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Opinions Wanted A totally new way of working

Keith L Hewitt

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I am advising a framer in an Asian country who has just had a 50% rent increase on his city centre shop. He has no choice but to relocate back to his workshop for the time being.

The workshop is in a remote part of the city, not an area that rich locals and westerners would be too prepared to visit.

So I am suggesting he tries (for me) a totally new approach.
Advertising " Save your time - we will come to your home or office, and help you choose the right frame and mat to complement your picture, photo, embroidery, water colour etc etc. and room decor. Your beautifully framed picture will be delivered in a couple of days. This will save you 2 trips to our frame shop in the terrible traffic jams"

Any of you Grumblers ever tried this idea?
Can you please tell me any of your experiences?

Your views and opinions are greatly valued.:D
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PFG, Picture Framing God
In 1981, I started The Framing Van. It worked out well as part-time employment. Met a lot of very nice people... Although we had planned for it to be geared to high-end homeowners, it turned out to be almost entirely commercial. Closed it in 1996, when we bought a storefront shop.

Of course, things have changed a lot since then...


PFG, Picture Framing God
I honestly don't know. It would depend on whether the framer feels safe in the remote area.

Sounds like he could easily be targeted by moving expensive items.

Advertising could be throwing down breadcrumbs right to his door.


PFG, Picture Framing God
I offer that service here, in addition to my retail location, and I have to tell you, almost nobody takes advantage of it.

Jared Davis CPF GCF

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Speaking for the Australian market, which I am familiar with, over the years, I've seen several businesses (mainly home-based) try to develop and push this "home consulting" concept (some with very nicely decked out vans, etc), and they all either eventually go out of business, give the concept away, or move into a shopfront.

I recall speaking to one framer who was trying her best at "Home Consulting" for a while, (very professional, with visualisation software on the laptop, samples, corporate image, etc....) and she found the most common type of client who would take advantage of it were really old pensioners, who could't easily get out of the house (or nursing home), but wanted to get their a needlework framed for $50 or less.... :shrug:

Not to say it can't work if it is focused properly on corporate clients, etc... but for domestic retail custom work, I'm not convinced any business could rely on this method as their main source of income.

I would suggest your friend tries a marketing strategy based on some of the following lines that come to mind:
  • "Buy Factory Direct - and Save!..... no retail markups!" ...
  • "Wholesale Custom Framing - Public Welcome!"....
  • "Parking - No Problem!"...
  • "All framing done on our premises - your valued artwork & treasure never leaves our secure workshop!"....
  • "Come to our factory, and speak to the acual framer who will frame your memory - not just a "sales consultant" with no hands-on framing experience".....
Keep in mind, I commonly find that "rich locals" still like to entertain the concept of "saving money" - or at least the perception of such.... It surprises me when I talk to some perceieved "low cost, factory outlet framers" in outer, poorer suburbs, where their clients are coming from the wealthly inner suburbs, and drive 30-40 mins in the Mercedes Benz just to "save a buck"... (or so they percieve... ).

I know a framer in a commerical, factory area, that tried this concept with success - he promoted and offered a monthly "factory tour", say 2 hours on the first Saturday of every month, where consumers can sign up to be taken on a group tour of the factory, and shown how all the frames are created, and whats involved! He would offer refreshments and nibbles, and it created some genuine spark which he was able to utilize, as he was able to show the crowd some fo the personal pleasures that custom framing would bring to his other clients, while doing the tour - and they would get hooked.

CB Art & Framing

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I think the same principles are true for any country.
While the "I will come to you" concept makes perfect sense on paper, it still presents the same old business challenge of how do you find customers without spending more on marketing than you can make profit.
By having a retail location with some level of visibility, you will attract customers. They may drive by or walk by many times before stopping in.
With marketing the same applies. Repetition, repetition, repetion but = cost, cost, cost. How many times have you cut and saved coupons, but never end up using them.


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
We do "In home consultations" works great and we get extra business from it by being inside the home and looking for art and framing opportunities. Not sure it's the same thing but it is a regular part of our business.


PFG, Picture Framing God
I offer that service here, in addition to my retail location, and I have to tell you, almost nobody takes advantage of it.
That would not work here either. In office, yes. In home, no. Perhaps appropriate for wealthy locals who want the designer touch in their homes, but I have done very few residential visits resulting in orders worth the travel and time.

Bill Henry-

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Other than the marketing and visibility problem, I can see a logistical nightmare in having to haul a reasonable selection of moulding and mat corner samples around a city and potentially up several flights of stairs several times a day.

I think most of us have between 800 and 1200 wood corner samples on our walls and several racks of mat samples. Packing and unpacking that many would be impractical.

On the positive side, after a week you’d have arms like Popeye the Sailor.

Keith L Hewitt

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Bill Henry,
Thanks for your post.
I would just like to point out that this framer, I am advising only has about 80 mouldings and 50 mat corners. And he has the biggest range in his country, for the simple reason everything has to be imported, as no local mfg.
So that means min 1 box of any moulding and make your own corners. Mat board - min order prob 2,000 sheets.

You USA framers have no idea how pampered you are ;)
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