Another Newbie

Chris in CT

Grumbler in Training
Apr 5, 2005
Like Jody, I have been framing for a few years mostly for myself and friends/family. I find framing to be relaxing (for the most part) and plan to open my own shop when I retire from my current job. I have a friend that owns a frame shop not too far from my home and pick up tips and get some good experience from him.
I'm looking for some suggestions and tips on suppliers. I have made some of my own frames and enjoy that, but they just don't have that "professional" look. I have purchased chops from a few places, but would like to get better at cutting and joining. Most suppliers don't want to deal with you unless you are buying quantity, and I don't blame them, I'm sure they are busy with thier regular customers. Are there places that are interested in us small time framers? I probably frame about 10 items a month, and really enjoy it, but buying in small quantity from those hobby/art stores gets expensive. Any suggestions?
I went to the framing Expo in NY last month and got some great ideas, this made me sure that framing was going to be what I did in my retirement. Now I just have to spend the next five or so years honing my craft.
Thanks in advance!
There is a big difference in the mindset of a HOBBY and running a business to make money. Most of us here are running businesses.

First you will need:

1. a business plan including a budget
2. a mindset that I will be running a business
3. a business license
4. a dedicated business phone
5. a dedicated location with posted hours
6. money for equipment, supplies, inventory
7. money for overhead costs (ex: rent, insurance, utilities, advertising, bank charges, computer POS system, etc) that should cover about 6 months or more
8. money for more classes / training
9. the dedication to run a small business, even when you don't want to work
10. and whatever I forgot to post
Opening a shop is FFFFAAAARRRRRR from retiring.

Try working in your friends shop fulltime for a few years before you spend dime one on your own. You will learn more of the craft and what it is like to be a framer around Christmas time.

Opening your own shop is multiplying a regular framing day by 10. It can be enjoyable but often times demanding.

People see this as a hobby and I guess it can be if you don't have to make money at it but if you want customers and to produce a quality, profesional product it takes an enormous amouont of dedication to the craft and to learning everything that you can.

This was meant as an eye opener not a closer, I wish you well in your endeavor and use the grumble as much as you can. There is a true wealth of information here for free. Ask us your questions, we're here to help as well as complain.

Good Luck.
"I'm looking for some suggestions and tips on suppliers."

First,get a tax number and register your firm name.

Second, subscribe to one of the trade magazines to find distributors in your area. Or you could ask your friend.

Third, start contacting the local distributors for catalogs and applications for an account.

Fourth, wait for more answers from grumblers in your local area.

Fifth, Forget about Larsen Juhl.

And don't even consider LaMarche.
Thanks to all for your suggestions. I didn't mean to imply that starting a business was a small undertaking. I realize there are many things that need to be done to start and run an effective and successful business. I applaude all those of you who have. I will take all of your suggestions into consideration. I do realize that running a shop will be hard work and not just a retirement activity, but am willing to do what it takes to make it work. Thanks again, I'm going to hang around for a while and try to keep up with the happenings.
Love this forum BTW
Fifth, Forget about Larsen Juhl
Ironically, when I started out in March, 1977, my very first supplier was Larson Picture Frame in Ashland, Wisconsin. My second (or maybe third) was Juhl Pacific in Minnesota.

They've grown a bit, I've shrunk and we recently parted company on good terms.