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You're the CEO of......Larson-Juhl

Paul Cascio

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I thought this might make for good discussion and possibly lead to a series of similar topics.

To lead things off, I've chosen our industry's largest supplier. Why? No particular reason, except that they are the largest.

So, if tomorrow, you were named the new CEO of Larson-Juhl, what changes would you make? Short term, long term, doesn't matter. You're in charge. How would you make your mark?
 
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Rick Granick

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I would come out with a new group of mouldings that are decent, good quality, but not extravagant or expensive, bread-and-butter type styles. They would be a group of patterns, but not a "family"- in other words, not have three profiles in five colors of each style. Just well-chosen, highly usable, items that are classic and can be reliably grabbed off the wall every day. I'd call 'em Larson Jewels.
:cool: Rick
 

Steph

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Now if you had said Decor I have a list all prepared.
 

Paul Cascio

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Steph, would that be the moulding company, the magazine, or both?
 

Steph

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
The moulding company...definitely the moulding company:fire:
 

JeffreyPrice

True Grumbler
If I were king of the forest....

I think the new CEO of LJ should spend a few Saturday afternoons behind the frame counter at a number of shops in order to see what really happen in between selling a Concerto closed corner frame and a suitable-for-centerfold shadowbox. Try using a 4-inch mat sample on some small picture that someone wants to frame reasonably, you might wish they were 'the old 2 3/4" kind. Frame some kid's fingerpaints and some tourist canvases, and then a few graduation photos to people who think a double mat is ultra-exotic. Then make the best mouldings you can, with most of them being under 1 1/2" wide because that's what people want and you can use everyday. Run a computerized point-of-sale system, complete with scheduling, and then go back and make a system that works better... one that can give us and our customers an idea of the price-range of the moulding when it's on our wall with bar-codes, and one that schedules complex work to take up more time than a simple metal frame. Get rid of suppliers who are sending you twisted moulding to save you money, and keep finishes consistent or at least tell us when they change. Finally, stand in the middle of street and stop traffic, pull people from their cars and send them into our store with credit cards in hand and a smile on their faces!
 

khooengtheng

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Why not Asian market ?

If I were the CEO of larson Juhl, I would ask my business development team to consider about the Asian market. The emerging market economies of Asia now remain a bright spot in the global picture. In recent decades, Asia has become an increasingly important force in the global economy. Why not consider about the move? Perhaps it's just time for the Asian market to be "discovered"!
 

Paul Cascio

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Not sure how that would work. Does Larson first import everything from Asia, then markup the price and export it back? :)

The U.S. has not been very good at manufacturing things in the last couple of decades, but that may be changing as the world economy evolves.
 

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
WARNING: THIS IS TONGUE IN CHEEK

The first thing I would do is hire Bob Carter as a consultant

Then I would create a web presence and a retail presence

We all know where the margins are

The consumer market is huge compared with the wholesale supplier side

Then almost all my customers would be home based

The fall off from upset retail shops could be replaced by a handful of "at retail price" customers

Take a single item like "Museum Widget"

LJ sells it to Mary's frame shop for $80 a widget (probably costs $45-50); Mary sells it to Sally customer for $300.

$30-35 off of Mary or $250 off of Sally
 

surferbill

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I would come out with a new group of mouldings that are decent, good quality, but not extravagant or expensive, bread-and-butter type styles. They would be a group of patterns, but not a "family"- in other words, not have three profiles in five colors of each style. Just well-chosen, highly usable, items that are classic and can be reliably grabbed off the wall every day. I'd call 'em Larson Jewels.
:cool: Rick
I'll second that. It seems every new profile LJ comes out with is 3" wide, ornate, and costs $25.00 a foot retail.

I would like to see simple, less expensive mouldings that I can sell for maybe $10.00 a foot, so the customer won't have a hissy fit when I give them the price of the framing job. ;)
 

Julia

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Tongue in Cheek 2

I would hire Julia Heinzmann as Bob Carter's assistant.

I would then hire a graphic artist to redesign all of the existing advertisments to include a 40-50-60% off coupon and run it every other week. I would stop advertising in the interior design/shelter magazines. Too much money wasted.

As CEO, I would stop attending high profile design events/charity events as it doesn't really do too much for you when you get your picture in the "About Town" section with your company name listed.

Ok, please don't attack me too harshly.

Regards,
Julia
 

Tim Hayes.

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
"Try using a 4-inch mat sample on some small picture that someone wants to frame reasonably, you might wish they were 'the old 2 3/4" kind." J Price


What's the big deal just place the frame corner sample on the mat sample at whatever width you want.
 

FrameMakers

PFG, Picture Framing God
If I were CEO, I would concentrate on giving framers more marketing tools. I would redesign the partner postcard program so that it was more focused on the end consumer and not so much trying to sell LJ, but selling framing and the frame shop. I would have my marketing team write up small articles that could be included in newsletters to the consumer again with the focus being on the consumer and not on LJ.
 

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Hey Julia-It would be understood that your inclusion was a given (and that is not tongue in cheek)
 

Tim Hayes.

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Since LJ is already a big corporate vendor that already heavily tracks our purchases. It should be fairly easy and very helpful for LJ to coordinate our qualifying rebate purchases (Bainbridge ArtCare foamboard rebates for example) from manufacturers. It would be great to have all that done and electronically submitted by LJ so that we the framer would only have to deposit our rebate check once it arrived.
As most framers are small businesses any such program that would track and submit qualified rebates and relieve us of that record keeping/submission process would be a big help. No more having to remember to cut barcode labels from boxes, copy invoices, fill out forms, and mail all the paperwork.
 

Jerry Ervin

PFG, Picture Framing God
WOW Tim! That is a great idea!

I would think that it would not be all that difficult to implement. The folks that do their computer programming should be able to tackle that.

If I was the CEO of LJ, I would implement Tim's suggestion and hire Bob C as a consultant. He would be voted down on the direct to consumers sales though. Sorry Bob.
 

Dave

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Actually Tim's idea of tracking rebates is a very practical sales technique. If a supplier did this and still had competitive pricing I would buy from that vendor exclusively in the rebatable items.

The reason I don't believe it would work though is because the manufacturers who have rebate programs count on the many many framers who don't go through the hoops to get their rebates. It's a marketing ploy. If vendors tracked and filed the rebates then manufacturers would stop them immediately.
 

Tim Hayes.

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
LJ might consider offering framers the opportunity to benefit from LJ's extensive data. Give framer's the option to automatically receive periodic reports (monthly, quarterly or any reasonable period they prefer) of their actual purchases, via email. I know that most POS systems offer similar reports but it might be helpful if you are trying to attain certain discount levels or track your purchases by type of item and by vendor. It can be a valuable tool for budgeting.


PS. My previous post on rebate tracking would be a marketing benefit to LJ as another plus for LJ customers.
In response to Dave I think there are only a very few vendors with the capability to track and offer a "Rebate Service". I seriously doubt that rebates would stop. At the retail level (yes I realize it is different) stores like Office Depot and Amazon often instantly apply manufacturer rebates to your purchase.

Best,
Tim
 

FrameMakers

PFG, Picture Framing God
Got another one. How bout providing us framers with a working online framing module for our websites. I wouldn't even care if it only worked with LJ frames as long as I get to set the prices.
 

Val

PFG, Picture Framing God
LJ might consider offering framers the opportunity to benefit from LJ's data. Give framer's the option to automatically receive periodic reports (monthly, quarterly or any reasonable period they prefer) of their actual purchases, via email.
They can already do that. Maybe not automatically, but on request, just ask your LJ rep. From those reports, she can tell (and show) me what mouldings I've ordered the most, glass, supplies, total purchases, where I stand, in growth or decline in my area (her area) with my competitors (not naming names, of course) and where I stand according to my last year's purchases. Very good tool, as LJ is my main vendor, and that can tell me more about my growth, when to consider buying in bulk, etc.
 

susang

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I'm with Framemakers with creating more marketing tools. Larson Juhl is tops in helping us with marketing materials but we constantly need to be changing. Some new postcard designs which we could upload and print ourselves would be great. Most framers are aware of inexpensive printing sources, so we would be happy to print ourselves in the quantity that we need. How about getting the talented Larson Juhl writers to give us some creative copy choices that would make our lives a little easier and give us more time to sell high-end framing ? We're framers, not writers and some of us waste too much time trying to be creative writers.

Also why not have an online library of articles that we can use for our websites, e-newsletters, events? PPFA has a collection, but we could use some more. The marketing team is so helpful, but it sure would be nice if we could do our work in the middle of the night or on the weekend if needed. Having it on your customer website would make it accessible all of the time for us.

Susan MCPF
 

Tim Hayes.

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Thanks Val, I too have obtained this info from my rep. My point was to have the automatic option as some reps have large territories and can't get to every framer each month. So to have it as a monthly email option would provide a more regularly scheduled financial tool.

Best,
Tim
 

Tim Hayes.

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I would be interested in some cross-marketing Larson-Juhl <-> Artaissance. It would involve LJ offering molding specials on the Artaissance site that are ONLY available when you frame your art purchase IN-STORE at your local Artaissance dealer/framer. The intent here would be an added incentive to drive consumers into our stores.

I realize that many framers have not taken advantage of Artaissance. It is a virtually cost-free program that in my mind is pretty much a no brainer. As with any plan you have to work it to benefit.


Best,
Tim
 

Luddite

PFG, Picture Framing God
I`d try to be a bit more tactful when answering questions from the "small fish" out there.Geez,I just wanted a catalog(NOT an acct.) to see what the lines looked like.I explained that vvveeerrryyy carefully to them..And was told"Perhaps a hobby user such as yourself could find a local retailer"...THIS AFTER I GAVE THEM THE $&^%*^!! Fed #.Hobby my azz,I have been a professional artist for 25+years..Just because I don`t have a separate storefront,doesn`t mean I`m doin it for fun! And dang it I DID end up telling them exactly what I thought of them....never gonna be nice to me now,sigh..:nuts:
 
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Maryann

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
LJ might consider offering framers the opportunity to benefit from LJ's extensive data. Give framer's the option to automatically receive periodic reports (monthly, quarterly or any reasonable period they prefer) of their actual purchases, via email.
Your LJ rep can give you exactly the information that you're asking for. Just ask.

SORRY to be redundant. I should have read all the postings, Val beat me to the answer.
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
I would come out with a new group of mouldings that are decent, good quality, but not extravagant or expensive, bread-and-butter type styles. They would be a group of patterns, but not a "family"- in other words, not have three profiles in five colors of each style. Just well-chosen, highly usable, items that are classic and can be reliably grabbed off the wall every day. I'd call 'em Larson Jewels.
:cool: Rick
Nice one, Rick.

LJ has this concept in the Arquadia line, more or less. But I agree with your concept.

I would revamp the tired old ad campaign. Is the public really interested in looking at empty frames forever? I would make a retail web site with Steve Wynn talking about the quality and high tech design of the frames, and directing the user to a local frame shop by zip code. Look at the Wynn Hotel web site to get an idea of what I mean. Romance the moulding!
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
Actually Tim's idea of tracking rebates is a very practical sales technique. If a supplier did this and still had competitive pricing I would buy from that vendor exclusively in the rebatable items.

The reason I don't believe it would work though is because the manufacturers who have rebate programs count on the many many framers who don't go through the hoops to get their rebates. It's a marketing ploy. If vendors tracked and filed the rebates then manufacturers would stop them immediately.
Agreed. I'm one who won't go through the hoops.
 

osgood

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
If I was CEO of LJ, the first thing I would do is take a look at why the Aussie branch needs to sell TV Museum glass at approximately three and a half times the price of what US framers pay. Needless to say, not a lot of it is sold down here!

I would also look into why it is only available in 4ft x 3ft sheets, two in a pack down here! I buy a pack every three years or so!

How much of it would you guys sell if it cost you that much???
 

jframe

<span style="color: red"><b><i>Charter Member</i><
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
 
Hey, What About The Little Guy?

I like the question but I would put more emphasis on how to improve the qualities and health of our smaller distributors.

I haven't dealt with LJ for years so I do not have experience with them one way or another but I would think from their corporate make-up the bread and butter will eventually not be the smaller or independent framers. As the chains and big box stores continue to dig into the picture framing industry with the ready-made and cheap framing alternatives touted as custom work the independents are going to have a much more difficult time.

Your local distributor will not be selling to Michaels (900+ stores), Jo-Anne Fabrics (900+ stores) or any of the larger chains simply due to the selling/buying power these companies have will bypass them altogether. Like any industry if the local distributor is not supported by the local retailers they will be acquired or go bust.

And with on-line presence I see these chains offering all of the custom framing from a distribution hub supplied by one company. Do you think the 250 shampoos that are stocked at your favorite store all come from 250 different batches, think again. Look at the major online poster companies, all these poster sellers are just hacks for the big suppliers. How many of you feel competitive in that field?

This scenario just compounds the financial problems facing many players in the industry today. The chains are opening new outlets at an incredible rate. Can you tell me if the number of new framers kept pace in the past year? I bet most of them bought into existing businesses or the businesses closed and the number declined. Regardless I doubt many of us would find a positive trend.

I can only foresee that the independent framer will need dedicated distributors to maintain the balance or the industry will become too lopsided. Therefore it's imperative to develop relationships with your distributor that keeps both them and you on the forefront of this industry by developing new ideas, products, resources, etc.

My argument is pretty scattered but the point is there. If you want to protect and develop your industry it has to addressed from both ends. And this argument doesn't stop here, it applies to every aspect of our economies in Canada and the US.
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
This scenario just compounds the financial problems facing many players in the industry today. The chains are opening new outlets at an incredible rate. Can you tell me if the number of new framers kept pace in the past year? I bet most of them bought into existing businesses or the businesses closed and the number declined. Regardless I doubt many of us would find a positive trend.

I.
While out doing errands today, I noticed a sign for an new Jo-Ann's store between my home and shop. Where Copeland's Sports went belly-up, Jo-Ann's is moving in. This is the first time we have had to deal with Jo-Ann's as a competitor. We thought we had it easy :nuts: with AB and Michael's.:faintthud:

REgardless, we feel we offer a better alternative and hope that this neighborhood agrees. Still, they are closer to the N.Berkeley, El Cerrito area, and there is ample parking right outside. I am in downtown Berkeley next to the campus with a validated parking system upstairs. It will be interesting to see how Jo-Ann's framing compares to Michael's. Anyone have both nearby for comparison?
 

surferbill

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
While out doing errands today, I noticed a sign for an new Jo-Ann's store.
It will be interesting to see how Jo-Ann's framing compares to Michael's. Anyone have both nearby for comparison?
I have a M's and a JA's right across the street from me. I've learned to adapt and live with them.

I'm having more and more customers come in with very expensive price quotes they got without the 50% off BB coupons.
One lady yesterday had a quote she got for over $400.00 for something I priced out at $150.00.

In some ways the BB's have made stronger by making me invest in new equipment, and go after the corporate business, and not rely so heavily on retail.
 

Paul Cascio

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Every new competitor is going to eat at least a small piece of your pie. From what little I know of your business Kirstie, you are one of the few framers who makes a conscious effort to attract the budget conscious and first time customer. This is what will protect you.

I would suggest that you become a JA customer. Have something framed and display it, and the receipt, in your shop with thier sale price and your everyday price.

JA is definately an AOSF. In fact, lately they have been more "always" than Michaels. Also, the bar has been raised, or lowered, to 60%-off.

They're going to put on a big grand opening ad blitz, so people will investigate out of curiosity. In your advertising, remind consumers to compare and make it easy for them to do so. Good luck.
 

Luddite

PFG, Picture Framing God
Boy do I feel stupid...

I didn`t even know JoAnn`s had a framing dept in some stores,until quite recently!! I go to our teeny tiny one frequently...It only carries fabrics(really great ones),and some craft/ holiday stuff.would be kind of interesting if it was a bigger store...it`s about 5 doors down from a Great Frame up!... L.
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
This one has CUSTOM FRAMING emblazoned along the side of the building. there are other framers closer to this store than I am, but sill, as Paul says, it is another piece of the regional pie. There is one nicely stocked large independent scrapbooking shop in a high rent district in Berkeley and after looking at the Jo-Anns web site today, I would not be happy to have this bb competition in the area if this were my business.
 

J Phipps TN

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I found that when Hobby Lobby and Micheals came to my town, I grew! They do the advertising I can't afford to do. It gets people to thinking about framing and then they shop around!

It's been a real win win for me.

Now to the real question.....
If I were CEO of Larson-juhl....

I would not spend another dime in advertising to retailers and spend all of my advertising dollars on ads to the public.

And give(or sell) the retailer the signage to back up the advertising, so when a customer comes to a retail shop they recogonize the logo, and ask for it by name.
If they see it on TV and understand what it is, framing will become the hip thing to do.

who would have thought that people would pay $4.00 dollars for a cup of coffee, but because it is the hip place to go and the cool thing to do, everybody is doing it! You could put Kool-aid in a Starbucks cup and my teen age girls would still pay $5.00 to carry the cup!

I believe it is the power of the marketing that makes an industry. We have the "quality" now all we need is for people to know and understand us!:soapbox:
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
I agree on both counts, Jenifer. We have a lot of referral business from the bbs.

I also think that big moulding company advertising dollars with huge budgets spent aimed at the public would benefit the industry. Our frames need some cachet.
 

Doug Gemmell

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I would not spend another dime in advertising to retailers and spend all of my advertising dollars on ads to the public.

And give(or sell) the retailer the signage to back up the advertising, so when a customer comes to a retail shop they recogonize the logo, and ask for it by name.
If they see it on TV and understand what it is, framing will become the hip thing to do.

who would have thought that people would pay $4.00 dollars for a cup of coffee, but because it is the hip place to go and the cool thing to do, everybody is doing it! You could put Kool-aid in a Starbucks cup and my teen age girls would still pay $5.00 to carry the cup!

I believe it is the power of the marketing that makes an industry. We have the "quality" now all we need is for people to know and understand us!:soapbox:
I nominate J Phipps from the great state of Tennessee as the next CEO of Larson Juhl.
Hail ut imperator.
 

acrompton

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
I`d try to be a bit more tactful when answering questions from the "small fish" out there.Geez,I just wanted a catalog(NOT an acct.) to see what the lines looked like.I explained that vvveeerrryyy carefully to them..And was told"Perhaps a hobby user such as yourself could find a local retailer"...THIS AFTER I GAVE THEM THE $&^%*^!! Fed #.Hobby my azz,I have been a professional artist for 25+years..Just because I don`t have a separate storefront,doesn`t mean I`m doin it for fun! And dang it I DID end up telling them exactly what I thought of them....never gonna be nice to me now,sigh..:nuts:
Got the same arrogant type of response as well. Soured me on LJ for sure. When we do have a store front, and we will when the economy improves (ie. Bush is home in Midland), but I doubt we will offer LJ.
 

GUMBY GCF

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
First off
Bob Carter as a board member and share holder of Larson Juhl. I would ask for your resignation you for a conflict of interest!~ Your out bud & your croney too.
Just kidding Bob..... You would do good, but I am concerned about the direct retail outlets.....LOL

First I would leave it status quo.
Cut my work week down to 68 hours.

Then I would sit down have all the heads of "every" deptment brief me. How things work. Then ask them how they think things could work smoother more profitable....and of course a make a better company.

Then I would go in & work not as "The CEO" but as a visiting employee at every location and talk to the working employees to see what they have to say.{black ops LOL}
Then I would make a point to visit at least two of our customers in each city. Spend at least 2 hours with them. Compile that info. Use that info to develop a long range profitability & growth.

Okay now I am in my 5th month.
Now I would hire Bob Carter & Vivian Kistler
Now I feel I have to tools to guide LJ..... or for that fact any company... to the next level.

Please just email me your request for resume.
Due to the fact there will be so many requests it may take me a minute or two to get back to you!~
 

Luddite

PFG, Picture Framing God
Got the same arrogant type of response as well. Soured me on LJ for sure. When we do have a store front, and we will when the economy improves (ie. Bush is home in Midland), but I doubt we will offer LJ.
Thank You!!! Thought it was just me..I had the distinct feeling that LJ considered me as something they had just stepped in,and were desperately trying to scrape off!:vomit: L.
 

johnny

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Thank You!!! Thought it was just me..I had the distinct feeling that LJ considered me as something they had just stepped in,and were desperately trying to scrape off!:vomit: L.
I think I'm going to buy some extra stuff from Larson and donate it to a school arts program just because of those posts.
 

Luddite

PFG, Picture Framing God
I think I'm going to buy some extra stuff from Larson and donate it to a school arts program just because of those posts.
.....................cute (totally pointless,but cute).........................:smileyshot22: L.
 

RoboFramer

PFG, Picture Framing God
I would look at reinstating Larson Juhl (UK)

The market has changed here since they left; I think they'd do well/better than they did.

A UK company that is owned by them distributes some of their range and I think many would like to get their hands on more - we only have 3 'big' moulding suppliers (the LJ owned one being one) and one of them does not even do the trade shows (Nielsen)
 

Kkastorf

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
LJ CEO

1. For a period of six months or so I would give $10 off for each order placed over the web. Make the web based system work, because that produces savings in time.

2. Emulate micro-lending practices that are stimulation small businesses all over Asia and Africa. Offer no interest loans to shops that do not yet have POS and CMC systems. This will produce savings for everybody, and improve the quality of service throughout the framing industry.

3. Provide scholarships and training, training, training to all shops. Again, this will improve quality overall to benefit the whole industry.

Karl Kastorf
 
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