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Any feedback on Larson's Artaissance?

JBergelin

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Larson promoted that Artaissance was to be introduced into limited markets last fall. Did it get launched? If so could we get some feedback as to how it is progressing?
 
Sponsor Wanted

Val

PFG, Picture Framing God
My LJ rep will be in this week....I'll ask her, and report back.
 

Rick Bergeron - CPF

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
It's probably best that each person ask their own rep. Sometimes plans are intended to be "low key" and when you blurt out information to the public, your chances of getting future info from your sources will be significantly lessened because word gets back that you can't keep a keep things to yourself.

The voice of hard knocks here.

Going to the Artaissance website should prove that the project was launched.
 

Val

PFG, Picture Framing God
You're right Rick..........zzzzzip! Unless I have her permission, she usually asks me what's going on with the Grumblers.
 

Cliff Wilson

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I was told quite publicly that there would be a "presentation" on Artaissance here in New England in the next "few" of months. (I was given the date, but can't recall it! :( ) Open to any customer that is interested. There are some requirements, like you have to have a Paypal merchant account for the customer to pay with. (I think)

Sorry, I don't remember the date.

I would say, since they seem to be expanding the coverage that the experiment went ok. I did get the feeling that the "usage" was a litte less than they had hoped, but I think they are attributing it to the limited coverage area.

I hope this post is taken as I intended it, which is a little bit of fact, and a LOT of guessing. ;)
 

PhotoKris

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Artaissance is going live in the Boston area On Mon the 12th. They are having a meeting about it on the 12th in Andover... supposedly there was a postcard i didn't get.
 

Maryann

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
There's a partners meeting in Philadelphia on the 12th. I didn't hear about it until yesterday so I didn't make any arrangements for the shop and can't go. I'd be willing to bet it's about Artaissance.

But it's been live in several markets since last fall. ANYBODY have feedback on it?
 

Harry FKA Harry

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Artaissance is going live in the Boston area On Mon the 12th. They are having a meeting about it on the 12th in Andover... supposedly there was a postcard i didn't get.
Kris, I heard the same thing and have not yet seen any info about it. Last I spoke to the folks from LJ, they were still working out the details. I beleive that I was also told that everyone would receive an invitation.

I am looking forward to learing more about it.....
 

PhotoKris

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
The meeting started about 5 min ago (11am) in Andover. We are shorthanded at teh store so I couldnt go. I didnt recieve the invite either... my rep was here on fri
 

Barnett

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
The Philadelphia meeting was held on 1-22-07. LJ had a nice presentation and I believe will sending out marketing material to all who signed up very soon.
Bart
 

Jack Flynn

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Rec'd invite here in mail while I was at WCAF. DC area, tomorrow, Feb 13th, 10-1 at Gaithersburg Marriott. Purpose: "Learn more about the Artaissance experience at the Wash. DC Artaissance Luncheon".

Was planning to go but the expected bad weather has ruled it out. Four hours down and back in ice is a no go.
 

Doug Gemmell

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Seattle

It was introduced in Seattle a couple of weeks ago.

There are some commitments required to participate such as buying 2 or 3 pieces and framing them for display, internet access for customers, etc.

We receive our three pieces last week, 2 on canvas, 1 on paper...very nice.

We're just beginning to market the service so we'll see what happens.
 

Mrs.B

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
It was introduced in the Indianapolis area in late Sept. '06. Beautiful artwork and mid priced for giclee's. I bought and framed 3 pieces (2 canvas, 1 paper). I've had lots of good comments but no sales. A lot of the art is somewhat abstract. We're kind of rural around here, and if it doesn't "look like somethin' ", my customers aren't interested. I spent alot of money setting it up in my shop, I dought it will pay for itself in a year.
 

Cliff Wilson

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
It's been a little while since the "branch out."

My rep was trying to get me interested.

I figure the "buy in" (Required display pieces) will cost somewhere staring at $500, plus take up a fair amount of my retail space.

Has this created a positive "Return on Investment" for anyone yet?

It feels like it could, but I guess I'm sceptical?!
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
It's been a little while since the "branch out."

My rep was trying to get me interested.

I figure the "buy in" (Required display pieces) will cost somewhere staring at $500, plus take up a fair amount of my retail space.

Has this created a positive "Return on Investment" for anyone yet?

It feels like it could, but I guess I'm sceptical?!
Honestly Cliff, we haven't sold one piece. We have been part of the program since its inception in San Francisco last year. We get occasional lookers and I often talk up the three large pieces in my shop, but nothing so far.

If I were to do this over again, I would purchase two or three of the same image. One huge, one medium, one small. Two would be on canvas and one on paper. That might get the message across better than banners and signs.

Bear in mind that Bruce McGaw also has variable sized images, just not the whole collection. I have sold one of those through no efforts on my part except a link on my web site. I also have a a fairly large Artiassance presence on our site, but still, no takers.

I think the concept is a good one, but I have been disappointed with the quality of the images. They are kind of ho hum, in my opinion, or at least they appear so in my market, which is farily sophisiticated. Also, we are moving away from prints and posters and towards signed woodblocks and such. We have a large arts and crafts following because Berkeley has a lot of old arts and crafts style houses.

I think the asnwer to the Artiassance program is proper display, but also your general market location. Take a careful look at the images and make sure they fit with what your customers might be interested in buying no matter what size they--the images--are.
 

Doug Gemmell

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Not a good situation

I've been promoting it for a month or so but no sales so far.

At the meeting a couple of months ago, the Artaissance folks said there would be handouts available to us to promote it and local advertising. So far they have provided nothing but "camera ready" artwork of the logo. I guess they're leaving it up to us to provide the materials now.

Another problem is that on the website when you click on "Shop Now", a window opens that that says "Coming soon to your area..." and you can't view anything from that window. The only way you can is by backing out of there and clicking a smaller "browse artwork" button. I'm sure that many people give up when they can't get anywhere with the "Shop Now" section and they then go to other sites to buy their art. In the handouts I made, I had to say "Click on 'Browse Artwork'" to hopefully keep them away from the dead "Shop Now" but they probably intuititively go to "Shop Now". As I said, it's bigger and it makes sense that that would be the place to enter.

I asked them about the the promised publictiy and the website problems over a month ago and was told they are working on it and still nothing! My web guy could fix something like that in a day or two!

Don't know what their problem is but they are handling the "rollout" in the NW very poorly.

I would advise anyone considering getting into this program to wait until the bugs are worked out and to find out if others are being successful with it.
 

PaulSF

PFG, Picture Framing God
I've got two pieces on display already -- a landscape on canvas and an abstract -- with another piece (landscape on paper) waiting to be framed. The framed pieces are on display in my front window. I've noticed several people have stopped by my window to look at the pieces, with pointing and animated discussions, etc. So far, nobody has had the cojones to actually walk through my doors and ask me about the pieces. Also, traffic over the past few weeks has been really poor, for reasons that elude me.

Even so, I think it will take a while for LJ's promotion of Artaissance to take hold. They've got to get the attention of consumers and drive them to the Artaissance website, and that doesn't happen overnight. I'm not willing to write it off yet, since I've only been participating for a few weeks now.
 

Doug Gemmell

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Now What

Paul, are you promoting this other than the window display?

I've put the web site on my business cards, created and mailed an information sheet, mentioned it in our radio ads, and of course talk about it to customers looking for art.

Don't know what more I can do, short of badgering Artaissance about the fixes they need to implement.

I understand that new ventures take time to hit their stride but it would be nice to get a little support from the source to even come close to a "stride".

I wish you and everyone participating the best!
 

PaulSF

PFG, Picture Framing God
Doug, I have a mention on my website, as well, with a link to Artaissance.com. At present, however, it's all I can do to promote my own store. I'll have to rely on LJ to promote Artaissance -- Warren Buffett loses more spare change in his sofa than I take in over ten years. If it drives customers to my store, that's great. At the least, I've got a couple of nicely framed models to display, one with a hand-wrapped suede liner, the kind of stuff that people cannot find at Michaels, Z Gallery or Bed Bath & Beyond.
 

Rick Bergeron - CPF

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
They have been a bit slow, but sources say that within the next 4-6 weeks there will be a marketing package (CD-Rom) with high resolution imagery and other quality materials. It's tough to roll out a new program and not have dealers on board to completely cover the demographic area, which is part of the issue. Seattle fell through a small crack and there is significant energy being expended to catch up. The google adwords campaigns have been input to include the Seattle area zipcodes and ISPs. The proper search phrases put Artaissance as the #1 pay-per-click listing, at least using my searches with my ISP. I don't know how Google does it, but if your ISP is not within the demographic area of the adword campaign, the pay-per-click listing doesn't appear.

I also found that there is a hierarchy to press releases and if the release gets to the wrong publisher in the wrong order, the entire marketing/press release is all fouled up. There is a nice 4 page piece in the April edition of DOMINO magazine which is supposed to be one of the latest things in the decorating world. Borders, Barnes & Nobles etc has them on the shelf. The pricing is a bit on the low side for us, but it was a very fair story.

The artwork for us was between $500 and $1000 (3 canvas and 1 paper) and the framing materials were another pretty penny. Add in the store make-over and custom, commissioned Artaissance kiosk w/computer and the total is more than pocket change. Interest has been fairly good and I've been seeing 3 to 4 dozen referrals to the Artaissance website through our website per month.

We've had half a handful of designers ask about the HUGE Canvas and didn't blink an eye at the $3900 price tag, but it's still hanging on the wall.
 

PaulSF

PFG, Picture Framing God
Rick, how do you track the referrals to the Artaissance website?
 

Rick Bergeron - CPF

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
From one of my Web Stats packages if I interpret them in a reasonable manner.

March 2007
  • My Artaissance page was viewed 81 times
  • 15 of those 81 times that page was the point of entry to my site. From where, who knows.
  • 45 of those 81 it was the exit page. I choose to believe that the exit was a click anywhere on the page and took them to the Artaissance site. Could be just an exit
  • Average time spent on the Artaissance page was 3 min 10 sec.
I don't think those are bad stats for a rural community of 120,000 within 35 mile radius and the first month of promotion. That size market is not likely to get much advertising from the national level. Seattle will most likely get the majority of any funding for this market.

I currently do not have anything fancy on the website but will be creating something better using Artaissance graphics soon. We make sure that our printed info specifically states to use the link from our site to the Artaissance site, because purchases that use that route will receive a gift certificate emailed from Artaissance after a purchase... and going directly to the Artaissance site does not guarantee a gift certificate.
 

Doug Gemmell

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Ten Second Exit

[*]Average time spent on the Artaissance page was 3 min 10 sec.
Three minutes trying to figure out how to make "Shop Now" work and ten seconds exiting it to log into another web art store.
 

EllenAtHowards

PFG, Picture Framing God
I pretty much had Roger convinced to try it until it came to putting his SSAN into PayPal. Roger don' give that number to NOOO Body! I told him, well, I knew it, and he said that was before h eknew it was so easy to use for Identity Theft.
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
A year ago I sent several suggestions to Artaissance and I see that the web site has still the same old stale looking home page. Look at sites like Editions Limited. Reload the page and you'll see that it changes with each visit. Or Mc Gaw--fresh looking all the time. With all the money that LJ has, I am apalled at the hokey look of their site. This "rolll out" is taking an long time.

After a year in the program, we are very disappointed.
 

meena

True Grumbler
I was planning on being a part of this idea but I was told I have to buy 2 pieces of art and I must have a computer for customers to see the website. I looked at the art and I just think it looks very amature. It has a very wishy washy look to it. Nothing pops out at me. I don't think it's going to go anywhere unless they get better artwork. It's a great idea otherwise. Does anyone know where they find these "artists"?
 

Jerry Ervin

PFG, Picture Framing God
I sure don't like the sound of what I'm reading.

I had high hopes that this in conjunction with maybe Lieberman's would be my total 'art' offering and no longer stock prints of any kind.

I still embrace the concept. When it is available in my area, I will push it as best I can. I have 3 designers that are interest it the site already. One is chomping at the bit to place an order for a big canvas for her customer.

Time will tell
 

Rick Bergeron - CPF

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I don’t see a staged rollout being a bad thing other than the retailers that fall into the later stages of rollout being very anxious. It is one thing to sit back and wait for customers to line up at the door and then pi$$ and moan about no sales in a year. It is another thing to “Take the Bull by the Horns” and proactively market the program using whatever means that you can. That statement was generality folks and not meant to say that anyone has taken any particular stance. If the shoe fits, wear it.

In the short period that we’ve been associated with the program, we have had many positive reactions from customers. Looking at various Artaissance dealers around the country, I’ve seen very few actually have websites. Of those who have websites, very few even mention Artaissance on their website but somehow manage to complain about poor customer response. It is easy for people to complain about what doesn't work with the Artaissance website but some complainers cannot even insert a simple link to it from their own site? The pilot program began 6-8 months ago, so to say problems go back a year seems a bit exagerated.

Doug, that 3 minutes, 10 seconds is time spent on my site page dedicated to Artaissance. It has nothing to do with time spent on the Artaissance website. At least I have statistics.

Where do they get artists? I know one of them..... Chris Paschke, have seen her work elsewhere and is a very knowledgable framer.

Yes there are some issues? It appears that most are being addressed, but solutions do not magically appear overnight. It is also a chicken or egg situation. How can a company roll out a program without retailers available? Until there are enough outlets, it doesn’t make business sense to have a major campaign.

Jerry, if you have a designer with an immediate desire, contact me offline. I am certain acceptable arrangements can be made.
 

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Hi Meena-This might be one of those posts where I get accused of "not being nice", but "having to have a computer" is an obstacle?

And you have to buy 2 pcs of art?

I don't know where some of these numbers are coming out but there is a special pricing for "display items" that makes the net cost of almost art we are getting for under $100. And there is "special" pricing on the Larson frames of your choice. Our total committment wil be well under $500

I appreciate that to some that might be a significant hurdle, but let's be serious: Whee else can you start a new campaign for such a limited investment?

We selected Max Hayslette and Rodney White. Not sure I would call them amateurs

Bottom line: It is a small investment that may have a great upside with no recurring costs. It baffles me why there is such resistance. We do spend a terrible amount of time "picking pepper specks out of gravy" don't we?

What's the worse case scenario? A year from now, you end up with two piece of art that will look wonderful in your home at prices to you way, way below what you would normally pay?

I have learned a wonderful phrase from a client that specializes in Financial planning for her female clients: It is "It's time to put your Big Girl panties on"

I think if Susan was advising Meena (and I have no idea the gender) I suspect that I know what she would say
 

Jerry Ervin

PFG, Picture Framing God
Thanks Rick

She is coming in today to finalize another order. If I can firm her up on the size of canvas I will contact you soon.


I already have two pieces on display in preparations for when we can go live. The artwork and printing looks pretty darn good to me.

Now y'all got me chomping at the bit again!

If nothing else, it spurred me to get broadband Internet into the store.
 

Doug Gemmell

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Anyone Out There?

Lots of optimisim out there with this program. I too am optimistic that it may work over time.

It's a little disturbing that no one has posted with a success story.

I would like to hear from a grumbler who has actually sold something from Artissance. I know you're out there....come on....give us some encouragement!
 

PaulSF

PFG, Picture Framing God
I found a couple of nice pieces -- both landscapes. One was by Larry Miller (not the comedian), and the other by a Korean artist named Kim (yeah yeah, I know, that narrows it down dramatically). And yes I have to invest in framing them, but I look at it as a means of demonstrating good frame design for customers. So on the canvas piece (the Larry Miller), I wrapped a liner in suede, and used some excess LJ Antica moulding I had in the back. Fairly minimal cost, and I love the way it looks. For the other piece, I'll do a double suede mat with fillet.

As for the computer, I already have a computer up front with my Lieberman's database, for customers to browse. The computer also has internet access, so I renamed the icon for Internet Explorer -- it's now called "Artaissance."

And Jerry -- what Rick said about helping you out with your designer client. If we grumblers can't help each other out, what good are we?

My only desire from Artaissance right now is this -- create a graphic icon for Artaissance and send us the code so that we can put it on our websites. Yelp does it, so Artaissance ought to be able to do it as well.
 

Tim Hayes.

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Artaissance - a success story !!!

For me the decision to sign on for Artaissance was pretty much a NO BRAINER!

Minimal entry cost for another sales and promo venue for my business. I don't have to stock any inventory, orders are paid to me in advance, delivered free by Larson-Juhl and if I'm any kind of a salesperson I make a framing sale as well and keep all the framing profits........hmmmmmm - let me think about that for about a second before I say YES!

I have had a PayPal account for several years as I occasionally buy/sell items on Ebay. Tuesday I was checking the PayPal account and there it was an incoming payment for $405 for 3 small Artaissance canvases. I signed up about 2 months ago. I will post with a follow-up on framing. My website is being renovated as we recently changed our business name so the order was completely generated through Artaissance.

Best,
Tim Hayes
 

Doug Gemmell

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Yes!

Thanks Tim!
 

tnframer408

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
was in Barnes and Noble today and picked up the latest issue of Domino, a decorating mag. In it is a HUGE multi=page article of decorators/artists/designers recommending LJ and Artaissance to the "customer" and showing the work on walls.

Were I still in business, I'd buy at least ten of those mags and put around the store to push the line.

If you can and are interested, grab the latest issue. Full of inexpensive decorating ideas and looks like it appeals to the upper middle class or lower upper class looking for some high end decorating ideas yet still maintain a budget of some sort
 

John Ranes II CPF GCF

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Link needs repair?

Doug Gemmell said:
...I've put the web site on my business cards, created and mailed an information sheet, mentioned it in our radio ads, and of course talk about it to customers looking for art.

Don't know what more I can do, short of badgering Artaissance about the fixes they need to implement...

Doug,

As we have a meeting in Wisconsin coming up on April 18th for potential Artaissance participants, I began taking a closer look at the different links and pages on retailer's websites promoting this program.

I like the brief and "to the point" synopsis that you included on your home page, and I note that you have a pair of links to the Artaissance page - hypertext and image. However you may wish to change the image link as it goes to the actual Artaissance page and not your Artaissance page. :( So you may be sending customers away and not getting credit.

PaulSF,

I really like your drop down inclusion on your page: The Great Frame Up - San Mateo, but you should have the link open as a new page.

You don't want to send someone away from your website, and leave them with their only option to return as the back arrow. :)


Regards,

John
 

PaulSF

PFG, Picture Framing God
Not sure I know how to do that, John, but I agree with you 100%. I'll look into it.
 

Doug Gemmell

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Thanks!

Thanks for pointing that out John. I'll get on it!

If it's still not working by the time of your meeting, ask them when the "Shop Now" feature will be working. But maybe it's not a problem....maybe I'm being too picky or maybe I think it should be doing something it isn't supposed to do? Or maybe I'm not doing something I'm supposed to do, or..........

Have you decided to sign up?

I'm encouraged by the Domino's ad that others have mentioned and surprised that only 10 framers in the Puget Sound area have signed up so far. Maybe most are waiting to see how it shakes out.
 

John Ranes II CPF GCF

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Opening as a new window....

PaulSF said:
Not sure I know how to do that, John, but I agree with you 100%...
you simply add this into the code for the text link....

"target="_blank"

so instead of <a href="http://www.theframeworkshop.com">TFW</a>

the code html code should read..
<a href="http://www.theframeworkshop.com"target="_blank">TFW</a>


The Bulletin Board opens all links in new windows automatically.

John
 

John Ranes II CPF GCF

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Yes....we'll be a part of the program

Doug Gemmell said:
...If it's still not working by the time of your meeting, ask them when the "Shop Now" feature will be working. But maybe it's not a problem....maybe I'm being too picky or maybe I think it should be doing something it isn't supposed to do? Or maybe I'm not doing something I'm supposed to do, or..........
Honestly Doug.....I think it works fine, opening as a small window to remind the visitor which parts of the country are currently in the running. That small window is a bit obvious that it serves a single function with the conspicuous CLOSE WINDOW command.

Have you decided to sign up?
Indeed....we'll sign on the dotted line at the meeting. I've already got the majority of obligations in place: PayPal account, Dedicated consummer PC with Internet access.

This program will certainly grow, and gives strong independents a tool. Those with a website will reap more benefits; those with strong websites will reap even more. :thumbsup:

I appreciate all of the current users sharing their experiences.

John
 

Richard Darling

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I'd be interested. I don't understand why the roll-out is so narrow. Seems to me if you're on the web there's no reason to localize your service. (Unless of course you get orders from Nigeria for 3,000 lites of 30 x 30 glass).

Also, why are framers all around me in Montana and Idaho listed, but the nearest city customers can purchase from is Seattle?

:icon45:
 

John Ranes II CPF GCF

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Richard Darling said:
...I don't understand why the roll-out is so narrow. Seems to me if you're on the web there's no reason to localize your service. (Unless of course you get orders from Nigeria for 3,000 lites of 30 x 30 glass)...
Richard,

LJ limited the "roll out" to those six market areas as the images are produced in Atlanta, then transported to their distribution centers before going onto the retail shops....keeping the process within their distribution system keeps the costs down and profits up.

Also, why are framers all around me in Montana and Idaho listed, but the nearest city customers can purchase from is Seattle?
Those Montana and Idaho framers/galleries are listed for consumers to shop from as they will pick up the artwork at a local framer, and that framer is serviced from the Seattle warehouse.

The whole idea around the program is to bring art business to the Local framer. In other words, so the tech savy consumer can now order online but has the convenience of picking up the artwork locally or having that local framer delivery to them. This is part of the uniqueness of the program.

Regards,

John
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
Artaissance Tip

One more tip: Artiassance was willing to send jpg postcard images for use on our site. Also, as our main customer list is electronic, we were able to send two e-mail newsletters to our customer base in lieu of turning over our contact list to LJ. This made me more comfortable with the program.

As I have said earlier in this thread, our results have not been good. Reading through the posts again makes me realize that I need to do more to promote the program again. Having the Artaissance graphic link on my home page, and the larger splash on our Fine Art Prints page has not been enough. I need to reach out again in a future newsletter. It would be easy to visually create photos of variable sizing to drive the point home.

I think that my concern with the art is not the art, per se, as there is plenty of it, and some has to be marketable, but the way it is presented. The site just looks like a mediocre poster site, when it could be so splashy and alive. Posters and prints display really well when some are shown in a photo of an installation. I don't get their stale design at all, and have mentioned it to Artiassance previously. I'm meeting with my LJ rep next week, so will give my suggestions once again. I have put them all in writing to Artaissance several times.
 

BILL WARD

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
"Unless of course you get orders from Nigeria for 3,000 lites of 30 x 30 glass)"

got anther one of those TTY things saturday---stopped the operator in mid spiel--& told here that is it's form outside the US it's a scam & she should pass it to her super
 
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