Teacher who left 20 year long career to start business now sells his work to Scottish stars

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A FORMER teacher who left a 20 year long career behind to  start a business specialising in creating mini bars out of whisky barrels in lockdown has caught the eyes of Scottish stars.

Freddie Main’s products have now been purchased by Scottish celebrities such as Outlander’s Sam Hueghan and former Scotland Rugby captain Craig Laidlaw.

Mr Main, a former Design and Technology teacher switched paths last year  to found Oak & Black and has also announced he has taken on his first staff member.

Former Design & Technology Teacher Freddie Main - Business News Scotland
Freddie Main launched Oak and Black last year during lockdown

Mr Main  had been the Assistant Headmaster and Design & Technology teacher at Merchiston Castle School.

He was also part of the Scotland Touch Senior Mixed World Cup Team. Following the tournament in Malaysia 2019, he contracted an illness that led to Post Viral Fatigue.

During lockdown last year, a period when his energy was beginning to improve having been signed off work since January 2020, he decided to create a whisky barrel bar for one of his friends.

Due to the positive feedback, Mr Main decided to leave teaching and focus on his dream to make products from reclaimed wood and give them a new lease of life.

The East Lothian based company, hand-picks the barrels from a cooperage to recreate a mini bar with a full middle shelf, smart lighting system, a built-in magnetic bottle opener, a hand-stamped personalised metal tag and unique barrel number to trace it back to its origins.

Whisky Barrel Mini Bar - Business News Scotland
Mini Bar designed by Freddie Main from Whisky barrel

The company has now taken on its first placement through the Government’s Kickstart Scheme to help young people get into work.

Mr Main said: “Creating barrel bars for clients is a dream come true for me – it is something I’ve wanted to do for years but didn’t have the time or energy.

“Lockdown gave me that time to make my first one and really assess whether it was a viable business model or not and I’m delighted that it’s definitely going in the right direction, especially securing orders for people like Sam Heughan, Jim Hamilton and Cask88, and taking on my first member of staff, which have given me a real boost.

Mr Main, who is also a life coach, @thesilverfoxcoach, will be talking about his entrepreneurial and inspiring story at an online business networking event, entitled Love Your Business, on the 24th June

“I’m looking forward to sharing my story about going from an employee to being a self-employed business owner and following my dreams at the next Love Your Business networking event – it’s a journey I love sharing and hope it inspires people to do something they are passionate about and that makes them feel happy.”

Love Your Business Networking Club, which was set up in 2018 by Michelle Brown is designed to help bring businesses together to share contacts, referrals and support each other, which has been a major focus over the last 15months.

Michelle said:  “I’m delighted to welcome Freddie Main from Oak and Black as a speaker at this month’s Love Your Business online networking club.

“His story about leaving the teaching profession after 20yrs and launching his own company during lockdown and doing something he loves, is hugely inspiring.”