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2009 PMA U.S. Custom Framing Report

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Rob Markoff, May 29, 2009.

  1. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    Exactly. Average sale prices don't mean a lot to me except when looking at year to year trends, whereas looking at reasons why the public don't purchase custom framing is more relevant, and something I can actually consider making changes with regard do. Independent frame shop market share figures are disappointing, but again, not something I can make a dent in.

    What is the response of our organization to these figures? Suggestions on thier part? A call to action? A marketing plan?
  2. William Parker

    William Parker CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    William Parker MCPF GCF


    What a perfect response. You have outlined exactly what all of us should do in looking at these numbers. Make a point by point analysis of your business and then see how the number relates. As Andrew has demonstrated, when you really have to look beyond the number to see if it is meaningless.

    Andrew I conceed to your logic....the number is meaningless...except as an inspiration to investigation.

    William Parker MCPF GCF
  3. William Parker

    William Parker CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    William Parker MCPF GCF


    A smart person, which I am not being at the moment, would just walk away from this point, but I am having trouble with the term meaningless as applied to this number. Maybe it is the English major in me, or too much time at the farm with Eli (the Corgi), but the term I would prefer is relevant. Is the number relevant or irrelevant to each store's situation.

    I will also add a plug for the additional numbers we have coming in July from Decor's Pricing For Profit issue. We can take a look at their relevance very soon. Eli is asleep now, and I need to finish weed eating.

    William Parker MCPF GCF
  4. JbNormandog

    JbNormandog SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    See now i didn't want to get dragged into this but you hit on the one thing that drives me nuts.

    It is "line trimming" not "weed eating" unless of course you have made a nice dandelion salad then it would be almost correct, it would be eating weeds.

    Weed wacking is also wrong.

    As you were,

  5. CAframer

    CAframer SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Meaningless: Lacking any significance; without use, value, or worth.

    The term 'memorabilia' is not defined; it is an extremely broad term (e.g. it could be applied to signed baseballs, signed bats, signed jerseys, collections of medals, old artifacts, phonograph records, swords, documents, plaster casts, hypodermic needles, etc., etc.), and is subject to an almost infinite array of interpretations and mis-interpretations. And with an assigned average value of $135 it has almost certainly been strangely interpreted.

    Computing a simple average on such a basis is meaningless.

    By way of further illustration, a good example of a meaningless average is the one you get by finding the mean of all the telephone numbers in your town. It’s correct, but what is it..?
  6. Cliff Wilson

    Cliff Wilson SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    So, ... is anyone taking an action due to this survey that they wouldn't have taken before the survey?

    If so, what?
  7. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    May i paraphrase Forrest Gump's mother and say 'meaningless is as meaningless does"

    May I make a point

    Suppose that i am the Director of Ticket Sales for the Dbacks and sales are down. MLB reports sales are up on average. My ave ticket price is greater than the league average

    My boss says "How come ticket sales re up everywhere else, but not us?"

    Should I say "Those numbers are meaningless?" Because you cannot compare NY to PHX or Milwaukee to ATL. You can if you do a little research and do the comparatives

    Or should i say that compared to last year we are actually up per game or last year we played the Cubs for two homestands and this year we had the Nationals" does that make the numbers mean something? Sure, they do. But, these are comparatives-simply markers

    Ave ticket prices? If i lowered them to MLB averages would i draw more fans? If I raised them would I lose more fans?

    research might tell me how that same dynamic worked in other markets and if it wre comparable markets. In truth, research always needs a local component and is a little science, a little magic, a little intuition

    Williamand I often discuss these things in always friendly, sometimes spirited discussions. Always ending in "Who's turn to pick up the next round followed by "Malt or Blended"

    A critical factor in average ticket price is a comprehensive and long term local Market Area Pricing Survey. Your local prices should be compared to your local prices. Without that i might agree that the numbers might be meaningless

    Experience tells me that virtually no one does that, however
  8. William Parker

    William Parker CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Bob (not Carter),

    I stand corrected and will hence forth and forever refer to the process as line trimming. Please forgive by monent of not being PC as it relates to the trimming of grass on a bank using a line trimmer.

    Actually, I have been to the post office and bank which covers half of what there is to do in Geraldine, Alabama (the rest being the Shell station and the Food Value). I am off to line trim now.

    Bob, thanks for the correction and the chance to have a little fun.

  9. cvm

    cvm PFG, Picture Framing God

    There's always a chance that the '08 numbers have been tainted due to the current economic conditions. Some of those people who have picture framing on their priority list may have done some temporary re-allocation within their mix of framing consumption in order to maximize their utility under new budget constraints.

    Of course there's always the possibility that if we look at custom framing at the macro level, we discover that the industry is experiencing the deflation of bubble of sorts that began in the mid 1980's; driven by the greater fool theory and kept alive by ease of entry, proliferation of chop distributors, just-in-time inventory and lastly, easy credit. Thus, we are now a lot closer to where we actually should be. :)
  10. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    No, I started making changes before the survey came out. It did validate what I already thought.

    The "what" I've already shared a little and have been told it doesn't work.

    I learned from a plumber on construction jobs that there is no such thing as a "hot water heater". So I never say it. I almost have my wife trained to call them "lamps" and not "light bulbs".
  11. osgood

    osgood SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Mmmmmmm, perhaps "hot water" doesn't require heating, so I can understand that "hot water heater" isn't appropriate.

    I prefer "light bulbs" not lamps.
    In my tiny mind, lamps are things that miners use or people used prior to the implementation of electricity, after which, light bulbs became popular.
  12. nikfrz

    nikfrz SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    It's a Weed Whacker! Period!!!
  13. Rick Granick

    Rick Granick SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Having studied sociology, I must agree with Bob (Carter)'s characterization of statistics and surveys. Having studied industrial design, I must agree with Jay's lamps/bulbs position. (To me, a lamp is the thing into which one screws a bulb. Nevertheless, if you're doing a search on the Grainger site, you have to search for lamps when you are looking to re-lamp.)
    :popc: Rick

    (Hey, I agreed with two Republicans in one post. ;))
  14. William Parker

    William Parker CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    William Parker MCPF GCF


    You wrote something in post #83 that I glossed over, and then, as I was line trimming, it came back to me. You stated: "(and we reduced our DIY prices this morning....)". DIY (Do It Yourself), which was wildly popular in the 1970's and the 1980's is rare these day.

    My question is this, what has the current economic climate done to the volume of your DIY business and how do you do it? I might also ask who is the DIY customer? Finally, is anyone other than Warren offering DIY? If I had asked this question in 1980, I bet 40% of the shops responding would have offered DIY.

    In the old days, DIY shops would create stations at which the customer would assemble the frame package. Sometimes allowing the customer to cut the mat, and assemble the pre-cut frame using a vice and cross nailing.

    This is a serious question and in the spirit of everything old is new again.

    William Parker MCPF GCF
  15. cvm

    cvm PFG, Picture Framing God

    I'd be willing to bet that it has not decreased, per my earlier comment that perhaps due to the current economic conditions. some "people who have picture framing on their priority list may have done some temporary re-allocation within their mix of framing consumption in order to maximize their utility under new budget constraints".
  16. Warren Tucker

    Warren Tucker MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    We actually have two forms of DIY: one where the customer orders frame, mats backing from us and either assembles the whole package at the Frame Outlet (or at home) or simply buys mats, backing or glass from us but no frame. We had two prices for the mats, glass mounting stretching, one for the whole frame job and one we called non framing. Christie's mention of redimat.com's online mat prices caught my attention. For a 11 x 14 alpha mat we charged $8 framing and $9.5 non framing. We dropped the non framing distinction to be more competitive. There really was no reason why we made the distinction.

    Our DIY business has been steady during this downturn as has our digital imaging business. The Frame Outlet (which does custom framing) has been doing a lot better than the Frame Works (our more up-scale store) recently but both are off from last year. We feel we're lucky to have the three sources of revenue heading into what we think will be a deep recession (heck, it may already be one). Our major recession hedge is our commercial real estate. We own our buildings and we are our best tenant. Our other tenant is pretty healthy on S Kerr.

    I think anyone wanting to change direction might consider FIY; its main draw back is the necessity to stock everything a shop sells (actually I think that's a hidden advantage) and it's labor intensive if it's successful.
  17. William Parker

    William Parker CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    William Parker MCPF GCF


    Thank you for answering my first question and I have a follow up. Have you seen any custom customers who are now using DIY? Basically, has the DIY customer remained the same, or have they become former custom customers?

    Thanks for the information.

    William Parker MCPF GCF
  18. Warren Tucker

    Warren Tucker MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    It seems our DIY customers are a distinct group, sui generis; we may gain a few more DIY’ers over time but they are mostly long time customers we picked up during our DIY period in the 70’s. There has been so far no crossover from custom to DIY that we’ve noticed. We always offer the DIY option in the face of price resistance. That and the Yellow Pages/Web Page are the only effort we make to push the option. It’s interesting that some of the DIY customers are our most loyal customers, going back 30 years. I’m glad that when we shifted our gears from DIY to custom that we were smart enough to leave this door open. We actually lost DIY customers when we began to pre join frames but most have stuck with us. In bad times it’s nice to have a loyal customer base we can count on, and it would have been foolish to have cut them lose.
  19. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God


    We have always offered DIY. It is now a smaller percentage of our business than in 1977, but believe me, we have several DIY projects going every day on our downstairs tables. If you do a search for DIY you will find a lot of information on this forum. Also, we were featured in For Members Only as a DIY shop.

    For more information please visit our In the News Page with several stories about our DIY business, including the PPFA article. We also have a DIY web page on the site.

    DIY is alive and well, and we are seeing a bit more DIY volume these days. DIY customers come in all stripes--young, old, artists, and everyone else. The like to save money and they like the process.

    BUT we have 3-4 people working in the DIY area on any given day. (Custom is done separeately upstairs by custom framers on a mezzanine area.) We stock most of what we sell. Like Warren, I see this as an advantage. We buy very well. What we special order for customers has a $20. freight fee built into the price on the POS. We gang orders on Mondays.

    We also stock a selection of bread and butter ready made wall frames which, along with the ones we make, sell very well. These are almost always upgraded with a mat, or possibly UV glass/acid-free backing. There is no charge to the customer to have us help him put art in one of our ready made frames. There is a charge to help install art in frames purchased elsewhere,and that charge is significant enough to encourage customers to buy their ready made frames from us.
  20. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    William, I will jump in and answer that. Yes, I am seeing some customers choose DIY to save the labor fee in this economy. DIY takes some time and my educated guess is that many will revert to custom when thier finances improve. Like Warren, we have a lot of DIY diehards, a lot of artists who always use DIY. Our average ticket is down and yet the shop is still busy with lower ticket framing, including DIY and DIY ready made frames.

    As I have said before, the cost to run DIY is significant and actually costs us more than custom, but the benefits pay off in volume. Our shop has lots going on, lots of framers, usually a few customers, everyone chatting, so it often looks busy and we hope, inviting enough to compete with the open plan and easy to browse big box stores. And, we are currently working on making it even more so.
  21. William Parker

    William Parker CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    William Parker MCPF GCF

    Kirstie and Warren,

    Thank you for the responses. I am always fishing for Decor material. If you will indulge me one more time, I have a couple of additional questions.

    Assuming you are the typical retail custom shop in 1,200 square feet in a strip center, and you have time on your hands, how would you approach adding DIY (Do It Yourself), or would you? My impression is that DIY attracts the hobbiest (based on Warren's comments about joined frames, and Kirstie statement about craft) and the artist. Both of these groups have mostly been lost to the custom frame retailer starting in the late 1980's. Is this something to look at for the small retailer or something to avoid.

    Your thoughts would be welcomed.

    William Parker MCPF GCF
  22. cvm

    cvm PFG, Picture Framing God

    As someone mentioned earlier, the percentage of custom framing purchasers using the internet as a portal may be misrepresented in the study due to survey respondents' opinions as to what constitutes custom framing.

    And since everybody asked me :) , IMHO, the lower (age) half of 'Generation X' and most of the 'Millennials' are/will be comfortable buying the DIY materials they've picked out themselves online delivered to their door, ready to assemble on their playroom floor; as opposed to going to a small custom frame shop to do the same.
  23. Framing:

    Framing: In Corner

    Is there a way that the local framer could offer/present a DIY package/range that customers could order locally or on line at the shop site and collect it in the local framing shop to take home to assemble themselves?
  24. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    I'm less interested in the price averages, since there are so many regional variations, and more interested in the information on who is buying framing and why (and who is not, and again, why). I can measure my pricing against my nearby competitors to determine if I'm out of whack or not.

    For me, it's more important to understand how to bring new customers into the store. In particular, younger customers. I'm fortunate to have a fair number of customers in the 25-40 age group, and I think that bringing those folks in is crucial to our long-term success. I pay close attention to the kinds of artwork they bring in to frame, to see if there are common themes. So far, the only thing I've seen on a regular basis is artwork based on anime and tagging. I suppose if I was looking to start carrying limited editions and such, I might try to focus on that kind of art.

    I don't accept that younger consumers are all buying ready-to-hang from Bed Bath & Beyond, or doing all their framing online. I see enough of them coming in to give me hope. Now the issue is, how can I keep them coming in, and how can I get more of them?
  25. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Hey paul-I think you might be correct, but perhaps some mini-focus groups may be enlightening

    Next time at a party or event, make some csual conversation with some of the folks. Ask something like "I need something framed and don't have a place, Any recommendations?"

    Now, you may not like what you hear, so be prepared to bite your lip

    My guess is with under 30's you will hear a lot of Internet and Michael's with an equal amount of "I don't know or I don't do that"

    Every survey ever done reflects a huge number of those with the last two reponses

    While not empirical, may be helpful
  26. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God


    Honesty William, I think DIY would be difficult to add to a 1200 sq.ft. shop. I have about double that. Not huge, but large enough. The problems are many: You need space to store in-stock length moulding, space to store a full selection of matboard, space to store glass. Then you need at least one large DIY table. We have three 4 x 8 tables in the DIY area, and they also serve as overflow custom tables when necessary, which is most of the time during the week. The typical custom shop is set up with a small front room with all cutting and fitting in the back. Finally, you need staff. One person can't be in the back fitting frames, out front at design, and helping the DIY customer. We sometimes have to do it with two and that's a real stretch. It also takes time to become known as a shop with DIY available. So, if you are willing to stock length, have machines to cut wood and metal, can cut and join while the customer waits, are willing to make space for the DIY customer, and have a lot of patience, yes you could do it. The patience part is the least of it. Most DIY customers are happy to be there, take instruction well, and don't do much themselves anyway. Think of it as discounted instant framing with the customer standing by helping out a bit, and you've got the concept.

    We have had framers with larger shops on this forum add DIY services and as far as I know, none has taken off.

    I don't mean to sound so negative, but this is really something a framer would have to go into with eyes wide open. Can you stock the materials, have the staff, make the space, and advertise enough to bring in the volume necessary to make a go of it?

    Warren and I, in our separate areas of the country, have been offering DIY since the seventies. Both of our shops are known for the service. We both have adequate staff, and volume to pull it off. Personally, I think it is a wonderful service to be able to offer the customer and had I to do it all over again, I would offer DIY in a heartbeat. Where else can my customers grab a ready made frame or have one cut and joined to order and have a nice personable young person there to help them assemble thier projects and be out the door in 30-60 minutes with a finished product that in appearance looks just like custom work and saves them $30-$90? Nowhere ;-)
  27. Cassetta

    Cassetta CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Paul, This is a very important component of our re branding of our forty year old business that we will be unveiling mid July . I think it is crucial to the art and framing industry to figure out how to market to the younger generations.

    This has been a Great Thread thanks to all who have been participating . I will be sharing more of what we are about to do with the re branding effort of our store
    Please look at our web site now for a comparison to the new one in July
    Thanks again for this thread.
  28. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    William has written quite a bit about younger generations in his trade magazine articles. I agree that we need to focus on how we can appeal to younger customers. They are our future.

    I am looking forward to the rebranding photos. 40 years! Wow! Congratulations.
  29. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Bob, it may not be that simple. Most of the younger customers that have come to me found me on the internet. They are the kinds of people that simply don't notice or respond to conventional print advertising, so they probably never saw Michaels' weekly ad circular. They've learned to tune out so much advertising, and they will use the internet to find what they are looking for (unless they have a personal recommendation).

    As for the internet, I still don't see an internet framer that you can send your artwork to, at least nobody with a very strong reputation. There's no AmazonFraming.com, yet. Sure, Art.com and Allposters.com have taken a big chunk of the poster-framing market, but that is an add-on to the sale of a poster.

    People don't go to a show or a gallery and buy a limited edition or a canvas, and mail it to Art.com. I think the local framer can still compete effectively against that kind of operation, if it did exist. What advantages do the internet framers offer? Convenience and price? Price becomes less of an advantage when you have to factor in the cost of mailing your artwork to them, and the cost of shipping the framed artwork back. Plus the risk of damage in transit is there at both ends. So that's a $35 surcharge on every order, which puts a dent in any price advantage.

    Then you factor in the ability to really see and feel the materials being used in the framing. You don't just have a picture of the moulding, you have a 3-D sample in your hands. For the higher end, that's important. Also, we offer a wider range of services and materials than online framers. Try to get a 24x30 piece with Museum Glass online. Nobody will do it. I think that bodes well for those of us that aspire to provide a broader range of materials, and higher end materials. There ARE people that value that, and there always will be.
  30. cvm

    cvm PFG, Picture Framing God

    I agree with much of that Paul, but disagree with much as well. So how big of a slice of the pie do you think is going to be left for those niche framers whose businesses will revolve around the custom framing of 'memorabilia' and finer art? How many shops will that slice support and, more importantly, how many of those shops will be pulling down some serious coin for the owners?
  31. William Parker

    William Parker CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    William Parker MCPF GCF

    WOW...sometimes this gets great.

    Kirstie, you gave the answer I was hoping for in reference to DIY. Both you and Warren have built successful businesses on diversity of product and service. If I were the 1,200 square foot frame shop in a strip center, and I had the time, I would approach DIY as an opportunity to reach out to hobbiest/artist with a frame in a bag concept. No assembly in the shop, and as mentioned above they take it home and assemble it on the kitchen table. The hook is the custom size. No more mats, with 4" on the sides, and 1 1/4" top and bottom forced into a 16 X 20. If it has to be quick, stock 5 profiles (4 in black and one in a natural wood tone). This is a variation on a very old idea which Ivy Moulding started called Picture Parts.


    Your comments are dead on reaching Generation X and the Millenials. You gave voice to something I have been thinking about for a while, which is what do the big boxes do when there are no daily papers? Beyond that, are we really connected to Generation X and the Millenials with only a web site. They are connected in ways that Boomers do not understand. To really be relevant to the next generations we have to Face Book (sp), Twitter, My Space, etc.

    These two generations have great pontenial because they want custom products. As a Boomer I would never buy a ring tone. The X'ers and the Millenials buy hundred of millions of dollars of ring tones. The desire to be unique by having a custom product defines these two generations, and we have to be part of that desire.

    Andrew had an interesting thread on the Grumble entitled "Same Old Hogwash!" The discussion is about the absurd nature of corporate meetings, and although I respect Edwards Demming, I agee with the sentiment. What I found interesting was the item which was being framed. It was a page from a flip chart from a meeting and it said:

    Healthy Snacks
    Good Coffee
    Happy Hour
    Work-life Balance
    Flextime for all
    Easier Phone System
    i Phone for all

    I would almost bet this was a meeting of Generation X's headed by a Boomer and it defines, in the bullet points, the important elements of the younger generations. Notice that three of the items relate on connectivity.

    Question for the group, does anyone go beyond a web site? Do you market through Twitter, Face Book, etc.?

    William Parker MCPF GCF

    PS Andrew thank you for the use of your thread.
  32. William Parker

    William Parker CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    William Parker MCPF GCF

    My apologies, but this stuff really gets me excited. The quote below is from the speach to the Franchise Concepts franchisee in Vegas. The descriptions are taken from a book entitled "Generations At Work". Note the terms used in the description of Generation X and the terms in Andrew's thread.

    What defines these generations, and how do they differ? Quoting from “Generations At Work” by Ron Zemke, Claire Raines, and Bob Filipczak:

    Traditionalist (Age 63-100), also called Veterans by some researchers.

    Core Values Dedication/Sacrefice, Hard Work, Conformity, Law & Order, Respect For Authority, Patience, Delayed Reward, Duty Before Pleasure, Adherence To Rules, Honor.
    Cultural Memorabilia Kewpie Dolls, Mickey Mouse, Flash Gordon, The Golden Era Of Radio, Wheaties, Charlie McCarthy, Tarzan, Juke Boxes, Blondie, The Lone Ranger.
    Heroes Superman, FDR, McArthur, Patton, Montgomery, Halsey & Eisenhower, Winston Churchill, Audie Murphy, Joe Foss, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio.

    The Baby Boomers (Age 44-62)

    Core Values Optimism, Team Orientation, Personal Gratification, Youth (Pepsi Generation), Work, Involvement.
    Cultural Memorabilia The Ed Sullivan Show (Elvis & The Beatles), Quonset Huts, Fallout Shelters (Duck And Cover), Poodle Skirts, Slinkies, TV Dinners, “The Laugh-In”, Hula Hoops, The Mod Squad, and The Peace Sign.
    Heroes Ganhi, Martin Luther King, John, Jacqueline, and Bobby Kennedy, John Glenn.

    Generation X (Age 28-43)

    Core Values Diversity, Thinking Globally, Balance (personal life/work), Techno Literate, Fun, Informality (Casual Friday), Self-reliance, and Pragmatism.
    Cultural Memorabilia “The Brady Bunch”, Pet Rocks, Platform Shoes, “The Simpsons”, Dynasty, ET, and Cabbage Patch Dolls.
    Heroes NONE

    The Millenials (Age 8-27)

    Core Values Optimism, Civic Duty, Confidence, Achievement, Sociability, Morality, Street Smarts, Diversity, Techno Connected.
    Cultural Memorabilia Barney, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Tomagotchi/Viritual Pets (more life-like than the Generation X Pet Rock), Beanie Babies, Pogs, American Girl Dolls, Oprah and Rosie, The Spice Girls, The X Games.
    Heroes Michael Jordan, Princess Diana, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Mother Teresa, Bill Gates, Kerri Strugg, Mia Hamm, Tiger Woods, and Christopher Reves.


    William Parker MCPF GCF
  33. cvm

    cvm PFG, Picture Framing God

    Do-it-yourself latch-key kids want framing for dummies.
  34. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    cvm, I honestly don't know how many shops the market will support 5 or 10 years from now. Or even one year from now. But this economy is thinning the herd. Those that are still standing a year from now really need to work on connecting with the 20-45 crowd, as well as the more traditional framing consumer. And by connecting, I don't just mean advertising. I mean relating to their interests and needs. The appearance of the store, the kinds of projects you have displayed on your walls, the kinds of frames you offer, and the image you yourself project, all these will be important.

    I have a Facebook page, but I don't use it for marketing the store. I don't bother with Twitter, either, for this simple reason -- I don't care that much about what I'm doing at any given moment in time, so why would anyone else? Really, do you think the average person out there, even frequent framing customers, really cares enough about framing to follow it on Twitter or a blog? I don't. I"m not that narcissistic. I also think that if I Tweeted or twitted my customers frequently about new offerings or interesting projects, I would fatigue them. I do an e-mail newsletter once a month at most. I just fear that if I'm in their face too much, it will backfire.
  35. David N Waldmann

    David N Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Well, I suppose it's a bit off topic, but I guess I was born 50 years too late. How is it that I am on the verge of being a Gen Xer but fit the Traditional mold better than any of the rest?

  36. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    David, you're what they call a Young Fogey
  37. William Parker

    William Parker CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    William Parker MCPF GCF


    You have asked a really good question and I assume you are a Millenial. The fact that you feel a connection to the Traditionalist is what most of the research says you should feel Most of the research that I have read says that the Traditionalist, and Millenials have the most in common. The Boomers and the Generation X'ers are each unique in their reaction to the other two groups.

    It is important to understand this stuff, especially if you are facing a multi-generational work place. Boomer think Gen X'ers are lazy. Gen Xer's think Boomers abandoned them for work. Boomers live to work while Gen Xer's work to live. If you look back to the list from Andrew's thread, you see the word balance. In Gen X speak this means life is a balanced view of work. In Boomer speak, Gen X is lazy (this comes from research, not from me). A difference in perspective that makes management difficult without understanding the perspective of the segment.

    Anyone want to tackel the subject of Generational differences (this should be good)?

    Are Boomers defined by work?
    If you are not a Boomer, do you find it hard to work with/for us.
    Are Generation X'ers seeking balance?
    If you are not a Gen Xer are they different from their Boomer parents?
    Is this all just a bunch of junk?

    I would suggest you look back to the characteristics of each generation in my earlier post before answering.

    Let's see if the research matches the reality in our industry. Bob Carter, where did you go? I do not think we have tackeled this one before.

    William Parker MCPF GCF
  38. CAframer

    CAframer SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    There may be something in it if you take a broad enough sample, but other factors must certainly come into play (e.g. geographic location during formative years, parental influence, financial strata into which you were born, etc.)

    I'm a boomer. I reviewed the checklist you published, and only one boomer attribute raised any sense of natural affinity for me, namely 'work' (whatever that means in this context).

    Values with which I have affinity from the traditionalist group include Dedication/Sacrifice, Hard Work, Duty Before Pleasure.

    From the Generation X group I have affinity with the following terms: Diversity, Thinking Globally,Techno Literate, Informality (Casual Friday), Self-reliance, and Pragmatism.

    And from the Millenials list I associate with Confidence, Achievement, Street Smarts, Diversity, Techno Connected.

    So in my case at least, it's a load of old hooey!

    Irrespective of the generation to which a person belongs, one factor I repeatedly see is the generational skip phenomenon. The old man builds something of value, the son pisses it away, his kid builds himself something for himself, and so it goes on. I have seen this many, many times.
  39. cvm

    cvm PFG, Picture Framing God

    Well, first off, don't call a Gen X'er a "Gen X'er" - pride is wrapped up with individuality. Secondly, 'slackers' come with every generation - the key is to weed the slackers out. Gen Xer's - like I said before - are yesterday's latch-key-kids and are used to doing things for themselves, not having someone hover over them. Give them (and their short attention spans) tasks and responsibilities, telling them what outcomes are expected and the impact those tasks and responsibilities will have, then let them run free. They will work hard. (that's why they thrive when given flex hours). Challenge them, and recognize their accomplishments. They don't want to be gears in the machine like their parents were.
  40. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Hi William-Can't say we ever had any successful surveys polling inside the industry

    Two issues are my opinion only, but the first might be the relative small number of probable participants (i think the polite term is statistically insignficant); the second might be the unverifiable accuracy of the data

    William i'm sure you see this quite frequently when in friendly converstion i will ask fellow framers questions, and answers usually start with "I'm not sure" or "I think" and the rest might easily fit into two categories: a) they do not know, or b) they are telling you what they think will make them look better

    And,i'm not trying to be mean, it's just human nature for folks that don't rely upon the numbers

    Big difference between "What I think I know" and "What I know I know"

    The stuff you remember Dept: In a class dealing with just such matters, the prof was explaining how you put verifying questions to confirm earlier answers or developing independent confirmation and he used the example of "If i ask the young men in class if they would get "lucky" on their date this weekend, that answer would be much different than if asked of the co-eds. And if the same two groups were asked on Monday after the dates, the same question..."

    So, are we asking the what we think will hapen or what did happen. While it might be fun and it might be interesting, not sure of it's accuracy or relevance (o cost effectiveness)

    But each of us is certainly able to make our own determinations based on the available data

    In essence, the reason we do Market Resarch

    But, just like you and I, my friend, what we do with it separates the wheat from the chaff and still make wonderfully tasty bread from different recipes
  41. David N Waldmann

    David N Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Guess I fooled you! I was 44 when the year began and now am 45. Seeing that these are generalities and I can't see a year one way or the other making a significant difference, I could claim either Boomer or GenX. But I don't want either one...

    However, I do realize that these are generalities, and when I look around me I do find that overall I would not argue with the summary descriptions you gave. However, there IS one that really grates: "Millennial's core value is morality" is something I couldn't imagine saying in my wildest dreams. At least my interpretation of "morality".

    You know, the definition of Boomer core values seem to be a bit oxymoronic. How do "personal gratification" and "work" fit together? I don't think Boomers are defined by work. I believe that Traditionalists are (were?) defined by work. I think Boomers have a better balance than GenXers. See below.

    See my above quandary at who I am. I DO work easier with Boomers and Traditionalists than other.

    I think they THINK they are, but I think they are going into the ditch on the other side of the road. i.e. Traditionalists: too much work not enough play, Boomers: about right, GenX: too much play not enough work.

    I think that GenXers took the generally poor example of careless spending by their parents and took it to a whole new level. This goes along with taking the Personal Gratification of their parents to their interpretation of Balance (at least as much fun time as work).

    Could be, but it's interesting.
  42. cvm

    cvm PFG, Picture Framing God

    A lot of the Gen X'ers subscribe to the sentiments of Green Day, who sing : "We are the desperate and in the decline.
    Raised by the b******s of 1969".

    IOW, many are skeptical of a system they feel is largely run by a bunch of smug ex-hippies who act like they were saving the world by taking drugs and going to concerts.
  43. William Parker

    William Parker CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    William Parker MCPF GCF


    The connect is that Boomers get personal gratification mostly from their work. Also, social researcher always have an out. In this case, you fall into the two years before or after a generational divide. They call it cusp, and you will have characteristics of either group. All of this comes from surveys of the respective groups, and as you noted, they are generalizations.

    William Parker MCPF GCF
  44. William Parker

    William Parker CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    William Parker MPCF GCF


    I actually like Green Day, and your choice was interesting. My Millenial son is a fan of music from the 60's, 70's, and early 80's, but not the contemporary music. He also has a very negative attitude toward hippies which seems to be true across the board. Interestingly reflected in the hippie episode of South Park.

    As to my musical reference for the four generations, and their interaction, I would have to go to the Who's "We Won't Get Fooled Again" (later covered by the Wall Flowers):

    We'll be fighting in the streets
    With our children at our feet
    And the morals when they worship will be gone
    And the men who spurred us on
    Sit in judgement of all wrong
    They decide and the shotgun sings the song

    I knew we should not have taken you children to the revolution.

    Meet the new boss
    Same as the old boss

    Maybe we are more alike than it seems.

    I have to ask, into which age group do you fall?

    Anyone have additional thoughts? This topic usually generates a fair amount of discussion.

    William Parker MCPF GCF
  45. cvm

    cvm PFG, Picture Framing God

    I'm on the same cusp as David W.
  46. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    I'm also on that cusp. I was born in 1961 (in the back of a Greyhound bus, rolling down Highway 41), so techniquely I'm a Boomer. I don't really feel like a Boomer, however. I associate them more with born in the late 40s and 50s. At the same time, I definitely don't feel like have anything in common with Generation X.

    I guess I'm Generation X-1.
  47. Luddite

    Luddite PFG, Picture Framing God

    So you were born a "ramblin" man?...interesting.:party: L.
  48. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    Load of hooey. I am a boomer and my interests/talents/ are scattered throughout your list. Our 21 year old daughter certainly shares only a few of the interests you mention. Yes, she liked American Girl Dolls and Beanie Babies as a kid, but she is an adult now. If I had to characterize her generation, I would say that in the more educated families they are achievement oriented, have a sense of entitlement, have been closely watched, organized and tutored throughout their lives, have learned that they get rewards if they perform, and thus may have difficulty in the real world where their bosses are not like doting parents.

    They look at our hippie youth and laugh. They generally don't engage in social protest as we did, and they look out for themselves. They have yet to develop the social consciousness that we grew up with in our college years. They listen to Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift, not Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. The older ones remember real rock and think that Green Day has sold out. Today's 28 year old is quite different from a 21 year old. They almost grew up in different generations.

    They all grew up with computers and the Internet, and this is huge. They will create jobs and companies far different from the ones we know today.

    What bearing does all this have on the furture of framing shops? I'm not sure but we had better find out. My educated guess is Internet sales will increase within this group. Yet, they also like to shop in person--at least the girls do.
  49. William Parker

    William Parker CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    William Parker MCPF GCF

    OK, serious question. We have Boomers, and Gernerations X'ers on the Grumble, but do we have any early Generation X'ers, or late Millenials? Are we an industry than excludes, or does not attract these groups?

    William Parker MCPF GCF

    The Highway 41/bus reference was great...major LOL.
  50. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    I will be frank, William. The kids want to make money. They don't see it in framing.
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