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What to call them

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by AWG, Jan 12, 2008.

  1. AWG

    AWG SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    We're in the New Year, New Look phase at the Gallery. One of the things we're doing is a re-vamp of signage and displays. Here's the quandry:

    What do we call the Value Line? We want to make them aware it's value (inexpensive) without being unclear or negative. Our choices so far (but open and looking for ideas):

    The Cheap Stuff (tongue in cheeky, but too cheeky??)
    Value Line (boring but clear)
    Affordable Classic (but ??)

    IDEAS Please?!

    Sponsor Wanted
  2. JFeig

    JFeig SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Student Grade
  3. kdub

    kdub CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    this isn't necessarily better than Value Line but EconoLine? It still uses part of a word that indicates cost effectiveness (being a short part of Economic).

    This another "steal" (not sure how much hot water you'd get using these, really) but there's PriceLine. People already equate it with a website that helps them get better prices on travel so they might make the same association at a frame shop.

    (Unless you don't like the idea of using names already used out there by someone else since Econoline's are vans)
  4. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Hey Tony-This is another area where we rely upon "non-customer" input when whom we should be "testing" are those affected-Customers

    I do not mean this to be mean spirited, but there isn't a worse group to ask than picture framers. So many of us are so out of the mainstream of consumerism that I'm not sure if our opinions are valid

    Next week, test every customer that you show this segment to as to how they respond when you use each of these words. Sure, you will get varied responses-it's the essence of focus groups. But, look for those key words that resonate

    FWIT, I'm not sure I would call it anything to the client

    When we use it (and I am a big fan of a "value" line) most effectively, it is a "drop down" in price alternative. When price becomes a deciding factor (and we are seeing it more frequently) I wil show them that line (all grouped together)

    It may be called a "special selection" or "in-house mldg" or "my favorites", but I am not sure that I would segregate nor highlight that product

    Ignoring my own advice to you about getting advice from a framer, I'l couch this in retail terms: Why highlight this product? Use it as an effective trade down option artfully displayed amongst your entire line?

    Will we see you both in Vegas? Enjoyed our visit at Atlanta
  5. Val

    Val PFG, Picture Framing God

    I agree with Bob here....why should we label it at all?? We know (or should know) what our price points are, but shouldn't we be going for the moulding that best suits the artwork first? If you label a section "The Cheap Stuff" or "Value Line".....they'll probably automatically head there first, and any chance of choosing "just the right frame" would probably be lost.
  6. AWG

    AWG SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    See, Bob, that's the value of having a guru - keep you (me) from making dumb mistakes....

    We were split on whether to segregate, highlight, both or neither. I was in favor of seperating and highlighting them - Kassandra disagrees. You've given me a reason to rethink this, and I see your point clearly. While our current customers are not very price sensitive, I know there's a much L A R G E R group out there that aren't our customers - my thought behind a highlighted value line was to give us an opportunity to promote and possibly bring in that group - expanding our target a bit.

    Given the opportunity to rethink this, I'm leaning toward keeping them seperate, but NOT highlighting them - just keep them close for a "go to" when $$ becomes an issue.

    No, Bob, unfortunately Vegas is out this year -- we've been back and forth on it, but other family obligations are taking some free time away.... Hope to see you guys again in ATL.

    Tony & Kassandra
  7. Mary M

    Mary M CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Following Bob's "...Like a Retailer..." class last year, I implemented a value line. It made our year! I've just been going over last year's numbers-the value line outsold all other frame types by 3 to 1. Our 2007 numbers were about 2% higher than 2006--and I attribute it to this line.

    We advertised it as our "Extreme Value" line--and it caught on well with the local college's photography and art students. They re-named it the "Starving Artist Line" and it stuck. Parents are now coming in and asking for it by that name. It works for us.

    And-Thanks Bob! I'm signed up for another class of yours this year!
  8. kdub

    kdub CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    The very first frame shop I worked at had this very same concept. The samples were out and displayed but on a different panel (though they weren't highlighted). We would design as usual but if cost became a big factor, it was nice to be able to show them something else that when compared to the other prices, was as good in quality but more reasonable for them. We sold those a lot especially to first time customers who were new to framing. Eventually as they got used to the idea of framing and it's cost, they would start to explore other more expensive options.

    So I dont' think it's so much that the framer will sell that first or that the customer will head there first, it's just a good "go-to" option when sales are soft or when the customer is price conscious.
  9. happycamper

    happycamper CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    We have our store in an area close to the University and local Arts School....and Mary M. the starving artist line would be perfect for us. Would you include metals, resins and low end Larsons here? and did you have this selection labeled and separated from the rest of the selection. I sometimes think people are sensitive to state they want inexpensive...so go to places like BB because they think that is what they are getting and we miss out on the sales
  10. DTWDSM

    DTWDSM SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    We call it our Value Frame Collection, I think that you do need to call it something becuase if you ever do coupons or framing sales you can always say that the Value Fram Collection is not included. We do have other frames that we carry in stock but they are not considered as part of the collection. We don't have any signage or anything that separates it from the other in stock stuff but the price says it all.
  11. stud d

    stud d SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Everyone should have a value line. We all need that something to keep them happy and possibly even make a better mark up on them.

    Happy camper if you think LJ is value...maybe that Arcadia line or whatever it is called could be considered.But there are other vendors out there that you may due a bit better as far as price goes. The poly frames would definitly work in this area. If people think it is three inch golds that the majority of shops are selling, you would be wrong. Look at most catalogs from all your companies. Most have about 70-100 one inch and under simple blacks with 3/8 to half inch rabit. Ever wonder why? Cause they sell tons.

  12. Mary M

    Mary M CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Our Extreme Value frames are separate from the rest of the samples. They are NOT from our regular lines, and I make a point of saying as much. We sometimes run specials and are able to say the Extreme Value line is not included.

    Our line includes 8 matte blacks, a couple of very nice golds, and four natural finishes in three different profiles. Something for nearly every taste. I didn't include metals. Their price points just didn't fit. I spent some time talking to my vendors and was able to get some workable prices when I set this up. It would be best for you to talk to Bob Carter-he's the originator of the idea-and can probably give you a much better description of his method than I can. I'm now working on a second line--this one a tad bit more high-end--so that I can increase my mid-range sales.
  13. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Thanks Mary, but I haven't originated anything, ever

    This concept is as old as retailing-almost as od as me

    My good friend Tim suggests labeling them to differentiate them. Good idea, especially if it is integrated into your marketing stratgy. Tim is a smart operator and I know he seamlessly incorporates this line

    If you use it as a "sales saver", then I wouldn't create a "sub class" mentality. Too many do that and I think that harmful

    Never forget that good salesmanship will trump everything we have talked about. But, for heaven's sake, have the good sense to listen to your client, both verbally and non-verbally

    These lines are an intergral part of our biz

    How you use them (or worse, don't use them) is driven more by the how than the what
  14. Val

    Val PFG, Picture Framing God

    A have a few "value line" mouldings, but they're mixed in with everything else, and not labeled or highlighted. I did the same thing, Mary, after Bobs Retailer class last year, started looking for the buying opportunities. If the customer balks at pricing, I'll simply reach for one, I know what and where they are, and say "Here's one that still suits the art, but might be better suit your budget."

    My 2007 numbers were up 16% from 2006, and I attribute some of that to not putting myself on sale as my competitors have.

    I recently learned that one of my competitors who used one vendor exclusively, bought in huge quantities for lower pricing, then constantly touted 50% off, and many of our customers, and other shops' customers flocked there, woo'd by the fact that the had such an immense "value line". As of Jan.1st, their doors are locked and frame shop/gallery is empty. Kaput. My second year actually had growth, and not a single %-off sale! 'Splain that! Have I learned something here? You betcha!!
  15. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Hi Val-Sometimes we really don't know why some folks close up. It isn't always bad business practices and it really shouldn't be viewed as a ratification of what we do is correct

    There really are a lot of "practicing" framers that ought to close.

    If there is something that we might learn it comes from the fact that "many of our customers, and other shops customers flocked there". What made those clients go to them when they had a choice, in my opinion, is the real issue to 'splain.

    The balance of those clients and others is the real answer

    But, who wouldn't want to successfully incorporate as many as both segments as possible?

    That is the real lesson to be deciphered
  16. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    I haven't read this whole thread, but a quick answer:

    We do segregate the Value Line These are both box moulding and close-outs. They have not sold as well as we thought, as in not runaway best sellers, but the segregation makes it much easier for our staff to grab a moulding that they know will be well priced and in stock in quantity. Also, we describe them to the customer as something worth having--something we were able to negotiate a good price on.

    The customers don't go straight to this moulding. They seem to go straight to the ready mades or poster special when they want inexpensive, but that's another discussion.

    We are glad to have the value line because we like having moulding that is always in there in a enough quantity to fulfill just about any retail order. And the prices won't give anyone sticker shock. I would like 10 columns of Value Line, not just one. I think that if we had more choice in good value moulding we would sell more as a whole.

    OTOH, I have some $20 and $25. Arquati that I keep reordering. Got a little special when the rep was by and he got us hooked.
  17. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    So how low do you go? An old topic, germane to the Value Line. We all know how inexpensive some of these specials and box mouldings can be. Is there a price point at which you feel you won't make money no matter how cheap the cost was, how good the close-out, what the freight deal was, or how you display them?
  18. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Ask yourself that. Price out a 20x24 basic frame job with one of these mouldings, add in the cost of all materials, figure out the time it takes to complete one of these jobs, and then add in the amount you would be paying one of your employees (including bennies) to do the work. Does the profit cover your overhead?

    Is the price so low that it undercuts the image you want to project? Do you want to be considered a place that does high-quality framing for an affordable price, or do you want to be considered a place to go for cheap frames? There is a difference.
  19. DTWDSM

    DTWDSM SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    2 Things...

    As Bob said, salesmanship will trump anything, anyone can sell cheap framing but who wants to do that? Bob does this and others should too, you can have a value line but make sure you have something to "supersize" it. For only $20 more you can have this frame which looks much better with it. When you are talking framing whats an additional $20?

    Closeouts. I stay away from them. As my father once told me, why buy other people's problems. There is a reason that moulding gets put on closeout, most of the time it is because it does not sell, ie "Barking Spider"
  20. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Hey Paul-Your assessment may be, in my opinion, one of th biggest problems we face

    Too many of us want to be what we want, where the consumer may not agree with our own self-imposed perception

    Make no mistake; I would love to sell nothing but Cadillac framing. But, i know that to achieve my goals, that may not be enough volume. So, I must add some Pontiac framing and some GMC Truck framing and some Chevy framing

    Do I really care if som epeople think I offer cheap framing?

    Is it better to have people think I have expensive framing?

    Warren and I simply agree that there is "gold" in many consumers that too many others ignore

    Which is the purpose of a "Value Line"
  21. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    But Bob, you can price yourself right out of business, if you don't have the cost structure to protect your margins on these low-price items. Selling one or two, that's not going to break the bank, but how about if they come to half your business? Do you have a Southwest Airlines cost structure or an American Airlines cost structure? When you start selling alot of these 20x24 value frame jobs for $15, you'll probably start to find it very hard to sell anything for more. So suddenly you're the place to go for cheap frames, and that's fine if you're ok with that, and have the cost structure to support it.
  22. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    I don't have a strong opinion on a value line. I do have one moulding I keep handy. Its black and avalible and cheap. If price becomes an issue I hand it over and say "this is the cheapest frame in town". I say that becuase it is. Balk at that price and we have just eliminated a bunch of picking out stuff and pricing this or that. If somebody wanted 400 of the "cheapest frame in town" I'd be happy as heck to sell it to them.
  23. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Hey Paul-Sure, if you are stupid enough to sell a 20x24 frame for $15.

    Now, how many of you are as stupid as Paul must think you are

    And, you are kidding yourself greatly if you think these are low margin jobs

    Paul, I understand that this program doesn't appeal to you; no problem. But, at least know what you are talking about

    Most people that embrace a program like this institute some "Buying Better" controls to ensure respectble margins. In fact, most that do will tell you that thes offerings are often the highest margin sales in the store

    Like it, don't like it; no problem, at least argue intelligently

    There are many converts (as shown on this thread alone) that will tell you that these are supplemental sales. Your idea of 50% of sales is a little goofy; but if I were selling that many, I would have no problems going up another $10.

    Can you imagine Warren Buffet saying "We better not sell too many boxes of Tribeca 330285"? It'll create a bad image?

    I sure I hope I have a problem of selling too many of my "Value line" options
  24. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Bob, you completely missed my point and took my comment out of context. I was responding to Kirstie's question of how low you should price these. I have no problem with a value line -- I have one, with about 15 different mouldings on it. I stock some of them, and the others are bonanza wood mouldings that I can buy by the length at absurd prices.

    But if I sell a poster frame for $65, what's my gross margin on that? $50? $55? Now how about my gross margin on the $900 sale (Roma Tabacchino, hand-wrapped liner, mount canvas on stretcher bars)? $700? So I have to sell 14 of those $65 poster frames to get the same gross margin as one Roma sale. That means I need to draw 14 people in the door, convinced that my store is the place for $65 poster frames, not the Michaels that is a half-mile away, or the Cheap Pete's that is 2 miles away, or the Aaron Brothers that is across from Cheap Petes. So now I'm spending on newspaper and radio ads to get the same kind of mindshare that Cheap Petes, Aaron Brothers, and Michaels have. And I probably wasted a lot of money making my store looks nice, because that conflicts with the expectation for a place where you can go for $65 poster frames (oh, I can sell those too, mind you). I spent on carpeting and different colored walls, when a cheap linoleum floor and dingy white walls would do. I really don't need a sample wall with 1000 moulding samples on it. 30 will do, 20 of them black. I probably should move my store, too, because the rent is too high for the kind of business I'm running. Instead of being in a nice shopping area, I should probably be nearer the highway, someplace with a big parking lot and a pylon sign, near a Ross Dress for Less or Mervyn's.

    So I do know what I'm talking about. If you want to compete effectively and substantially at the low-price end of the market, every aspect of your business has to be designed for that. It isn't enough to buy 3 or 4 mouldings by the box. Anyone can have a value line, and offer a few good deals on those occasions when you need it. But when those value deals start to comprise a significant part of your sales, you need to look at the rest of your business, and make sure you are set up to support that kind of operation.
  25. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    In my shop I probably sell closer to 50 - 60 $65 frames per one $900 one. The ratio may be even higher. Framing is elastic and the higher the price the fewer you will sell and the harder it will be to sell. I'll take a $900 sale for sure. I even added some nicer mouldings about a year ago. Even with the nicer mouldings the extreamly high margin lower price frames pay the rent. The $900 one is gravy and not a major part of my diet.
  26. RoboFramer

    RoboFramer PFG, Picture Framing God

    So - how did you choose your location? - Darts?
  27. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Blindfolded darts!

    Real estate is expensive here, and available real estate is hard to come by.
  28. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Hey Paul-We all want to sell $900 frame jobs. But, I do think if anyone wants to "Price themselves right out of business" it might be by trying to live at the $900 end of the market

    I'm sorry if I took your post that started "But, Bob..." as being out of context and directed to Kirstie

    Maybe this might be a good ime for people to suggest what prices they offer "Value Lines"
  29. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    I think you price yourself out of the business by competing out of your league. Michaels and Aaron Brothers have a tremendous buying advantage, because they purchase for dozens of framing departments, not just one. They don't buy by the box, they buy by the truck. And they have a tremendous cost advantage, because they can centralize production in regional centers that serve multiple stores. They aren't dependent solely on framing, because they have other revenue centers. So for a single-store operation to try to compete head-to-head with them on the basis of price, that's just lunacy.

    There's a reason you don't find too many independent 1200-square foot dry goods stores within a couple of blocks of Wal-Mart anymore. They've been decimated. The owners of those stores now work for Wal-Mart. They'll greet you when you come in.

    BILL WARD SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    echoing what HAPPYCAMPER asks----
    1)what do you(those of you that do this) use for this group of frames,
    2)how many frames do you 'normally' cary in it,
    3)how far UP on the $$ scale do you go before you figure those samples go onto the 'normal' boards
  31. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    I know in Tony's case, because I've been to their gallery, that they are not trying to compete "head to head" with Michaels or A.B. I can honestly say that I'm not sure that I have ever been in a more fancy schmancy frameshop. Still evaluating their offerings to make sure they are covering as broad of a range of clients as possible is a wise thing.

    Even if there is a "Free Frames" caddy corner from you, Bob is right that only selling at the $900 end will still be ineffective. Narrowing your clientale instead of widening them will usually be a losing proposition. Its not like we have a very large customer base right now anyway. How many hours a week do you really spend framing right now? If its less than 25 – 30/framer then you need more customers anyway. If you were to take one month and sell 20x24s for $15, you still won't be covered up. Most of us just don't have that kind of demand for our product or traffic thorough our doors.

    Ok so lets get reasonable...lets price it at your $65 and making $50. Sell just 4 a month and you never have to pay another utility bill. Even that volume is real money. You'll likely develop a whole different customer base like amateur photographers, artist, college students, young homeowners... That sounds like a group we should be killing ourselves to market. Too often when that group does come in your door (which most have already abandoned us as we have them), they leave feeling beat up. Many won't return - probably ever.

    Mr Oldmoney isn't going to leave because you have a value line. If even one customer comes in willing and expecting to pay $900 and you sell them a $65 frame, then you shouldn't be in business. Who ever walked into Olive Garden wanting Chicken Parmesan and ended up just getting salad and bread sticks because it was cheap? Those fools run expensive TV ads touting salad and breadsticks. Don't they worry about to many people not spending more money? Their average lunchtime ticket would skyrocket if they would stop offering it. They could even have less staff on the clock. They are already at full capacity from about 11:30 – 12:30 every day and they should just dump those $4.99 salad-eating water-drinking customers right? Yet they don't. I could speculate why. I'm sure there is an exception for every possibility and really its just the grass is just greener for them and there is nothing we could learn from em.
  32. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Jay is right, of course. We should always be looking for profitable alternative venues to expand our businesses

    But Guys-This has become, like so many other threads, non-recognizable

    For those that do offer "price alternatives" the discussion was how to handle them

    As typical, those against it want to tell you how wrong you are

    There ought to be some middle ground where those that want to try something can do so amongst others that can share their own personal experiences-good or bad

    Instead we get philosophical chest thumping

    Bottom line: If you don't want to do it for any of the reasons listed; great, no problem
    If you do, the real question was basically what works for you that do

    It's a pretty simple request
    If a person wants to use

    Reg glass
    Paper mats
    carry Tom Kinkade
    be home based
    be in a mall

    Why do so many care?
  33. stud d

    stud d SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I read these posts and find it to be amazing that people can become so irritated by selling to customers that can not buy $900 in framing. Heck I could not do that even if i got the wholsale price. So why would I think another average joe like myself could? I don't.

    I agree with Jay..artists, college students, early 20's, photographers and young homeowners are where it is at. That is where out bread will come from in the future. To think that you don't need them is just downright dopey. We all need a broader and deeper customer base. That great enourmous %7 that get things custom framed is not growing over the years. It is shrinking, so we need to be smart.

    Swallow your pride and get in the game. You do not need to buy five boxes to get better prices. There are other ways to buy smart. And yes these should and could be your best markups in your store. If it costs $.20 then you do not mark it up 3-4 times to $.60-$.80. No mark it 20 to $4.00 if your area can bear that. A $4.00 a ft frame is pretty tasty. In many areas that would be at the bottom as far as price goes. Remember in this this will not be the best looking stuff, but it should be stuff where you get a good yield. It should also be easy to use, no issues.

    I think we were told for far too long NICHE NICHE NICHE. Dumb dumbe dumb. Thanks for all the people who told us for years conservation framing only. It has helped to ruin our industry. Now we have to go back the other way. Stop saying no, Stop doing what you think is right, open the ears and listen to the people that you need to pay your bills.

  34. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    Bob, I wouldn't mind sharing my experiences further but I have come to believe that we already share a bit more than we should on a public forum. I would love to have more in depth discussion about these things but I hesitate for obvious reasons.
  35. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I hear you Jay and agree. It seems that the things that get shared th emost are opinions, not experiences. Reminds me of an expression that I am certain to mangle, but says something about what we really know as oppossed to what we think we know

    It was in the context of market research and data, but I hope the meaning is clear

    Once again, the student teaches the teacher
  36. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    Oh blimey...back on topic here. Where do you display and how low do you go?
    OK Bob, specifics, experiences.

    I answered the first, now the second, $6. is the lowest. And I wonder about that. Can't make money on much less. Highest for a value line 12. for a bigger moulding. That seems high, I know. We have other mouldings on our boards in this price range but not as much quantity so they don't go in that column for easy reach.

    Regarding close-outs--If you are very careful there are some good ones. I wish I had bought more than 100 ft of a UFP close-out 2" clear maple last year. Really clear and clean with good color. But then I went through their whole close-out table and only picked one moulding. Of course then there's freight and that's how the moulding ended up at the somewhat higher end of the value column. A good deal, nevertheless. And yes, I could sell it all day. It's the poster special I don't want to sell all day because everything in the whole blasted package is discounted. Upgrades--yes!
  37. Sherry Lee

    Sherry Lee SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

  38. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    To clear up all the misrepresentations that have been made about me on this thread, I have a value line. I call it my Value Line. I have the samples merchandised separately on a display board. There are 21 different moulding samples on that board. I currently stock 5 of them. The remainder are bonanza wood mouldings that are available from Larson Juhl, by length, at very competitive prices. I have happily sold those frames to any customer that wants them, and saved many a sale by reaching for one of those samples.
  39. Steph

    Steph SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    the arrogance
    stroking each others egos
    the my way is the only right way
    the chastising

    I hate when a thread starts out as good discussion and leads to all of the above. Makes me think that is why many folks , myself included stay away from contributing to these threads. I actually know quite a few folks who do shy away from these things when they go this direction. Too bad, varied opinions should be a good thing.

    Don't bother chastising me for my opinion.
  40. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    I'm sorry I missed the controversy. I should keep up better.
  41. Fake Zorro

    Fake Zorro In Corner

    I would like to here more from both of you. Why not move the discussion to Hitchhikers (were the elite meet to discuss real biz).
  42. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    I already participate there. I just use a secret name so that my identity is hidden.
  43. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    All of the mouldings we stock are displayed together on a special segment of the sample wall under the banner, "Best Value Frames". Dollar for dollar, they really are the best values we offer, even though some of them are not inexpensive.

    That is where most customers start, and a good number of them end up there. But when a customer does not find a suitable moulding among those, we have the other 2,000 samples to show them.
  44. Jerry Ervin

    Jerry Ervin PFG, Picture Framing God


    My 'Value Line' ranges from $2 to $10 per ft.

    I sell very little of the $2 (but it is there if they want it), but quite a bit in the 5 - 10 range.

    I don't have signage that states it as 'value line' but I'm not against it.
  45. AWG

    AWG SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    So I come back here after a few days, and look what I find...

    A couple of points:
    As a small independent with 5 frame shops in a 1.5 mile radius (us, a franchise, Ms, another independent, and a regional chain) we've got to differentiate ourselves. We do a good business, but still have down times that could be better. We're looking to simply make a bit more $$.

    After reviewing 2007 numbers, if I can get just $100 more per customer for the year (another visit, a new service, etc) we can easily add more than $30K in gross sales to our bottom line. Our average ticket is healthy; it's the footsteps that we lack. We've added "other stuff" and are increasingly marketing our Digital Custom services -- all good margin items that take little or no labor.

    We've had but not really promoted our value-line mouldings; in our annual repaint and merchandising re-set we're just looing for ideas on how others do it; having it is simply a given.

    The concern about the low-end hurting the high-end, is, IMHO, a mistake. Unless you ONLY build $900 frames, how can a high-margin $75-$100 job hurt your business? I KNOW that I don't get all of my customer's framing - they'll go to Ms or Target or the camera store for a cheap poster or ready made. While I'm off the RM bandwagon (for the 3rd and probably last time), I can't see the harm in letting my regulars know that they can come to me for a quick and cheap job when that's all they need/want. A Value Line HAS to part of that equation.

    I think the assumption that all of a sudden we'll only design from the cheap stuff (but who really cares if there's acceptable profit $$ in it) or the Tabaccacino-loving customers (and we have many) will develop an affinity for 3/4" black cap is crazy --

    As for how low and how many?? It depends on your physical space,total samples, etc. Using the SWAG method, I think to make it a legitimate "Line" it should probably be no less than 10, probably no more than 20. If you examine your moulding sales you'll probably find you don't regularly sell more than about 20% of what you show - if you show 800 mouldings, you're only selling about 150, so to show a 50 piece Value Line would be overkill. How low would be tougher - depending on market, your average ticket, average retail for what you sell (not show) - THAT would be a good discussion.

  46. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Tony-You are absolutely correct

    I think if you talk to many that I have helped institute a "value line", you will find that you never hear of any cannibalization of high end sales. It just doesn't happen unless the salespeople pull the value poduct first

    Then we go back to salesmanship

    Bottom line: We have about 30 samples in our package and it represents about 15% of our total sales. It wouln't bother me if it was higher, but once we add on the upgrades, we don't include that as that category

    Tony-use some good common sense in limited selection and aggressive price with some trade up options and you'll do just fine. Worst case scenario? In six months you scrap it

    Contact me off line if you need some fine tuning
  47. DTWDSM

    DTWDSM SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    We carry about 50 mouldings in stock, of which 10 are part of our Value Frame Collection. No special signs, no special anything to separate them out. If you want a Scarface poster framed cheaply, our Value line is offered with the option for an upgrade. Our designers show what looks best on the artwork first and work down from there if needed. We have customers who come in and spend 500 on a framing job and them say I want your Value frame on this other poster I have here. People are happy that they can get it all done at our shop, the Mercedes and the Kia at the same dealership.

    If you do not offer some sort of Value line then you are just turning customers away.
  48. J Phipps TN

    J Phipps TN SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    OK, at this point, I'm sold on the idea.

    My question here is, what moldings are you calling Value line?

    Give me some examples of what companies you would recommend and what moldings numbers would be good for this.

    I don't like using discontinued moldings that I would get at a good deal, because a lot of my customers like to match frames later and those would always be gone and that would be disappointing to them later. Not good customer service.

    What molding company is the best for this kind of line? Or better, who do you use?

    To be honest, LJ is not what I would consider Value. Even their least expensive lines are higher then most other companies.

    What about Decor? or CMI?

    Give some specifics.
  49. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    Ordering boxes has become difficult because of shipping. If shipping comes to $100 and your only dividing that out over a few hundred feet of moulding, the box price looses some of its appeal. I get boxes from suppliers who add the box onto their weekly orders. They deliver it with my order for free. I think thats a win for me and a win for them. It really helps with my one "value" frame.
  50. Jerry Ervin

    Jerry Ervin PFG, Picture Framing God


    Think Framerica. They have without a doubt the best value product out there. Also check the Larson Juhl Arqadia line.

    The best part of both of those, if you are already buying from LJ the product comes on the same truck without any shipping charges.
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