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I couldn't belive what I learned first handed.

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by BUDDY, Mar 18, 2007.

  1. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    While we are just guessing, I'll guess the opposite.

    Just based on that I suppose you may want to just avoid any value priced framing if you don't know how to sell it proffitably. But keep in mind by matching Micheals prices, most of us would increase our ticket prices since they are so expensive. So "cheap" at this point is subjective.

    Remember framing is elastic. As you continue to focus on the smallest percentage of framing customers, you will get less framing. (is that redundant?) The majority of people who bought frames spent something like $100. Just look at the CC frames you have just purchased. I believe that less than half the 450+ shops carrying those frames have EVER sold one. This may be a road sign...or not...I dunno? It is clear that as you focus on the most extream high end of framing, the number of clients that consider you drop very sharply.
  2. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    If you think your customers are monogamous, then you may be optimistically delusional

    The client with the Jag that always seems to pull up infront of your store quite possibly may have an Altima at home. They may also have that 52" plasma in the living room and a 19" "regular" TV in the bedroom and a 13" in the kitchen

    All likely bought at different stores and probably induced more by a "sale" price than great service or great quality

    Why do we continually feel that the rules that govern 99% of consumer behavior do not apply to us?
  3. J Phipps TN

    J Phipps TN SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I'm not saying I don't carry the lower end framing,(I do)What I am saying is she brought me the good stuff and left the posters to HL.
    If I had my choice of which frameshop I want to be to this customer... it is the high end. I guarentee I made more on this one sale then HL did on the posters!

    My point is.....I think a "I sell Cheap" sign lowers the perception of quality to the general passer by.

    I do run sales, %'s off and send out coupons, but I don't think hanging banner stating 50% off is going to draw in the anything but bargan hunters and WILL turn off the ones willing to pay for quality.
    I think an high-end atmosphere in an independant shop is a good thing. In a small shop, a 50% off banner looks desperate and no one shops in a desperate shop! They shop with those who seem busy and confident about their prices and a to whom a sale is a gift to their customers.

    I have to say though, I have been proven wrong in the past.

    There is that one shop I told you about in a town over who is stuck in the 80's who are kicking it. There is no "heir" to their shop at all but I also did not see any 50% off signs either. And they are busy.
  4. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    Without a doubt you have just called what I would consider to be the most competent merchant among us "desperate". Thats precious.
  5. J Phipps TN

    J Phipps TN SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    What most competent merchanct did I call desperate?:shrug: I'm not saying I didn't, I am just wondering who you are refering to.

    I wonder how many top 100 Decor winners keep a 50% or 75% off banner in thier front window. If it's over 25%, I'll hang one out tomorrow.

    I'm not proud, I'll do whatever it takes to succeed but I just don't think it fits into the "work smarter, not harder" catagory of marketing. I still beleive in target marketing.

    Do you have one hanging in your window Jay? (just curious)
  6. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    I think he means Michaels.
  7. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    If I hung a banner touting huge discounts my customers would think I was desperate.

    If the BB's do it they're doing business as usual.

    It all relates back to how we position ourselves in the market. Jennifer probably did make more on the higher end jobs than the BB did on the poster frames ...especially if they bought some plastic ready mades.

    It's very difficult to play all sides of the fence effectively.

    I'm curious ...for those who have worked at the BB's ...how much high end quality work do they do? Are they perceived in the market place as the place to go if you want it done not only inexpensively, but cheaply?

    Just as Jen's customer took her higher end framing to her and the el cheapo jobs to Michaels does the perception that an independent does higher quality work actually work very effectively for the independent?

    I guess I'm asking ...is there a place and room for both to survive and thrive beside each other.

    I think there is.

    Dave Makielski
  8. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    If you can't just take me for my word, would you believe me more if I gave you a name or address? Heck Framemakers just popped into my head. He admited to and so I guess he's desperate also?

    What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? There has to be a better measure than Decor Top 100? 2/3 of those "winners" never knew they were in the running.


    Carry on.
  9. Emibub

    Emibub PFG, Picture Framing God

    Yeah, plenty of people discount, I am one of them. In the perfect world I would rather not but that is the way the shop was run before me. Not to mention, I just don't have the high end clients stacked knee deep waiting for me to help them. If you are positioned where you can pick your clients and send away the ones you would rather not deal with, more power to you. Personally, I want them to come to me for their high end project and their craptacular ones too. But, I am desperate and hungry.

    I don't have a 50% off banner anywhere near my store for the record.
  10. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    Its weird how these discussions always take on a similar pattern. I might have played a roll in and I didn't mean too.

    Buddy was commenting how the BB WASN'T any cheaper than the independent. Immediately people jumped on board with how their everyday prices were aligned or even cheaper than their sale prices and we should sue, cry, blah blah blah blah.

    My point is that if you are happy with your prices and they are in fact cheaper than a BB's sale price, why wouldn't you tell people? There is no logical answer but yet it happens everyday. People are afraid to associate themselves with a BB to a fault. Call it a "sale" or "discount" or "customer appreciation" or "we'll match their prices" or "competitive prices" or what ever you want. But again, if they are smoking busy and you are competitively priced, why is it a secret?

    Buddy went to the indi and BB. There is another thread stating that this is common practice. Am I to believe that this isn’t true depending on what kind of banner you have out front?

    The longer I hang out here the less I understand these platitudes. Rules apply here and not there…nothing adds up. We’re cheaper than the BBs and yet tout high end framing? We boast about serving our clients to the best of our ability and then laugh off and condone them having other shops do the “cheap stuff”? We brag about customer service and poke fun at people calling for a price or not bringing their pieces in? Don’t even get me started on the impossible pyramid thread! Is this madness actually going anywhere?

    “Craptacular”…that’s great, I sense a new word on the horizon.
  11. FrameMakers

    FrameMakers PFG, Picture Framing God

    For the record, I DO HAVE A HALF OFF BANNER HANGING IN MY WINDOW. And while I would not call myself desperate, I am always looking for more business.
  12. Emibub

    Emibub PFG, Picture Framing God

    Well, Dave, kwit working so hard.....................just take down the banner and wait for the high end rich people to come in!
  13. BUDDY

    BUDDY PFG, Picture Framing God

    I know I shouldn't do this but let me try anyway.

    Jay the reason for the original post you mentioned was I was surprised at the misconceptions most have about a lot of shops and that is in no way limited to BB. I did say I was truly surprised at how high the BB price was even though I knew they weren't as cheap as I was lead to belive.

    I also said that the "INDIS" that were considered high end ( rightly so)were cheaper then the BB when offering more. I was also shocked the the High end Indis didn't even attempt to direct me towards any degree of C/P framing contrary to the common belief of many who espouse competing for the BB trade.

    I also briefly mentioned that what one supplier thought was a sacred high markup that shouldn't be caught up in any possible price wars was in fact lower than what I used when even some her thought I was too cheap and running my unsuccessful business before Katrina forced me to face reality.

    Now the question about why don't we ( small and High end shops ) persue the BB trade that is being pictured as so lucrative and profitable and I and many like us say we didn't know we weren't doing that. We welcome any framing that comes through our doors except that which may later cause us problems. Only now I am told on HH that the ODDS of that happening (being caught up in a litigation for mistreating some future valued S/N work) are very slim so maybe it shouldn't be worried about.

    Well some can take that approach and may never have a problem . With the luck I have and I guess a few others that is very risky and with not as big a budget as some and definitely as big as a BB , to this dummy ,it seems foolish.

    But I guess it is all in what you wish to portrayed as .Personally I would like to be seen as a Knowledgeable, skilled framer who can do the best work as well as the decorative work at a price that is fair to the customer and myself . I just didn't see any need to change my image to draw that to me nor should others need to now. Certainly if I am considered good enough to do the C/P work ,right thinking customers should know I can do the quickie decro work as well and at a price that is fair and maybe better than some who brag otherwise.

    Unless the commonly spread conception is that High end - C/P - CPF framers only want Big dollar pristine work and discourage the decorative work. That is just plain not true. And no one should need to post a sign real or fake to overcome that bias.

    My original argument is the inexpensiveness of BB isn't the only MYTHCONCEPTION being spread by many who should and profess to know better to the consummers and even some of ourselves.

    But then I never was as successful as most of you so what do I know. As i said on HH all I have left to share is my opinion and you have just heard it.
  14. pollyann

    pollyann CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    I work for Michael's and I do jobs that range anywhere from $50 to $1500. With the exception of work we assemble into cheap ready made frames, I consider all that I do as quality work. I have framed family heirlooms, sports jersey's, t-shirts, record albums, Terry Redlin's, Charles Peterson's, Thomas Kinkade's, Rembrandt Etchings (authenticated at the Chicago Art Insitute), Wedding Dresses, Children's art, photographs, cross stitch pieces and much more. I have done work for resteraunts, gallery show's and for the Packer Organization.

    I am probably not your average Michael's frame shop manager as I have over 13 years of framing experience. In both independant shops and the BB.

    If you are talking High End meaning the price, I am sure I don't do nearly as many as you. If you are talking quality of work, I know for a fact I do better work than most of the independant frame shops in our area. (which I do think is sad)

    Yesterday I got a call from an independant shop, she got my name from another shop, she wanted to know if I could do french lines. I told her that we do not do them at Michael's and I couldn't even think of a shop in the area to send her too. Now that is really sad.

    The same lady that told her to call me sent over a customer because she wanted 3 pictures put into a frame, but wanted one piece to over lap at an angle over the other and have the mat cut to follow the angled line. The pictures were of her and the Orange County Chopper crew. I took the job, It was a gift for her best friend, when they both came in to pick it up her friend started to cry(tears of joy). I have done many pieces for both her and her friend since that day. This was not a difficult cut and yet no one in this independant shop could do it.

    The point here is we don't all do the same. Michael's doesn't offer fabric wrapped mats, they don't do painted panels, french lines, or have the means to build any type of frame in there shop. They can't build a custom extender for shadow boxes so that limits the customer to only the Shadow Boxer.

    What they do is have a model that is to be followed in all stores. They are suppose to be using only archival materials. They only sell Bainbridge artcare mat boards and artcare foamboard. Their preservation mounts are to be done only on 4-ply rag mat with artcare foamboard as a filler only. They tape their mat's to the rag mat as to form a book opening and the art is mounted with Linco mounting strips or Hykua tape if neccesary (I agree mulberry or rice paper would be better). If a metal frame is used in a preservation mount it is to be filled with foam board and spring clips are not to be used. This is their model to follow! It is stressed time and time again. When they do a x-stitch they pin using stainless steel surgical pins only.

    If it is not being followed then those framers are in the wrong. Again it can only be as good as the training they receive. Perhaps they need have the framing police start checking there shops, which I personally think they should do.
  15. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    So this confirms my theory that there definately is a place for both the independent custom framer and the BB's.


    In general are trusted to handle work and are expected to do a satisfactory job at a reasonable price. Much of the population knows their name due to national advertising and they are considered a nonthreatening environment to shop in. The service level is not expected to be quite as high as an independent but the perceived lower price balances this out. Branding already in place.


    Perceived to be more expensive than the BB's but offer truly custom options not available in the BB's. Timid shoppers may feel threatened shopping at independents as each environment is different and walking in for the first time is stepping into an unknown environment. There is a higher expectation of service at an independent. Branding possibilities exist and can be cultivated to good advantage.


    BB's - Already in play. Personality of stores well established.

    Independents - Need to differentiate themselves from the BB's ...trying to compete on their level is difficult if not impossible due to already established perceptions. Independents need to make their environments very welcoming to overcome customer timidness, especially on first encounter. Specialty services need to be emphasized, however independents also need to convey that economical framing choices are also available in their shops. Peronality of stores and employees of prime importance.

    The co-existence off BB's and independents may be compared to the co-existence of chain restaurants and independent family run restaurants. When traveling, you know what to expect at a Denny's or a Ruth's Chris Steak House. The personality of an independent restaurant is a unique experience, often unpredictable, but also frequently more enjoyable. Prices are often comparable for level of service and food quality.

    I think there will always be room for both the BB's and independents and just possibly the ideal location for an independent is next door to a BB.

    Dave Makielski
  16. J Phipps TN

    J Phipps TN SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Or Kathy, you could try the 50% off banner in your window.;)
  17. FrameMakers

    FrameMakers PFG, Picture Framing God

    Dave, Kudos to you. Your last post sums it up better then I have ever seen.
  18. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I always enjoy Dave's posts. He brings such a fair approach to the forum

    There wil always be a place for the independent framer, but there will be casaulties. And, it's no different with the BB's

    In this market, in our short existence, we have seen the disappearance of these BB's (and I'm sure I will leave a few out): Montiel's, Old America, Ben Franklin, CraftMart

    And, too numerous frameshops to remember

    That includes mall shops, franchises and ma and pa shops

    I guess bottom line might be there will always be "winners" and "losers". We might be wise to find those "Best Practices" of the winners and try and incorporate them.

    And, identify those characteristics that were fatal or near-fatal in the losers and avoid them

    To Framemakers (Dave), while we do not have a banner outside our store, we are also "aggressive promoters", too. I like that phrase so much better than scum sucking discounter.LOL

    This is almost like a 12 Step Meeting (Hello, my name is Bob and I discount). Can you imagine having this discussion even 3 yrs ago?
  19. BUDDY

    BUDDY PFG, Picture Framing God

    Is this the kind of thing you had in mind Bob?

    I know we have discussed this many times in the oast. In fact I found mention of it as far back as 1998. but in trying to keep it to 3 years ago i found this thread and the main posting person was very familaiar.LOL


    But Discounting and how and when have always been a topic amomg framers as best I remeber.
  20. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Buddy ...when I tried to follow your link I got shut down! Some message about not having access or my account was being scrutinized or something!:(

    Oh well ...maybe I wasn't meant to be a scum sucking discounter ...:smileyshot22:.


    Dave Makielski
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