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Montana Project part II

B. Newman

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Rather than go off on this tangent on the split cover thread, let's just do it here.

Originally posted by Toto:
So much passion over the cover, what about the content? Any thoughts about the Montana Project?-
Bigger sign? Make small frames out of scrap? I wouldn't by lunch for advice like that.
Originally posted by Bob Shirk CPF:
I think you missed the message. We all already know 75% of what needs to be done. We need to be reminded of what needs to be done, but most of all we just need to DO IT.
I think Bob's right. Who else do you know that would be willing to fly across the country to give one on one advice to start with? Most times we have an idea of some things we need to do, we just don't do them. Now this becomes an "accountability factor". Someone is looking now. Whether it is Jay Goltz or our fellow PPFA member, when we are accountable to someone we're more likely to do it.

It has worked that way with me when I got an excellent CPA/CMA. He counsels me and then asks me if I've done it! When we only answer to ourselves, we often don't even ask the questions, let alone answer.

I think the subsequent articles will go deeper.

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SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
It's getting pretty deep here!

Toto - advice like what?

Bob - what's the message - send me your money?

Betty - If my business was on the line or there was enough money in it, I would fly to the moon.


Okay, I'm getting serious about the Grumble. Despite the fact that I'm still a little shocked by the hostility occasionally on display in here, I just put up an avi (I think) that seems appropriate, being in Montana, and I updated my profile with DOB and such. At any rate, here are a few brief thoughts on the Montana Project...

Less, (am I allowed to call you that?) it's not about FramerSelect. Really. Someday I may post an impassioned thread on FS, but you won't find it in the MP, beyond a brief sentence about marketing several months from now.

Next, the first three articles were originally intended as an introduction to the concept. All of the later articles cover specific content. Because of lead times and publication requirements, we're much further along here than what you've read. What started as a favor to me and Christine was perceived by PFM to be interesting to others; it's supposed to be a good read filled with the business advice that has been shared with us. With that said, not all of it may be applicable to everyone else out there. Some of you may get nothing out of it, being much more successful and knowledgeable that Christine and me. Still, most of the feedback given to us, to Jay and to PFM has been positive. I'm thankful for the opportunity afforded to us. Be skeptical, even cynical, if you like, but realize that not everyone out there may run their business at your level, and many may need the same help we do.

Had Jay posted here, you'd get information straight from the horse's mouth. Since it was I who has chosen to respond, and as we fill the role of the other half of the project, you may now infer on your own which part of the horse I am.

Have a nice day.



<span style="color: red"><b><i>Charter Member</i><
Welcome to the Grumble, Derek. I see from that you have posted 25 times since you joined the G. in 1999, but welcome anyway. It's good to have a voice of reason.

Sometimes it does get a little hostile here, but nothing like the HH. You are so good at writing and so reasonable. Your will be a good addition to the G. Be sure to check out Warped, that's where we really get to know each other.

Leslie S.

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
I think the concept for the articles a good one. As you say, some Grumblers are more established and successful in their businesses than others, but I'm sure most can find this "experiment" interesting even if they don't derive any "tips" from it. I wish it was moving along at a faster pace, but just because I am interested in the outcome. One of the things I like about the Grumble is when people talk about the path they took to get where they are in their business...and what varied paths they all are! Good Luck.


Hello, All!

It has been an eternity since I have posted to the Grumble for a variety of reasons (I think I am still "in training,") but I wanted to take the time to weigh in on this thread!

I, for one, will read every word in this series of articles, again for a variety of reasons. One is that both Derek and Christine are great writers so it will be a great read! I am very interested in the whole project, from what Jay has to say about their business, to how they will put his advice to work; what works and what doesn't.

But, my number one reason to read this, as I read anything that Jay writes - is that he is just so wise and willing to help. Many of you know from my past posts on this forum and from the Hitchhiker, that Jay gave my husband and me assistance and advice three years ago (I think) that absolutely kept us in business, and has helped us to become very profitable (which, for us, was becoming more imperitive by the day, since we have a ninth grader and a sixth grader who will be in college before we know it!). We were like many of you -in this business almost by default! Harris is an artist, I was a "refugee" from anther industry, and we were gung ho to have our own business, we love art, know how to frame and design, had most of the equipment, but lacked the business savvy to do many things right - especially pricing - in this very different and somewhat difficult industry.

Jay, very kindly, shared with us his strategies and his experience. His advice was the one thing that made all the difference for us! Since we met him, we have doubled our sales (as of the end of this year - projected, but certainly we will make it!)and most importantly, been able to turn a decent profit, and provide our community with beautiful well-executed framing (IMHO

He has been very generous to this industry and I am very grateful for the education he provides (if you have not taken his pricing class you are doing yourself and your business a huge disservice) at his seminars, for the business advice he shares through FramerSelect and for his admonitions to all of us in an effort to raise the level of competancy in this industry. He is helping ALL OF US, whether we are members of FramerSelect or not.

So, Derek and Christine, onward with the project! I am all eyes and ears!

Thanks for being open to sharing this with us!

Lyn Holt
Harris Holt Gallery
Charlotte, NC

P.S. Harris and I just made our first radio commercial about the framing half of our business!!!! It airs on Charlotte's most listened to station for the next four months - two weeks on, one week off)!!!!! We are so excited and it is sooo awesome to be able do this. Hope it works! I'll let you all know how it goes, if you are interested!


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Hi Derek,

I glad to hear from you, and you can call me anything you like. Don't get me wrong, I am not hostile or a cynic. I don't have a hostile bone in my body. I truly wish you and your wife all the health, happiness, and business success possible. I have a feeling that you do not need any help with the latter. Am I skeptical? Most definitely! I am just as skeptical as Jay would be with anyone who is trying to sell him something that has not proved its worth to him.

You say it's not about FramerSelect. With this, I do disagree. It’s all about FramerSelect, and Jay, as it should be. How can you separate the two? You can't. To say that, would mean that the friendly business advice he gives to you is not the same as the advice he gives to his FramerSelect members.

What bothers me a little is lets call a spade a spade, at least here on the Grumble. I certainly can understand the attempted separation in the magazine. Neither Picture Framing Magazine nor FramerSelect would want there to be an obvious conflict of interest. Lets face it; this relationship is good for FramerSelect (Jay), good for the magazine, and yes, good for framers as well. This article won't hurt your business either.

I thank Jay for his editorial in the magazine, and you for your participation in this story, but don't tell me it’s not for the good of FramerSelect. If Jay wanted to give business advice away for free, he would offer it here, as he did earlier on the Grumble, and as Bob Carter and others still do. I found his posts to be some of the most honest and interesting posts I have read. I wish he would still contribute here. The fact that he does not, only makes me think that he only hung around here long enough to get his FramerSelect hook into the Grumblers.

FramerSelect may be the best thing for the small independent framer, like myself to come along since the combo press. It still needs to be proven to me.

Is his business advice, postcards and advertising to build “brand recognition” worth $1200+ a year to me? I don’t think so. I can just as easily send new customers Larson-Juhl postcards, and they don’t charge me for building their brand recognition (well, I suppose they get it other ways). Is it worth it if they can send me new clients through FramerSelect referrals? Most definitely, but that business model has a long way to go to prove its worth to me. FramerSelect claims there are offering Effective Branding. To framers yes – to framing customers, the jury’s still out. Strategic Marketing – to framer yes, to framing customers, the jury’s still out. Proven Business Expertise – can’t take that away from him. Extensive Referral Network – now this model needs a lot of help.

If most framers are like me, then we are all desperately looking for more customers. FramerSelect is attractive to me, business of their referral hook. I wonder how many framers would pay to be a member year after year without any referrals.

In my opinion, in today’s world of big box marketing, the only thing we have left is what our clients seek the most. It is our independence, our unique personality, our unique products and quality of service they are looking for. Maybe Jay’s FramerSelect model is right, when he says that his model won’t work if every framer is a member. We would all look like the big boxes everyone is starting to detest.

Sorry to run on, I’m just telling you how I view this subject, right or wrong. When I start to hear stories of more framers getting FramerSelect recognition and referrals, is when I will join.

Until then, I hope to see you and Jay more on the Grumble. I really do respect his expertise.


Now this is getting good. A little passion, a little wine and who knows what could happen.
But seriously, Less I would fully encourage you to do whatever you feel is best for your business. The "branding" you are talking about is exactly what our shop is trying to avoid. We are the small to mid size shop who differentiates itself from the pack by being different.
When it comes to the identity of our shop we always travel the path less worn. Sure we could use some referals, but not at the expense of changing our image or standing amongst our competitors and customers.
Many express a burning desire to be different by doing things exactly alike.

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Tiffany is a brand, Nordstrom's is a brand, Ferrari is a brand. Don't we all agree that have, in fact, done things that clearly differ from the pact?

Is FramerSelect a brand-not quite. Is that the only quest-don't think so.

Does this have anything at all to do wwith the Montana Project-not that I see.

I do think if the Vandenbergs wish to share some great offer of help by someone that clearly understands what he is doing, the rest of us get to tag along for free.

Why can't we just accept this on face value without some ulterior motive always being explored.

BTW, Jay rarely shares much more on FS than you see in the trades or the shows. But the Team at FS does share some things worthy of notice.

But if you aren't a member, you just won't know

B. Newman

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Originally posted by Toto:
The "branding" you are talking about is exactly what our shop is trying to avoid. We are the small to mid size shop who differentiates itself from the pack by being different.
And that, Toto, is what creates your "brand".

When we speak of "branding" we are talking about what makes us different from others. It's what makes Coke different from Pepsi and Home Depot from Lowes. Go to the INC magazine website ( www.inc.com ) and do a search on "branding". There was an excellent article on that a few months ago.

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