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Rate the Trade Mags

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Bob Carter, May 23, 2001.

  1. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    On another thread on this Forum Cathie thought some of the comments about Decor were excessively harsh. My question is which of the trades do you think are the best (and why).

    My personal feeling is that most are pretty sophomoric. I get the feeling that most of the writers are probably on their first job (not counting their High School paper) and most of the articles (especially Decor) are written to fill the void between ads.

    If you feel these are worthy efforts, and you are welcome to that opinion, how do these rate against other magazines you take.

    For my money, Art Business News and Art World News are the best (for our trade), PFM gets a slight nod because their technical articles are informative. I also enjoy Jay's articles and Bluestone's column is good. Marc's Counter Intelligence is fun.

    Decor, in my opinion, is a collection of quotes. I guess it's a chance to get your name in a trade, but I don't learn too much. I don't think the writer always has a good grasp of the article and it reminds me of those 3000 word papers you had to write in school (You know just keep writing til you hit the end).

    What's your opinion? And I don't mean that you think I'm wrong. Tell us what you think they do well or not so well, and what more would you like to see them provide?
    American Picture Frame Academy 1-888-840-9605

    The American Picture Framing Academy Learn Picture Framing Now
  2. Susan May

    Susan May Gone.

    Many times the writer is just that... a writer. They don't actually know the difference between a mat and a frame. There is the largest problem with the trade magazines. I guess it all boils down to the old saying, "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach.".

    I prefer to read the information I get here on the Grumble. The best information always comes from the people who actually do the work!

    Sue May :)
    "You want it when?!?!?"
  3. Lance E

    Lance E Member

    Decor is resonable from my perspective, as a recent subscriber I am amazed at the number of ads. The articles are not well written but do contain useful information.

    When I asked for info Decor sent a free copy for my perusal, also tried PFM and they told me to go away. My conclusion is that Decor is okay and PFM is ****, they don't even want to sell their mag.
  4. gemsmom

    gemsmom SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    For me, Art Business News and Art World News are useless, since I don't sell art. I read most of Decor, I never know when I might pick up something I can use. I spend more time reading Picture Framing Magazine, simply because I enjoy reading Goltz, Bluestone, Framing Guerilla, and Counter Intelligence. I sure do miss Nightmare. It is also more technical, but, and I won't say I'm a know-it-all, after 25 years of framing, I learn very little. But, again, one never knows what one may pick up. Rate them? If I had to keep only one, it would be PFM.
  5. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Pam-I can't remeber if it's Art Business or Art world that has a monthly column by Todd Bingham. His column on selling is well worth the cost of subscription (free). He has a well-rounded no nonsense approach that I enjoy. Try him, you might like him
  6. rosetl

    rosetl CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    PFM for sure and for many of the same reasons Pam mentions. I also miss Freddy -- was always the first thing and sometimes the only thing I would read.
  7. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    Decor: Looks good, pretty pictures and has the look and feel of a better-quality publication. Some good design aricles, but not as many as it they used to have, it seems. I always liked Brian Wolfe's articles. Many of their aricles seem to be little more than endorsements of certain companies. Mr.X sees metal frames as the design solution for everything, Ms.Y uses carved mats on everything, Framer J uses laminates as the slution to everything. Can we get some new blood maybe?

    PFM: Not as pretty, but getting better. Color pictures please?? Much better on the technical and business side of matters, sometimes mind-numbingly so. More variety would help here too. Do we REALLY need 12 articles a year on mounting or a 15 part series on gilding?

    I think they both take submissions of articles, why don't we ever see any new names?

    In the new products section, must they use the press releases ver batim? I get tired of seeing the exact same article in 5 different magazines.

    If we could get these two to mate they'd make a beautiful child.

    [This message has been edited by FramerDave (edited May 23, 2001).]
  8. Rick Granick

    Rick Granick SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Bob- you are right about Todd Bingham's articles. I always clip and save them. As for "our"mags, Decor basically runs the same 10 articles over and over again. Only the names change (but not too much). I like PFM far more, especially for Goltz, Bluestone, and Marc L. I agree that the long-running series on mounting and gilding are getting a bit old. That space could be used for more varied subject matter.
    ;) Rick
  9. Janet L

    Janet L SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    My top pick is Picture Framing Magazine. Each month, I will usually learn something that does help me down the road. My top choice for getting info is not a magazine. It is the sharing of experiences that all of you are willing to give us who have less knowledge and experience in the framing industry.

    I hope you all know how much you and this forum are appreciated by me.

    Decor is useless to me. Dropped the subscription a few months back as I really got tired of trying to find useful info by looking through page after page of who attended what high-society art show, and all those ads were incredibly tiresome!

  10. accent

    accent True Grumbler

    PFM is the best,although Decors annual sources is a great tool to have.
    On another note, perhaps our administrater could add another link on the Grumble to bring back Freddy!!
    What does everyone think??

  11. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I agree with the sentiments on the mags, but a larger question should be "Are we a trade really satisfied with even the best (at this point, it looks like PFM) or do we expect even better? I realize it's asking a lot for a Pub that only has a 25,000 subscription base, but I hope for better.

    What are the best mags you read? I find the NFIB magazine to be very good, and I also enjoy Forbes Small Business. While not about framing, they do deal with great business stories. And, yes, John Ranes I do think that running a good business is as critical as being a good framer to all of our successes. What mags are your favorites?
  12. gemsmom

    gemsmom SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Bob, Todd Bingham's column must have slipped by me, because I don't ever remember seeing one. BUT, one of the things I did get from FYA.com was a free seminar in Boston with Mr. Bingham as the main speaker. He was good, and I tried some of his ideas I thought might work, but they didn't work any better for me than my own style of selling.
    As for what I read, at work it is the trade mags and mail at lunch. I read books in my spare time, not romance novels, but nothing serious, either. The only magazine I read is Reader's Digest. By 9:00pm., my attention span is nil. I know, it's all fluff, and you want to hear we all read Forbes, Fortune, and the Wall Street Journal, but they just don't interest me.
  13. Janet L

    Janet L SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I'm with Pamela. My eyes begin to glaze over if I have to read financial magazines. Rarely do I get "spare time" in a day. When that does occur, I'm reading mail, our local newspapers, or info I've requested through PFM. Speaking of requested info: Have any of you noticed that alot of the information you request by circling the numbers at the bottom of the ads is never responded to by the company that bought and paid for the advertising? And...there are also companies that will call you and immediately try to sell you the product you requested info about when they never SENT you the info you requested to begin with. (How's that for a bunch of prepositions?) If I've never seen anything but an ad in a magazine, why would I be willing to immediately take advantage of a "special" the company is running on that product when they didn't follow through with the printed info prior to the telemarketers call?

    Now, if I'm trying to fall asleep at night, I guess I could pick up a Wall Street Journal or some other financial-type magazine and I'd be sleeping soundly before I finished the first page. Sorry Bob, you and I live in completely different worlds!

  14. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Janet and Pam-I sure hope you didn't infer that you should read those mags. A better question should have been are there any mags that you find helpful information or inspiration to help you in your business.

    I make it a definite point to get out of the store for lunch daily. On most days when I am alone(which is most) I take a mag to read.I find it therapeutic to get away from the phones, the employees, etc. I hope no one infers that some of the biz rags I read are only financial. They mostly deal with a lot of the same problems we all deal with as small business people. I love Norm Brodsky's column.

    But for leisure give me a Tom Clancy any day. The biz rags as well as the trades stay at work, never go home.

    And no Janet, we don't live in different worlds; we just go about things differently. You have your style; I have mine. I'm sure it's exactly the way you would like it. Nothing wrong with yours; nothing wrong with mine.

    [This message has been edited by Bob Carter (edited May 25, 2001).]
  15. JPete

    JPete <span style="color: red"><b><i>Charter Member</i><

    ABN and some of PFM. I often feel like the writers of some articles really need to have some one else proof them, better yet rewrite.

    Jay, Marc and a couple other regulars I always enjoy. I do miss the nightmare on framestreet. Maybe they should rerun some of the old ones. MHO
  16. JRB

    JRB PFG, Picture Framing God

    I'm with Pam & Janet, my eyes not only glaze over, but I think my brain starts turning to mush when I read that junk.
    I know I'm not being a good business person and I truly feel awful about it, it's just that they are boooriing.
    I generally read the front page, the comics, and Dear Abby.
    My broker usually fills me in on the financial stuff, if he doesn't, my CPA does.
    I like flipping through PFM, looking for innovative new equipment and product, don't find much though, but I enjoy looking. I also like some of the sophomoric articles, especially Mark's monthly article, he's great, straight talk, no bull.

  17. CharlesL

    CharlesL PFG, Picture Framing God

    I read PFM, usually all the way through. Like John, I look for the technical articles, light business news, especially Marc's article.

    I'm not smart enough to be able to understand just what Decor is all about. Is it an advertising medium? Is it for framers, much more advanced than I? Is it a 'framing fashion' mag?

    Having a technical background, and no business training, I'm afraid the biz mags are over my head too.

    I'm not totally worthless. I can always be used as a bad example...
  18. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I hope I didn't open a can of worms on some of the biz mags. But, I think you might want to revisit some of these. They deal primarily with stories of people just like us.Small business people with the same problems we all have: Hiring qualified staff, finding new business, competiting with the big boxes. a lot of problems we all deal with. This month's My Business has an article on "When Mom is Boss" about family run business,Offbeat Funding Techniques of non-traditional methods of funding your business,One article on simplifying your business and your life,A great one on Competitive Intelligence and what is allowable in finding out what the competition in the trade is doing and how to do it. Great articles that can and do help any small business. Just don't overlook another resource simply because you think it might be full of graphs and charts. This ain't your daddy's Oldsmobile.

    Another great advantage of this particular mag put out by NFIB, is that they also lead the fight on protecting small business in Washington.

    The most recent victory for all of us was the reversal of the OSHA Ergonomics regulations. This probably could have been the single most burdensome regulation ever conceived in Washington. Yet, we never heard a peep about it from PPFA or any of the Trade Pubs.

    I know, most of you are scratching your heads asking what am I talking about. That's exactly the problem. And we all need less government, less people telling us how to run the shop and less chance of lawsuits by disgruntled employees over not meeting these onerous regs. And these mandates would have applied to every single employeer in the country. If you employ anyone , it would have cost you immeduiately. Do you know what the OSHA reg was using a screwdriver to meet this new standard, or how about the proper amount of lift to open the lid of your mounting press. These type of violations would cost you in fines and open the door for frivilous lawsuits for non-compliance.

    And that, Boys and Girls, is why I read more than just the trades
  19. William Ross

    William Ross CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    I wonder if DECOR ever reads Grumbles? Or better yet, does any of the so called authors of their wonderful magazine ever read what the art community wants. As I said in the last grumble about this subject--- "How do they (the authors)reach their backs to pat themselves for the wonderful jobs they do?" I conducted one workshop for DECOR a few years ago and saw firsthand what they want you to tell the audience---not much--"just keep the good information for another paying program".
  20. Janet L

    Janet L SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Thanks for being so honest about Decor!

  21. gemsmom

    gemsmom SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Bob, I think we need you to keep us informed. A big difference between you and many of us is we work our shops. By this I mean, we are on the floor, plus we work in the back. The time we spend on the work, is time you are able to spend managing. I would love to turn everything over to my staff, but the fact is, my customers wouldn't like the results, and therefore I wouldn't have a business to worry about. Unless I want to spend most of my free time pouring over the business magazines, I just cannot put any more on my plate than I already have.
    But, of course, it is not your job to keep us abreast of things. Perhaps what these trades mags need is someone on staff to watch out for, keep track of, and inform us of the happenings in government that will affect us.
  22. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Pam-We agree again. I will try to post somethings from time to time if people find them of value(this ergonomics thing would have been a real nightmare).I hope it helps, but I wish the watchdogs that should be watching out did a better job ( in this trade)
  23. johnfdtaff

    johnfdtaff CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    I'm the new editor of DECOR magazine, and I've read through these postings with equal interest, amazement, humor and dismay. I have to say that, though I agree with much of what's been said here,I disagree with the comments that take pot shots at the writers, both at DECOR and at other magazines in the industry. I can't speak for the other trades directly, but I think our writers would feel insulted at the inaccurate representation of them as "first-year journalism students" or "people with their first writing jobs." I disagree strongly with the opinion that the articles in DECOR are poorly written or researched. Quite the contrary, all of us here at DECOR are serious writers and reporters, many of them (like me, with 9 years in this industry) intensely interested in art and framing, veterans of numerous educational programs and hands-on learning experiences, and always eager to learn more. No, some of us aren't framers, but that doesn't mean we don't know what we're writing about or that we aren't interested in getting it right.

    That said, as I am new to this position, I'm looking at making some pretty profound changes to DECOR. Many of them seem to jibe with what I've read here--such as more information aimed at general small business information and shorter articles with fewer people interviewed. As I make these changes, I would like input from you as to what's working and what isn't in DECOR. DECOR's been around for 121 years now, and it hasn't lasted that long by ignoring the needs of its industry readers. Everyone's comments here are valid, but I ask any of you have you brought them to the attention of anyone on the editorial staff at DECOR--or any of the other magazines for that matter? If not, how did you expect them to know what you're thinking.

    At DECOR, we talk to a lot of people during the year, but with an industry of 10s of thousands of professionals, it's impossible to speak with everyone. That's where you come in. You have to feel comfortable picking up the phone, writing a letter or sending an e-mail to make your views known. I'm not interested in writing or producing a magazine that no one will read or that people are unhappy with. I don't believe that we've reached that position with DECOR--and I hope that we never will--but I also understand and support the need for a magazine to grow and change to better serve its industry as it, too, grows and changes. I can only do that with your help. I'll continue to monitor the Grumble to see what you think, but I would urge you, if you're really interested in the state of our magazines, to make your opinions known to me directly. E-mail me here at jtaff@pfpublish.com or call me at 800-867-9285. Grumbling has its purpose, but the only way to truly change things is by talking. Take a look at DECOR from time to time over the next year, and see what you think of the changes. And, again, don't hesitate to contact me. I look forward to speaking with you here on these boards and in person whenever possible.
  24. Susan May

    Susan May Gone.

    Johntaff- Welcome to the Grumble!

    I am glad to hear that there will be some changes in the Decor Magazine, and look forward to the future issues. The Grumble is a good place to bounce ideas off your readers. If you have a question, we tend to respond pretty quickly. (And sometimes painfully honest.) [​IMG]

    Good Luck.

    Sue May :)
    "I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous!"
  25. Bogframe

    Bogframe SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I read Decor, Art Business News, and Picture Framing Magazines cover to cover every month. I learn lots from all, but my main beef with Decor is that some of the writers, and I won't say who, have grown a bit pretentious over the years, and have a "my way or the highway" approach to their writing. PFM has a younger, hipper bunch of writers. If I were to write an article, I'd send it to them first.

    Seth J. Bogdanove, CPF
    22 years framing and still loving it
  26. johnfdtaff

    johnfdtaff CGF, Certified Grumble Framer


    I don't know exactly who you're talking about(or do I?, but DECOR's staff of writers is entirely new within the last few months. And I'm afraid that no one is hipper or younger than us. And we're not the least pretentious. Try me!

    John Taff
  27. Mel

    Mel MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    For the record, my DECOR arrived yesterday, June 20. This is typical. In fairness, I receive mail only three days a week, so it could be delayed one day.
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