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He started his signmaking and printing firm in the late 80s by ‘knocking on doors’ of businesses in Cwmbran. Kustom Signs is still going strong in 2023.

Mark Taylor sat in his workshop
Mark Taylor, owner of Kustom Signs

Back in the 1980s Mark Taylor borrowed money and bought kit to set himself up as a signmaker and printer. He started by knocking on the doors of businesses in and around Cwmbran.

And now in 2023 Kustom Signs is still going strong. He makes products for businesses across south Wales and over the bridge into England from the workshop at his home in Upper Cwmbran.

I met him for a coffee in his office, surrounded by items he is currently working on and some unusual things he has made for his enjoyment. It’s lovely to listen to business owners talk about how and why they started working for themselves. Marks loves his profession and the creativity and difference his skills can make to another business.

He said: “I love what I do. Every job is different. Every customer is different.” In these days of email marketing, websites and social media, entrepreneurs can easily hide behind a screen. Back in the 1980s he went out and visited businesses in person and built relationships (and repeat business) by talking and listening to customers face-to-face.

The list of products that he can make and supply is long but includes vehicle graphics, window lettering, wooden signs, printed labels and banners. Have a nose at the Kustom Signs’ website for the full list.

Cefn Ila Hospital in Usk

A signmaker never stops thinking about signs or spotting signs. He told me about one in Blaenavon and one in Cwmbran that he feels should be taken down and put in a museum. But it was his story about his place of birth, the former Cefn Ila Hospital in Usk, that grabbed my attention. During a visit to the site, he spotted something glinting in the sunlight. He found a sheet of old glass in brambles and took it home in case someone got hurt. Further research found it was from a ground-floor window in the hospital where he was born.

Mark used his skills to create this stunning sign using 24-carat gold leaf and a technique called ‘reverse hand painting’. The image of the hospital was sketched by him.

a sign painted using gold leaf
Mark created this tribute to Cefn Ila Hospital using a sheet of original glass

Listen to Mark talk about his business and his find at Cefn Ila Hospital in this video

I asked him if he drives around the area and spots his work? The answer was obvious. He can’t drive anywhere without seeing something that he made. Several years ago he handpainted the barrel outside the Castell-y-Bwch pub and it’s still looking good.

Follow Kustom Sign’s work on Instagram

His account is kustom_signs_south_west/

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He started his signmaking and printing firm in the late 80s by ‘knocking on doors’ of businesses in Cwmbran. Kustom Signs is still going strong in 2023.