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Wholesale Moulding Supplier Selling On Ebay

Discussion in 'The Grumble' started by arstis, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    lol! Thank you. I needed a laugh today.

    I always preferred a direct statement to the little witty jabs and insults that are common on chat boards across teh interwebs anyway.
  2. Emibub

    Emibub PFG, Picture Framing God

    I needed a laugh today too Johnny! Jay's screen capture made me guffaw out loud. Your reply too!
  3. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Jay has created a distraction from the topic, as he often does. Maybe I should feel honored to be on his ignore list, but I am saddened that he wants to be an adversary to me or anyone else here. I feel embarrassed that I have been unable to communicate with the man in a civil and considerate manner. If I thought any number of Grumblers wanted to lock out my posts, I would gladly relieve them of that necessity by simply going away.

    Even new and relatively uninformed Grumbler-framers offer grains of wisdom helpful to each of us from time to time. Jay's wisdom is astounding on occasion, as are some of his other qualities on other occasions.

    Like everyone else, I may disagree with a fellow Grumbler sometimes, but I try to be reasonable and moderately respectful. I choose not to lock out anyone's posts. After all, I can ignore them after I read them.

    I apologize for chasing the frankenthread.
  4. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    Thanks Kathy. That really takes the sting out of it. I'll bet you were able to tell me that I'm an ignorant fool in a small fraction of the words. My shop rate is $983/hour and so I guess I owe you about $825 for the time savings. Do you take checks? Actually the ignore feature has saved me 1.73 Million dollars in the last year by cutting down on my reading. I don't feel that the quality of my framing has decreased either. I'm thinking i"m not missing much. Ignorance is bliss.
  5. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    See.. you have people who directly insult. You have people who are smartasses or couch the insults with indirect witticisms. And then you have Jim who is just a gentleman all the time. Man, Jim pisses me off!*

    *that's a joke, except for the gentleman part
  6. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    Don't worry about it Jim, it let's Tony off the hook!

    This is one of those threads where it is now time to talk about something else like the weather, or pizza or what do customers think we are.

    I just had a customer in that wanted me to replace the quartz clock movement in an inexpensive wall clock for him. Where he got the idea, I do that, I dunno. I told him to go to the WoodCrafts store down the road. Ah! and if he couldn't find it there I sent him to an internet site. (Oh well, there we go again )
  7. Emibub

    Emibub PFG, Picture Framing God

    Ironically, I think Jay and Jim Miller are on the same page on this one.........That is why I would never use the ignore feature with a regular Grumbler, there is always something to be gleaned. Jim and Jay, both, add a lot to the discussions. Johnny does too.

    I didn't mean to add to the diversion but, it seemed it was time to move on.
  8. Emibub

    Emibub PFG, Picture Framing God

    Please make the check out to Emibubsfundsforherfutureinanotherfield. Pleasure doing business with you Jay!
  9. kenny

    kenny True Grumbler

    I wonder if the WSAC show will offer an anger management class next year.

    Never get angry. Never make a threat. Reason with people.
    Mario Puzo (1920 - 1999), 'The Godfather'
  10. Steph

    Steph SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Oooohhh!! maybe we can get Dr Phil!!
  11. kenny

    kenny True Grumbler

    Paging Dr. Howard, Paging Dr. Fine, Paging Dr Pill, paging George Forman.

    I the ______ ________ state I live in a glass house..

    There is room for more names

    ________ ________

    _________ ________

    _________ __________
  12. Luddite

    Luddite PFG, Picture Framing God

    Still can`t help but wonder if most of the "consumers" that buy the stuff actually use it for framing.I know at least two people that have bought buttloads of moulding...They used it as wainscoating/crown moulding in the house they built last year(actually looks nice).They also used fillet to edge all the kitchen cabinets!!They did not use any of it as an actual frame.Of the remainder that use it as intended,how many have the tools,and knowhow to do a good job of it?Shame there aren`t statistics available for that. Just curious,and unfortunately,still able to see both sides of this (don`t throw things please...) L.R.
  13. danny boy

    danny boy PFG, Picture Framing God

    Wow. Almost 3000 views.
  14. danny boy

    danny boy PFG, Picture Framing God

    and only 3 days old....
  15. Whynot

    Whynot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    See Pauls what a boiling hot topic looks like? I am jealous too :)
    Let's coop-envy for a change. :) :)
  16. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Jim, would you explain what you mean by a "Traditional Frameshop" and how your's is non-traditional? Thanks.

    As for the fracus about suppliers selling at wholesale/near-wholesale, I agree completely with Jim's answer -- buy from someone else. Voting with your feet is a great example of democracy and free enterprise in action. And if you're really upset, be sure to spread the word to other framers in your area.

    It's a suppliers privelage to sell to whoeverr they want, but it's up to us to let them know that they can't bite the hand that feeds them.

    There are hundreds of suppliers out there who would love to have your business. If you're outside of their delivery area, chances are you can negotiate with them to pick up the shipping costs in return for your business. If they're smart, they'll take a smaller profit to gain a customer they would not have otherwise have gotten.

    Good morning Whynot.
  17. David N Waldmann

    David N Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Maybe I'm obtuse. The only thing I actually hear being argued about is whether the sky is falling or not.

    Does not everyone agree on the following, non-mutually exclusive statements?

    1. A supplier should not sell to the public at the same prices they sell to a retailer.
    2. If you don't like how one of your suppliers is treating you, you can stop buying from them (preferably after you tell them of your displeasure to give them an opportunity to change).

    Ok, everybody take everyone off your ignore list and let's act like grownups for the rest of the week.
  18. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    David, I agree wholeheartedly with statements #1 and #2.

    As far #3, there was some crazy that blew into the Grumble about a year ago that made ridiculous comments of no bearing on just about every thread. The ignore button was a blessing then. I think she made it onto about everybody's list.

    Some people get a little rough in there comments sometimes and perhaps the subject is just one they are passionate about. Then there are others that generally are somewhat gruff or downright abusive with each other. But for the most part, I can just skip past them. They are on my mental ignore list, and there aren't too many of them.

    People we need to respect each other viewpoint even when it isn't the same as ours, and speak respectfully of each other.
  19. Jerry Ervin

    Jerry Ervin PFG, Picture Framing God

    The funny thing is j Paul, I have but one Grumbler on my ignore list. And they got put there during a discussion of this same topic.

    I think she works for framingsupplies.com or some other wholesale/retail 'I sell to anyone breathing company'.

    I agree with the number 1 and 2 above. What set me off was while caring out the task of number two, some here found that they should belittle the people performing the number 2 task.
  20. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    While I agree with you 200% Jerry, I think its obvious we respond to this differently. I hope you don't think I was belittling.

    If a supplier asked for a vote on this, I would vote "NO". I don't think its right and never will. I'm also certain this problem will worsen infinity and I don't think it a wise investment to fight it. We don't have a big enough knife just like in the art world. Frameshops are little more than a yapping dog to most art publishers and they are just shy of refusing to sell to us.

    You are prepared to fight this and I'm glad that you, and others like you, will fight on my behalf. I wouldn't ever belittle anybody for that.
  21. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Here's the rest of that original sentence, Paul:
    "Traditional" frame shops are dropping like flies -- the ones still dependent on framing posters and vacation snapshots with double mats and nice frames. That business is gone and won't ever come back to small independent framers.

    By traditional, I refer to framers who are still trying to compete with mass-marketers -- or, as you call them, always-on-sale framers -- for the same kinds of framing.

    My business is non-traditional because I solicit projects they do not, and have modified operations in several ways, such as:

    1. Redirected toward the specialties of three-dimensional framing, and protective framing of personal valuables. I still frame a lot of posters with double mats, though.

    2. Pricing philosophy is different. Rather than pricing by markups alone, I price for target levels of profit for specific products, such as poly mouldings, special mounting options, and Museum Glass. I no longer advertise discounts routinely. As a result, COGS is lower and net profit is higher than it ever was before.
  22. Whynot

    Whynot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    All theoretic and ethic considerations aside, what is the panic over suppliers selling on e-bay at wholesale price all about:
    1) are you afraid that your costumers will start buying molding and frame themselves?
    2) are you afraid that your custumers will start a framing business when realizing what a hefty profit awaits for them?
    Custom framing is not commodity to buy cheap and resell expensive as is. Whoever buys bundles of molding must be some sort of busines.

    Supplier-retailer relation is not established by contract. Both parties can walk away as they feel fit. Retailers in general existed on the market because they were in demand (manufacturers could not possibly reach far away and geographically dispersed costumers. Suppliers and retailers are in fact parts of a distribution chain that can alwais change, beak or dry out). That was retailers reason to exist. For that only reason the buyers were paying "retail price" for their goods, which was covering for retailers cost of doing business and profit.
    Keep in mind that no commercial form is given for ever. Times change. If one day manufacturers/suppliers will be able to reach consumers without help from retailers, they will . That day has arrived when Gore inventeed the Internet ;) Don't ask suppliers to sell at retail price just to keep retailers alive because they won't. That would be stupid business on their side, don't you believe so? What would justify their "retail" pricing? That's obvious. You need to adapt and find new meanings in your business lives, not to complain and drop suppliers because you obviousely need them more than they appear to need you lately.
  23. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Thanks Jim. I wasn't being argumentative, I was curious as to what you were doing differently.

    Now, if you'll indulge me as I play devil's advocate...

    Based on your change in COG/Profit ratio, you've obviously raised prices at least moderately. As a result, do you find yourself closing a smaller percentage of sales than before, or has the targeting of your advertising simply attracted more customers who are less price sensitive?

    Do yo have any long term worries about losing repeat business as a result of higher prices?

    Is your shop in a very wealthy area, or simply a good middle-class to upper-middle class location, or none of the above?

    Would you recommend this model to others? In your opinion, what requirements would you see as necessary to make this model work?

  24. Whynot

    Whynot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    Your questions are irrelevant if Jim runs that "special" framing shop that does what others can't or won't. You think like a small retailer selling same thing as many other retailers around him, and being afraid not to be perceived as being the most expensive in the flock. Be special instead and let that be your tag. My 2 cents.
  25. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    My questions were really about how Jim shifted gears, what are his concerns, and what he felt the prerequisites were for other businesses that might be contemplating a similar shift.

    I think every framer would love to be the high-end framer, be the most expensive and perceived as the best. However, not every frameshop has a location with the appropriate demographics to produce sufficient demand for those more esoteric services. And even if they did, they may not have the kind of upper level skills that a Jim Miller has.

    Comparing ours' to other industries: If a large percentage of Outbacks decide to become a Ruth's Chris, many will fail, but for a short while, the price of a good steak will be more affordable. There's only so much room in that layer of the stratosphere.

    The other problem is that as an industry, we are losing customers at the front door -- that is the entry level customer. These people lose their custom framing virginity at an AOSF, and for them it's marital bliss. They have no reason to venture out. And they don't.

    I believe the hemoraging has to be stopped at the entry level, or the attrition will continue. This is where our industry needs to focus some attention.

    We've lost an entire generation of customers. Yet amazingly, it's a problem that's largely being ignored.

    When Lexus was introduced, its customers were former Toyota owners. The Scion was introduced for the same reason -- to become an entry point for young buyers. We need an entry point, or eventually there will be an empty upgrade path. We simply can't afford to allow another generation of first-time customers to be lost to the Michaels and Jo-Anns of this industry.
  26. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    It's totally amazing to me that people continually ask "Why would it bother you if your suppliers sell to the public?" It's astounding.

    Cornell, what about this guy selling moulding on eBay? Boxes are one thing. You can buy a single frame, wood or metal, and specify an exact size and he'll ship it to you wholesale. You might say he's not selling any from his feedback but he's already said that they have these things up because they sell a lot off site. Regardless, it's there. For crying out loud.

    Who comes out of any kind of business school and says "Who cares if my suppliers sell at wholesale to the public?" Who freaking says that? Who says "It shouldn' t bother me because I can't control it?" What on earth is everyone smoking?
  27. Dermot.

    Dermot. In Corner


    Do you sell on the net!!!!

    If you do then you need to make sure that your supply chain can match the market conditions of the sector and channels you are operating in, otherwise you are not in the game……….it is your responsibility to run your business, to even consider abdicating how your business is run to your suppliers is beyond belief,……….just as it would be beyond belief for your suppliers to abdicate running their business to you, what your suppliers do with their business it their business and what you do with your business is your business………….sounds to me like you would only like it to be your way…………….

    If you don’t have a net presences and feel that you don’t need to sell on the net, I cannot understand why you even give a rats a*s as to what is happening on the net and about who is selling there.

    If you don’t sell on the net why not!!!............the people that buy on the net these days are never going to buy framing products from a traditional/specialist framing shop………..could you be loosing out on business ..........because you don’t have a net presence...............not because others have a net presences.
  28. Jerry Ervin

    Jerry Ervin PFG, Picture Framing God

    OK Dermot, lets try this.

    You open a Toyota Dealership and you start selling Camrys for 30k. You buy them for 24k and you fell like you are making a good profit. Then out of the blue, Toyota.com starts selling Camrys to anyone with a VISA card for 24k.

    How would feel?

    Would you feel like that since you are not selling on the Internet that Toyata.com is no threat to you?

    Or would you feel like you have been had?
  29. Dermot.

    Dermot. In Corner

    I would consider it time to change my business model…..and move ahead with the times sooner rather than later…….moaning about it would be a waste of my time….

    Good business people will consistently move their business with the times, and look for ways to sell into new sales channels………..

    The business I’m in these days is rapidly changing, it took only two years for a very small (two person operation) modest traditional sales business in the US who changed their sales efforts over to selling on net to become the biggest sellers of these products in the US………..the only additional requirements from the traditional method of sales was a very deep and serious commitment to the net and one other staff member………...................They did nothing fancy, just one of the guys spent some time getting his head around how to work the net it was as simple as that, a modest web site and a yahoo sales cart……….that’s all they have…..

    BTW something like (how car are sold in Ireland) you have described has happened to the car sales business in Ireland, most of the main players changed their business models and are now possibly doing better than ever……
  30. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    C'mon now Dermot, in that scenario, the dealers have every right to be pissed. You can't bite the hand. However, in the case of the car dealer, they are buying a branded product, so they can't just switch suppliers very easily. In our case, we can. Not without some bumps along the way, but we can change suppliers.

    David made a good point however, when he said that you should begin by making your displeasure know. Of course, a supplier who is making a decision to compete with you, doesn't do so unconsciously. Nonetheless, I would still try that route first.
  31. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

  32. Dermot.

    Dermot. In Corner

    I agree I would be pissed, but where would that get me!!!!!

    If the supplier or a player in the market place has made a decision to change their business model, little anyone can say or do would make much difference…………..

    Good business practice is about embracing change not resisting it….

    One of the cases in the car business in Ireland was that a dealer (main country dealer) lost the rights to sell the car products in Ireland ………….he changed his business model, bought up most of the local (area) dealers and is now the biggest customer of the car company in question, up side for him is that he no longer has the same financial or product commitment to the car franchise that he had as the main country dealer, but he still gets a cut of virtually every car from that franchise that is sold in the country, the car manufacturer on this occasion shot themselves in the foot…………
  33. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

  34. Whynot

    Whynot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    let's take another route. This is consumers' economy and you must like it too, except when it comes to frames. Consumers paid "retail price" because they had no better choice. Today they've got fast internet connections, some (continuously improving) possibilities to learn about and even inspect the product then pay with a credit or debit card to safely, rapidly and inexpensively have smaller volume shipments delivered to door. Don't you sense here the dynamite in this receipe?

    Manufacturers/suppliers and consumers found finally a way to get and keep in touch without (much) help from retailers and, you know, consumers would rather pay wholesale price + SH than retail. Retailer's proximity is not an issue anymore since goods may be delivered to door. This combination of factors was not possible before but becomes increasingly possible today and, consequently, retailers are in real need to find a new role for themselves in order to justify their existence (be paid for their service).

    The solution of offering special(ized) and rare service/products appears to have some merrits in my eyes. True, not many local clients would seek that special product. But what forces the new retailer stay local and depend on clients from 2 miles radius area around his shop?! The Internet is at his fingers and the entire planet awaits to become his market. The new retailer MUST be computer and Internet literate. Then, once active on the Internet, what difference it makes who came there from "retailer" or "wholesaler" backgrounds?

    This what we live today (even the sterile grumbling over BB's, coop-ad and G&D) I see as a spectacular collision of two worlds, two different civilisations: one of the past and the other of the future. Useles to say who the losers are. And I am not celebrating this news because I like the old world which was very generous to me.
  35. Dermot.

    Dermot. In Corner

    Or possible another distraction form being focused on your core business and it’s growth

    Though I do accept that litigation on occasions has it’s place in business…

    I was speaking to someone this morning about change in business, that person described resisting change in business as……………… “Business Suicide”
  36. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    Yes, of course consumers would rather pay wholesale from the manufacturer than retail from a store.

    Let's look at your frames. I'm using this as an example because I know that there is no way this is going to happen.

    Say you sell to me. I buy 10, 20, 50.. whatever amount.. of your frames at the wholesale cost, A.

    I, along with lots of other retailers, put them in my store at the retail price point, B.

    You have sold lots of frames at A. We're reselling them at B. Then you decide to put them on eBay or your own checkout solution at price A.

    Whereas before you were selling lots of frames to a few dealers at A, and they were reselling them at B, now you are selling lots of frames to lots of people at A and dealing with the issues that come with selling to retail consumers.

    Now, what have you done? You've begun to alienate your retailers, to whom you're selling a quantity of product. You've taken on new customers buying a frame or two. You've degraded the value of your product by undercutting your retailers. You're going to be doing a lot more work for less money. Your retailers are going to look like price gougers. And through all this you're leaving tons of money on the table.

    You've harmed all your retailers a great deal more than if you started selling to the general public at retail and you've submarined the value of your product. Amirite?

    Your retailers are bound to be upset, to say the least. Unless they are here on the Grumble, where they will cheer you on and tell anyone who has a problem with it that they are horrible business people for not simply and calmly competing with you by changing their own businesses.

    And, because lots of times there are comprehension problems when people skim things, I want to repeat: JUST A HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLE, NOT BASED ON ANYTHING YOU ACTUALLY DID
  37. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Yes, my prices have risen, and I'm about to do it again. I would not attribute most of our COGS and profit improvements to price increases, though. I think better buying and selling have more to do with those benefits. Simply raising prices probably would not have a similar effect. For example, if we just raised prices on glass and continued to sell Conservation Clear, we would not enjoy much benefit. Instead, we sell Museum Glass at 3 x the profit, which now provides more profit dollars than any other single line item we sell. Poly mouldings with markups of 10x to 20x help the COGS, too. Bigtime.

    Yes, I have fewer orders than I had five years ago, but my closing rate is higher than ever, because the tire-kickers are going directly to the craft stores on the wrong assumption that I couldn't possibly compete. That is, fewer customers are entering my store, but a greater percentage of the ones who do are buying.

    Yes, my customers are less price sensitive. They probably would shop around if they could find anyone else offering what we offer.
    But they can't because there aren't any others like us in this market.

    Nope. We don't sell price. We sell value. So long as our customers recognize and appreciate the value we sell, I think we'll do OK. Referrals work wonders for us.

    Pickerington is a fast-growing suburb of mostly new $200K to $750K homes, a lot of them owned by young families who can't afford furniture for all the rooms yet. But they have their widescreen HDTVs and BMWs...a typical suburb, I guess. My store most certainly is not positioned for high-end sales. I have tried selling closed-corner frames and really good photo frames, but my customers all seem to think those are for someone else to buy. My typical customer plunks it down on the design table and opens conversation with, "...I don't want to spend a lot on this...".

    Absolutely, I would recommend my model to any framers looking for ways to grow and side-step the behemoth mass marketers that have wooed consumers away from our traditional small-shop concept.

    You are correct that marketing toward protective framing and shadowboxes overlooks a lot of potential customers. However, some of them bring in their posters and vacation snapshots, just the same. The point is that we have found a way to set ourselves apart from the dominant players in the neighborhood. Michaels, JoAnn, and Hobby Lobby are all within 3 miles of my store. I have no hope of taking their customers away from them, having tried that for a couple of years before changing my strategy.

    This strategy works like any other strategy, in most regards. Careful management of resources, pricing for profit, better-than-average customer service, targeted marketing & ads, etc. Our only unique feature, IMHO, is that we are quite proficient in framing techniques that most framers have not yet mastered. And we are proficient in selling them to customers who want them after they learn about them.

    That is not to say most framers couldn't adopt a similar strategy. They most certainly could, and some framers who have learned the techniques I teach use them very profitably. There's no rocket science to non-invasive mounting, you just need to learn how to do it. More to the point, you need to want to do it. And you need to be able to clearly communicate the features and benefits to customers who have not a clue. No smoke & mirrors, no hokus-pokus, just plain talk and demonstrations. The overriding objective is to help consumers make informed decisions. They really appreicate that.

    You're welcome, Paul. You ask good questions.
  38. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Special? Nah. Any framers could do what we do. The thing is, most framers have not yet discovered that consumers have personal treasures. We advertise that we know how to display and protect those personal valuables, and we make good on our promises.

    It may be true that a secure, sealed storage container is more protective than framing, but that's not the alternative here. Our customers are bringing things in for framing that have been in cardboard boxes in the attic, garage, basement or barn for a couple of decades. Compared to that storage environment, our framing is considerably more protective.

    For what we sell, our prices are quite reasonable, and within the financial reach of nearly all employed consumers.
  39. Emibub

    Emibub PFG, Picture Framing God

    Funny Jim, I have pushed the framing treasures thing here and it hasn't mattered much. No way at your level of course but, still it is a focus. My sales have completely tanked over the past year but I will say the ones I have left are the spendy ones who don't kwibble about price. My average ticket is the best it has ever been just not enough of them. The middle end has deserted me. That is where most of my sales came from. The low end left a long time ago but the middle people were my bread and butter and they have disappeared.

    6 years ago there were 2 pages of yellow pages for framers in Aurora. Today, there are 3 of us in a little column. You would think with all the shops gone I would be slammed. Nothing is opening to replace the missing ones. I've had a couple reps tell me they thought I was the strong one in this part of town. Ha!

    Don't forget you have a reputation following you too Jim. You are a higher au-thor-a-tay in the framing world and I'm sure your community knows it. I only wish I could follow your model.
  40. Whynot

    Whynot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    Your analogy is not perfect for the case. Try this one instead.

    Five years ago a supplier had hundreds of independent custom framing accounts and made that much money by serving them. Fivre years later, for reasons that have nothing to do with his doings, there are just a few dozens such accounts left, and those don't buy more from him but less and can't figure out for how long they still can hold on to it. More to it, they tend to specialize and upgrade their service in hope to survive that Maelstrom which pulls them deep below the respirable zone.

    Is that supplier going to shrink himself in order to mimic his once abundent market's trend or find new ways to sell his stuff? And if his salvation comes from cutting a deal with "Kinckyde Oil Painting Transit Authority", and frame all his production in one hand, and on the other go online and sell length, ready mades and even custom made frames at wholesale price (his price), which appears to be a promissing avenue, what do you think he'll do, sell at higher retail price and hope to make some money after retailers are booked 12 month ahead?

    I recently met with a client who told me that for the first time in his over 30 years long service as a high end framer closed corner frames were twice as many as chop'n joined frame orders in his book. He used to be happy when the two were par. I thought that was a good news for him, but I was wrong. The chop'n joined business had dropped that much, not the other way around.


    You are being modest here. "Special" means rare, not necessarily expensive, but rare. The minute all the surviving framers will do what you do, with equal proficiency to yours, they all get back to square one wondering what other special thing they might invent in order to remain differenbt and stay afloat.
  41. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Where did they go? Have they simply stopped buying, or are they going to some competitor?

    Thanks for your kind words, but I'm not sure a reputation is worth having in this industry. We're all just doing what we can, eh?

    As far as consumers go, industry reputation has zero value. Consumers couldn't care less about any framer's au-thor-a-tay in the industry. Very few of my customers know what I do outside of this back room, and it wouldn't matter if they did. Most of them think certifying a picture framer would be like certifying a cab driver.:icon11:

    All they care about, and rightfully so, is what we can do for them today. Not yesterday and not tomorrow, but today, right now. Keeps us on our toes, doesn't it?
  42. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    If his products can't command a price above wholesale in the retail arena it sounds like he's doomed either way.
  43. Emibub

    Emibub PFG, Picture Framing God

    I think they have stopped buying Jim. The lower end people never had any money. The rich people still do but even they are holding on to their discretionary money longer. The middle people are probably in the process of struggling with their mortgages and paying for fuel. In the 6.5 years I have been here most of my clientele have been in the middle and the ones who paid my bills.
  44. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Jim thanks for the compliment, and especially for your detailed repsonse. You seem to have a new-found optimism from not long ago. Congratulations and continued success.

    Hey Cornell, I was reading your last handful of posts and for a moment there, I thought you hired an editor, or perhaps ghost writer. I even wondered if maybe someone had stolen your identity.

    But then, I read this..."to survive that Maelstrom which pulls them deep below the respirable zone."

    At that point, I knew you were safe and well.:smiley:
  45. mayos

    mayos MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I'm intrigued with the Toyota scenario. If Toyota.com is successful in garnering the entire market selling their vehicle at their wholesale cost of $24,000 doesn't that then become the going retail price? There is no way for them (Toyota.com) to justify their "lower" price because they've driven out all the competition who hadlegitimized their price as a "lower price".

    So, what's to draw consumers to their site to buy Toyotas? There's probably a better deal on some other make somewhere else. Probably a lot of their former dealerships are selling different makes and Toyota.com is "confined" to selling their vehicles over the internet only. There's a vast number of people who won't buy a product over the internet, especially a car, cause they like to test drive them first.

    So.....where does the consumer go?????? Does Toyota.com open up traditional dealerships?? If they do what price to they sell them at?? Will the competition lower prices to compete??

    It gets complicated, but the whole thought process leads me to think there are definitely negatives to selling at the lowest cost over the internet.
  46. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    Those are interesting ideas mayos (is that your real name). I can't answer but you don't have to wonder too much. Just go to wildwings.com and see the scenario fleshed out in real time. There is one major difference from your scenero. They aren't even selling wholesale. They are selling full retail. So they are making twice the money and the only savings to the customer is one shipping charge. To add insult to injury they will gladly sell your customer ONE print. However if YOU call and order one print you have to pay extra-extra fees. They are even selling them framed. I suspect their internet and Cabela’s sales are satisfying their goals and they no longer need us.

    "Could frame supplies suffer the same fate" is the only question to me. There are some differences between building frames and selling a print but much of that can be overcome by those that are internet savvy.

    I'm sorry if I have diverted attention away from conservation framing or “traditional frameshops” and onto topic.

    Carry on.
  47. mayos

    mayos MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Jay H. mayos is the name of our store, my name is Jerry. Suppose a firm like wildwings.com succeeds in getting all the business in pre-framed prints and drives all the custom framers out of business....where does the consumer go for those shadowboxes, etc. that the big boys won't/can't do??? We have a similar scenario going on in small towns across the US with Wal-Mart. For many years, small towns have had nice shopping districts. Wal-Mart moves in and one by one the smaller stores are forced out of business because they can't compete or their niche isn't big enough to support the business. So the town loses their business district slowly because people stope coming to their town to shop because there are so few choices for shopping. So more business go out. It's an ever downward spiral until the only shopping venue in the town is Wal-Mart.

    I think this very thing can and will happen with internet shopping. So instead of giving the consumer a more competitive enviornment to shop, it will have the effect almost to the point of a monopoly. The consumer will have fewer and fewer choices and the surviving big box stores will have little, if any competition.

    Pessimistic, yeah probably. Our Congress was faced with this scenario back in the 1920's with the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (present day A & P grocery stores). Congress was so concerned they passed legislation to preserve competition. It's completely ignored today even though those acts are still law.
  48. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    I like that name....I'm Jerry also.

    "a firm like wildwings.com succeeds in getting all the business in pre-framed prints"

    They already did.

    "...and drives all the custom framers out of business...."

    They would have have but we weathered the loss and are still adapting and making up for that revenue stream.

    In the rest of your post, I can't seem to disagree with you at all. Again, framing is a little different. Becuase it is so labor intensive and requires special tools, there will alwasy be local demand. Photography is the same. You can't have a portrait made online. Good local homegrown labor always wins out and even the nation wide studios (Sears, Walmart, Kmart...) aren't able to run the little guys out of business. So in some ways suppliers selling direct to customers probably won't take off like online MP3's but it could hurt us eventually.
  49. mayos

    mayos MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Yeah...I hear you about the local labor. I think that's one of the reasons it's so important for us to give personal service to our customers. It's something the big boys absolutely cannot duplicate because of their size. They try and try, but just can't get it accomplished. I think our personal touch is the key to our business future.

    Good to know another Jerry....it's a pretty good group to belong to:)
  50. Whynot

    Whynot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    Why ain't I surprised by your coop-writing suspicion? :)


    Toyota won't probably "retail" their cars the way you put it. They'll use dealers for as long as that works. Why fix it if it ain't broken yet? Or is it? But when something better than dealership will come around, they'll be present to take advantage of that situation.

    Again, retailing is a form of commerce born out of the imperious necessity to unite producers of goods with their numerous but remote and dispersed consumers. Same with transportation. If, by charm, producers became able to reach entire market fast and with ease, and goods were being "faxed" to their buyers, then there would be no more need for intermediaries (retailers or carriers). The only enduring parts of the commercial chain are its ends, respectively the manufacturers and the consumers. Both those parts continuously change and improve their producing and buying technology and overall efficiency. We don't produce and buy like 50-100 years ago, but I bet some framers thought that retailing custom made frames stays basically the same.

    Stretched at its limits, the ideal, ultimate target price is manufacturer's price + SH. Manufacturers can't sell under that price and consumers can't buy for less than that. All the links between this two ends are conjunctures, regardless how long they last and how much or little they change.

    Look at Dell. They take your order, build your computer, ship it to your door and charge you. When that type operation finds its final shapes do you think that many retailers will be left to intermingle between computer manufacturers and computer consumers? Perhaps the former still need to keep some "centers" where computers may be touched, compared and even sold. But those retailing centers will be different and less numerous than former retailers were.
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