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ūüí≠5 Years of Struggle, Success & Anecdotes

5 years. I have so many stories.

All started by that black Original Utility Field Jacket I'm wearing outside our house (main blog image above), just before I picked the kids up from nursery. I was so proud there. Still am.

Now I'm not a househusband, running FRAHM for 12 hours a week from our kitchen. We had to sell that house to stave off debt. I didn't earn a sausage from FRAHM until late 2020. That was not easy. Then it started to pay off. We're not rich and we work too hard, but it's better every day,

It's been intense, wonderful, terrifying & incredibly fulfilling, so far. Here's some interesting anecdotes, all led by my Original jacket.

Enjoy, and keep going. Nothing worthwhile was ever easy.

Nick

FEBRUARY 2018: JASON'S SUPPORT
Jason is the silent co-owner of FRAHM. He's my best mate since my teens. He put in the £20K to get FRAHM moving. 
 
That meant so much to me. I was still recovering from severe depression and not yet off medication.
 
Here, we're sat talking about actually doing this thing! "Let's make jackets. We love jackets!"
 
My dog Lily is sad, because Jason ignores her.
 
It would be 8 months before I got him out of that jacket, into a FRAHM.
APRIL: MOOD BOARDS
Lianne, my designer at the time (she now runs MonkeySox, check them out!) and I began designing ASAP. I met her in Twickenham, and we ploughed through hundreds of fabrics, trims, labels, buttons, snaps, to create mood boards.
 
You'll recognise the direction we took. Herringbone, gunmetal, brushed horn, classic colours. 
 
She knew I wanted to make a field jacket from washable waxed fabric, with a more dynamic and forgiving fit, than the fashion brands. I wanted to create a classic.
JULY: WE CAN SHOOT!
Finally, I had a sample that was good enough to photograph. I needed a model that reflected FRAHM. An ordinary man, but with charisma. 
 
Chris was my boss 20 years ago. He'd just moved to Bristol. He'd never modelled. That incredible beard set a trend that I still find it hard to break. We do love a beard here at FRAHM.
 
I had chosen to shoot in 27c degree heat. Chris was a hero. The sea wind helped.
 
It's hard to see, but notice the upper arm pocket on this version. I decided it didn't work on this style, and removed it.
NOVEMBER: SENDING THE FIRST
They arrived! Finally. YKK sent the wrong zips, our agent tried to stiff us so I had to fly to the factory on a day's notice, and a million other seemingly insurmountable obstacles that now seem ancient history.
 
I was overjoyed. Now it was concrete. All these incredible men who's backed my idea, on faith.
 
I set to work packing from the sofa (I can remember taking this about about 1am, as the kids were finally asleep), shuttling boxes to the Post Office. They were NOT happy. It took hours. Oops.
2019: SNAPSHOT OF A NEAR PAST
I wanted to show the Utility of the jacket. So I filled the pockets with stuff I use. It dates itself!
 
I used to drink beer - I gave up all booze last year. I shot much of FRAHM's images on that tiny iPhone, which now lies under my daughter's bed (she snaffled it). That bike pump got thrown in the bin last week, after 10 years of use. I still love jelly snakes. The Grayson Perry book sits on my shelf in front of me now... and my Earpods are bluetooth, not wired!
 
Oh, and it turns out I have ADHD, which I discovered last year. That explains the entrepreneurial creativity, and being a bit batsh*t.
2020: WATERPROOF FIELD & COVID
I designed the Waterproof Utility Field Jacket just before Covid hit, in early 2020.
 
Like so many business owners, I shuttered FRAHM, and didn't expect to sell anything for months. It was terrifying.
 
But, without doing any marketing, sales accelerated. Men wanted to get outdoors, and invest their money in better things. Phew.
 
The sample was a rare beauty, in that it was near perfect on the first pass. But I couldn't shoot it.
 
Eventually we got out to the Quantocks and shot it, along with the new Thermal Military Parka, in very poor visibility. Thank god for the pink & turquoise geological strata I'd chosen the location for.
 
Notice the draw cord hung in this version. Later versions had them stowed as loops, with gunmetal barrel adjusters. 
LUNATIC CHRIS
Chris is amazing. He'll find anything to climb up, jump off, hang from, paddle, wade into....
 
I love this image. One of my all-time favourites.
2022: G.O.A.T.
Talking of wading and favourites, this is my favourite image for FRAHM ever. It's by my collaborator of 8 years now, Beetle Rhind.
 
I'd planned this shot on my head for years. When I saw it, I had to fight back tears (it's a creative thing, forgive me). 
 
It says what I want to say about FRAHM. That we can be standing in the rising waters, and we can make it through. Toughness. Beauty. Grit. Determination. Human. It just works.
 
Chris was wearing a heavy wetsuit under this Ventile Thermal Storm Jacket (before we beefed it up and added a hood for this year), also based on the Original.
 
Beetle and he were in Loch Etive for 10 minutes before we had to stop.
THE PRE-ORDER ALARM CLOCK
I stole my son's alarm clock from his bedside as I rang out the door to fly to The Highlands, last May.
 
I was thinking a lot more about props and tongue in cheek humour.
 
I love the clock, because it's part of my family (he got it back and I bought 5 more on Amazon), and it's childish yet strangely cool. I think different is cool.
 
I'm still searching our FRAHM's personality, and trying to broaden it with more stories of real men. I haven't succeeded yet, as we're always so busy. Every day is exhausting, but amazing. 
 
Ok, every day is exhausting, many, but not all, are amazing. Some are grim. Like when our website didn't work, a few days ago. Ouch.
2023: KEEPING A TIGHT REIN
This is actually photographer Beetle's shed. Prav is wearing the Lightweight Quilted Gilet we launched this year, alongside t-shirts, caps and shirts. 
 
There's a lot of demand for a complete FRAHM wardrobe, but I don't want to expand the range fast. That's where mistakes can happen. Keeping design & development really tight, so our reputation is always amazing, is my obsession.
 
Pravin is our local chef. His wonderful restaurant Castle farm Midford, is super relaxed and I adore it. His three daughters are now old enough to work there. He's a smiling pussycat, but in front of camera his thing is to be super serious for FRAHM. It works.
PLANS
The Original Utility Field Jacket has always been, and I foresee it staying our most important design.
 
The Waterproof Utility Field won't be around next year, because we can't nail production for 2024. Never will we release compromised products. Sad, but easy decision.
 
I'll always have fun browsing fabric archives, like this one.
 
I plan more haircuts Emmalou shouts at me for.
 
And I think/hope we'll continue growing fast, but not too fast. We're still tiny, but rapidly less so. FRAHM employs nearly 20 full and part time staff.
 
We should sell over 10,000 jackets this year. Almost entirely on pre-order, months in advance. I still can't get over that.
 
But it was always my plan. That's what you get by carefully defending your quality, service, brand and reputation. Always long term, not the quick win.
 
Thank you again and again,
Nick