1997 – 2022: The First 25 Years of Freedom Stores
This year marks 25 years of Freedom Fine Art history and I wanted to celebrate
this great achievement by sharing the whole story of how I got to where I am today.
I am very proud of my achievement of building my company from nothing and being a
self-made and self-employed business owner and artisan.
The journey of how my company came to be starts in 1997, where the company name 'Freedom' began from my newly opened retail shop selling mobile phones in Maldon, Essex. ‘Freedom’ came from freedom of spirit, the ability to wander to other places and ideas. I chose to follow my family background in the art scene and utilise the space in the shop to make an art gallery and with the small seaside harbour town of Maldon being a little bit of an art hub at the time, I gained customers interest. The gallery grew and became successful, and at its peak we displayed and managed several artists work and even hosted exhibitions. 1997 was also the year the company name Freedom Fine Art came about, after opening the gallery and brainstorming ideas for names. Unfortunately, the phone shop side of my business wasn’t doing nearly as well as the gallery, but I knew it was due to the fact that technology was advancing too fast for smaller, self-owned businesses and mobile phones were now a world away from the ones I was knowledgeable about selling. I came to the decision that that part of my business was dying and that I should stop pursuing that route, but I was fortunate enough to have another path ready for me to follow, and one I was more passionate about, in the art world.
It was around this time that I had started to manage several artists including Graham Petley whose brilliant work is shown in many royal households across the world, I even made sales to a few states in America, and some in Europe along the way. And with the growth of online websites, we had started to manage and build websites with the help of Freedom Web Services.
In 2006 after 9 strong years, the difficult decision was made to close the Maldon
gallery and to concentrate on my business' online presence due to a difficult
financial period for everyone at the time, and I had then started working online
from Colchester whilst looking to hopefully re-establish in a different marketplace.
I started working for FDM Limited, a company who made interiors designs for hotels and restaurants in the business industry, so after several years working there and meeting other people within the industry, I had gained some valuable experience and advice that I could then utilise and apply to my own company and business plan ideas.
Whilst working for FDM I started making mirrors for leading corporate clients such as Hilton Hotels, the Green King chain pub/restaurants and Beefeater chain restaurants, this ended up being good practice and experience for where I would eventually end up, as I’m still making and selling my mirrors today, I eventually decided to leave there to follow my other paths and my artisan’s dream.
In 2013 I moved to Norfolk where I gained a job within the funeral business, at Co-op Funeral Care. For a long 5 years I was there, I was making contacts within the funeral business and earning valuable knowledge and experience with the memorial business that I would be able to extend into my future endeavours. I have especially carried over the care and compassion you need to have for your customers within this sensitive area of business, into my own work, company values and customer service.
It was around this time I made the executive decision to slow down the management of
artists side of business and concentrate on both building websites for artisans and
establishing my own personal adventure; Stephen J Turner Art of Wood. I started making
mirrors and furnishings for individual clients alongside the growing market of funeral
and memorial work.
See the summary of story about council development here,
After a lot of hard work, I finally realised my dream of having my own workshop and valuable additional staff for my Art of Wood team, so we’ve now come almost full circle within 25 years, returning to the art background I came from and this time it being a full-time job and passion, I’m even in the workshop most weekends! And I’m delighted to say I now have the privilege to support and advertise my family's work, who are also now successful artists themselves, through my growing platforms and reputation which I intend to carry far into my future.
We are still expanding our Art of Wood team as well as our range of products and the services we can provide. More recently I have been making and selling artist boards that have been popular with artists locally and even internationally, when we recently worked on some large-scale artist boards for a client whose work is now displayed in the AIA building in Hong Kong! To hear more about this story please visit my Instagram or Facebook page which I will link below. My commissions and inbox are always open for any ideas or questions you may have and please follow the links below to support my pages and follow me documenting my journey further. Thanks for reading.
- Art of Wood website: https://www.artofwood.co.uk/
- Freedom Web Services: https://www.freedomwebservices.net/
- Etsy: https://t.co/ThEFmzZ5n8/li>
- Facebook: https://t.co/g3af63tfiE
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/freedomfineartofwood/