“It’s never too late to chase your dreams.”
Sue Frendin was in her mid 50s when she left her public service job five years ago to start Fold Out Furniture.
Her journey started when she wanted to buy a wall bed with a built-in desk.
After visiting six shops in Hobart and hearing the workers say that people have been looking for beds similar to what she was after.
Her 30 years of experience in occupational therapy and public health provided her with the experience that she needed in order to understand the impacts of housing and urban design.
Sue did some research, purchased and installed a few beds and used her friend’s warehouse as her first “showroom.” Little did she know, this was only the beginning of Fold Out Furniture.
Sue is passionate about supporting people through Fold Out Furniture to live more simply and more consciously by introducing them to furniture and fixtures that are as flexible as they wish their lifestyle to be.
Who’s your favourite entrepreneur and why?
This is tricky as I never really thought about the concept of entrepreneurs before – thinking that was really ‘another world’. Having said that though – people who come to mind who i have found inspiring include;
- Brene Brown – for her journey, authenticity, books and obviously – vulnerability.
- Anita Roddick of the Body Shop – remembered when I was younger how her story was so impressive, and the way she has addressed bigger social issues as well.
- Maybe a bit different – but JK Rowlings success appeared to come from such a hard background..that ability to plug away at something you believe in and that it’s not limited by/dependent on wealth necessarily.
What to you enjoy most about running your own business?
- Learning something new all the time
- Being my own boss and being able to work on this anywhere (with the right people at the showroom/s!!)
- The love and joy of clever furniture design
- Seeing peoples issues solved with a beautiful and clever piece of furniture
- Developing new partnerships with other suppliers – the camaraderie
- Always thinking of the next steps, new products – and what my ideal would be like!
What three pieces of advice do you wish you’d been given when you started?
- Work out how this business will actually pay you , and how much of your own capital you are prepared to sink into it, and at what ‘points’ of investment do you need to reflect on the viability of it…(but then I know if i had listened to my act in the first 2 years , I may not be here today..)Maybe the bigger question is how much risk are you prepared to/able to take?
- Links to supportive Business networks to access support and expertise (like HerBusiness) and learning opportunities
- Find a trusted mentor and be prepared to be VERY honest with them. Get education about how to set profit margins (seems like secret business)
What advice would YOU give someone thinking about starting a business?
The 3 things above! :-)
What skills and knowledge areas would you recommend those starting out in business get acquainted with quickly?
- Accountancy Software Package
- Marketing – The customer journey, (only just learnt this term and concept myself!)
What does your IDEAL business look like? Even if you’re not there yet.
That Fold Out Furniture becomes a ‘go-to’ place for information on innovative furniture, trends and products to maximise the use of peoples living spaces.
That space is seen as a valuable commodity and that by using transformable furniture, a guest room can also be a home office; a coffee table can also seat a banquet for 12 people. Space becomes flexible and used more cost effectively.
That Fold Out Furniture seeks to work with companies to source products that meet environmental and humanitarian standards for work and production.
That Fold Out Furniture provides a range of solutions to suit different budgets from DIY flat packs to high end imported modular Italian solutions that fill the current gap in the Australian market
That Fold Out furniture identifies local businesses to develop partnerships with to support local business and innovation.
That Fold Out Furniture is able to donate a percentage of its profit to a cause that seeks to address female homelessness and build a sense of community.
What problem does being a Member of the HerBusiness Network solve for you and your business? And, how?
Amazing connection with access to such talented and uplifting people and community.
An opportunity to also contribute and support others whilst also learning – no incredibly nourishing!!
A sense of focus and support to really start working on my Business in a more serious way.
A huge relief to have some structure through the resources to help focus on 1 area at a time to really review and address all the parts of my business that are happening rather intuitively, but without documentation or having all the right systems working.
Still trying to work out quite how to structure my week to make the best use of this wealth of info and opportunities.