Profiling a Prince’s Trust supported entrepreneur
Ask Sam Ryan to describe his business and his answer is clear and matter of fact. “I design and make wooden furniture and household items – to my own design for selling from stock, and on commission to the client’s specification. I’m also commissioned to repair, restore, and re-finish antique and modern furniture.”
Sam’s words belie the care and attention he puts into his work and the craftsmanship that oozes out of each item he creates. He has acquired those skills through three years’ study in furniture making and restoration and a further three years starting and running his own business – Sam Ryan Furniture.
His reputation is spreading and Sam was recently commissioned by a client in north Hertfordshire to re-size a large antique oval dining table made of solid oak. The client, Susanne Gallagher, was delighted with the craftsmanship. “I think Sam has done a great job with the table – it’s a complex piece and it’s now perfect for our dining room. It must be quite a responsibility working on someone else’s treasured piece of furniture.” Sam was equally pleased with the commission. “The table is a really lovely piece, oak is a dense wood that’s easy and enjoyable to work with.”
Sam proudly describes himself a perfectionist, but he appreciates that attention to detail and high quality work take time. The master craftsmen status to which Sam aspires can only make for a viable business if there are enough people willing to pay for his handmade pieces.
. “It’s the perfectionism that people appreciate” says Sam “but it’s also a matter of getting a balance between quality and price.”
Balancing perfectionism and productivity is just one of a number of issues confronting this young entrepreneur. On his professional journey since leaving college Sam has had to contend with periodic ill health following a major operation in 2007. He bears that reality positively and has made the most of the support offered by The Prince’s Trust.
Sam’s involvement with the Trust started with a four-day Explore Enterprise business skills course in London in June 2016 after which he developed a business plan, with the support of a staff member from the Prince’s Trust London Office.
After a transfer between the Trust’s London and Stevenage offices, Sam successfully presented to a Business Launch Group in May 2017 and now enjoys further one-to-one support from a business mentor in Hertfordshire. Whatever the level of support from family and friends, starting a business can be a lonely affair and a business mentor for the first couple of years can serve as a valuable sounding board and ‘critical friend’.
This is confirmed by Sam himself. “The course was fantastic but the business mentoring has topped it off. It’s completely changed me from being a furniture maker and restorer to also being a businessman. I’m now more confident about running a business thanks to my business mentor.”
For Sam – the passionate perfectionist, ever keen to learn and taking pride in his work – a growing circle of satisfied customers is proof that all the effort has been worthwhile.
See Sam’s craftwork at www.samryanfurniture.co.uk
About The Prince’s Trust https://www.princes-trust.org.uk/help-for-young-people/support-starting-business
For further profiles on Prince’s Trust supported entrepreneurs, click here https://enterpriseessentials.wordpress.com/category/experts-by-experience