Borrowing a trick, or two from tabernacle frames.

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Not your average framer
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Borrowing a trick, or two from tabernacle frames.

Post by Not your average framer » Tue 12 Oct, 2021 11:41 am

Everyone knows and smaller ready made frames are not a particularly great way to make much money! There are lots of cheap, small ready made frames readily available for dirt cheap prices and many of our customers know this. Well, I doing a bit of thinking about how to avoid spending too much money adding strut backs to small ready made frames. There are not too many ways of adding much extra value and customer interest to smaller ready made frames and also every penny which is spend on strut backs for potential low value frames is going to come out of your pocket. I have plenty of left over scraps on moulding sitting in my scrap moulding bin, which I try to convert from dumpster fodder in to something useful and hopeful saleable. I do this with at times varying degrees of success. Being able to re-use and sell everything is your scrap bin is just not something which is all that likely to happen, but at least it is a source of free materials if nothing else! So I have been musing about adding a flat piece of wood to the botton of small ready made frames to make them free standing.

This is not that far different from the pedestall base at the bottom of a tabernacle frame and if there is the potential for some cheap and basic routed detail, which probably has some potential for increasing the price and creating extra profit per frame. I'm not greatly motivated about the concept of making very many smaller ready made frames. I only really make some of them, because many of my off cuts and scraps won't make anything bigger. The main problem is selling such small frames, they just are not normally a big sales items. Maybe the addition of a pedestall base might add some much needed extra sales appeal and a worthwhile increase in both sales and percieved value, resulting in significantly better prices as well. Who knows, this may even elevate smaller frames with a pedestall base in to the realm of a niche market item! Wouldn't that be nice! I can easily see how this might be done quickly and easily at low cost. Any thoughts, or comments?
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer

cleaver
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Re: Borrowing a trick, or two from tabernacle frames.

Post by cleaver » Tue 12 Oct, 2021 1:26 pm

How about offering personalisation on the base bit, Mark? Generic wording, such as 'Home', 'Love'. 'Peace' etc is out there by the boat-load. However, how about offering true personalisation for the base: could be the customer's name, or words relevant to the subject matter: ''The stag night', 'Algarve holiday, 2018' etc.

I'm just thinking that would make the frames stand out from the IKEA-type jobbies you mentioned. Perhaps a router could be used to create the wording, or make a paper stencil and spray paint it with a tasteful colour that suits the frame?

Just thinking out loud.

Not your average framer
Posts: 11715
Joined: Sat 25 Mar, 2006 8:40 pm
Location: Devon, U.K.
Organisation: The Dartmoor Gallery
Interests: Lost causes, saving and restoring old things, learning something every day
Location: Glorious Devon

Re: Borrowing a trick, or two from tabernacle frames.

Post by Not your average framer » Tue 12 Oct, 2021 3:03 pm

Hmmm. Interesting, but I'm thinking about wether this might reduce the difference between the cost of producing such items and and the potential sales price. The original thinking was to avoid buying strut backs for these frames, without greatly increasing the resulting labour costs. Much of my experience suggests that most nice market items don't want to be made in any signific quantities. It is generally the rarity value of niche market items which creates their saleabiliy.

Adding words which might be seen as too popular and perhaps too mainstream, don't really fit the niche market image. I have been doing this niche market thing most of my time as a picture framer and it's a little too easy to add something which too easily goes against what niche market customers are all abot. Anything even slightly inspired by mass market thinking will kill any interest n buying it. I have been doing my best to appeal to what is a very limited and narrow market. As a market, it is a generally worthwhile market, but it's not an easy market. These people don't like to follow the crowd.
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer

cleaver
Posts: 549
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Re: Borrowing a trick, or two from tabernacle frames.

Post by cleaver » Tue 12 Oct, 2021 3:21 pm

I see what you are saying, Mark: anything even slightly naff would totally put off the customers you're talking about. I was just tying to think of something truly bespoke....an offering the mainstream couldn't viably match. But I agree with your reasoning as to why it wouldn't work.

I suppose that ready-made frames are bound to be lumped in with £3 frames people can pick up everywhere. Only the more discerning eyes will appreciate that what you offer is craftsmanship and real wood frames....not MDF wrapped in wood-effect paper (with acrylic, not glass).

Not your average framer
Posts: 11715
Joined: Sat 25 Mar, 2006 8:40 pm
Location: Devon, U.K.
Organisation: The Dartmoor Gallery
Interests: Lost causes, saving and restoring old things, learning something every day
Location: Glorious Devon

Re: Borrowing a trick, or two from tabernacle frames.

Post by Not your average framer » Tue 12 Oct, 2021 4:02 pm

Not always! We do try to find ways of creating new ideas once in a while and sometimes we break in to other peoples markets and leave them totally flat footed. For me, a lot of what this is about is trying to hit a moving target! What has sold in the past, is not very often that which will always sell in this current time. Tastes change and tastes are slowly changing all the time, it does not stop. Creating nice thngs, which people who buy nice things will buy is not easy to do. Some of us have a happy nack for how to do this, but a lot of it is merely inspired guesswork.

I am fortunate to be based in an old town, which suits my market. From time to time I get to see what some people have picked and added to the other nice things in their homes and the germ of an idea is born. Lots of these little ideas just float around in my brain and eventually interesting ideas are born. Usually they are mixture of different inspirations. Often there is a caterlyst which brings things forth. Just copying ideas rarely creates anything different, new and special. It takes more than that, but niche market customers are looking for things which are unique, special and have just got it!

That's what I am often looking for. I can't just produce it to order, but I know it when I see it. I'm a guy who used repair damaged antiques to sell at a profit. So I know about antique looking wood finishes, combine that with creating things which are different, stylish and specialand that's a substantial part of what it's about, but it's still that all important spark of inspiration, which comes along when you least expect it, which turns ideas in to masterpieces, and you don't know when this will happen.
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer

Not your average framer
Posts: 11715
Joined: Sat 25 Mar, 2006 8:40 pm
Location: Devon, U.K.
Organisation: The Dartmoor Gallery
Interests: Lost causes, saving and restoring old things, learning something every day
Location: Glorious Devon

Re: Borrowing a trick, or two from tabernacle frames.

Post by Not your average framer » Tue 12 Oct, 2021 4:35 pm

Once in a while, you come up with something which almost lives and breathes and you just know that it has got it, what ever it is and everyone wants it. If I know what ever that is, I could make a fortune. It's not really anything which I can put in to words, but you almost can't take your eyes of it. It's probably a combnation of many things, which just all look right together!
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer

Not your average framer
Posts: 11715
Joined: Sat 25 Mar, 2006 8:40 pm
Location: Devon, U.K.
Organisation: The Dartmoor Gallery
Interests: Lost causes, saving and restoring old things, learning something every day
Location: Glorious Devon

Re: Borrowing a trick, or two from tabernacle frames.

Post by Not your average framer » Fri 22 Oct, 2021 4:26 pm

I've ran in to a problem on this, to get a wide enough piece of wood for the pedestal at the bottom of the frame has proved less easy than I expected. I was thinking that I could easily find something wide enough and heavy enough to keep the centre of gavity low enough, with relatively limited proportions for the pedestal base, but this is not how things are working out. The base section is going to need to be quite a bit heavier to provide an adequate level of stabily.

There is an oak moulding available, which should be adequate for small Oak frames, but I was planning on producing some similar pine frames as well. Unfortunately producing adequate weight and stability, when making the pine frames, going to be more difficult due the lack of something easily available with the right combination of weight and size. So I am needing to have a bit of a re-think right now!
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer

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