plan and we decided then to stick to one product and do it well which has really paid off for us.”

Ann Marie Macaskill, head of Business Gateway Midlothian said: “Whisky Frames has been an incredible success story and we have been delighted to support them and be part of their journey. The company ethos is embedded in repurposing and sustainability with the diversification to innovative new products. “



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