SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Dec 16, 2000
North-East US
When searching in the Yellow Pages for "picture framing" I expect to see maybe hundred names popping up for each major American city.
I just checked Paris with Europages and was given only 27 names.
Now, I always thought that Americans' have a special propensity for framing, but did not expect Paris - The capital of Arts- be listing one less framing shops than Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Can it be that Europages are less of a perfect searching tool than Yellow Pages? Or perhaps framing business is less important of a market in Europe? With numerous and sophisticate manufacturers in Italy alone that comes rather hard to believe it. What if the American frame market was trendily hyper-inflated and it has readjusted itself? Could that partially explain why we lately witnessed so many framing shops and galleries quietly going out of business?

Any W. European and Aussie framers willing to share what their competition is like and how large a city are they located in? What is the trend there (more, less, about the same number of frame shops like 10-15 yrs ago)?

(I suffer for there is no more spelling right button offered to those who dare post their thoughts in here. Bill, what happened to that feature? It's absence makes me look even stupider than I really am.)
The thing about the Australian market I find, is, that most of our population of 20mill or so is concentrated in our largest cities of Melbourne Sydney Brisbane and places in between. Up the East Coast of Australia. The states they are situated in constitutes 16mill people of that 20mill, and half the population 10 mill is in those three cities. Most other cities have a population of under 50,000

When it comes to the country areas the population is fairly sparce in comparison to the US and Europe. We are in a town of 18,000 and we have 3 framers and 2 backyarders. The framers seem to populate themselves in areas with populations over that.

I am surprised how many "framers" are opening in Australia over the past few years. It seems to me that I hear of another framer opening within an hours drive of my shop every 2 months.

Our industry is slowly being diluted by many of these framers opening up. I see any framer within 1/2 an hours drive from me, or within 1/2 an hour of my clients, as being in direct competition.
Cornell, you have found the one thing that I found to be astounding about western EU... the absolute dirth of framers, and therefore the kind of framing that Europeans as a general rule settle for.

Here in America we have Fine Italian frames, Louise 13th-16th, french lines, German pounced silver finish, Dutch Coaling, flemish shadowing, German and Spanish sgraffito.....

And I walk into every frame shop I spy or can hunt out.... wide single mats (white or pastel) and simple clean modern cassette frames.

Makes me want to think seriously about the offer I was made to open a frameshop in Amsterdam.....
Welcome back, Baer; hope you are feeling stronger than ever.
Now, that you mentioned Amsterdam, I need to tell you that Peter Verckhoven, a Dutch frame-maker from Amsterdam, recently moved to America where he teamed up with Mark Guthrie (fmr. with Abe Munn) to open a very classy, high-end-out-of-this-world kind of framing shop, in San Francisco, by the name of Aedicule.
Why would you want to go to Amsterdam open a frame shop when a local frame maker would rather sell his frames next door from where you live? If I can offer myself for an example, I'd be another European frame maker who produces exclusively for the American market which, by contrast, in time became more and more sophisticate and demanding, attributes that Europeans think only of themselves.
In case you do open a framing shop down there, be on the watch for antique frames which the locals frequently discard in favor of new, modern, simpler and incomparably cheaper ones. I know of more than a couple of people who made their fortune and reputation off period frames being sold in Europe by the pound. Ops, the
Earth is trembling with a growing roar; here comes Dermot!
In Ireland there are about 450+ framers that is about one framer for every 8 to 10,000 people there are 61 framers listed in the Golden Pages (Yellow pages) for Dublin alone………and that is just the framers who asked to be listed……BTW a basic listings in Ireland is free……

London UK 112 Framers listed in the Yellow Pages….Birmingham UK 44 framers and again that is only the framers that are listed

In other European countries unless you use the local language ie. French for “Picture Framer” or Spanish, German, Dutch, etc. you will default to the international version of the Golden Pages and only get a listing of framers who have been listed in the International version of the Golden Pages………

I got 223 listings for Paris France this was a search in english using "Picture Framing".....

BTW I do think there are opportunities in Europe……but you would want to do your research… it becomes more unacceptable to drive high end cars in Europe some of that money is going to drift to for example to high end framing….and that is a lot of money…….some of that money is already drifting to property……over 50% of one recent development of high end apartments in New York city is now owned by people (money) from Ireland….

I have heard of one framing business In London who repair frames………unless you are thinking about spending about $10,000….they will not even talk to you…… other words they want a retainer up front to just discuss what work you want done….
Uh, Dermot, I knew you will be giving me a better understanding on how to search for framers in Europe. Now, 223 framers in Paris make a lot more sense. But man, one really needs to be speaking (or else pay) French to buy clay from Le Franc, Italian to find Manetti goldbeaters, German for the Schwabach's and Danish to reach Morso on the net? That's not too good for business and the military. My only consolation is that unless you speak fluent Romanian, and offer to bribe a few key people, you stay no chance to find my obscure company either. Ha!

Yo, Baer!

Went to check on Paris's framing market. Had no time to look up but first two pages of many others. Don't go there, ma' friend!

Rich websites as not many framers have shown around here and most were bragging of their 3-5 generation frame making tradition, being at the same address for 85 yrs, MAKING frames in house from scrap, gilding them in gold, silver, platinum, copper you name it. No problem to find restorers there... True family owned shops with 10-15 workers. Unlike their American colleagues their walls were not full of thousands of corner samples but frames. There is a distinct feeling that frames are made there and signed by the artist, and they can do everything that their clients need, whenever needed, without having to check on LaMarche availability.
D**n French! Must give them credit! Ok, not to all of them, only to Parisian framers... :( ;)

[ 10-11-2005, 07:52 AM: Message edited by: Whynot ]
Here in Albuquerque, there are so many frame shops, there are actually two right next to each other.

I can think of a couple of reasons for the difference in listings.

European galleries that do framing, but don't list themselves as a frame shop.

American wanna-bes that open a shop, and it folds quickly, but the listing is in the phone book that year. (it's amazing how many frame shop owners open up with a background in something unrelated, like selling used cars)

Prints in Europe being sold to tourists who won't want to carry it home in a frame. (no, they bring it here and torture us with "but I only paid $3 for it!")
Good try, but you are wrong, Dermot; there is no such Romanian site. Because I don't sell frames in Romania, I see no need for local publicity. My company is listed in small characters in local YP, for the very same reason.
Further on, the American website is used simply as a tool, by the connoisseurs only; it won't pop up on search engines. One may say that this business is as much about my style as it is about my frames.
Originally posted by Whynot:
...I just checked Paris with Europages and was given only 27 names...Can it be that Europages are less of a perfect searching tool than Yellow Pages? Or perhaps framing business is less important of a market in Europe?...
According to Baer, the worthy framers in Paris belong to a secret society whose name I can't recall. They sponsor the MPF (Master Picture Framer) qualification, which Baer said is the best in the world. Baer is a member and earned the MPF when he was framing for the King of France, or somebody like that. He told us all about it a couple of years ago when he first joined us, but my memory is a bit sketchy.

Baer, how about a refresher on your secret society? :D

I guess that would preclude the Parisian framers from advertising in the Paris Yellow Pages.
When my wife and I opened our framing shop in Scotland almost 6 years ago in a small country town - population around 14,000 - we made a positive decision that we should make it accessible to as many folk as possible. It is what I call a working town with several mills still producing the finest cashmere knitwear.

We had previously mounted and framed paper pictures of the highest quality for picture dealers in the West End of London. We worked from a third floor studio/workshop no more than 15 minutes walking distance from our clients ,most of whom enjoyed the workshop atmosphere. On more than one occasion when I had apologised to a visitor for be place being a trifle untidy the response was always along the lines that they were suspicious of 'too tidy' places, and that ours always looked if we were busy and work was being done there.

So our Scottish shop is really a workshop with a front counter and traditional shop front.See our website graphic at Frames are hung on hooks (we call them gallows) around the walls along with some framed pictures and mirrors. All aspects are open to general view with the exception of our Morso machine and our Cassesse underpinner

We have maybe three hundred moulding samples arranged ,not as a wall display as we find people here are reluctant to 'spoil your arrangement',but laid on top of our plans chests just close by to the counter. We encourage customers to handle these themselves so that they feel trhat much more part of the selection process.

We also try to leave the shop door open whenever possible as we have found that many folk feel that by opening it themselves they, are committing themselves to a purchase.

All in all this seems to have worked for us as our visitors can see us at work and yet are generally not so nosey as to ask 'How do you do this or that'. If that question is asked our reply is generally a friendly 'very carefully'.

Our competition is one photograher/framer and one or two occasional back-room operators. We don't worry about them too much. It's a free country after alland in any case, we have all the framing we can handle at the moment.
No need to get naughty Jim. Even Dermot and Cornell are doing brightly today.

I think your memory serves you just fine. And the SI has absolutely nothing to do with the lack of Parisian Antiliers listing on an English Yellow Pages..... a place that has never served them before.

Much like Cornel not needing a Romanian website.

One of the little bits of information that I did derive from my research about the "dirth" of framers in the EU vs the USA was that EU framers tend to be generational vestages and a US frame shop can be mature at 10 and gone by 15yrs. Few US shops are second or third generation.

But I did find it very interesting that there seemed to be 1 thriving & 1 struggling frame shop on average per 8-10,000 population. Much the same as it was in the late 1980s here in the USA.

Many of the frameshops, as Cornel found out, that are 50-200 yrs old, have maintained the same system of apprenticeship that SI supports. (Apprentice to Journeyman to Master who turns back to teach). And that is why when a Antilier says "raw stock" he isn't talking about Chops from LJ.
I don't want to spoil it all in a single day, but soon I'll be giving you all the web address of a FRENCH BB's with 30 locations in France and 2 in Belgium. Their gallery is showing such an impressive creative design capability that would make everybody here awe. Too bad the site does not allow to link you directly to a specific page except their home page, and navigating around in French, while not impossible, is still going to be tough for most grumblers. So I need to figure out a fast way to reach their gallery.
I'll also revive that "I'll show you my site, show me yours" old tread and post in there a few addresses which will smply blow you people away.
I didn't go to sleep for 30 hours now... if you know what that means.

If American BB's would ever get that good... man, don't even wanna think further than that. Those working there at the French BB are not the kids that we all see framing in our BB's.