Wow, this is a problem......

I just priced one of my Designer profiles w59-471 in a 16x20 and came up with $128. The E-framing site sells it retail for $49. That is chopped and joined for $49.

I can look at this two ways......all my Designer comes off my walls now, or I can start ordering my frames chopped and joined from the E-frame place.

This looks like a problem.

A big problem.
Oh my gosh.....

w58-1203 16x20 my price $414. Theirs is $107.

I have quite a bit of Designer on my wall.

Somebody needs to explain this.

According to Network Solutions - is registered to Gross National Products of Taranza CA. is registered to Cardinal Aluminum Co. of Louisville, KY.

Maybe eFrame is just one of those 'great ideas for the web' thought up by someone too smart for their own good.

What more can we find out about these people?!?!
There have always been direct sources for mail-order wood frames in custom sizes, just as there have always been people who believe that framing
is just four sticks of wood.

What, exactly, is a "top museum-quality wood moulding" anyway?

I like the phrase, "Now anyone can frame." I just finished two pro football jerseys, and my customer had a little trouble finding anyone who knew what to do with them.

I could have pointed him to that web site, Less.
Actually, it's dot NET. I looked em up too. Here are the results. (theyre hosted by the same web hosting company, ironically)

The Mettle Company
282 Lincoln Blvd
Middlesex, New Jersey 08846
Registered through:
Domain Name: EFRAME.NET
Created on: 07-Jul-98
Expires on: 06-Jul-04
Last Updated on: 11-Feb-03
Administrative Contact: (800) 337-2632
Domain servers in listed order: NS1.IPOP.COM NS2.IPOP.COM

Cardinal Aluminum Company
6910 Preston Highway
Louisville, Kentucky 40219
Registered through:
Created on: 11-Mar-98
Expires on: 10-Mar-05
Last Updated on: 06-Feb-03
Administrative Contact: 1.800.533.6986
Domain servers in listed order: NS1.IPOP.COM NS2.IPOP.COM

See also:
The Mettle Company (METTLECO-DOM)
282 Lincoln Blvd
Middlesex, NJ 08846
Newton, Jack (JN4687) wecantwin@AOL.COM
The Mettle Company
282 Lincoln Blvd
Middlesex, NJ 08846
(800)621-1329 fax: (732)764-0342
Record expires on 28-Oct-2006.
Record created on 29-Oct-1998.

I don't use those mouldings, but what do they charge you for wholesale length and chops according to your catalog?
I found out because I had a client call to find out how much it would cost to stretch a large canvas.

When I asked her where she was going to have it framed, she replied eframe. I told her that I may be able to compete.

We both went online at the same time and she pointed to the moulding she was planning on getting.

The mouldings looked fimilar to me, so I searched, and needLess to say, I found it.
all my Designer comes off my walls now
That would be my suggestion.

I've never been to your shop, Kathy, but I'll bet it's way too classy for Designer Moulding.

And I'm not basing that on Less' links.
Bill, on the w59-471 my chop price is $5.13. I get a discount but I won't factor that in. Their chop price is $4.89 a foot plus $8.00 to join.

The other w58-1203 in my catalogue is $16.78. Theirs is $15.98 plus $8.00 to join.

Their retail is less than my wholesale. I think it is bad enough that these places are selling retail but they are selling it even less than my wholesale prices. What the heck is that all about?
On the plus side though, one of the things Jay Goltz told me is that I have wayyyy too many samples on the wall. I pretty much have Designers full line since one of my distributors carries the full line. This will help narrow down my corner samples for sure. I bet I have a couple hundred of them.

Irony of all ironies, I am at this very minute building a Designer frame ......
Lets not get all excited you guys. We have always had competition on the web. There is no point worrying about it. Trying to compete with those prices is a wast of time and effort. That is not our market nor is it our customer base.

The only time it would get to me is if someone came into my shop for my "FREE" ideas on what would look best on their picture so they could order the right frame on the web.

For the most part, people come to us for the entire frame package, design, matting, frame and fitting. These are the people we target. The college students and bargain hunters are not really our market anyway, no point getting all worked up.

O the designer site. There is a tool to find a retailer or distributor in your area.

The retailer link, then New Jersey gives you as cities with retailers that carry Designer. Middlesex, where they are, is not there.

However the wholesaler link, then New Jersay has only one Distributor for the state. They are

So, the answer is, they are getting distributor pricing, and selling direct.
I don't buy it John.

If these companies expect us to be agents for them, they must respect standard business-to-business arrangements.

How would they like it if the manufacture started selling direct?

I don't think you can have it both ways.

If they want to sell to the general public, fine. But respect expected pricing structures.

And don't embarrass us.

What the **** am I going to tell this client? I'm sorry, but you can buy it for Less than Less can.

Screw them!
I agree with you in theory JRB. But my thought is that this is Designer selling retail to the public. They feature only Designer frames. It seems to me at these prices the only ones making money would have to be Designer. If Eframes is Designer

I'll get more info first but there is no way I want to sell their stuff if they sell to the public. They expect us to sell their materials. They know we have to mark it up. They then turn around and sell directly to the public and still make the same amount whether they sell it to the public or us?

That stinks.

edit: I think the internet has made it possible for manufacturers to set up retail establishments. They don't have to operate as a storefront. Their overhead is the same. Whether they sell to us or them it makes no difference to them . They could very easily sell to the public unnoticed by us.

Again, it stinks.
From eFrame Testimonials:

"Hello again
I received my frame today. I haven't put it together yet, but is looks beautiful! The color and size are perfect. I will be a returning customer for sure!"

Yeah! That's one way to save on overhead - have the customer do the labor!
Less, I have been dealing with being right next door to Tijuana my entire career. I honestly don't care what they sell their products for, I also don't care what other framers prices are. I set my prices based on my needs, not someone else's needs.

If I am carrying a line of mouldings that stop selling for me, then I pull them and replace them with something else, which may or may not be a lower priced line.

At this point, I still sell a lot of designer mouldings, so they stay. I agree, I do not like the idea that Designer is in direct competition with me, but right now, I'm getting sales from their products.

Pulling Designer at this point in time is an option I will not pursue. I have yet to have one of my customers tell me that they can get that exact same frame off the Internet for a lower price than I am charging. Should that happen, I will re-evaluate that suppliers position in my store.

How about when the e-customer emails a digital image of their art and gets some design options over the web?
Isn't metal 198-52 a Neilson number?
shrug.gif sells a 32x40 198-52 for $23.33.
I can't compete with that.

There are some companies that do use Big Boxes as a way to get consumer name regognition and penetration, while selling at a loss or extremely tight margin.

Custom framers subsidize this practice by paying inflatated margins from these companies.

As a rule, I try avoid companies who engage in this practice.

However I will say that, from what I know, Designer is not one of those.
Nooooo David that's a Designer number as well.

"may I have another peer blease"

"tank ew"

Why should I buy from
Quality, service and price! sells mostly to fine custom framing shops who provide great leadership for customers who need assistance for a successful framing project. We also sell to artists, photographers and consumers who understand the simple steps to framing artwork. The key here is the quality of the mouldings in combination with the price. brings the world's most expensive high quality mouldings to your framing project at prices below low quality and boring mouldings.

Why are the prices so inexpensive?
Because of our internet structure. No showrooms, salesman commissions, catalogue costs, mailings or fat cats! We know people want good products at prices they can afford. Everyone wants the best fashion and quality. The prices at make this possible.
How many do it yourself frameshop actually have a large number of their customer doing their own framing. A large % of the customers that do try framing themself don't ever try it again. They learn that framing is more labour intensive and difficult then they had imagine. Having companies offering cheap and do it yourself framing only help the industry. The real problem though is having supplier like designer moulding selling to us retailer and then under cutting our price is a large concern. These suppliers should be boycotted and we as retailer should set the industry standards when it comes to what we expect from our suppliers.
I can't believe a legitimate supplier would stoop to this practice. We don't carry Designer and can't forsee ever carrying their mouldings.

There are plenty of moulding companies out there looking for business. Can't see the reason to support someone who supports :confused: their customers like this.

I'd pull 'em and send them back if I had their corners and I'd do the same thing of any vendor who "supported" me like this. Unbelievable!
Has anyone tried to email or call Designer? I sent off a meesage to them with a link to this post. I let them know how unhappy we all were and that most of us may be taking their moulding off of the wall if something wasn't proven otherwise. I will let you all know if I get a message back from them.
The prices appear to be standard chop prices (red discounted on site).

Anyone can set up a distributorship and make a profit with distributorship costs.

Life is too short.
I just contacted my rep that is with Art Express. She said she knew nothing about it. I told her that the Designer mouldings will be coming off of my wall as well as many other framers walls. She said she will be talking to her boss about it. I think this will cause quite a stir if we contact our reps and maybe framing publications to find out more. Jay
Even better... make a bonfire of the corner samples and when it is out, send them the ashes. It'll cost alot less for shipping and send an even better message.
My hope is that someone from Designer gives us an explanation. It seems pretty clear to me though. It just doesn't make sense that a "distributor" would only take on Designers full line and sell it to the public at cost. Just doesn't make sense.

When I looked at my wall contemplating taking their stuff down I realized I do have success selling some of their line. Especially their Fronterra collection. Those are good economical woods that my customers like. They've got some great higher end stuff too.

John might have the right idea to continue to sell it if it works for you but if a supplier is really underselling us to the public regardless if their stuff sells for me I have no choice but to take it down. There has to be an ethical bond between me and whomever I do business with. It may be an emotional decision instead of a business one but it is the way I operate and expect others to do the same.

I'll be very happy to have Designer prove this wrong though......
Actually, I don't think eframe's prices are that low. We don't sell Designer wood (for some reason) but we've been selling the metal for 15 years or more. Bassed on our pricing for metal, we'd probably sell W59-471 for around $7.50 a foot. That's in the eframe ballpark if you add $1.17 to their chop price for 7 ft (8 bucks to join the frame) of moulding. Eframe's price is lower than mine, but I think we could compete. We'd come out a lot better than eframe becauce we'd also sell the complete frame.
there must be a shipping charge, and that would make us even more competetive.

The point is anyone could buy the length moulding from Designer at their published prices and sell for eframe's prices and make money. Are these guys going to be the wave of the future? I don't know, but I'm planning to compete with them if they are, and on their terms if necessary.
I think it has the customer's name filled in because of the original link posted in this thread. The link has the "Session ID" filled in, which brings up details of the specific order that was in progress.


The moulding I was looking at sold for $23.30 chop. If I wanted to buy chopped it would cost me $23.30.

If I bought it in length, the price would be $15.53. If I sold it at $23.30 the markup would be x .5 .

I would lose money anyway you look at it.

Go ahead and buy their moulding.

I don't have any of their moulding, and if their sales person walked in I would laugh and kindly ask them to relay a message and leave.

If I had them on the wall, I would have my cat **** on them and send them back.

IMHO, whether they are the same company or not, I would not do business with them. Let them make an Internet play without the support of frame shops. Let's see how long they last.
yeah Warren the w59-471 you mentioned according to the catalogue wholesales for exactly $4.89 a foot for chop. That is exactly the price Eframe is selling it to the public. Coincidence? Probably not. They even go so far as to say it is regular $6.11 a foot and sale priced at $4.89.

I continue to be concerned.....

Heck, their distributors should be outraged. Designer is cutting them out too.
I checked - no credit card info

As far as this thread, are we sure Designer is aware of (or personally involved in) this situation?

Do they have the right to turn away a legitimate distributor?

Do they have the right to dictate what the minimum resale price should be in a free market society? If so, was a contract signed making this clear?

Could the web site company be buying it from a local distributor and not the factory?

Is it possible their web designer misunderstood the price chart and put the wrong column in?

I'm just as upset as anyone else, but I think these questions should be asked before we jump to conclusions.

refer to my post about eframe calling me today.
I agree Mike. But how do you explain away this? Why on earth would a distributor sell their product for exactly the wholesale price? And if it is a distributor and not Designer I find it odd that is is Designer only they are selling.

I would be more able to accept this if Designer had opened a retail establishment and was selling to the public at least with a fair retail price.

To sell this stuff at wholesale diminishes the value to me and my customer. The smoke and mirrors are gone and I am selling an over inflated priced frame.

I mean they can get it for the same cost that I pay for cripes sake.

Stuff like this really bugs me. I want to continue to carry their line. I have a local distributor, they carry the whole line which is appealing because no shipping charges. It's a good product.

But, I am so bothered by this stuff that even if I didn't have a couple hundred samples of theirs on my wall I would order some samples just so I could ceremoniously send them back.

I still believe in the grassy knoll theory too.....

I still would be happy to be proven wrong....

[ 03-03-2004, 04:13 PM: Message edited by: Emibub ]
I looked a bit further.

If you click on the ISP, you'll see a portfolio of customers that includes Designer Moulding(aka Cardinal Aluminum), Cardinal Fireplace Trim, and EFRAME.

Clicking on EFRAME shows the following, which would APPEAR to indicate them falling under the same "Cardinal Aluminum" umbrella. (again, it could be wrong)

Web sites:
We have developed several online catalogs for Cardinal Aluminum, namely the two mentioned above. These are not only feature rich e-commerce sites, but also they also employ sophisticated business rules for custom pricing based on customer inputs. The back-end management system tracks inventory, manages warehouse fulfillment across several geographical locations, tracks site statistics and orders from affiliates for commission calculation and manages customer accounts and credit status. The management areas of these sites is continuously evolving and streamlining the business processes of our customer.

In addition to the e-commerce solutions that we have deployed for this client, we have also built an electronic newsletter system that the client uses to import email addresses of customers, compose HTML newsletters, send them through the system and track statistics as to number of newsletters delivered, number read and number returned as undeliverable.
What if someone bought a frame from eframe, or some other ecompany, and wanted you to complete the order, would you do it, and how would you price it?

I think if that happened to me, I would say "sure, I'll do it", figure out what I would have charged them retail, maybe minus wholesale cost of the moulding, and quote them that.
Originally posted by Ron Eggers:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr /> all my Designer comes off my walls now
That would be my suggestion.

I've never been to your shop, Kathy, but I'll bet it's way too classy for Designer Moulding.
</font>[/QUOTE]Some of the Woods are classy. So they go with her shop.

Maybe we should all order 1 or 2 frames and their cheap suppy would soon run out. After all it's cheaper than ordering from the supplier.

I think this creates one more problem, the states are unable to collect sales tax on internet sales, now do these wholesalers have a license to sell to the retailers in all states.

[ 03-04-2004, 12:42 AM: Message edited by: Marc Lizer ]
it seems like the natural progression to me.They can make more profit from getting some kid off the street to chop up moulding to size and post it out.

You all welcomed chop didn,t you?

Well now welcome its offspring.
I guess I'll put my post in here where it's more relevant than by itself.

I just thought I'd let you all know that I just received a call from the owner of regarding an email that I sent to designer. For some reason they forwarded the email that I sent designer to eframe and had him take care of this with me. I made it very clear that I don't have a problem with eframe, because he has a business to run and try to make money with. My problem was with it seeming like Designer was running a seperate business that is undercutting their own framing customers. I am dissapointed that Designer made eframe responsible for getting back with me. This has nothing to do with eframe if he isn't affiliated with designer other than being a distributor. I told him that I hope they don't make him call back everyone that has a problem with Designer. I could of easily received an email or a call back saying that they are not affiliated, but they didn't do that. I also brought up the same internet provider and he said he got a huge discount going through that provider. Well this is what I was told so I just thought I'd share. Still at the end of the call I still though this was a little odd. I don't think if I called a rep of LJ because I found out that someone was getting a better deal than me down the street, that they would have my competiton down the street call me to talk about it. They better clear this up fast with everyone because I know many of you are digging deep on this one to find answers.
I didn't say anything on this yesterday because I left my kevlar at home.

I agree this apparent arrangement stinks. Those of us who pay rent for a storefront, carry inventory, employ others, provide assistance and service to customers--and try to advance our skills so we can do a better job-- struggle every day to keep our business going. So, the internet competition from one of our own suppliers seems to be fundamentally unfair competition. Gives me a bad taste in my mouth, too, but if I carried this company's products dropping the line wouldn't make a difference. The market will speak. Either we will adjust or eframe will.

This is going to become even a more competitive business--at least the mass market segment. Look at the mirrors in HOme Depot or Costco, or the framed prints in the home accessories chains. Home Depot has its Expo stores around here. They are selling some framed wall art at prices so low I could probably buy and resell the frame.

Many of us got pretty fired up with the photographer who wanted guidance on how to slap some frames around her photographs cause custom framing was so expensive. There are a lot of wannabe photographers out there who need to understand their framer's time has value, too.

Emibub's inquiry on digital cameras prompted one of us to note the virtues of his/her new digital and proclaim something to the effect of no more film for me. I can undertand that, even though I love the characteristics of different films and hope processing and printing it continues to help pay my rent. That doesn't mean I can ignore digital. I just have to adapt.

Virtually every photolab member of PMA is looking at how to replace income lost to digital. I'm sure they get a bad taste when they see the television ads touting the latest gizmos for making photos at home. One local lab competitor closed the second of his three shops on Friday. I asked him what his plans were for the third location. He said he is looking into framing.

I haven't been framing as long as many of you, but I decided long ago to add framing to my photo work. I enjoy it and as I decrease my reliance on photo output I will enjoy framing even more. Many of the photo lab operators who get into framing probably won't invest the time in training to become serious competitors. But we should learn to adapt, as they are trying to do.

Photolabs have had to deal with the integration we all need to recognize as we develop our framing businesses. Our supplies will look for ways to expand their customer base at the least cost, which means if they are well managed they have to explore internet services and things like LJ is trying with mat cutting.

Those of you who have made the switch to digital photography might be using Ofoto or Snapfish or another service to make prints from your digital files. Ofoto is owned by Kodak, which supplies paper and chemistry to the retail photofinishers. Snapfish is owned by District Photo, a major distributor of paper (fuji, Kodak and others) and chemistry. District also operates one of the largest mail order services and does 2-day processing for grocery and drug stores.

I still get work from customers who get the bulk of their processing from Ofoto, and I get customers who have bought a cheap frame at a BB or on the web. They come in cause they want it to "look right" after they have bungled the work or decided they don't want to spend their time framing.

So, yes it stinks and like you I get a bad taste in my mouth every time I hear about a supplier trying to compete with those of us trying to make a go of it at the retail level. I might not succeed. But my energy is focused on trying to find the things these big guys can't do profitably. I'll continue to offer their products at prices that make sense to me. If a potential customer comments that prices are much cheaper on the web I encourage him or her to make the choice that suits them best. I also refer some customers to Michaels if a 50 percent off coupon is the only way they will feel they are getting a "good deal."
but if I carried this company's products dropping the line wouldn't make a difference. The market will speak. Either we will adjust or eframe will.
I may be wrong, but today, I disagree. I do agree, the market should speak. I would bet that we are still the bulk of their business. If dropping their line won't make a difference, then they don't need our business at all.

I agree change and adaptation is a necessity today, but indifference to this type of conduct sends a signal to the entire industry, that the independents’ are all but dead and have no voice or economic importance. Maybe it is true, but the only way we will find out is through action.

Well, lets see how important our business is by only giving to those who support ethical business practices. Of course Bob may say there is no such thing. There are winners and losers.

Maybe we don’t need car dealers anymore. We can just order online, and get one drop off at our door. Dealers will be service only.

Camera manufactures can cut out retailers all together.

Maybe farmers can just ship us the cow direct complete with instructions.
I don't carry their line, but I'd be happy to resist the urge to do so as an expression of solidarity. I'm just not sure it would do more than reduce the number of samples displayed at some shops.

Today, I think the only thing that motivates publicly traded (and some privately owned) manufactures/distributors is the bottom line. A few have made a commitment to branding and see independent retailers as a strategic way to increase their market share. LJ, for example, has its policy of selling only to retailers. They have been criticized for that by home-based framers. Someday they might change. That will be a business, not ethical decision.

I think this eframe case will be decided by the bottom line. Since I don't carry the line, I don't know what the prices are. But from what has been said on this thread the mouldings don't sound like a budget line. If they are making enough money off the internet sales to offset or do better than any lost sales to retail framers they will call it a success. Of course, that assumes they don't believe discounted internet sales will diminish the perceived quality of their brand.

I shopped for and placed the order for my last new auto on the web. My local dealer(a large multibrand dealership)didn't have what I wanted in inventory, and the salesman wanted about $6000.00 extra to do a swap with another dealership. I did have to drive 30 miles, but the guy who got the sale offered to deliver to my house. I knew the car was the same and my local dealer wasn't going to add $6000.00 in value. The perception of value added (legitimately earned) is what will keep retailers in business as more manufacturers/distributors utilize the internet.