On the up · 1 December 2015

Family business series: Leoframes brings together multiple generations

Leoframes, Brighton
Nothing brings a family together like running a business

With the third British edition of Small Business Saturday fast approaching, Business Advice is running a family business special series. After hearing from A Hume Country Clothing on day one, we now turn our attention to another great example of what can be done when families come together.

According to statistics from American Express, the principal supporter of Small Business Saturday, six in ten claim they are more generous when it comes to spending in small, family-run businesses. On top of that, one in five are prepared to pay more – even if they could find their purchase cheaper elsewhere.

The second of our five family business case studies is Leoframes – a family-run framing and picture shop which has been on North Road in Brighton for over 26 years.

The current owner, Stephen Round, began framing after he was inspired by his uncle’s hobby of making frames in his garage. The hobby soon turned into a business as Round, his uncle Hugh Schofield and his wife Anne decided to open a bespoke service for frames, naming the store after a common star sign between two of them, Leo.

Fifteen years ago, after the Schofield retired, Round continued with the family spirit and brought his mother, and later wife, into the business. Today, five family members work in the small shop, including his nephew – bringing the business full circle. Round’s son, Louis, hopes to join the business when he leaves school.

Round commented: “We’ve been working as family businesses for so long, the family is ingrained into every element of the shop. Everyone has an input and an opinion, so we’re all passionate about what we do as a business. It’s important for people to shop small and support the independent shops in their community, so that they can get those pieces which are a little bit different and have the personal touch we offer in our service.”

When asked how the company has changed over the years, Round explained: “We have moved with the times and supply artwork that is popular now, and as we have got busier more of the family are getting involved. For me, running a family business means you work with people you know and love.”

On the unique advantages that other businesses, which aren’t family run, don’t have, he explained that you can ask them to work longer or harder any time as it’s for the greater good of everyone in the family.

“We have thought about retiring and leaving my son to run it, but will wait and see if he wants to when he is old enough to decide for himself.

Round’s final thought was to make sure you lay out clearly the roll of each member of the family at work as you would at home.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Hunter Ruthven was previously editor of Business Advice. He was also the editor of Real Business, the UK's most-read website for entrepreneurs and business leaders at the helm of growing SMEs.

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