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Framebridge Opens Retail Store

Discussion in 'The Grumble' started by Paul Cascio, Mar 21, 2019.

  1. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Interesting move by Framebridge CEO, Susan Tynan, who was one our students at the American Picture Framing Academy. Will be interesting to see how FB will take on the big box stores, but from what I've read it sounds like she's going to attack them on pricing transparency, which as you know, is something I've been harping on for years.

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  2. Rick Granick

    Rick Granick SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    At the end she gives us a clue as to what to focus on and improve in our own shops:
    “I really felt that as long as all of the things that made me feel uncomfortable were removed — that people were greeted, that they felt comfortable that they knew exactly how much it would cost, they could get in and out quickly … that all of that we could do,” she said. “So It feels like a natural next step for us.”

    :cool: Rick
  3. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    "Framebridge has raised $67 million to date. Tynan declined to disclose the company's annual revenue or say whether it is profitable."

    The fact that they couldn't even just say "yes, we're profitable" may be telling. Other specific info I have from suppliers they buy from makes me not too concerned about their longevity.
    FramerCat likes this.
  4. DVieau2

    DVieau2 PFG, Picture Framing God

    Thanks Paul.

    6 to 8 stores in a year is not fast or aggressive for a big player. Even if the stores are successful it will not be a good measure of how they might take on the Big Box framers. Michael's has 1250 stores and operates on a steady diet of "always on Sale"

    Big operators are always experimenting. What with the recording area?

    See photos:
  5. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    dunno, $67mil that others bet (who actually had accurate info) is a pretty powerful indicator. I might follow Paul's advice. At least, I would be eager to learn more on them and their view on transparency pricing.

    Doug is correct in their slow pace, but I remember when Michael had a few stores in Houston and Hobby Lobby was send a truck down to Agua Prieta every so often to pick up frames

    $67mil ain't chump change
  6. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Interestingly, Framebridge has hired Jenny Merrill, a talented VP who earned her MBA at Dartmouth. Ms. Merrill was most recently an executive with Pandora Jewelry. It would be a mistake however, for her to think that selling custom framing is similar to selling jewelry or other retail merchandise, even upscale merchandise. IMO, one of the biggest reasons why framers fail is they assume that the apparent simplicity of "putting four sticks together" equates to success. As we all know, making frames is somewhat easier than making money making frames.
  7. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Yes, as Doug mentioned, what's with the recording area? If you've raised $67M, do you complain about the increasing cost of social media advertising? And do you rely on a broadcast studio that anyone with $500 and an Ebay account could duplicate -- shower curtain not included.

    BTW, I've never believed the venture capital numbers that have been thrown around by Framebridge. And almost all of FB's publicity is in one publication.

    What could a framing business possibly need that kind of money for? Certainly not tangible assets. And what venture capitalist(s) would be duped into putting up such a sum without a detailed accounting of how it would be spent? Let's see, that's $300,000 for a state of the art, 100,000 sq/ft backroom, and $66,700,000.00 for Instagram ads. Yep, that makes perfect sense. Count us in.

    I think the FB retail store, and its offerings, reminds me of what a fast food version of a frameshop would be.

    I could be wrong, but it also smacks of desperation. If the theory, as stated, is that the retail store will feed the mail order business, isn't that what the entire Framebridge concept was based on -- that it would take customers from the thousands of retail stores that it claimed were waiting to be wooed away? If that's not working, why would they think that one more store -- with overhead -- will turn the tide?

    Does it not seem strange to you that FB is opening the same kind of business that it's founder trashed? Maybe FB finally figured out that people found their service to be too cumbersome and inconvenient, that the prices weren't really all that great, and that the frames weren't very custom.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2019
    alacrity8 likes this.
  8. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    not sure i'll agree. These people 'selling' won't framing nearly as much as 'concept'. One thing certainly true is many consumers react in identifiable, trackable behavior. Is the 'niche' too small to warrant $67m? Don't know. But, hiring quality framers isn't much different than hiring quality mechanics, quality cooks, quality teachers.

    Let's just say running an enterprise like Pandora has many, many similarities running an operation of frameshops except the zeroes.

    MY OPINION: There probably is nowhere near enough scale in these stand alone shops to justify the effort. But, they have 67 million reasons to try. Seems like a lot of folks saw something investable.

    Let's see what happens to prototype. There is a lot to learn about them win, lose or draw. I would put away that shovel and break out the legal pads and start taking notes. There will be a lot to learn and perhaps to earn

    just my thoughts with very little actual knowledge on them
  9. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I agree that price transparency is a large part of what makes them attractive to consumers.

    Cliff Wilson has been a big proponent of the concept, and has taught many others the same. Both he and any of the "copycats" have been very successful from what I can tell. FB has just taken the concept a lot further, for instance their template on the design counter where you can just lay your piece down and see how much it will cost.
    DSR7 likes this.
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