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Another Framers Select Thought

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by gemsmom, Oct 11, 2002.

  1. gemsmom

    gemsmom SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I started this because it didn't seem to fit elsewhere. I don't think anyone should join FramerSelect at this time with the thought they will have people running through their doors. I am looking at it as a way to unify the good framers, draw attention to them, and eventually weed out some bad framers. In my opinion, the qualifications set for joining FramerSelect do not go far enough in weeding out the bad framers. I consider myself an above-average framer, and it bothers me to be lumped in with the average ones, to possibly below average ones. I know FS is adding field representatives to aid in this problem. But I would like to see criteria set for possibly having a standard memberhip, and maybe a "gold" mebership for dealers who have above average qualifications. Some qualifcations could be- PPFA membership, CPF certfication, attending at least one trade show per year, attendance of seminars and workshops, participation in trade competitions (ie. Wizard, PPFA, etc.). This may enourage others to do things for their businss they never did before in able to become a "gold" member. Just a thought.
     
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  2. Toto

    Toto Grumbler

    Good idea Pam. Our shop is far superior to all of those around us including FS members. I actually take pride in not being amongst the FS shops near me because they are "select" by lower standards than our own. We are "exceptional" by any standards. We search out materials and techniques that others don't have or know how to do.
    Our niche is high end and creative, which is a smaller slice of the pie than the mainstream. For this reason alone we want to avoid being grouped with several other shops.
    The problem is there aren't enough really quality shops to qualify for "Gold" or "Platinum".
    As for weeding out certain frame shops, well the economy and the free market are starting to take it's toll. We have seen several shops up for sale or on the brink this past year.
     
  3. John Ranes II CPF GCF

    John Ranes II CPF GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Sorry Toto,

    But I have to dissagree with you on this issue.....The FramerSelect website lists ten members currently in Wisconsin, nine of which I know personally. Included in this group, are the shops of two past PPFA National Presidents and three multiple award winning frame shops.

    I would have no difficulty recommending any one of them to a customer of mine who was moving into their community. The second Appleton framer member, I personally recommended to FS, to assure that quality amongst the ranks of FS member shops was preserved.

    Now granted, I'm only comparing my work to that of shops that I know, in my state, so I realize that things can vary...........

    In Maine or New Hampshire there exist only three FS member shops, and I believe most are a good distance from you, Toto.....where are you exactly? What is the name of your shop? Boy these serious discussions are almost impossible to have when identities are not disclosed? :rolleyes: but I believe that was another thread....

    John
     
  4. The King

    The King SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    How did I miss this thread when it started a week ago? I would've jumped on this one right away!

    Pamela, your idea almost makes me embarrased to be a FramerSelect member. There are currently about 200 FS members. That's not elite-enough to suit you?

    The problem with making PPFA membership a criteria for some kind of gold or platinum membership is that the PPFA is not itself at all selective about membership. I guess taking (and passing) the CPF exam, going to trade shows and classes and entering competitions all demonstrate some kind of commitment to the industry. Paying the $120/month FS also demonstrates a commitment of sorts, doesn't it?

    Maybe knowing how to spell "FramerSelect" should be a requirement. ;)

    As for the economy weeding out the "bad framers" - I personally know some highly-skilled and conscientious framers who are on the verge of bankruptcy or liquidation. Some of them are on The Grumble. I also know shops that use nothing but paper mats, regular glass and cheap filler (and they aren't too talented with those) and are making tons of money. The economy may weed out bad business-people, but it does little to improve the average level of framing and framer.

    I know I always have the option of visiting your shop, Pamela, if I wanted to see what kind of work you do. I appreciate that openess. You could do the same with mine. But we're hearing way too much empty and anonymous braggadocio without much to back it up.

    Now I remember. I didn't miss this thread - I blocked it from my memory.
     
  5. Toto

    Toto Grumbler

    Sorry John, you can take what I say at face value or with a grain of salt. The information that I post here is as true as I know it. When I say that the FS shops around us are middle of the road compared to our operation it is by measure of what we deem as select. To us that's all that matters. If they were of equal caliber or better we would find more benefit in it.
    But being branded alongside these other competitors isn't something we want to do.
    I know many framers and respect those who do things by their terms. It doesn't upset me that the three shop discount framer uses paper mats and is making alot of money. More power to them. I choose a different niche, but it is mainly to provide a living for my family.
    I also agree that there is too much empty bragging, especially from those who have strong opinions about things they haven't tried.
     
  6. Barb Pelton

    Barb Pelton SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Hey Ron! I value your opinion, but I think you've come down on Pamela a little hard!
    I had the opportunity to meet and talk with her for awhile in Atlanta and from our conversation I believe that she is a framer with high standards. She simply stated her opinion about having a certain level of standards to be met before a store could be advertised as "one of the best". I agree with her, and raised that same concern while talking to the people at FramerSelect while we were in Atlanta. (BTW-I was satisfied with the answers I received from them on this issue. It seems that they are beginning to take measures to insure that the stores that are among FramerSelect ARE of a certain caliber.)

    As for Pamela's level of expertise, I've seen an example of her work and I recall that she has at least one PPFA National first place under her belt. As for her post--well, maybe it sounded a tad strong but I thought she raised a genuine concern. Give the girl a little break here! ;)
     
  7. The King

    The King SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    You're right, Barb, but the experience and expertise I was questioning weren't Pamela's. I should have made that clear.
     
  8. Dermot

    Dermot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    This whole thing of linking quality and standards with FramerSelect is a bit of a no brainier.

    I have read about and talked to the people from FramerSelect and whilst I accept that they would and do promote quality and high standards, the main and possible only relevant trust of FramerSelect is as a marketing program and may I say a very good and innovative program.

    Bottom line is I you like it join it if you don’t stay away from it nobody is twisting your arm…………this is a real no brainier.

    I know I have taken a few swipes at people on the Grumble in the past but on this occasion I really feel that the program FramerSelect offers to framers WHO WANT TO JOIN is a good one, for those who don’t want to spend a few $ on this marketing program, I would say get off the case and spend your money and efforts on what ever business model you have bought into, get on with YOUR business and let others get on with there’s, I get a big smell of sour grapes on this one and a feeling of professional jealousy.

    I have always felt that Jay should defend his position a bit more on the Grumble but on this occasion I can fully understand why he would not get involved…….. FramerSelect needs no defence, and those who have joined FramerSelect have no need to defend there very astute business decision, FramerSelect is one of the most innovative marketing programs I have come across for small businesses in a long time, I have no doubt that the framers who have joined FramerSelect and understand this super marketing program and stick with it are going to reap the rewards, for those who have made the decision to keep away from FramerSelect, I expect that you have an innovative marketing program of your own, perhaps you would like to share the fundamentals of your marketing program and then we can compare programs, who knows there may be a better program than FramerSelect out there and as a business person I would love to learn more.
     
  9. North Framer

    North Framer CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Bang on Dermot - you took the words out of my mouth. Canadians that have considered FS (Lise?) there is some news on this if you want to contact me directly to discuss.
    For this thread, profit/pricing threads, etc. and the nuts and bolts of business issues, I suggest to our administrators that Business Issues should not be accessible to the general public, only to those who log in. I have a lot of input that I hold back on in this area, as I suspect others may as well, due to the too-public domain this forum offers to my customers. What do you say? Do others feel the same?
     
  10. Toto

    Toto Grumbler

    Dermot-I agree whole heartedly with everything you said up until "sour grapes and professional jealousy". If you like it sign up, if you don't, don't. That would be my advice at this point as well. However stop telling people who disagree with you that there is something rotten or twisted about their point of view. This is why you get an attitude on such issues. If I tell you that it didn't work for me can't you just accept that? In fact if I tell you I think it is not a viable plan for our business wouldn't that be enough? Put away your spork.
    I give up. For those who have been on the fence defending FramersSelect, sign up. My goodness it's only $120. a month. For those that can't afford it don't buy what you can't afford. And for those with sensitive skin and a weak constitution...
     
  11. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I think Dermot sums it up nicely. And Toto just can't stand to not get the last word.

    Toto thinks no one in FS measures up to their operation. I say Put up or Shut up. Tell us where your shop is. Let someone make a judgement call on your expertise. Perhaps no one wants to put their cards on the table.

    There is nothing wrong with not wanting to join, and nothing wrong with criticism of a plan that doesn't meet your needs. But to suggest that none of the FS members can measure uo to your standards? Come on, Toto. You ain't in Kansas anymore. Tell the great unwashed where you are and let's let some people make their own decisions.

    This has nothing to do with FS.

    You said that you are "exceptional" by any standards. Care to prove it?

    And would joining FS somehow lower your standards?

    This industry has leaders, contenders and pretenders. Until someone can back up their claims, I have to go with Pretender. And we get lots and lots of them
     
  12. Framerguy

    Framerguy PFG, Picture Framing God

    What a case of the pot calling the kettle black!!

    Toto, Don't you LIKE anything??

    I have read posts from you that bash the Montana Project, FramerSelect, those shops that use FramerSelect, you don't like Larson-Juhl or their affiliation with whomever they choose to affiliate with, you put down the Atlanta Trade Show (WHY do you keep going if you don't like the show??) and pump the NY Trade Show (which hasn't even had a chance to prove their numbers yet).

    Then you turn around and tell us not to misinterpret what you say??? Jeez! What a confusing life you must lead!!

    I am not defending anything or anyone here but, when John Ranes posts that he is curious about your statement of all the FS framers around you when there are only 3 in the Upper New England area, and you rebut as though he never said anything, then go on to "qualify" the neighboring shops as "middle of the road" to your operation. And what ARE your "measures of selection"? I am sure that I am not the only confused framer here that just does not understand where you are coming from with alot of your statements nor what your point is in many of them.

    I read absolutely nothing in Dermot's post that was directed at you or your business. There are no "sour grapes" or "professional jealosy" in that post either as far as I can tell. You need to put away YOUR "spork" and stop being so repetitive in your posts. Take some of your own advice that you seem to take delight in giving to all those who you see as opposing YOUR point of view and "just accept it" and go on.

    It appears that the sensitive skin is on YOUR back and not somebody else's back. I am, quite frankly, becoming rather bored by your negative response on most everything you talk about.

    Framerguy
     
  13. B. Newman

    B. Newman SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Steve, if it was not just more work for framer, I would agree with you totally. I know for the Vendor forum, they have to e-mail info about themselves and send business cards to framer so he can "open" it to them. I would love to have a business issues forum like that, unless like I said, it is just more work for framer. That would certainly prevent customers and "explorers" from accessing private info, as well as stop the annonymous postings. We wouldn't have to know who they are, but Bill would, and that would be good enough for me.

    Betty
     
  14. Marc Lizer

    Marc Lizer SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    There was a TOF (trade only forum) that was opened.

    Didn't quite fly.

    But that's a nice topic for discussion:
     
  15. Less

    Less SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I would like to hear more about the experiences of Grumblers who are FramerSelect members. So far, I can only remember Marc Lizer and Marc Bluestone saying they have had some referrals that have turned into profit. I don’t think Marc Lizer has talked about how he uses FS’s business advice or the marketing material. I would love to hear more about how framers are implementing the tools that FS provide. This is one reason I look forward to the Montana Project, but this will only be one story from parties that are too close to the business. I want to hear about real FS success stories from framers like you.

    A few of us speak up about the experiences or concerns about such a program, and other say they want to give FS a chance. I would like to give FramerSelect a chance too. So, lets hear from Grumblers like Mike and Andy, Ron, Bob Carter. Lets hear more from Marc and Dermot about how many names they get from month to month. Lets hear about what they do with those names. Do they send the FS postcards to their mailing lists, and has it brought in clients, and how many? How do you keep tract? I have had clients who come in and say, “ Oh, you have Larson-Juhl, I saw their ad somewhere”. They obviously had the impression that Larson was a quality company, and the fact that I had them in my gallery, said to them that I had good products. Has anyone had that type of response with FS yet?

    I talk about FS because I would like to see it be a success, but I think it is important to analyze the pros and the cons. This is not an argument, but a debate. FramerSelect gets talked about because they wisely choose to have a high profile. This is no doubt a key to any businesses success. It’s true for an actor, a politician, and big businesses that have a direct effect on our livelihoods. These topics need to be debated in an open and friendly forum such as the Grumbler. It is the foundation on which this country was built. We don’t have to agree, but we can try to get along.

    If you want to know about a particular Grumbler’s specific approach to marketing, advertising, and networking; ask. I believe I have expressed my approach and methods.
    If you have already given examples of what you do with the FS tools, then cut and paste them here. This debate is good for FramerSelect, and framers, because it forces us to really take a hard look ourselves, and our businesses.

    I for one, enjoy Toto’s posts (no surprise I’m sure). I believe his aim is to help, not be (as you guys so often say) divisive, and not all of his posts are negative. If he chooses to hang out (and I hope he does), I am quite sure he will contribute in positive ways.

    A friend of mine used to tell me (a lesson I’m not quite sure I have learned yet), Less, It’s not what you say, but how you say it.
     
  16. Toto

    Toto Grumbler

    Bashing? I said it wasn't for us and if you like it get it. Putting down the Atlanta show? Didn't I say we had a good time and do every year? How less valid is my opinion than those who thought it was the biggest show ever? Didn't I encourage others to go? And bring employees? New York is what, unproven? Man you only hear what you want to beleive. I have qualified everything I have said, stating that it was our experience or opinion. Don't you get bored only listening to your own opinions? Don't you benefit from other perspectives?
    I like many things, they just don't happen to be what some others do. This means I hate everything? Come on. Because I don't have glowing opinions about some of the recent goods and services talked about recently doesn't mean I hate everything or anything. How could I be dealing with over 2 dozen moulding suppliers?
    Prove my level of skill, knowledge and expertise? To whom? Is this something that everyone is required to do to justify their opinions?
    Should we start with only framers with store fronts be able to participate? How many employees? Years in business? Gross sales? Net profits? Social security number?
    Sometimes it rains in Kansas. Sometimes there are tornadoes. The sun doesn't always shine. And when it doesn't it is not a bad thing to talk about it.
    If I am boring you or offending you and it really makes you angry then I would not be offended if you just asked me not to participate.
     
  17. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    Hi,

    We receive about 10-15 referrals per month that are within a reasonable distance. We send the postcards out to all of them anyways(about 25), in case any commute to the area.

    No bites yet in 3-4 months, but I'm sure it'll happen. The exposure is important and they'll have our logo 'imprinted' in their memory when it's time to get something framed.

    The wording on our postcards needs serious revision and we're working on that... (if only there was a place to trade ideas)

    We keep the leads for future use(Holiday mailing, etc), and track where each sale comes from in the POS system. (we ask) We do monthly reports showing the revenue generated from each marketing source. Walk in customers and referrals, by far, are beating all other sources.

    The peer contacts made with FS have been great, and the marketing materials are top notch. They fit the "image" we're trying to convey, and only cost a fraction of what an advertising agency would charge. We are the only FS member in our (tiny) state, so it's unique to the area. If the guy down the street was doing it too, it might be different. [​IMG]

    {I wasn't going to open Pandora's box with this post, but here it is anyways. No part of my message is directed personally at anyone, and these are just my humble opinions. I respect everyone on the Grumble, even if we disagree}

    *Should FS or PPFA should have different "levels" of members and place some above others? (Gold, Silver, etc)
    Absolutely not. Would these 'higher' members be willing to pay more dues than the 'lowly' ones? [​IMG] (tongue in cheek/kidding) Who would be the "judge" and what qualifications do THEY have to be neutral/fair? Could politics and competition lead to possible legal issues?

    There is ALWAYS room to improve, and NO ONE is absolutely perfect. If someone thinks they're superior/elite, how can they be sure? ;) It sounds self destructive to me.

    We feel being invited as a member, meeting the quality requirements, promoting conservation quality work through education and counter literature/mailings, and making the financial committment(as with PPFA and CPF) is enough, and all peers should be treated equally. I'd even go so far to support a system of quality control where customers or members are surveyed periodically; providing it is fair.

    *Should CPF on staff be a requirement for FS?
    Again, I really don't think so. CPF is a respected dignity that shows completion and good testing skills, but doesn't NECESSARILY mean quality work/product. I'm sure we've all seen blaring examples, unfortunately, and I won't comment further. (You'll see the same in the computer industry) Someone who has never framed can pay and pass a test, but its WHAT THEY DO WITH IT that matters. Don't get me wrong, it's a HUGE step in the right direction and a credit to the industry.

    Keep in mind that employees (including cpfs) also come and go.

    I think the business model of FS makes sense, and I want to see it succeed. It will benefit EVERYONE, and educate consumers, through pooled resources. We're giving it a year; our initial year. (this business is new, although Andy has nearly 10 years under his belt as a professional high end framer elsewhere) I'll be glad to post impressions and success after that time, but feel it was one of the wiser budgeting choices. Yellow pages, newspapers, etc have done very little so far except to cash our checks.

    If FS isn't for us, we will go our ways at that time... I'd like to see some financial return (lead opportunities), but even without them so far I think we have gotten our money's worth from marketing materials.

    I hope this message is taken in its intended positive and productive spirit.

    Have a great weekend
    Mike & Andy
     
  18. CharlesL

    CharlesL PFG, Picture Framing God

    Toto, or whoever you really are: If you ever start you own brass band, you'll only need one member, as it seems you're quite adept at blowing your own horn.
    Also, if you're so proud of your 'high end' shop, why don't you post a realistic address? Maybe a web-site? Surely, someone as good as you are at framing the really expensive, high-end items, can afford, and NEED a web-site...

    Or are you, indeed, just blowing your own horn? If so, push the mouthpiece in a bit. You come across as just a little flat.

    Just MY opinion, you understand. I'm SURE you won't take any offense, where none was intecded.
     
  19. John Ranes II CPF GCF

    John Ranes II CPF GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Mike & Andy,

    This is a place to trade ideas! ;) ......And so is FrameHead, the site dedicated to FramerSelect members use, which I know you're already familiar. Go there guys and post the content of your postcard design as I did. The idea was to get others to share designs and wording that was working for them. Several of us have also added each other to our mailing lists, so to see the FS postcards in action.

    If you're a FramerSelect member already and not participating, please go to FrameHead >> Business Talk >> Tangible $ from FramerSelect Orders? or >> The Postcards are Great.

    John
     
  20. John Ranes II CPF GCF

    John Ranes II CPF GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Less,

    FramerSelect has been sending leads to it's members on paper and now electronically. We've received 20-40/month and have cross matched these leads to our our database. We've sometimes followed up with an immediate mailing, other times waiting until our next promotion. The leads are supplied with the source - magazine which is of interest.

    We do also monitor our website referrals as well. Our software tells us all referring domains and that FramerSelect is only pulling moderately.

    We've not had any direct "Announced Sales" attributed to a FramerSelect lead....but it will happen, and I'm sure that we've gained some business already. FramerSelect simply supplies us with some tools......

    It's our job to use these tools.
     
  21. Less

    Less SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Thanks for the feedback guys.

    From Mike:
    Mike (or anyone else) I have another question for you. Are you using your own postcard or are you buying and using the FramerSelect designed cards?

    I see they offer custom imprinted backs. Does FramerSelect offer basic plug-your-name-in-copy, or do you have to supply them with your own?

    This would be a perfect place to help each other come up with copy ideas.

    Judging by the FramersSelect postcard samples I have, not a lot of extra needs to be said!

    Maybe something as simple a your logo, address, phone number, and a note from you saying:

    "Thanks for inquiring about FramerSelect Framers. If Mike or Andy (make it personal) can help, please call or visit.

    Sincerely,
    Mike & Andy Framers that care :D "

    How are other Select Grumblers using these postcards? Is anyone creating their own copy and printing them in their own printers? If I were to join, I think I would be tempted to buy enough postcards to announce to all of my clients that I was now a proud member. Since my list is about 2000, I would have them imprint the back. Creating personal notes and printing them one at a time to targeted “special” clients may be a great way to make a personal connection with some of your better clients, or to make an impression on clients you would like to have. I don’t like to discount, but making an offer that requires that they bring the card in, is a great way to measure the response. I would also buy a fresh list of names of from a marketing company to try to capture a new audience. Maybe FramersSelect would share the cost of target advertising in your area, or at least supply the copy.

    Mike:
    You may want to consider advertising in a Rhode Island Tourist magazine. I think you will find that many people who have multiple homes and frequent vacationers often subscribe to these types of publications. Only advertise in the best one you can find. Maybe there is a local cultural guide that lists Bed & Breakfasts, Museums, Art Galleries, etc. This is a great way to target custom framer clients, and separate your business from all the others. I got this idea when I visited Maine, and saw a beautiful tourist magazine entitled “Maine” (I think that was the name). When I looked inside and saw who was advertising, I was very impressed with the market these guys were obviously targeting.
    There were advertisers from all over the east coast who obviously know how to capture the attention of the type of client that we also seek.
     
  22. The King

    The King SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Less, I will eventually respond to your very well thought-out questions, but I am just in my second full month of membership and still wading through all the resources and materials they sent me.

    I did finish the last of the Tootsie Roll Pops, though.
     
  23. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    They send the leads by email (in excel format) the first week of each month, for the previous month. The leads contain source info, name, address, etc. After processing the month, I add them to a larger database. (but not to the POS)

    The FS postcards come with a full color graphic/text on one side and very little on the back except for their logo and some text. We print a little blurb about the company, with a dated savings incentive to come in and a picture of the store interior. We print it on a small laser printer. (Its just a Word mail merge, so it prints the letter and the person's name and address in one pass. If anyone wants the document let me know). I think they will print them for you, for a bit extra, but they have to be the same. I figured it out at the time and it was cheaper to do it myself, considering Id still have to run them through the printer for the name and address.

    We bought about 3000 FS general postcards for this use, and 1000 special FS holiday postcards for a complete(FS, POS, and new homeowners database) mailing in November. We also follow up with thank you notes about 6 weeks after the sale, which is well received. The shop is only 7 months old(with a small but growing customer base), so the FS supply should last a while. Those with 4-5k lists are fortunate to be sitting on such a goldmine. Eventually! [​IMG]

    Less: That's some great advice and i'll look into it. We have a lot of "snow birds" in this area; they go to Florida in the winter and come here for the summer.

    Ron: I think those were the best part of signing up! [​IMG]

    John: I'll bring it up there again with our wording, and see if anyone bites. Would love to trade mailing list registration with anyone interested.
     
  24. Rick Bergeron - CPF

    Rick Bergeron - CPF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    To answer Less's questions:

    Our experience with announced referrals is the same as others. We have made one mailing using FS postcards and chose to have our custom message, customer address and bulk postage printed locally using our printer's permit. All this for less than the cost of postage if I had chosen to use my own laser printer and stamps. Our customer base is small in relative terms and we supplement that list with other names aquired that fit the profile of perfect framing customers. There are less than 40,000 households within 35 miles of our location.

    The list of referral names is smaller than the list that Mike receives, but each name receives a handwritten "Thank-you for the inquiry" and introduction note.

    We use our POS to track customers as much as possible. We have had customers come in and specifically mention LJ advertising or LJ logo seen in our advertising

    The one specific piece of marketing advice that we received and implemented has had greater, tangible impact in 4 months than 3 years worth of yellow page advertising. The one-time cost to implement was less than 50% of one year's yellow page advertising.

    There was also one specific piece of marketing advice that prevented us from throwing money away. The local offer presented to us was very attractive but after calling upon the experience of FS, we told the local folks "Thanks, but no thanks."
     
  25. evergreen

    evergreen Grumbler

    A comment. I've only been framing for less than two years. I read a ton, I take classes, I'm involved in a framers guild and I love reading the great ideas on the Grumble. Customers as well as other framers aren't stupid. The last frame shop I visited (I take any invitation to a frame shop that I recieve so that I can learn and share ideas) I was so blown away by the level of framing that I saw. It was so exciting to see the work of someone who is so proficient at his craft. Anyone who toured my shop and then looked at his would have laughed if asked to compare the skill levels - much to my embarrasement! Having skill levels to become a member of any group is a mistake in my opinion. It becomes good ol' boy and stale and the newbies like me have a hard time getting in, even though one day I will be someone with some experience under my belt. For you who are excellent in what you do, don't worry, your work shows it and people like me are nothing to loose sleep over. Toto, I don't know why you don't want people to know where you are, as for me, I like the anonymity. I get to ask really dumb questions and not be worried that the frameshop down the street isn't making fun of me!
     
  26. Less

    Less SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Thanks Mike & Rick.

    Rick I have some more questions. Less is full of questions. Someone may say Less is full of .... :eek: anyway...

    you say,
    Does this mean, the you have not recieved any clients coming in yet saying that they got your card,or were refered by FS, or have seen their advertising, but you believe that you will get due to your LJ experience, it is just a matter of time?

    Secondly, you said that you implemented two pieces of advice that you found benificial. Could you please share what you did with the rest of us. I will understand, if you feel that because you have paid for the advice, you do not wish to share it with those who did not.

    Evergreen,
    Me Too :D
    I hope you voted in Marc Lizer's thread.
     
  27. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    Rick: Was it Welcome Wagon that you passed on? We passed on this one and went the direct route instead. Gift certificate and a welcome letter.
     
  28. Rick Bergeron - CPF

    Rick Bergeron - CPF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Answers

    Mike:
    No, it wasn't Welcome Wagon. We figured that one out on our own. The rep couldn't provide an example packet being sent to each new homeowner.

    Less:

    Regarding customer comments about LJ, those comments were received in the before FramerSelect times. Now, both logos appear in our YP advertising and the jury is still out on the current placement. We have had FS cards that we mailed come back into the store.

    For us, the advice of what not to do was a specific RADIO advertising offer. The original offer appeared very attractive to us. After a little coaching, the next session with the advertising rep went word for word the way our coach told us it would go. We would have been a fish on a hook for quite a while, with little hope of seeing anything. The general market area for the Radio/TV stations in the area is Spokane, WA (pop 450,000). The media sales reps in our area are very slick in their tactics. The reality is that Coeur d'Alene, ID is insignificant in terms of their market areas.

    Our new sign has had more impact than any YP ad. It took 4-5 months to complete all the local engineering, permitting & installation requirements. The sign did not replace the storefront sign, but was installed on the roof.

    Parameters given to the sign company were:</font>
    • Simple Font & Message </font>
    • Readable @ 50 mph in a split second without thinking </font>
    • Readable from the next County if standing still </font>
    • Do Not waste space by using our name or logo, the storefront sign does that (uses our name/logo, not waste space). </font>

    Somewhere, buried in this computer or the store computer is a before & after photo if anyone is interested.
     
  29. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    Now you have us curious [​IMG] Would love to see what you ended up choosing for the sign.

    Mike
     
  30. Rick Bergeron - CPF

    Rick Bergeron - CPF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Ok Mike, you asked for it. The file is just shy of 200K, so I only posted a link to it.

    The only signage everyone in the strip mall has available is the small can on the front of the building which are hardly readable from the highway, 40 yards or so away. The location is the highest daily traffic count intersection in the County. The hardest part was for someone to convince me that the sign would be worth it in the long run. The second hardest part was waiting on the engineer to stamp the drawings to show that this 10' x 8' kite was not going to rip the roof apart during a winter storm

    Photo of Rockeby's BIG NEW SIGN
     
  31. Less

    Less SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Hey, this is not so bad at 56K!

    Rick,
    What a great sign. I will be moving to a historic village center. There is no chance in **** I could get away with that. I am surprised you did! Every other store will want one too.

    Ok, one last question. Were the FS cards that came back from FS referrals, from your own list, or from new names you acquired yourself. Did they inquiry about your affiliation with FS?

    Thanks again!
    Less
     
  32. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    Wow that sign sure is an attention getter. They'd never allow us a sign that large either. (letters have to be a certain size, etc)

    We were only able to get away with a sign on each face of the shop (its a corner store with 2 entrances) and neon "CUSTOM FRAMING" in the window.

    Its huge, I bet they can see your sign a mile away.
     
  33. John Ranes II CPF GCF

    John Ranes II CPF GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Less,

    -- We've purchased all four of the designed postcards available to FramerSelect members. Two were purchased in quantity for specific mailings.

    -- FramerSelect is scheduled to release some additional designs in the new year.

    -- Our first mailing was in August and included about 2,700 names from our own database along with another 4,800 names from selected Carrier Routes for a mailing of about 7,500. We select specific carrier routes which match demographics in line with potential customers.

    -- Our business during the three weeks following the mailing increased over 15%. Dozens of customers mentioned that they read the card or "saw the article in the newspaper." (There was NO ad in the newspaper!) The mailing had solid impact and measurable $ results.

    Like Rick Bergeron, we use a mailing house for the majority of our mailings.....it is very cost effective. Targeted direct mail marketing works and is one of the most powerful advertising tools available. FramerSelect members have been provided some additional tools to use.

    We do not rely soley upon the marketing tools gained from our membership to FramerSelect, but we feel that they are worth the $120/month membership fee. Four or five FramerSelect members have shared their experiences here with you.

    Not meant to be antagonistic, but my question to you...... Are you gleaning marketing tips here or really evaluating potential membership in FramerSelect?

    Either way......good luck!

    John
     
  34. Less

    Less SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Hi John,

    That's a fair question. The answer is both. I can't think of a better way to learn how effective FS has been for those who are using the FS tools, as well as their own, than to have Grumblers share their experiences here.

    FYI, most of these marketing techniques have been discussed here before, and I have many times in the past put similar techniques to work for me.

    Those who have had success need to share how they make it work, and those that have not had success, need to be honest about what they have done. I think we will see, that you will get back what you put into it.

    I wish to learn from other framers experiences to find out what works, and what has not. This information will help me decide whether FS is right for me, and will help FS see where they need to improve.

    You guys sharing your experiences hold a lot more weight than what I see in the magazines, advertisements, or from FS sales staff.

    The real power in FS may simply be having them remind us what we need to be doing, and giving us the tools to work with, so we have no excuses.

    Hope that answers your question.

    Thanks again,
    Less
     
  35. gemsmom

    gemsmom SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I started this thread because I had an idea, and I wanted input from others as to why they think it would or wouldn't work. I have been too sick to join in, and it looks like the main topic has gotten lost somewhere.
    I said I considered myself to be a better-than-average framer, and I do believe I have the credentials to back me up.
    Yes, Ron, becoming a PPFA member is elective, and there are no "credentials" for becoming a member. However, PPFA members are not claiming to be "one of the best". Becoming a member does show a certain commitment made to the framing industry. Considering how many framers there are vs. how many are PPFA members shows little support for our only trade organization by the vast majority of framers.
    There are many talented, good framers out there who show a genuine concern and support for our industry. Why shouldn't FS rate these a notch above the rest? My nearest competition rarely visits a trade show, is not a CPF, is not a PPFA member, and does average work, at best. Yet he could be a FS member if he so desired. The way things are now, if he did join, I would get out.
    When people go to FS, it is because they are looking for a good framer. Not just a framer. They could get that out of their phone book.
    As for referrals, I was wondering if everyone is just sending out one notice, or backing it up with a second one a few months later? People do not need framing all the time. You have to keep after them. If you send them a few postcards a few months apart, you just might hit them when they do need something framed.
     
  36. The King

    The King SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Pamela, I actually agree with your notion of FramerSelect setting standards for admission to the organization.

    I had wondered why my friendly cross-town competitior, John Ranes, recommended me to FramerSelect when it would presumably put me in a more competitive position in our market. John told me he did that so he would have some control over who else in our area would become a member. FramerSelect then told me that, without John's recommendation, it is unlikely they would have admitted me (or anyone else in the Appleton area.) Wisconsin has a disproportionate number of members - I believe nine or ten. To have two in a city of under 100,000 is a lot.

    When I filled out the application, and it asked - among other things - how many years experience I had, whether I am a PPFA member and a CPF, whether I use "paper" mats, whether I attend trade shows and take classes, etc, I guess I assumed they were assessing my qualifications. Maybe not.

    What I disagree with is the notion of having multiple levels within FramerSelect. I think you're either good-enough or you're not.

    BTW, I feel the same way about matboard and FACTS standards. A board either meets the standards or it doesn't. I don't want any "good, better or best."

    I'm sorry if my response to your initial post sounded harsh. I'm not that way (except around Less.)
     
  37. ERIC

    ERIC SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Ron makes a good point about the application – it does much to draw out from the large crowd of shops and framers a select group that has qualities, which distinguishes it from the rest. And then within FS, there are shops that have qualities that distinguish themselves from others. As a member, I feel as if I am in the company of giants, yet I do stand out among my regional competitors, I am FramerSelect. So the concept works IMHO.

    Pamela - Based on the topics covered on the application and the way the questions were worded, your ‘nearest competitor’ would not fair well. In fact the tone of the questions would probably scare such a framer away. As per your description, the answers he would have to put down would make it obvious that he was not what FS was looking for in a member. Painfully obvious.

    One of the comments made by Jay in conversation is that he was often asked to refer a consumer to a shop that was in their region. Sometimes that was easy, in some regions it was tough. I have to imagine that every member of FS would ALREADY be the type of shop that Jay would want to personally refer a consumer to. That factor seems to be inherent in the entire program.

    I think the general public has seen “Best” lists before.

    Car and Drivers 10 Best issue is a respected editorial. Are those really the ‘best’ cars? For you, and your taste? For me? A Camry, not for me. But I know for sure that those cars are good investments and are excellent choices for anyone. Why? Because they made the list . We as framers may see the word ‘best’ and get twisted inside and say “what about . . .? “ but to the public its what they understand and are looking to be told. And while it is not an exhaustive list of " The best" frame shops, I am confident that it will always be representative of just such a list.
     
  38. The King

    The King SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I guess the question might be: Had I written on my application that I use "paper" mats exclusively, I haven't ever been to a trade show or taken a class, I don't belong to the PPFA and I don't know what CPF means - but I sent in my fee, would they have refused my application? I don't know the answer, but I know what answer I'd like to hear.

    Oh, and I think they also asked about regular store hours and what kind of equipment and procedures I am familiar with. I'll have to see if I can find my application.
     
  39. Jeff Grabowski

    Jeff Grabowski Grumbler

    FYI. This was previously posted. Additional, every member is sent a copy and it is included in the information packets we send out.
    __________________________________________________

    FramerSelect is a national affiliation of independent frame shops whose mission is to raise the level of professionalism in the industry through consumer education, cohesive marketing and shared business expertise.

    In an industry where there is no accredited education or trade licenses required, FramerSelect differentiates better frame shops and helps grow their business.

    Each independent frame shop must first meet the following criteria to be recognized as one of “The best frame shops in America.”

    1. FramerSelect requires the following of each member:

    q Framing Focus (50%+ of their revenue is generated from custom picture framing)
    q Offers all aspects of Preservation Quality framing
    q Current design styles, techniques, and products
    q Extensive selection of moulding and mat board samples
    q Participates in ongoing trade education
    q Dedicated to complete customer satisfaction

    2. FramerSelect members must be nominated and/or approved by two or more of the following:

    q Industry Field Representatives
    q Leading Industry Suppliers
    q Current FramerSelect Members
    q FramerSelect Membership Committee
    q Framing Customers

    3. FramerSelect members must adhere to the following professional business practices:

    q Have all applicable business licenses
    q Located in a business district
    q Open traditional business hours
    q Fully insured
    q Guarantee all work
    q Maintain pricing integrity
    q Provide timely turnaround on framing orders

    FramerSelect members are identified by their high standards and dedication to provide exceptional framing and superior service.

    FramerSelect believes that consumer education is the key element in the advancement of the custom framing profession and that the independent framer’s knowledge and experience plays a critical role in this mission.

    ▪▪▪
     
  40. ERIC

    ERIC SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Hey Ron - I think that's a big "Yup"
     
  41. The King

    The King SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Jeff and Eric: Glad to hear it. How'd <U>I</U> get in??

    Just kidding. Thanks for reminding me of something I should have already known.
     
  42. gemsmom

    gemsmom SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Thanks, Jeff, Eric, Ron. I had filled out one of those applications so long ago, I forgot what was on it. Your points make sense, and I like hearing the opinions of others. I get one thought in my head, and someone else puts another spin on it. Good, bad, or somewhere in the middle, I think ideas need to be shared and commented on.
    I still think my idea has merit, and I don't expect everyone to agree. I will be looking to the future to see what FS has in mind to make sure they are representing the "best". Or maybe I have to be a little less literal in my interpretation of what "best" means these days.
     
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