OUR STORY SO FAR...
Hi, we are Allan and Hannah a husband-and-wife team from Lancashire. We make these fan creation frames in our garden shed or as we like to call it, The Bat Cave!
We are massive geek fans and love Comic Cons. In fact, this is why we started Comic Book Frames. Comic Cons can be very expensive and we wanted to be at one every weekend if we could. So, we decided, let’s trade at them! One of the first things we decided was, whatever we were going to sell we were not going to make a huge profit from it. As long as it covered our travel, hotel, traders table and the cost of our product materials we were happy. This would also keep the cost down for our fellow Comic Con goers who bought our products so win-win.
Now all we needed to do was to come up with a product to sell! We wanted to sell something that no one else at comic cons were selling. We wanted something that would complement and not compete with other traders. We love seeing all the artist stalls and their amazing work and thought wouldn’t they look good in a frame on our wall at home and that was our eureka moment. Most art work didn’t come with a frame. Also, what about some of the other stuff you get from Comic Cons that could be framed like comics and signed guest pictures?
Allan’s always been into arts and crafts and was volunteering at a local charity that upcycled furniture at the time. It was here he came across and mastered the technique of découpage. Hannah (the brains of the team) then said why not découpage a frame with an old ripped comic book? So that’s what we did. We showed it to a few of our family and friends who loved it.
It’s OK that our family and friends loved our product but what about the average Comic Con goer? We decided to make a few more to see if we could sell any of them at a small Comic Con just down the road in Bolton. We sold out! We were over the moon and couldn’t wait to do another Comic Con. We did a couple more of the smaller local Comic Cons and started to improve our frames at the same time, both by the way they looked and the materials we used. We are both environmentally conscious so the materials we use need to be as eco-friendly as possible and all made in the UK and as local as possible. We then started to increase our stock and go a little bit further afield.
It was around this time that we started our Facebook page. We had started to see a few of the same faces at our stalls (who we now call friends) and thought this would be a good way of keeping them up to date with our ever-growing collection of frames. It would also let people know which Comic Cons we were attending next. What we didn’t expect was the number of people who wanted to buy our frames after seeing them on Facebook. So, we set up our own website too, making the transition process easier for our customers and us.
We continued to grow and started going further and doing bigger Comic Cons. However, we still keep to our original pledge; to do it for fun and not profit, to keep the cost of our frames as low as possible and to use materials that are environmentally friendly whenever we can.
Then Covid hit, we all went into lockdown and Comic Cons stopped. Luckily we had set up the website and Comic Con goers knew who we were, which helped us survive as a business. We decided that once things opened back up we were coming back bigger and better. This quiet period allowed us to design even more frames which meant we would have even more tables at Comic Cons too.
We were a bit anxious about what would happen when Comic Cons started again but we shouldn't have been worried as footfall was even bigger than pre-covid and people were spending. We made the decision to only attend two Comic Con organisers’ events. These were Monopoly and Unleashed. These two organisers were very helpful to us during lockdown and we wanted to show our appreciation.
With things on the up we decided to get a new logo and we got Kieran from Ink Kiwi (a fellow Comic Con trader) to make it for us. We also could start donating 50p to Men's Shed Fleetwood for each frame we sold at a convention. This means so much to such a small local charity close to our hearts that tackles mental health, loneliness and deprivation and within just a few months we raised £455 for them!
As we’re writing this we are in the middle of the cost of living crisis and the 2023 season is almost here. All our business costs have gone up, however we have decided to keep our price the same as last year as we wanted to stay true to our original pledge; to do it for fun and not profit, to keep the cost of our frames as low as possible for our customers and to use materials that are environmentally friendly whenever we can. We have also decided to continue donating 50p to Men's Shed Fleetwood for each frame we sell at a convention, as we believe that charities like Men’s Shed Fleetwood need our help now more than ever due to the cost of living crisis.
So that’s where we are now, we hope to see you at a Convention in 2023 and please come and say hi, tell us how the convention is going for you and also feel free to talk to us about anything geeky too but be warned Allan likes to chat a lot!