A Hampshire craftsman who left his trade more than a decade ago has returned to his passion for creativity thanks to a Start Up Loan from SWIG Finance.
Mark Saban, a trained marble and granite mason is reaching the end of his first year running Crossgrain Garden Buildings & Furniture after receiving a £8,000 Start Up Loan from the regional not-for-profit.
Mr Saban, aged 47 spend 13 years in masonry after completing an apprenticeship in 1988 but in 2002 he decided to have a change of career and opened a wine merchants, which he ran for nine years.
Keen to get back to craftsmanship he started up his own garden buildings and furniture company in June 2014 based out of polytunnel at Garthowen Garden Centre in Four Marks.
In January he received the loan from SWIG Finance, using it to buy a variety of saws and other machinery and he says he is now so busy that he is working seven days a week just to keep up with demand. Within the next 12 months he hopes to branch into timber framing and oak garage construction and said the loan has really kick started his business.
Mr Saban said: “After nine years as a wine merchant I realised I really missed making things so I decided to sell the wine shop and get back to my tools and start making again.
“I knew what I wanted to do but finance was very difficult to get and I wasn’t really getting anywhere. Then I saw something online about SWIG Finance and it went from there.
“The difference with my products is that they are made by me in my workshop and they are all made properly and built to last. I really enjoy my work, the finished product really matters and I think customers appreciate that.”
Mr Saban said he is looking forward to expanding the business, while maintaining the standards which have caused his company’s reputation to develop.
“I have a core range of products that I make for stock sales and also the ability to develop custom build specific items to a customer’s own specification. My core range will increase and change depending on what customers want.”
As part of the Start Up Loan Scheme, Mr Saban has also received fully funded business support from SWIG Finance’s delivery partner Solent Business Growth Network (SBGN).
SBGN advisor David Vane said: It is great to see Mark making his business a success and doing what he loves. We are keen to offer him whatever support he needs to help Crossgrain Garden Buildings & Furniture prosper and Grow.”
Find out more about applying for a Start Up Loan from SWIG Finance.