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New to framing - Would love to learn

jamiek

Grumbler in Training
Hi,

I currently sell prints/posters unframed, but would love to sell them framed and handmake them.

Are there any good resources for learning?

Also, can anyone recommend some good "starter" tools?

e.g.

moulding suppliers
mitre saw
glue
v-nails
glass/acrylic

Appreciate any help!
 
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JFeig

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Hi Jamick
You are in luck, the best source to the latest and best information (classes) regarding is next month in Las Vegas, NV. The event is the annual picture framers conference WCAF
Not only can you take classes; you can also make contacts with some of the vendors and suppliers you will need.
 

tedh

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Here’s an idea: before investing in equipment, why not find a framer who will sell you “chops” at a discount?

You buy the frames, mats, backs, glass, all cut to size, and you do the assembly.

By doing this, you get your framed products in front of your customers faster, you still have margin in the framing, and you can gauge the appeal of your products. You save $$ by avoiding the costs of tools and supplies.

If you find that you have great sales, turn those dollars into equipment purchases. If not, you haven’t lost anything.
 

jamiek

Grumbler in Training
Hi Jamick
You are in luck, the best source to the latest and best information (classes) regarding is next month in Las Vegas, NV. The event is the annual picture framers conference WCAF
Not only can you take classes; you can also make contacts with some of the vendors and suppliers you will need.
That sounds like it would be great! So not easy for me to access unfortunately :/

Here’s an idea: before investing in equipment, why not find a framer who will sell you “chops” at a discount?

You buy the frames, mats, backs, glass, all cut to size, and you do the assembly.

By doing this, you get your framed products in front of your customers faster, you still have margin in the framing, and you can gauge the appeal of your products. You save $$ by avoiding the costs of tools and supplies.

If you find that you have great sales, turn those dollars into equipment purchases. If not, you haven’t lost anything.
That could be a good idea, there is only one local shop so I'd have to see if they'd be up for doing it. Although how much assembly is there left to be done apart from put the print in? Maybe I am missing something.

I think the issue I face is people expect to get the frames pretty cheap, as these prints are not one-off pieces of art, so I can't really have the frames costing much more than the prints themselves. I'm talking £10-£15 for the print and thus £10-£15 for the framing, which I'd like to make some profit out of. They are sizes A4/A3.

I did buy some cheap frames from a supplier, but I wasn't happy with the corners on them. It looked as if the frame had been covered in white paper and the edges ripped the paper slightly.

Maybe I am underestimating how much I'd need to invest to at least "give it ago" :/
 

tedh

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Hate to say it, but you may have to take the IKEA approach. Cheap but effective, accent on cheap. Watch out for the glass, though! It breaks just by looking at it.
 

jamiek

Grumbler in Training
Hate to say it, but you may have to take the IKEA approach. Cheap but effective, accent on cheap. Watch out for the glass, though! It breaks just by looking at it.
I have considered Ikea frames, I will have to go and see what they have. With Ikea, I worry people would know it's from Ikea and not be happy about it.

Don't Ikea use acrylic?

What would you estimate the costs of DIY A4/A3 frame to be for materials? Not talking the best wood/glass of course but of a quality where people would be happy of course :)
 

prospero

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Hi Jamiek. 🙂 I'm guessing you're UK based...

I think you'll find there is more to framing than buying/making frames. I can't really buy a frame for a print
and put it in - job done. Well you can, but there can be consequences. Paper expands and contracts. If you
don't devise a way of letting it, it will go wavy. If it's in contact with the glass it runs the risk of sticking to it.
They may be relatively inexpensive items but that does not mean you should treat them badly.
 

jamiek

Grumbler in Training
Hi Jamiek. 🙂 I'm guessing you're UK based...

I think you'll find there is more to framing than buying/making frames. I can't really buy a frame for a print
and put it in - job done. Well you can, but there can be consequences. Paper expands and contracts. If you
don't devise a way of letting it, it will go wavy. If it's in contact with the glass it runs the risk of sticking to it.
They may be relatively inexpensive items but that does not mean you should treat them badly.
Hey, yes I am :)

Sure I understand that, and if these were expensive prints, I'd sure put more work/cost into protecting them. As they are not, I don't want to go over the top if you get what I mean :p
 

prospero

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
The little guy on his own in business (like me and presumably you) will have a hard job trying to sell
stuff based on what people would like to pay. You'll end up working all the hours for peanuts.
Look at it this way: Sell 100 prints @ 30 quids a go and you'll take 3000. But the frames/prints might
have cost you 27 so your gross profit is 300. Take off your fixed overheads and and you maybe have
200 'wages'. There is a world full of cheap stuff that is made and sold in huge quantities to make it
viable. You will never compete with the price. On the other hand, there is a lack of good quality stuff
at an 'affordable' price. people do buy it. You just have to present it right.

I have told more people than I can remember that tale. One of the sayings that saddens me most
is "People won't pay that!" 😳 They will if they want it bad enough. 😀
 

jamiek

Grumbler in Training
The little guy on his own in business (like me and presumably you) will have a hard job trying to sell
stuff based on what people would like to pay. You'll end up working all the hours for peanuts.
Look at it this way: Sell 100 prints @ 30 quids a go and you'll take 3000. But the frames/prints might
have cost you 27 so your gross profit is 300. Take off your fixed overheads and and you maybe have
200 'wages'. There is a world full of cheap stuff that is made and sold in huge quantities to make it
viable. You will never compete with the price. On the other hand, there is a lack of good quality stuff
at an 'affordable' price. people do buy it. You just have to present it right.

I have told more people than I can remember that tale. One of the sayings that saddens me most
is "People won't pay that!" 😳 They will if they want it bad enough. 😀
I agree with what you're saying. I sell mostly online so my competition dictates what I can charge to a degree. It's hard for someone buying online to justify paying more if they can't see/feel the quality difference in person.

A general shopper online is generally going to go for the cheaper option, unfortunately.

Maybe I'll test some prints with framing with higher prices and see if people are prepared to pay the extra. It's the only way to know I suppose :)
 

prospero

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
There is a principle in business called the "Goldilocks Rule"

Take a product that maybe costs £100. It's well made and attractive.

Someone will make a cheaper version at maybe £49.99. It looks roughly the same but a bit ragged
if you look closely. Doesn't last very long. (Mummy Bear version)

Then there is the Daddy Bear version that costs £1000. Maybe a few refinements, but on the whole
not 10x better. But does sell in small quantities based mostly on the cachet of the exorbitant price.
(like a Gucci handbag).

What you have to find is the Baby Bear porridge. 🐻
 

jamiek

Grumbler in Training
There is a principle in business called the "Goldilocks Rule"

Take a product that maybe costs £100. It's well made and attractive.

Someone will make a cheaper version at maybe £49.99. It looks roughly the same but a bit ragged
if you look closely. Doesn't last very long. (Mummy Bear version)

Then there is the Daddy Bear version that costs £1000. Maybe a few refinements, but on the whole
not 10x better. But does sell in small quantities based mostly on the cachet of the exorbitant price.
(like a Gucci handbag).

What you have to find is the Baby Bear porridge. 🐻
Haha, thanks for the quotes, they are making me think.

I am already 25% more expensive than my competition just for prints, but I will see how I can proposition myself to be more "Daddy Bear" :p

Got some thinking and testing to do :)
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
...people expect to get the frames pretty cheap, as these prints are not one-off pieces of art, so I can't really have the frames costing much more than the prints themselves. I'm talking £10-£15 for the print and thus £10-£15 for the framing, which I'd like to make some profit out of.
Perhaps the most difficult task of retail framing businesses is helping consumers understand why custom framing nearly always costs more than the print-art they want to put in it.

At your price range, I guess it is a digital print, right? Consider that producing a digital print costs little more than the paper, the ink, and a few minutes of direct labor. On the other hand, custom framing materials cost far in excess of typical digital printing materials, and then considerable labor is required to cut and fit the assembly.

Since you believe the frame should not cost much more than the printed art, I suggest you give up the idea of custom framing. Ikea seems like a good idea.

Welcome to The Grumble. I'm sorry you will probably not find the framing magic you seek.
 

artfolio

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Jim has nailed it. The cost of the artwork has absolutely nothing to do with the cost of framing it just as petrol put into a clapped out Volkswagen costs the same as if it were going into a Rolls Royce.

What does vary with the artwork cost is the willingness of the consumer to spend money to frame it and people buying cheap prints online are usually only looking at finding the lowest price. Chasing that market is a short cut to bankruptcy.

Another problem for you is the existing local framer. He could be a useful partner if you can work out a deal with him but if you go head to head with him and start competing as a framer chances are he will bury you, especially if you are putting out Ikea level work.
 

tedh

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
You could try a “halfway” approach: sell them matted and shrink wrapped. Many of my artist customers do this. You buy mats and backs, and use crystal bags bought online. Your art will look really professional under clear bags. You can promote the archival nature of the mats, thereby giving them some “cachet”, and reducing the buyer’s framing expense. The crystal bags protect the work as well.

There are several online sources for clear bags or crystal bags. A 16x20 should cost no more than 16 for a £ or less. (25 cents each in Canada). Just make sure the mats are cut to stock sizes!

Btw: Who’s your team? Mine’s Fulham.
 
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