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supply or not to supply?

Discussion in 'Grumble Archive pre 2004 Topics' started by NaBob, Nov 25, 1999.

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  1. NaBob

    NaBob Guest

    Our first grumble is a whopper. Have been in and out and around framing since before Woodstock (the first one). We have been out for over 5 years unable to compete with the market advantage enjoyed by The Ben Franklin/Larson-Juhl combination in our rural area. I guess we're not the only ones who resent our competition getting free delivery of pre-cleaned glass, supplies and orders once a week when we are paying UPS or traveling to warehouses in person. I speak with some perspective since I actually tried working at the Franklin store when I gave up my shop. THE PROBLEM: Since Ben Franklin finally dissolved in my area, Larson-Juhl is continuing to supply the much smaller shop that is trying to continue with their customer list and REFUSES to open an account with me. I explained that we have greater expertise and itend to develope a larger market than the former Ben Franklin account.
    They asserted that they have a new policy that only allows them to sell to certain kinds of retail stores which they were unable and unwilling to satisfactorily describe. Apparently a frame shop is only a frame shop when they are in a mood to acknowledge it. I called several other large suppliers who knew about this bizarre policy - they've had a marked increase in business due to Larson Juhl's sluffing-off accounts. I'm guessing that Larson/Juhl may be dangerously close to being a monopoly nationwide and seemingly in violation of several "class of trade" regulations not to mention outright descrimination. I really can't stand the preposterous arrogance of it all when they almost singlehandedly created the framecounter from **** (sales people in Ben Franklin who cover the counter from the bubblegum department or the aquariums. I will be notifying the Federal Trade Commission of these practices and would gladly siqn on to any class-action suit that anyone else has the ability to start over Larson's destruction of free-market competition by descriminatory practices. If you are currently receiving Larson deliveries watch-out. Matt Boyd admitted to me that they will be closing supply to businesses that sell from any kind of a residence even if they have been doing so until now and the St. Louis dist. center will be cutting off delivery to various shops selectively by favoritism NOT volume or proximity. So, you may not get deliveries but your competitor will - with no excuse and no apology. Sorry to lay such a big one on everybody- we hope to communicate good vibes if we are able to get back in the business.
     
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  2. woody

    woody CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Please clarify. Are you saying you are a legitimate retail location (rented building in a recognized retail location) that LJ refuses to supply? In my area, I get twice a week free delivery and it has prooved to be a great service. Is this some new policy you are detailing, or is it something that relates to your specific situation?
     
  3. Cheryl Crocker CPF GCF

    Cheryl Crocker CPF GCF CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Wow! That's very interesting. I've received deliveries for a guy who used to have a frame shop (now closed) and I'm not sure where his set-up currently is. His wife usually gets the LJ delivery at her beauty salon. It's wierd LJ doesn't deliver to this guy's place of business. Evidently there's some arrangement made with the driver. I'm going to see where his shop is.
     
  4. Bruce McElhaney

    Bruce McElhaney Guest

    LJ used to deliver to our home when we first started framing. Now we have a storefront and they deliver there, as well as other framing suppliers. I understand LJ no longer will deliver to residential businesses. Many companys are going that route for a variety of reasons. But what's the problem? just find some other supplier. There are many suppliers who would want your business. Plus, LJ prices are not exactly the lowest, so we pay for that delivery service whether we realize it or not.

    Bruce Mc
     
  5. MerpsMom

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

    We've all been round this horn many, many times. In answer to the last post, it is not all that easy to "just find another supplier." While abhorrent to me to deal with a company with capricious policies and one which also continually dangles the Damocles sword over me, I sell a ton of their mouldings because they're good-looking and useful. Please help me find any and all other suppliers who proffer "collections" which allow me to customize to an unbelievable degree the expensive end result my clients like. (Because I tell them to like it?) I can't and won't defend LJ, but they make me a lot of money: and, who knows, by the time I'm back on-line from my own little computer room (dear Lord, will it ever happen?), they may have axed me. I just wish some of the others would imitate some of their more popular efforts in design. (LaMarche has some good ones, and I know you guys will mention more.)
     
  6. JOHNG

    JOHNG Guest

    Decor Moulding 1-800-937-1055
    Omega Moulding 1-800-BUY-OMEGA
    F G Gallasi 1-800-266-1004 here is the number I promised to update..
    Bendix moulding 1-800-526-0240
    New Jersey frame and moulding 1-800-526-5281

    I use all these and have aprox 1500 corners in stock Decor Omega give free corners, and FG Gallasi charges $1.00 each.

    [This message has been edited by JOHNG (edited 12-20-1999).]
     
  7. courtney

    courtney Grumbler in Training

  8. Mel

    Mel MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    NaBob,

    Are you home-based, or storefront? If you are home-based, I'm afraid this LJ story isn't news. If you are storefront, it certainly is. Research the past grumbles, and you'll get an eyeful on this subject.
     
  9. Alex

    Alex Guest

    I just finished writing my State Legislator about what appears to be the unfair and discriminatory practice by wholesalers who refuse to sell to other legitimate businesses (i.e. homebased framers, designers and sign manufacturing businesses, et. al...). I'm seeking input in the form of legislation to be brought into statute to make it illegal for firms (who must apply for a business license every single year to the Secretay of State's office), to refuse to sell to businesses who also have a legal and legitimate business license from the same state office. If a business is in proper possession of all legal documents to perform its business operations, then it ought to be of no concern to a wholesaler whether or not a business is being operated from home or a retail store front. I think if this was brought to the attention of our lawmakers that a look to the merit of the issue might produce something toward solving the situation of capricious discrimination against those professionals who choose to work from home for whatever reason. Unorganized small businesses are at greater risk of being shut out of the marketplace than larger ones.

    [This message has been edited by Alex (edited 02-18-2000).]
     
  10. JPete

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

    Are you going to legislate the amount of minimums also? Even with a store front we have been eliminated from purchasing from publishers because they raise the amount you have to buy in a year.

    [This message has been edited by JPete (edited 02-16-2000).]
     
  11. MerpsMom

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

    We who have been around here awhile have probably said all we can. How do some of the newer members feel? Alex, you'll probably get nowhere because it's most likely seen as a right of business to serve-- or refuse to serve-- whomever they want as defined by the laws of discrimination. This would mean you may not blatantly refuse serving someone because of race, religion, gender, etc. "Serving" then becomes a broader item when deciding how to compel a distributor to service or sell to a customer. We all have the right to refuse dealings with our customers--and rightly so. It is discriminatory, but whether or not it's illegal is certainly questionable. And when further analyzed, even as much as I personally think LJ's policy is stupid, shortsighted, and economically dangerous, I don't know how much more I want the U.S. government crafting greater and more invasive rules for how to operate a business. Being a small business is a hard enough task now as it seems that much more advantage goes to GM. But while not an extremist either direction, I must state that I don't trust more governance from any of these politicians to help me all that much. That said, I hope you get somewhere! [​IMG]
     
  12. RW

    RW Grumbler

    Alex, I too am very disappointed with LJ’s rules, however, I have to agree with MM concerning more government regulation. I want to have the option to refuse service to anyone for a number of reasons. Knowing that the customer is “always right” does not mean you have to provide them a service. I have recently turned away some individuals that insisted that I place the glass onto the art. I tried to educate them for about an hour on the proper techniques involved to preserve the art . . . still they insisted because it is their art and their glass - I refused. Another example, I have worked very hard to build a reputation of quality custom framing, however, I made the mistake a few years ago to do as the customer asked. The framing, although technically sound and fabricated to the customer’s specifications, was very ugly. The “word of mouth” advertising is still haunting me today to the point that some customers that had seen that piece insist that I consult them at every phase of their framing - not to mention that my business dropped sharply after that episode. It’s really funny, you can have a thousand attaboys, but one aw-**** wipes the slate clean! My name is associated with every piece that leaves my shop and I must ensure that it is the best it can be, both technically and aesthetically. Therefore, I believe that LJ is equally concerned about their Name and reputation for quality. They apparently only want the quality, high volume storefronts associated with their name. When it comes to reputation, it doesn’t matter what the facts are, perception is everything. I also do not think LJ made these rules just to punish the home-based framers. It’s like most everything else in life, something happened that produced a lessons learned in which the rules were a result. My point (which appears to be very vague at this point) is that legislation is a double-edged sword. Should LJ be forced to sell to everyone with a business license, then that same legislation may force us to service all individuals walking into our shop regardless of their requests.
     
  13. Scarfinger

    Scarfinger Guest

    So if there was legislation to force companies such as LJ to sell to everyone with a business license would it be appropriate to ask for more equality by asking for legislation to ensure that all rules, regulations, commercial tax laws etc apply to everyone with a business license equally if they worked at home or from a storefront.
     
  14. Cathie Simmons

    Cathie Simmons Guest

    This discussion always flushes out one or two more arguable points. I might gently disagree with RW on LJ's motivations. It is not my opinion that LJ wants to identify only high-end operations for their moldings. We know of too many teeny little Mom/Pop stores selling only basic oaks and walnuts to validate that theory: we're from the Midwest and have a preponderance of these in the outlying areas. LJ's true reasons will probably remain unknown in their entirety, but we do know that they use the line about only selling to storefronts as a reason to prompt the storeowner to stock only their samples. And again...they can do what they want to sell their stuff: I do. Scarfinger brings up another point: I'm subject to many of the same laws--and certainly the same tax liabilities as others. However, again, where do we draw lines? Is the manufacturer's rep who offices at home the envy of those who rent space somewhere? Do the interior designers I do work for throw darts at their fellow decorators because the latter choose to open beautiful showrooms on the Plaza? It's all very interesting to me because we are really hung up in our country--perhaps rightly so--on endlessly level playing fields. I guess I'll close by saying I just don't have a very good answer for a lot of it. [​IMG] But keep them cards and letters comin'!

    (Dang! If you wanted to keep your true identity secret from this board, you'd better not join the TOF.)

    [This message has been edited by Cathie Simmons (edited 02-17-2000).]
     
  15. ArtLady

    ArtLady SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    When Larson Juhl sells to everyone it over exposes their Brand Name. They are looking to build their Brand Name. When you take that path you have to associate yourself with those business that will successfully allow you to do just that. In an industry that is a commodity, they have taken the only possible path. That is building a brand recognition. My hat is off to the efforts of their marketing people. Implementing this strategic can appear to be selective, discriminatory and difficult. Not every home basement plumber can sell Kohler fixtures. IE not every frameshop should have access to Larson Juhl. Larson Juhl asked us what we wanted and they listened. We must now support them.

    I know my response will not be popular, but I agree with their strategy.

    AL
     
  16. framer

    framer Guest

    Well let call them the Frame Nazi, No frame for you, two weeks.
     
  17. FramingFool

    FramingFool In Corner

    I've heard all the points of view.

    I share ArtLady's.
     
  18. Mel

    Mel MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Okay.

    What we manufacture as picture framers, we are liable for. What LJ sells they are liable for. Apples and oranges. No comparison. Any legislation forcing LJ to comply with federal antitrust laws will not require that we manufacture a inferior product just because a customer wants it.

    If LJ then pleads "minimums" as its way around such legislation, it would probably be legal. A good test would be whether LJ would honor the orders made by a buying coalition if it were able to meet the minimums.

    There is no such thing as a level playing field. Would those who cry fowl because I don't have a storefront (and don't pay associated overhead costs) be any happier to learn that if I move downtown it will be into a building owned by my husband's family and I still won't have to pay rent? Requirements to do busines vary from state to state and from county to county. It simply isn't going to be "fair".

    In my humble opinion, there are times were the government can do good. In my opinion, this is one of them. So far, it seems clear, simple, and straight forward. If the theories don't hold, we'll find out at the legislative level, rather than trying to bring a class action suit (which wasn't going to happen anyway). What can we lose?

    That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

    [This message has been edited by Mel (edited 02-18-2000).]
     
  19. Le

    Le CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I just wish LJ's marketing people had more taste, rather than shoving it down the throat of innocent readers who see their adds. Overwhelming artwork with timber framing is tasteless.
     
  20. ArtLady

    ArtLady SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I like BIG FRAMES on artwork. It gives them a presence on the wall. Let's be realistic narrow frames in some cases look like someone trying to cut costs. I tell my customers, my family and my friends that I like BIG FRAMES. Bring on the timber. Nothing like a dynamic presentation to finish off a great work. The bigger the better. How long will the customer have the piece why not have it look GREAT!!!!! We are talking what $20 a year over ten years as the difference between okay and GREAT!!!! GIVE ME TIMBER, TIMBER and MORE STACKED TIMBER. I consider myself part of the creative process. I want my customers friends, relatives and acquaintences to ask where they got that frame. I want those same people to go home and look at their artwork and want to reframe it. My contribution to this organization is design. Bring on the TIMBER, GOLD TIMBER, SILVER TIMBER and STAINED TIMBER. My clients place on the counter and say "Call me when it is done!!!" You don't get that with skinny tight little frames that are functionally incorrect for the piece. When a customer asks me if a frame is too big I tell them that I have to disqualify myself because I think a frame can be too small but never too big. Big is beautiful and focuses on the artwork. It is all about focusing on the artwork. I believe large frames do just that. I try not to let my own personal finances influence a good design. So all of you let loose and let those creative juices flow. Sell those big frames, ask the customer how long they will have the piece and then ask them if $20 a year is too much for fantastic. Wow, I think I need more caffeine.

    Maybe I should visit the caffeine Nazi!! That felt too good!

    AL aka TIMBERWOMAN

    [This message has been edited by ArtLady (edited 02-18-2000).]
     
  21. JPete

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

    Diversity and freedom of speech even if we can't all buy.

    I go for the big frames and the legislature!

    [This message has been edited by JPete (edited 02-18-2000).]
     
  22. MerpsMom

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

    Yep. It always smokes out another couple of points. [​IMG] Sounds like the subject that came to dinner and stayed a thousand years.
     
  23. TADPORTER

    TADPORTER MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Go Timberwoman. I am with you 100%!
     
  24. Frame Fellow

    Frame Fellow Guest

    Legislation that forces all businesses to sell to anyone with a business licence ... Does that mean that I can buy a car direct from GM or Ford if I have a business licence?
     
  25. ajhohen

    ajhohen Guest

    When a company like LJ refuses to let me do business with them, I hope texan termites invade all their mouldings... forcing them to claim chapter 11. I heard, they are not in too good a shape right now...
     
  26. ArtLady

    ArtLady SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    There are always things we don't like and things we can't control. I try not getting angry about those things out of my control. Actually, I try never to get angry. Perhaps some of the basement framers should try to go mainstream. Get a storefront and play by LJ rules. They are looking for stable longer term customers as a base for their business. I find it unconscionable that someone who quits his job would expect them to jump up and start selling to what is now the competition. I think that as a business person I would find that offensive. We worked hard to build our business and would not do business with LJ because they supplied everyone on the block including those people working for us who decided that they could make money as our competition with our clients in their basements. It is my feeling that your supplier is your partner. Limiting can be good. I think LJ has taken they only path open to them. I guess the big guys always have to take the shots.

    AL
     
  27. Terry Ellis

    Terry Ellis True Grumbler

    Hi Cathie
    Watcha got to hide Huh?
    Come on you can tell me, after all I'm so angelic (ha ha)

    In confidence,
    Terry
     
  28. Mel

    Mel MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Framerfellow:

    No you do not have to buy from anyone. The difference between buying and selling would be another subject. But to stay on this narrow one for now: Legislation would require that a supplier doing business in the State of ____________ be required to abide by the federal acts on antitrust and on price-fixing. This isn't difficult. In fact it is so obvious, I wish I'd thought of it. Good for Alex.
     
  29. BUDDY

    BUDDY PFG, Picture Framing God

    I have tried to stay out of this fray but I can't any longer. I agree that most of what all of us have to say has been .However I am amazed at the attempts to discourage Alex based on self serveing opinions. If Alex presents this to his legislature don't you think they will decide on it's merits before acting on it? Or maybe that is the problem. I see no comparison between your handling customers and a supplier refuseing to sell to a duely lisceneced framer. First some of you must be doing very well to REFUSE business based on your taste . Haven't we all framed things we wouldn't own?As for glazing art maybe Orton can repeat his very astute opinion about this subject for those who turn down this framing.
    I think tooooo many of us forget how we started or maybe we remember and are afraid that others can do the same.I also feel that some of us try to keep others (Alex) from causeing all of us to abide by the same rules now that "we have arrived".
    If what Alex wants to do is fair we should all be glad to abide if it isn't we don't have to worry it will fail.However I think we should all try to see the other guy's side and not worry about our little game being upset if what we are doing is Legal and ethical.
    BUDDY
     
  30. ArtLady

    ArtLady SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Hi Buddy,

    I am curious as to why you think that some of us are turning away business based on our tastes. Certainly we all are savy enough to suggest alternatives to our customers with the idea that they will make the ultimate decision.

    Many of us did not start in the basement. We went out found a store front in a part of town that we felt could use our service. We did our demographic homework. We got a loan. All to provide a comfortable professional place to welcome those people that would be our clients. We took the plunge. We made the commitment. We demonstrated that we are in it for the long term. Perhaps now LJ is respecting our commitment to the long term. This business is more than just a mat cutter. So few people in the retail side of this industry have taken the time to actually learn what you need to learn to be a professional. It is more than just a mat cutter and an ATG gun. Let me ask a question, Why are you framing in your basement? Do you feel the storefronts charge too much? Is it a part time job? Do you want to impress friends, relatives and acquaintences? You don't have another job? Why are you allowing people to track through your home? Are you working toward opening a storefront? What's your stories?

    She cuts the mat, she pets the cat.

    Timberwoman

    AL
     
  31. MerpsMom

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

    Okay, it's fair then to ask, AL, why do you like working from your store? Obviously, you have decided that you like that ambiance, the deserved "prestige" that goes with that storefront, the name recognition, etc. All the above are valid and complimentary. I'm sure you do not mean to imply that simply because someone chooses to work in an environment other than yours that they are either not as competent as you, or have less committment than do you. Candidly, it's a stretch to say that "many" in the retail business of framing are not devoted to professionalism: I'd have to see the stats on that one. You MAY be speaking of the student working the mall store 5:00 to 9:00 p.m., but are you including the owner of that mall store? If you care to, go back to the search feature and look up Home-Based Vs. Other-Based: there are volumes of cogent comments. It still gets down to respect for others and their choices, and I think we here on this board have come to indeed respect anyone dedicated enough to enter into these discussions with diverse opinions: makes for a stretching of the mind!

    P.S. I like what I do and where I do it, and I'm danged good at it.

    Terry, it would be hard to hide anything from you, you angel you.

    [This message has been edited by MerpsMom (edited 02-19-2000).]

    [This message has been edited by MerpsMom (edited 02-19-2000).]
     
  32. ArtLady

    ArtLady SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Statistics show that the less financial involved with something someone happens to be the less committed they are. While this is not meant for everyone; and there are obviously exceptions. I have never said nor intended to imply any sort of personal competence issues. There are good and bad with any profession. But lets talk about commitment. Sometimes commitment and professionalism go hand in hand. Think about it for a minute. Professionalism is more than just doing a good framing project.

    Why DO people frame out of their homes??????

    As a home based framer: What are your long term and short term business goals?? How are you positioned for growth?? What are you doing in the new year to grow?? What are you doing to attract new customers?? Do you have a budget for the new year?? What are your marketing plans?? Will you be trying to achieve any new marketing goals?? Do you have a strategic plan?? Does your strategic plan include the possibility that your next door neighbor who has been helping you out parttime will open up their homebased framing operation to service your customers?? Do you allocate some of your resources to attend trade shows and subscribe to trade publications to keep up with the new information and products?? Does your budget include resources for the PPFA?? Have you checked to see if you are legally zoned to conduct a framing business out of your home?? Do you have the appropriate business insurance?? When you are sick do you turn business away?? Your suppliers are looking to you to grow so their businesses can grow. What are you doing for them?? Have you written your framing standards on paper?? By what standards do you compare the quality of your work??

    There is no arrogance or prestige in my choice to frame from a storefront. I believe my customer wants a professional place to do business. I have a responsibility to my customers to provide a quality and timely product, my suppliers to use and promote their product and grow my business and my employees to manage, motivate and provide a clean and safe work environment. I think that adeqately explains my position. What is yours?? Perhaps a good offense is the best defense. Answer a few of my questions???

    Grumble, Grumble, Grumble. I love a good debate.

    Timberwoman
    AL

    PS-Walk a mile in LJ's shoes.
    We are all legends in our own minds.

    [This message has been edited by ArtLady (edited 02-19-2000).]
     
  33. MiszyB

    MiszyB Guest

    Wow! So many different opinions! I think this, is what makes the world go round.

    At this point and time, does it matter where you have a shop. I have to wonder. With so many business going online, why not have a frame shop in the basement? Who needs a retail location, when you can have a website? Who needs a retail location if you are selling to corporate accounts. One of the largest framers in this town is in his basement. He evens buys from LJ! His wife is an artist with a gallery, so that is how LJ justifies their deliveries to his basement!
    I have to wonder if internet sales increase will basement framers increase. Will LJ change their policy to sell to these basement framers with a website?
    I have a retail location in a thriving downtown district for 11 years now. I am a LJ partner. I hope they don't stop selling to me. I think they have some of the most beautiful mouldings, but I live in an area that is rich with suppliers. I'll get by.
    My point being, that it's a big world and we can work wherever we want to, for what ever reasons.
    Michelle
     
  34. BUDDY

    BUDDY PFG, Picture Framing God

    AL/Timberwoman???
    I am amazed at how you assume that you know just what everyone else is and needs. Let me assure you your recent comments, as they often are, are so far off the mark that it is a shame.
    the reason for my comments about turning down jobs were the following. RW wrote he framed a piece "although technically sound and fabricated to customers specks, was very ugly". For which he says his reputations still pays. He later says "I must insure that it is the best that it can be both technically and aesthetically". And because of this and the glazing issue he now refuses similar work. To me this seems to say he feels responsible for the execution of the framing as well as it's beauty. I say lots of cutomers taste disaagree with mine as well as a lot of others, and it is not for me or anyone else to judge. Much like I think it is not for other framers or suppliers to decide who will succeed and by what means. I recently met a very successful storefront framer who started in a very small shop with a room attatched for his living quarters. The room didn't even have a bath. People like you would probably say he wasn't committed enough and he might have even fallen by the way side. I think we all should stick to doing what we do best and I don't think you or any vendor is BEST suited to say who will succeed or not.
    I also wasn't just speaking about HB framers. Recent developments have also placed restrictions on who receives free delivery from certain suppliers based on their monthly volume. Volume that even some small storefronts can't meet. I know you'd probably say if they can't meet the volumes they should get out the trade. I can't help but wonder "Who died and left you in charge?'
    To listen to you and some others, only those who do business like you do are PROFESSIONALS. Wake up and smell the coffee. Lots of people start small and grow as I hope you have and will. Maybe then you will realize that we aren't all just like you but can and do do very good business.
    As for why I am framing in my basement??? There you go making assumptions again. There aren't any basements in my area. However, even if there were I have had a storefront for going on 13 years. Furthermore, I have been a member of the local and national PPFA for all but two of those years. I have been an officer for most of those years, as well as president of my chapter. I have also worked with the national on small trade shows. I also attend at least one show per year where I always attend classes. I have been a CPF since 1988, and on my first try at that! Now do I meet with your approval anymore?? Ask me if I care or if it really means anything.
    I also feel charges can have nothing to do with the building you work out of it is a matter of the profit you desire. Oh, by the way, I did have a part time job, but I dare say when I did it took way more committment then when you put out unless you works two jobs, night and day and care for a family as well. And I do want to impress friends and family, but I dare say so do you. Isn't this what you are trying to do right now? This is some of my story, but my story isn't what all the others are judged on unlike what some conceited people think. It should be what is fair for all no matter what their story is.
    I really don't think you care what anybody else's story is. I think the reason you and certain big guys agree so much is because you and they like looking down on others while trying to tell them what they are allowed to do. I'm curious does this really make you feel superior?
    To the rest of you, I apologize. This is just the reason I avoid conversations like this. I seem to bring the worst in those that feel they are better than the rest of us.
    Buddy
     
  35. ArtLady

    ArtLady SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Walk in mile in LJ's shoes. They have people grumbling at them from all directions. Do I listen to a home based framer or the storefront? As them you look, you listen, and try to make the best decision for your organization. Now knowing that if they sell to everyone the consumer will shop price. What to do, what to do? Perhaps the decision on a case by case base basis needs to be more than the building you work out of. Perhaps you look at the organization, the management, goals, the performance, and maybe even future potential. Will their product be adequately represented? Does their commitment to you justify the expense of servicing you? I think these are business issues. What is the fine line between servicing you as a wholesale account and selling directly to the customer? They want the business; they want to move product. There is a group of fine minds running that organization or they wouldn't be where they are today.

    The questions I asked are the same ones the volunteers asked me at S.C.O.R.E. before I opened my doors. These are questions we should all ask ourselves. Perhaps these are the questions LJ talked about when they made their decisions. Putting a good frame package together is important but getting the customer to come through the door is the most important issue. I would challenge those who have responded to debate not by confrontation but by how their organizations are addressing the questions asked. Even if you choose not to respond answer the questions yourself. Remember change is always uncomfortable. Take my comments as an opportunity to grow. I ask myself everyday, how do I know my frame shop is good. Then I look for the answers wherever I can find them. We listen a lot, we reserve decision until we hear a lot on a topic. We try to be fair. We try to communicate with our employees, customers, vendors, family and friends. Then we pick a direction and move forward. We enjoy exploring and re-exploring who and what we think we are. We welcome change and growth. We debate. We try to use our resources (both human and material) the best we can. Business can be a rewarding experience.

    I cut the mat, I pet my cat.

    PS-I don't own a cat.

    Timberwoman
    AL

    [This message has been edited by ArtLady (edited 02-19-2000).]
     
  36. William Parker

    William Parker CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    It has been weeks since I have cruised The Grumble. I read this thread with a great deal of interest. Not so much for the specifics of any change in Larson policies, but with the bigger view that if we step back a little and see the big picture everything about our craft is changing. Name calling, worry about who does what where seems to distract us from how much the way we do things has changed in the last five years.

    Larson is very important to my business. I am part of their partnership program. But, if Larson ended our relationship tomorrow I would find someone to fill their place. My business would go on making frames out of someone's moulding.

    My point is that all of us are facing a radically changing world and we must make our own options. Both the Timberlady and Al have found ways to be successful, and that may be the best lesson to take from this discussion.

    Just a thought,and worth everything it cost.

    William Parker, CPF GCF
    Ambiance By Parker, Inc.
    Nasvhille, TN
     
  37. William Parker

    William Parker CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    My apologies, paragraph three line two should have stated "Timberwoman and Buddy have found way to be successful." Please do not let me be accused of being politically incorrect, just old and tired.

    William Parker, Stuff
    Somewhere USA
     
  38. MerpsMom

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

    And there, guys, you have it. Being successful is an individual effort. We all have strengths and bring to our businesses those which make it succeed-------or you're not reading this forum. WP is correct: without LJ, we'd all survive: we'd just find other vendors. Noone can be lionized for long in this world: it changes too fast. Look at these posts: there is a world of humanity here. And the most fun is watching those least likely say what is most important. It's for us to sort out which is which. And I feel much the better off for having read what is said here. [​IMG] Ever pondered here and now where you'd be without interdiction? Isn't the Internet a broadener.
     
  39. Le

    Le CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    TIMBERWOMAN, You seem to equate the size of a moulding to money. You seem to equate money to taste. You seem to equate money to committment. I am a pictureframer, not a FRAMEpicture. I started my business in a friends garage with borrowed equiptment. I now sell skinney little frames for $36 to $128 a foot regularly if they present the artwork in a pleasant and tastefull manner. I also have the priveledge of helping send my landlords daughter thru college. Times change, people change. My committment is approaching 30 years. I think L-J is good for our industry generally, but what is good for L-J is not allways good for me, and those big clunky frames tend to bury the artwork. You can cogitate on that one. I won't be able to reply till the 29th. Hasta luago.

    [This message has been edited by Le (edited 02-20-2000).]
     
  40. ArtLady

    ArtLady SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Hi Le,

    I don't recall after having reread my posts that I ever commented about money. So I will give some incite. My posts are about pushing the envelope and stepping out of the limits of ones own personal attitudes. I can remember being afraid of offering a larger frame because I thought the customer think it was too expensive and would reject it. Then I learned that if the frame is too expensive the customer will tell me. If I never present the customer what I thought was the appropriate frame in the first place they will never have the chance to consider it. Then a funny thing happened. They came back with their friends, relatives and acquaintences and asking for me. Wow did that feel good. Timberwoman was born.

    Why do we start a business? Most of us are looking for a profit. Whether we start in a garage or storefront, we are all looking for a profit or we wouldn't be doing it. Don't all of us harbor a secret wish to become an overnight success in a large Newberry Street type gallery with customers visiting us in droves? Sometimes the startup is small. Sometimes we can not have everything we want right away. Sometimes we have to work hard to prepare ourselves and demonstrate our commitment to more than just the frame package. We expected to be challenged and we planned for it. We welcomed it. It is the essence of business and it is our addiction.

    That's my story and I am sticking to it.

    ------------------
    Timberwoman
    AL
    I cut the mat, I pet the cat.

    [This message has been edited by ArtLady (edited 02-20-2000).]
     
  41. BUDDY

    BUDDY PFG, Picture Framing God

    Sorry I forgot to stay on the subject but I was distracted.
    I too use LJ mouldings and have none of these ristrictions placed on my account.I also find their line and services very appealing . However I don't agree with the reasons that are given for why they impliment some "Company Policies" since I have seen a wide range of applications depending on who and where the recepiant is.Unlike some of my esteemed colleages I don't judge everthing by just how I'm treated and I will defend any of your rights to use anything that is Legal and Honest to defend your position . I know that none of us can be too far from where we came,and all of us are only as strong as we are collectively.I've always belived that RIGHT will prevail.
    BUDDY


    [This message has been edited by BUDDY (edited 02-20-2000).]

    [This message has been edited by BUDDY (edited 02-20-2000).]
     
  42. James Miller

    James Miller Guest

    Is there room for one more opinion?

    I fearlessly predict that there will be no such legislation seriously entertained by any poltical body at any government level.

    The reason that no such legislation could work is that it would set a very dangerous precident, which would affect every industry on the planet. We're not just talking about the picture framing industry here, folks...we're talking about changing the fundamental rules of doing business in the U.S.of A.

    We have too many rules and restrictions already. The best we could hope for is less government intrusion, not more. No matter who appears to benefit short term.

    Home-based framers have to live without L-J. That's too bad. Store-fronters have to pay rent and utilities every month. That's also too bad. Either way, there are benefits and there are consequences. The point is, we all run our businesses the way we want to run them.

    And that's the way it ought to be.


    ------------------
    James Miller,PPFA-CPF; PPFA Certification Board Member; FACTS/GAFP Committee Member
     
  43. Mel

    Mel MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Dear AL: Regarding your first post of 2/19: If I could answer "yes" to each of your questions except one (my nearest neighbor lives 2 miles away), would I be professional in your[ eyes? Well, I can say "yes" to all your questions, but more importantly, my customers consider me professional, and they are who I frame for (pardon that dangle, there).
     
  44. ArtLady

    ArtLady SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Hi Mel,

    It sounds like you are on a growth path that will force you to some day consider, if you are not there already to move to a larger facility, if you must move to larger facility would it be to a larger house??

    There were a couple of questions (that it was not my intention for you to answer here) that could not be answered with a "Yes" or "No". But a "distributor" may consider on your part to make their business profitable. If a "distributor" has to choose between a home based entity operating at the status quo and the competing progressive storefront, it is a tough choice but emotion aside most business decisions are made on the balance sheet with social issues aside.

    If growth is indeed your goal then someday home based may not be the answer. You will find a way to get there. You will understand that you cannot operate out of your home forever. LJ will find you.

    When we considered a location we felt that operating out of our home was very limiting; ie no yellow pages, no walk in traffic, no privacy, heavy maintence on the domestic front, no media promotions, scrutiny of strangers of our private space, limited hours, interruptions by family members, questions of proper storage of product and artworks, where would employees work when we grew, where would we present our fine art inventory, would the customer feel comfortable, would the customer take us seriously, would our customers only be coming to us with the perception of saving money, etc. After considering all of these issues and I few I am sure we left out we felt a storefront was more "professional". It has nothing to do with us personally or our skill.

    In my mind "a professional" is the whole package. If growth is your path and you are truly living it. Companies like LJ will find you.

    ------------------
    Timberwoman
    AL
    I cut the mat, I pet the cat.

    [This message has been edited by ArtLady (edited 02-21-2000).]
     
  45. Mel

    Mel MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    AL:

    I think you missed my point and, if I may, Merps Mom's earlier missive. For various reasons, some of us have chosen not to be storefronts. This is an active choice. We are not motivated by fantasies of a large, busy gallery. My customers and I prefer the by-appointment design process. I do not wish to feel forced to provide limited editions, few of which I consider art. We have several successful forums in our small town for original art. I wish to frame it, not compete for the commissions selling it. MM said it best, but I can't quote because my screen isn't showing the posts. We each have our motivators, and size and location are not the criteria for professionalism.

    Believe it or not, this could be, if the interpretation is correct, a matter where government will help the little guy. We're only asking that current federal acts be enforced.

    [This message has been edited by Mel (edited 02-22-2000).]
     
  46. ArtLady

    ArtLady SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Hi Mel,

    It is not that I do not understand your point. We have opposing positions. I guess we agree to disagree, but I still have a few questions that I don't understand.

    So why wouldn't you want a busy gallery?

    Why wouldn't you want more business than you could handle?

    Do you turn customers away if you are too busy?

    Why would a customer want to wait for an appointment when they could visit a framer at their convenience?

    What is it that you do different that would motivate one of our art buyers to take one of their acquisitions to your home based frame shop, instead of our inhouse frameshop? Do you deliver? Do you install? Do you guarantee your work? Can you locate other works that they need to finish their art acquisitions? Do you frame oversize pieces?

    Have you trained yourself in the best way to frame?

    Don't you find working out of the home limiting your growth and access to some customers?

    Why would you feel forced to sell limited editions?

    So no one has answered my question as to why home based custom framing is so attractive to them? What are some of those motivators?

    I went back and read some threads looking for the answer to my question as to why some framers work from home? I could not find anything.

    Timberwoman

    AL

    She cuts the mat, she pets the cat.

    PS-As a business owner you do understand that gallery owners pay commissions, not receive them, don't you?

    [This message has been edited by ArtLady (edited 02-22-2000).]
     
  47. ajhohen

    ajhohen Guest

    Art Lady: I couldn't resist to answer the question you don't understand: "I went back and read some threads looking for the answer to my question as to why some framers work from home? I could not find anything."

    Well, very simple! Very little overhead...resulting in very low competative prices. Don't need to advertise... and never did (always had more than the business i could handle). No employees!!...just me and my wife. These are just a couple, but there are many more.

    What is the advantage of having a storefront business? Is it exciting to charge higher prices so you can pay your employees (and their health insurance) and to pay for your large overhead...higher electric bills, phone bills, higher taxes, etc.?

    I have been in business for 18 years and I wouldn't move to a storefront if someone gave it to me!!! I am located in a very small town and through "word of mouth", I currently have over 2400 customers! (approximately 60% out of town and 25% out of state). Think about it. Why wouldn't you relocate your business to your home?
     
  48. ArtLady

    ArtLady SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I believe I have already expressed my reasons for why I have a storefront earlier in this grumble. Most of which concern customers perception of us, our growth path and strategic plan.

    Why won't anyone answer my question? Come on you home based guys what are your motivations? You must have some kind of dream/goal.

    ------------------
    Timberwoman
    AL
    One of her earrings says "ART", the other says "FRAME".
    Her fish are named Roma, LaMarche and Larson Juhl.
    She cuts the mat.
    She pets the cat.

    PS-I forgot to mention my love of artwork, planning, business in general and the joys of marketing. In addition, it gives me great satisfaction to participate in a team situation. I love working with people be it employees, customers, competition or suppliers.

    Did you know Andrew Lloyd Webber once said "I write plays to get money to buy artwork."?


    [This message has been edited by ArtLady (edited 02-22-2000).]
     
  49. Mel

    Mel MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    AL:

    Two reasons I don't want a busy art gallery: One is 15 years old and one is 13 years old. Yes, I am educated. Many classes, beginning and advanced, at recognized schools, and many workshops with the likes of Brian Wolf, Kaye Evans, Vivian Kisler, etc. All trade mags are read monthly.

    My original intention was to get up to speed then move downtown. I have decided I will not do that. No need. My customers have found me by word of mouth and I have all the business I want.

    Some of us are not motivated by the thrills of marketing, business methods, interruptions that are irritating to the customer with whom we are working, fussing with landlords, paying overhead. Your thrills are my chills.

    So, back to the point: We are professionals in every sense of the word.....just ask our very knowledgable customers. Oh, and I charge the industry average based on the latest Decor study. So they do not come to me to get a cheap job.

    Anyway, I intend to resist any further defense of my location decision. The subject was about legislation.
     
  50. MerpsMom

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

    The one thing I think is paramount to this Board: always be courteous. But GOOD GRIEF, PD! It seems you are being deliberately obtuse. They do it because they CAN! And they LIKE IT. Their customers must also, or they wouldn't HAVE ANY! Sheesh.
     
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