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Larson Juhl buys online framing retailer

Discussion in 'The Grumble' started by framergirl13, May 4, 2009.

  1. Creative Chicks

    Creative Chicks SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Thank you Jay for adding your ideas to this thread. I hope that LJ is also keeping abreast of the conversation so they can see all of the creative solutions, such as yours, so as not to alienate their independent framer customers.

    In the last few months I have personally had several younger customers who found me on the web and commented about sites such as Documents but didn't want to build and assemble anything themselves. I suppose that gives me a bit of solace in knowing even my younger set of customers appreciates what goes into creating a custom frame package.

    I still have many reservations in regard to the pricing and availability of product to John Q Public, which in my mind is in direct conflict of interest to us professionals.

  2. cvm

    cvm PFG, Picture Framing God

    I'm not really seeing how the Artaissance model can be applied here. Documounts is so highly fragmented in the services they offer, I don't really see anything other than an affiliate-type program that would be workable. And where does the overwhelming benefit lie in that arrangement?
  3. danny boy

    danny boy PFG, Picture Framing God

    30,193 views. Enquiring minds want to know.....
  4. negavert

    negavert True Grumbler

    So. It's past Labor Day. Any news?
  5. Pat Murphey

    Pat Murphey SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Yes, technical problems have delayed them about three weeks per an e-mail from my rep.
  6. danny boy

    danny boy PFG, Picture Framing God

    31,000 posts. LJ, are you listening?
  7. HB

    HB SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Any publicity is good publicity

    Now we're marketing for LJ!!!
  8. Rick Granick

    Rick Granick SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Zombie Alert!

    It's the
    :icon9::icon9::icon9: Thread That Wouldn't Die :icon9::icon9::icon9: !!!!!!

    :eek: Rick
    Run for your lives!
  9. Joe B

    Joe B SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Not this one again - it is getting kind of sickening...:vomit:
  10. Jerry Ervin

    Jerry Ervin PFG, Picture Framing God

    Isn't it funny that the person that started the thread has never come back?
  11. Baer Charlton

    Baer Charlton SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Jerry, she used to work for a certain Big Boy in the industry.... now, shes just hanging out with Bob Carter, Nona and Ellen.
  12. surferbill

    surferbill SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

  13. RParrish

    RParrish PFG, Picture Framing God

  14. HB

    HB SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    A little overdone?
  15. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    Gotta say, I've been wondering the same question.
    They said there would be changes by Labor Day, so
    it's a reasonable question to ask. If they want this issue
    to resolve, it would help if they resolved the issue.

    I like them, but it's certainly cause for concern.
    Not everyone who's following this situation is an LJ
    detractor. I like them, but if they start trying to do
    end runs around their main customer group and
    essentially sell for wholesale to the public, that does
    merit attention.
  16. D_Derbonne

    D_Derbonne PFG, Picture Framing God

    I had an email from my rep that says they're still working on the website and the changes will be delayed a few more weeks.

    It stated that there would be a page with link to custom framers.

    The subject line was "exciting news".
  17. John Ranes II CPF GCF

    John Ranes II CPF GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    September letter from President Dave Calhoun


    Indeed a letter written 9/4/09 and just released to LJ Retail Customers from Dave Calhoun mentions programming difficulties and a delay in their target date to make these changes...

    "I previously communicated we would have all of our changes in place by Labor Day. Unfortunately, we have run across programming difficulties that have affected our ability to meet our target date.

    We originally thought we had the internal expertise to make the necessary programming changes. However, the site is based on an older technology, which is not compatible with any of our internal systems. We then turned to the creator of the software for assistance, but again, due to the age of the software, they no longer support the application.

    We have now found an alternative solution, and although the work is underway, we are being told that a realistic target date to allow for programming and testing will be September 21.

    The September 21 update will also include the custom framer locator. This new feature will direct professional artists and photographers, who are looking for design expertise and a wider range of products, to a local custom framer in their area.

    I sincerely apologize that we miscalculated the targeted completion date. It is not our intention to delay these important changes, to disappoint our valued customers, or to make promises we can’t fulfill."

    I appreciate the communications update and look forward to the changes.

  18. MINIC

    MINIC Grumbler

  19. Baer Charlton

    Baer Charlton SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Ranes, as a web gooroo, don't you find it a bit suspect that middle-school kids throw up fairly good websites seemingly over night....... but a multi million dollar business that is a leader in an industry that is "tech savy"....
  20. Cliff Wilson

    Cliff Wilson SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Actually Baer, as a previous manager of many tens of software engineers in both small and large organizations, the time it takes to accomplish a task like this is an inverse function to the number of people. The larger the organization, the more it must be internally documented, so that more people can "know" what you're going to do, so more people can make suggestions, so more documentation has to be written, so more people can review and see if you've correctly interpreted their suggestions, so more people can ... THen, the implementation starts and there's a little hickup, which needs to be documented, so more people can review the resolution, so more people can document the resulution, so ... Also, adding a "helper" to what should be a simple project usually INCREASES it's development time, not decreases it.

    Essentially, what would take a middle-schooler to do on their own in a couple of days, I would estimate, a couple of months for a large corporation. What I envision they are doing would probably take a middle-schooler a couple of weeks, so the kind of delay they are talking about should have been expected, not a surprise.
  21. danny boy

    danny boy PFG, Picture Framing God

    I know I know, but 32,079 views.
  22. Baer Charlton

    Baer Charlton SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Thank Cliff.... that's my problem..... I keep letting all those peoples have imput on my website..... man, it's never getting done. :icon11:
  23. Cliff Wilson

    Cliff Wilson SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Baer, Why don't you just ask a middle-schooler to do it and don't talk to them till it's done.

    It will be fine -- trust them.

    It's a lot easier to tweak something that's running than to get it absolutely right the first time.
  24. Framing Goddess

    Framing Goddess SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I found them on Etsy, too, selling mats.

    "I make handmade goods part time (ponyboypress on Etsy)and work for a frame shop full time. We have a great deal on extra bags and mats that I know Etsy people would want to know about, so I figured I would post some here. I use them all the time and they are great.

    Hey, I just started a framing blog at work! Check it out to learn more about matboards, framing tips and how to help your business succeed. You can visit at http://blog.documounts.com/

    I would like to start posting more supplies for you all. Please let me know if there is something you would like to see.

    I can always do custom mat orders as well. Just convo me with the size you need and how many you are interested in and I will get you a quote. Thanks!"

  25. FrameMakers

    FrameMakers PFG, Picture Framing God

    I have not read this thread for a while. I did notice that they changed the item numbers on the moulding, but still have the same LJ moulding with the same low ball prices that are below my costs.
    So I guess everything my rep told me was just BS.
  26. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    And the 'changes' they made to the site are
    pretty insubstantial. Basically, a note saying that
    if you want to do it even better, contact your
    local custom framer. And an extra shipping charge
    for small orders. It might dissuade the guy looking
    for one 8x10 mat, but anyone with a clue will just
    buy in batches. If you want to see how easy it is
    to buy from them online, just go to the site.

    If they wanted to go into retail like this, it would
    have been more palatable if they'd just said so from
    the beginning. Rather than claiming the opposite while
    doing so.

    Two final thoughts:

    ~I don't think this is beating a dead horse, because
    they've kept the horse alive by their actions.

    ~Part of the reason this chafes so much is that
    for the past seventeen years, this company has
    had such a good reputation. I know they gobbled
    up some little guys, but partly they grew so large
    because of having such quality materials,
    and good customer service. Forgive me my
    home-based friends, but their policy of not
    selling to just anyone has also been a plus.
    I still love their frames, and want so much for
    them to be trustworthy, but with the big box
    move and now this, this is the first time I've
    ever seriously doubted their integrity. I like Larson,
    and having them begin to make huge shifts, while
    claiming otherwise, is disheartening.
  27. danny boy

    danny boy PFG, Picture Framing God

    Reality hits hard.
  28. danny boy

    danny boy PFG, Picture Framing God

  29. JbNormandog

    JbNormandog SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    HUGE COINCIDENCE ?, (I was just going to post in this thread and found someone beat me to it)

    Just finished selling a piece of glass to someone that told me she bought her frame online...

    Guess where.:fire:

    If anyone posted this response I would think they were full of carp...it really just happend!

    Not happy with Larson right now... too little change, they ARE SELLING TO MY CUSTOMERS.

    This will impact my sample display.

  30. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    There's still no mechanism to prevent ordinary consumers from purchasing from Documounts. No requirement for a resale tax certificate number or anything of that nature.

    And an extra shipping charge really is meaningless when they charge about $55 for a 16x20 frame using Academie Gold 573235, and I charge about $215 for the same thing.
  31. FrameMakers

    FrameMakers PFG, Picture Framing God

    Of course the issue is how to deal with this and not shoot ourselves in the foot.

    They have many unique moldings that I do sell. While it is easy to just fill the space with another company, it is not necessarily going to fill it with other mouldings that sell in the same manner.
  32. RParrish

    RParrish PFG, Picture Framing God

    I think they have seen and heard this thread loud and clear. The question becomes what are going to do?
  33. FrameMakers

    FrameMakers PFG, Picture Framing God

    What are THEY going to do about it and what are WE going to do about it?
  34. Pat Murphey

    Pat Murphey SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I charge $162 for that frame - my cost $62.67 for a joined frame.

    Too many plusses with this company for me to even cosider not doing business with them over this. Documounts before and Documounts after are no different in terms of competition.
  35. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    So Pat, Documounts is selling that frame retail for $10 less than your wholesale join cost!
  36. JbNormandog

    JbNormandog SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    They won't sell to home based but they will sell to anybody in their home.

    A company that swears that they are not in competition with us IS in competition with us.

    Today their site took money out of my pocket and served the customer directly.

    I will be making some changes.

  37. RParrish

    RParrish PFG, Picture Framing God

    I would not have a problem not selling them for the next 2 months, I have other smaller suppliers that would welcome the business back. I once boycotted thier frame for 3 years.

    I know they (LJ) had said if your not loosing biz to them now you won't in the future, maybe it true maybe not.

    What they are ignoring is it's the principle of the matter.
  38. Pat Murphey

    Pat Murphey SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    To me, so what. I find that frame to be high value, low price compared to other frames that I also sell in limited quantities. This is a frame [line] that I go to when I meet price resistance with my better lines. If an enterprising DIY is willing to buy that frame (not identified as the same) from a picture on-line so be it. My point is that Documounts was there already and I don't see a new marketing effort associating them with LJ.
  39. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Wookies live on Endor.*

    Sales for us are still good but I gotta say the long term prospects for independent shops are pretty grim. Ehhhhh, we're dinosaurs. Run out your leases and make as much as you can. Then close down and try to get a real job. Failing that there is always a bottle of Jack and a bullet. Can't say I care much which way it goes.

    *This sentence is about as logical as the quoted one.
  40. cvm

    cvm PFG, Picture Framing God

    Are you positive it's the same moulding? You know LJ has other mouldings they sell besides the ones in their main catalog and the arqadia, right? But if you're sure, then just don't buy any of that particular moulding from them. Documounts offers what, maybe 30 different profiles including the obligatory blacks? And they charge $7.50 if you want it joined, and they charge shipping, and they won't ship a joined frame over 20 x 24.

    If you're not planning on competing via online sales, i'd probably worry more about the BB's to be honest.
  41. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    If you think that Documounts is selling the same frame cheaper than you can buy it,,,,um, but it from Documounts. No brainer right? And hopefully your rep does not get a commission from Documouont sales. then you can call your rep and say to that person that you will continue to price shop with documounts and the LJ catalog and go with the best price for you.

    Just because you have an account with LJ doesn't mean you can;t also have an account with Documounts. As your rep sees his/her commision shrinking because of Documounts, and as soon as that person realizes that they are losing their paycheck to their own company they will complain. Their voices will reverberate louder at LJ corporate headquarters than your voices do.

    It may upset your rep to lose your business, but that's must putting the shoe on the other foot in my eyes. Let the rep lose out if you are losing out.

    I like my rep, and since this thread has started I have actually talked with my ex rep 2 or 3 times! I think this thread has been the impetus, something on the grumble was... So I am not saying that our reps are cheating us, I am saying that the company is ripping us both offf, rep and customer alike. The company may not see it that way, but we do. And if we shop Documounts then the rep will see it that way as well.

    I was a rep in another life. And if a fellow rep had crossed territory lines and sold and claimed the commission of even one of my customers i would have raised a huge stink with my boss. Well If lj is really doing what you say then they are crossing into my reps territory and the rep needs to know and feel the pinch. We are working with the rep, we like the reps, but we don't like what the company is doing to us, and thus to the rep as well.

    That's all contingent on the supposition that the rep does not get a cut of the documount sales in their territory. If they do then they won't see your direct sales going down as your indrect sales may offset the difference. slightly.
  42. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Start stripping the sample wall of the items that have just been decorating it rather than selling. Once they see market share slipping on the sample walls they may do something to change. If not, oh well it was their decision to got there in the first place.
  43. JbNormandog

    JbNormandog SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Since you seem to be a little slow let me spell this out for you.

    A company won't sell their frames to home based framers...(did I lose you yet?) but they will sell to the general public. (Got it?)

    Do us all a favor and drink up now with one in the chamber.

  44. PicturedFramer

    PicturedFramer MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    So far my lj sales rep has come once since the documounts takeover. Have I missed him, no. I ordered from documounts as a test on a job. I found that I could buy the frame (metal) along with the plexi about 10% cheaper than if I had ordered it from my other suppliers, uncut and length.
    I had to pay an extra charge for a box to ship it in and an extra charge for shipping larger than 20x24. The Plexi came in cracked on the edges but was salvaged. I could have sent it back but you know what that would entail, I pay the shipping back, I wait another week and it might be cracked again. No thanks! Also if you order an oversize item it takes an extra week for delivery. The bottom line is that it took longer and it cost less, it was cut to size but damaged. Would I order again from documounts? Nope. Have I had any of my customers bring in any stuff from them, not that I know of.
    I have taken a substantial amount of samples down in the lj line. Replaced then with my other lines and now one has asked me for an lj frame. If I need to order an lj frame because an old customer wants to match a previous order I just look it up and call it in, it doesn't happen often.
    Funny, my lj rep asked me if "everything" was going ok. He wanted to know if I was thinking of closing the business? I was taken aback by his inquiry, thinking if it was any of his business, why was he asking, do I dare devulge any info to my sales rep? It was certainly weird as I stood there stunned for a moment.
    I guess he has seen or has heard of many of his shops that have bitten the dust. I wasn't about to confide in him.
    Is my sales rep keeping score? Documounts +25 indy's -10? Is he worried about his commisions? :shrug:

  45. FrameMakers

    FrameMakers PFG, Picture Framing God

    One thing to remember, the LJ sales reps have been shafted by upper management IMO. None of them had a say in the purchase of Documounts or for that matter LJ dealing with the big box stores. The only thing the reps have to do is clean up the mess that was caused by the decisions that were made above them.

    Many of us have cut back or eliminated LJ from our offerings. This shows up as lower sales in the reps reports and is what they are judged on when it comes time for compensation.

    If anything the reps are getting screwed worse then the indy framers.
  46. John Golden

    John Golden CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Larson Jewel rhymes with cruel.
    Documounts decision is the fuel.
    Sparks now flames
    Who is to blame?
    Pull your samples from the wall...
    Bet they care less...ya'll
  47. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I was agreeing with you.

    Their policy now makes no sense. Wookies live on Endor. That makes no sense. It was a South Park reference.
  48. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    Johnny and Bob, I know that neither of you guys meant
    any harm, but as someone who's been affected by gun
    violence, I'm asking that we keep suggestions of suicide
    off this thread.

    I understand that it's fueled by your frustrations about
    both this and other pressures, but it comes across
    as cynical and mean-spirited. Please don't be offended at
    this request, as you are both insightful contributors whose
    posts I look forward to reading. I do get what you were
    trying to say, but the means of it is unpalatable.
  49. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    As to the topic at hand, it really is a bummer that
    they're doing things this way. I like their frames very much
    and wish that they would return to doing business with
    integrity so I don't have to ponder whether to shrink our
    involvement with them.

    Hard to know what to do. They make an end run around
    us to the public, so we take down their samples. Lo and
    behold, their sales to independent framers plummets and
    their internet presence begins to seem like a wisely prescient
    move. But was it? It's sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy they'd
    be creating by doing this. Do they really want to become
    just a mass marketer of inexpensive frames to the public?
    Maybe so. I don't know.

    I could almost understand it if they were to keep two
    completely different levels of quality. Cheap, crummy
    frames online and high-end, fantastic frames to custom
    framers. But to sell the very same thing to both is just

    It's true that Nurre Caxton, Studio and Nielsen all do
    this sort of outside sales, but none so aggressively.
    They sell through other companies. They don't buy the
    company and run it themselves while claiming not
    to. In addition, they haven't adopted the aggressive,
    'winner takes all' tactics that LJ seems to be toying
    with. If you think that their attempt to bodyslam
    the largest private framing supplier in the Northwest
    with these moves won't be coming to a theater near
    you, think again. I've always liked Larson very much,
    but I'd rather they not be my only source for frames.
    The only way we can assure that there is a healthy
    variety of options in this industry is to support our regional
    suppliers to the degree that they can withstand such
    an assault.

    I hope so much that Larson Juhl will take concrete actions
    to support independent custom framers in long-term,
    mutually beneficial ways. At this point, they can't even
    rely on pointing out how they've done so in the past.
    They seem to be transforming in ways that put the lie
    to their former integrity, and if they hope to retain formerly
    loyal customers, it's imperative that they come clean
    and begin to deal fairly with us.

    As for pressuring them through reps, mine just quit.
    I don't know if it was over this or not, but she has
    so much integrity that I wouldn't be surprised if
    it were.
  50. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Duude, call your rep and tell hiim that you are buying from Documounts because it is cheaper than buying directly from LJ! Tell him you are going to keep doing so as long as it is cheaper.

    Let your rep know that it isn't good business on your part as a framer to pay more than your customers pay for the same product. Because buying from LJ directly it sounds like you area paying a premium, or a penalty, for being a customer of theirs.

    Obviously your rep is in the blind about your sales to Documounts. So that means the rep has noticed the hit already, but doesn't know why. So instead of thinking that his company is actually eating up his paycheck he thinks your business is suffering. LJ is taking his food away from him. He needs to know because if "his sales" numbers keep dropping LJ is gonna think he isn't doing his job, which he is, and then they'll "re-organize" the territories. Or fire people and shift them around.

    If you like your rep then email, call or tell him in person that you buy from Documounts because it is cheaper. Or say goodbye to the rep as he'll probably be considered under-performing and at risk for being let go.
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