HL Crappy miters

JohnR

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Posts
542
From
Ohio
I was in Hobby Lobby looking for something when I took a stroll down the isles of ready mades. I couldn't believe what I saw. The miters were horrid on nearly every frame. I'm talkin daylight right trough them! Not from customer handling, the ones in the back of the stack were just as ugly. Oh well, I thought it was interesting.
shrug.gif
John
 

Framerguy

PFG, Picture Framing God
Joined
Apr 12, 2001
Posts
7,261
From
Destin, Florida
And did you pull any of them down to see where they were built?? Most of the RM's that we carried in the store I worked in came from our short Oriental friends to the West of us. The rest came from an assortment of third world countries.

Framerguy
 

FrameMakers

PFG, Picture Framing God
Joined
Mar 20, 2001
Posts
7,395
From
Powell, OH
Yes FrameGuy, and I bet they still sold well.
 

Framerguy

PFG, Picture Framing God
Joined
Apr 12, 2001
Posts
7,261
From
Destin, Florida
Yeah, Dave, sad to say they did sell well.

Part of my duties as manager was to order inventory each week and we averaged about 250 - 300 readymades per week. And many of them came in damaged. I was told that aobut 20% of the frames that are shipped out of China never find their way to the retail shelf. They are damaged so badly that it isn't worthwhile to fix them or touch them up.

FGII
 

BUDDY

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Charter Member
Joined
Sep 16, 1998
Posts
11,498
From
Mandeville,La. USA 130 Blue Heron Dr.
Originally posted by Framerguy:
[. They are damaged so badly that it isn't worthwhile to fix them or touch them up.

Tom i couldn't help but wonder and marvel at this quote. I am also reinded about a damaged case of glass that one supplier told be to trash and another suggested that they wold have taken back and cut down and resold.

My point being that it would seem probable that your store or franchise had the tools talent and ability to correct mostof this and sell them as discounted odd sized frames rather then either out them out as seconds or discard them cutting in on the profit margin.

In my limited shop correcting a bad mitered frame could take very little effort and/or time. Unless you received hoards of them inwhich case that supplier would be history. Why didn't the BB think that way ? And could that have been one of their weak points?
BUDDY
 

FrameMakers

PFG, Picture Framing God
Joined
Mar 20, 2001
Posts
7,395
From
Powell, OH
Buddy, were talking about ready-mades. From what FG said about the amount of custom sales done at this HL, there is no time to "fix" these items & if they're selling, why bother.
 

Baer Charlton

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Joined
May 24, 2004
Posts
21,029
From
On FB
It all boils down to economics. And we at a small shop practice it with more vengence then it would seem HL does.

If I pay $4 for something I sell for $8, and I would have to invest even 10 minutes to fix it... then my cost rises to $4 + $10 of labor and is a waste of time and effort. Even a $2 invest is too steep because it drives the retail cost to $12 which is above the "market price".

If like our last order with a major ready-made company that we have dealt with for 25 years... all of the frames came in with scrapes, dings and planer snip.

When we were told to just mark down and send out the door.... and we would be refunded; I refused.

They went directly to Good Will. I wouldn't want ANYONE thinking that I would stock that trash.

We're now taking bids from new suppliers.
 

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 16, 2000
Posts
16,188
I wish I could find a source for readymades who's quality was so bad that they could sell 250-300 a week

Man, how can those idiots stay in business selling so much crap?
 

BUDDY

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Charter Member
Joined
Sep 16, 1998
Posts
11,498
From
Mandeville,La. USA 130 Blue Heron Dr.
Dave I must admit I did n't even think aboutwhat type of frame you were speaking about .But Unless the RMs were closed corners with some form of Compo decoration in the corner I suspest that they could still be disassembled and repaired.

However if they were coming in in massive quanities it wouldn't be worth the effort. And finding aniter vendor would be more in line.

However as BOb so aptly pointed out if anyone felt satisfied buying quanities of 250-300 or more a week and they weren't good quality Id' fire the purchaseing agent. And since this wasn't happening it must have been rather minor .and as baser said I would want my name attched to that so I'd do what I could to remedy the problem in house before I'd take the full loss.
BUDDY
 

FramingFool

Inactive Account
Joined
Sep 5, 1998
Posts
528
From
New Cumberland, PA
Cheesy readymades/low-buck pile-'em-up Oriental oils from the Framers' Expo (you know which ones I'm talking about).

Always wondered who bought that crap.


(Geez, .... they're SO BAD they almost (!) make TK look good .......how bad is THAT?)


(I think I'm gonna be sick .....
vomit.gif
)

[ 03-21-2006, 05:45 PM: Message edited by: FramingFool ]
 

Framerguy

PFG, Picture Framing God
Joined
Apr 12, 2001
Posts
7,261
From
Destin, Florida
I may have confused some of you with those numbers. I had to order everything from 3X5 photo frames up to a limited number of 36X48 frames. I don't know how many of you have been inside a Hobby Lobby but they carry a vast number of photo frames!! Compared to the larger readymades, 8X10 open backs and larger, there may have been 3 to 5 times the selection of frame styles and sizes in the photo size or "easel backs" as they called them.

And 250 to 300 per week was a conservative estimate on the ordering each week. As many of you know HL runs constant 50off sales and the photo frames were on sale more than the open backs on a monthly basis.

I can't give you a number as to the total inventory of frame styles in the easel backs because I absolutely HATED them and I HATED having to go through each and every size and style each and every week and count them and manually enter in how many we needed to order that week!! No, we weren't automated. There were approximately 50 full sheets of green bar paper of easel backs and another 35 to 40 sheets of larger open back frames.

I sensed a doubt in some of your minds about the number of frames we had to order on a regular basis. Maybe a trip to your friendly neighborhood HL will clear up any doubts you may have.

FGII
 

Framerguy

PFG, Picture Framing God
Joined
Apr 12, 2001
Posts
7,261
From
Destin, Florida
Buddy,

To answer your concerns about fixing those damaged frames and shelving them as seconds for retail sale, I didn't have enough space to display those frames that came into our store damaged let alone be able to sell that 20% of the imports that were transport damaged coming over to this country from China. I really don't know what HL did with those frames. I was relaying a story I had heard from one of the semi drivers that usually delivered our weekly order.

If the frames were scratched or slightly dented we did take some colored markers and do some touchup. If they were broken at the mitered joints we had no choice as we didn't have the equipment to fix and rejoin the frames. All the joins were done at the warehouse in Oklahoma, all we usually did were mats and fillets.

FGII
 

BUDDY

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Charter Member
Joined
Sep 16, 1998
Posts
11,498
From
Mandeville,La. USA 130 Blue Heron Dr.
Tom please take no offense nor should you be concerned about my beliveing you. I do .It is just that In our own shops we would refit/refinish those frame so as to not give the public a bad impression ,while not disgaurding any and cutting our margins.

But really Jerry's point is very closely realted to why I thought this and something I have always thought about shoppers at BB.

I have as you mentioned ( Tom) always disliked the quality of RM I saw at most BB. However the public still buys enough of these second rate frames from the BB to necessitate people like Tom having to oreder 250-300 a week,while they Bitch and moan about the slightest imperfection in any we carry.Even to the point that we repair any before we put them out for sale.

Once again I say it is a PERCEPTION thing. The public thinks they are makeing a steal at any price they see at a BB . So if there is a "Slight Imperfection?" they will gladly over look it because they are "SAVEING SO MUCH" from our prices. Yeah Right! But It is what they beleive. And the BB sells 250-300 x $30 -$40 a week or $7500 -$12000 for what we don't want our name associated with.

Do you think that maybe THERE ARE some some things ( aside from C/P) framing that customers really don't know jack about what QUALITY and VALUE really are? And More importantly WHY they don't?
BUDDY

Is that a little clearer TOM and all?
BUDDY
 

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 16, 2000
Posts
16,188
I guess we need to define what we think about our businesses.

The clarion call is to man the ramparts and defend quality at all extremes. And I am not suggesting that we should not strive to do our best-not at all

But,we are resellers of products

I'm not sure that offering a blend of products that satisfy as wide a market as possible is not good business

We have to understand that all consumers are not as monolithic as we wish (or think). If we looked in our own driveways, I am certain that many of us have vehicles that some might think are "crap" quality; while some would think that some are way over-priced. One person's idea of value and quality might not match anyone else.

What makes framing any different?

Jerry makes a salient poin when he states that millions of customers think that we are too expensive. He is right, of course.

Millions do think we are too expensive, and they are right, we often are. Are millions of customers wrong while we 15,000 framers are right?

Buddy-when we start taking the position that our customers don't know "jack" about what we think is best for them, it's time to get out of the biz.

For, they will certainly take their "jack" and spend it where THEIR needs are better served.

Some of us have been around before the BB's started kicking our behinds and do you remember that we had the appointed "villains" back then? It was, in no particular order, the DIYers, or the guy down the street that always had a sale, or the guy down the street that always used cardboard.

We always had a "villain" to explain why we never quite seemed to get make as much as we were worth.


I just don't think blaming the consumer is a wise path
 

Framerguy

PFG, Picture Framing God
Joined
Apr 12, 2001
Posts
7,261
From
Destin, Florida
And additionally, some if not many consumers really don't care about quality or fine finish or great workmanship if it is going to cost them a chunk more than that readymade that "appears" to be every bit as glitzy and fancy and expensive looking as the real McCoy that is built with such loving care by us in the custom framing trade.

Some of this readymade stuff is essentially a form of injected plastic bondo that is molded onto a cheap wooden base and spray finished to look like an aged gold finished closed corner frame. A hand carved closed corner 23k water gilded counterpart of this thing would probably cost in the neighborhood of $3000 to $10,000 depending on size. But to some people the cheap Mexican knockoffs "appear" to be close to the quality frame that they may have seen in the local museum or on a National Geographic special and costs only $125 at their local RM craft/framing center. At HL we carried lines of ready mades in solid wood that were made in China and Maylasia and looked pretty good. They came in all the regular standard sizes from 8X10 up to 36X48 in some styles and people would buy these a half dozen at a time when they were on sale. They didn't need them, they just bought them because they were on sale and the customers felt they would use them sometime. It was almost an addiction for some of our regular customers who would wait for the readymades to go on 50% off sale and come in and buy a shopping cart full of them!!

Regarding carrying readymades in our custom frameshops, I also got an education in how many doctors and lawyers wives would regularly shop HL for their framing needs and, when I asked if they ever visited custom frameshops, many of them said that the shops didn't carry the frames "already put together for them."

The mentality here is not necessarily one of total ignorance but a lack of education in what a custom frame shop does for their customers and the difference in quality of the custom frames vs. the readymades that these people are so accustomed to shopping for at the BB outlets. Would I carry these RM's in my shop if I would open up again, maybe I would. It would depend on whether there was a BB store with RM's in their inventory in the area because the consumer would be more apt to have seen these types of frames and possibly be in a buying mode for them.

You can't argue with the volume of cheap made ready to hang frames that move through many of these BB outlets though. There is a river of cash flowing for this stuff and we don't seem to be tapping into enough of it to quench the thirst of a flea. Yeah, I would sell a variety of RM's in a heartbeat in my business if I found that there was an active market in my area for that kind of merchandise. You don't have to sell 250 of these frames a week, just 25 would add a considerable amount of income to your gross if you had them available for sale. If readymades aren't in your shop those shoppers are going to continue to shop the BB's and spend that chunk of change there instead of in your shop. And, once you get the people into your shop, you can gradually get them to upgrade their taste in framing and try on some of your custom work. The more times you can get them through your door the more they will see of YOUR work and soon they will be wanting the quality instead of the perceived savings they seem to be after at the BB's.

FGII
 

BUDDY

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Charter Member
Joined
Sep 16, 1998
Posts
11,498
From
Mandeville,La. USA 130 Blue Heron Dr.
Just a few correction Bob. First if you haven't noticed I AM out of the businss. But not because I think "customers don't know "jack" about what we think is best for them, it's time to get out of the biz."I said they don't really know jack about what QUALITY and Value really are .But I didn't add that extra phrase as "I think is best for them." I think what ever they want is best for BOTH of us but I also think ( to keep you anaology going) there is a definet quality differance between a chevy and a Lexus or a ROLLS and there is also a very real Value differance even when the better one cost more.Fortuneately in AUTO sales there is Publications like Consumer Reports and others to tell them what they don't know. But still many buy what is the cheapest thinking they are saving money when they will spend it later.Do you remember that old oil filter add "Pay me now or pay me later ,it's up to you?" But some don't know the differance.

IMHO Tom's last comments come much closer to what I was trying to say than how you portrayed my comments. But then a lot of people have trouble understanding my post,and some times the interpetations get even further from what I intended as they are passed along.

I think we take a bit more pride it what we offer but some times the consumer is shopping PRICE not quality. I think I said that in another thread about hand carved mats. Mine weren't nearly as nice as some and no where as good as say Brian Wolf's but my customers were happy .But I suspect that had a lot to do with the how my prices compared to other carved mats ( much too cheap,even at my quality).

But that brings up the WHY there is a differance in Quality and what we do to educate the public about the comparisons and the reasons for the higher prices. If I'm not mistaken Tom said something very similar about that in that last post also.

I really need to attend a Creative writeing class so maybe my thoughts can be better understood.

In a nut shell we should take in all the work that can come through our doors and we should do what ever it takes to get it there .But we shouldn't sacrifice our quality nor even the image it portrays just to make a buck.IMHO we can and should do BOTH.It is what seperates us from the BB.We can sell what ever thay do .We may have a hard time selling in their volumes and therfore offering their prices but some of our work is worth much more and we should tell the public what makes it different form the wham Bam stuff even as we sell it too.
BUDDY
 

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 16, 2000
Posts
16,188
Hi Buddy-Perhaps it is I that needs that creative writing course. That way I could more skillfully post a response that you didn't feel directed at you personally. Honest, it was made to all and I do believe that if anyone feels they know what is best for the consumer, they might be wiser to look for employment outside of the retail trade
 

Sarah Winchester

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Joined
Nov 6, 2004
Posts
186
From
Michigan
This a very interesting thread. Of course, the first thing I had to do was figure which one 'Tom' is....Framerguy, right??
I tried carrying Ready-Mades last year and they didn't sell. I am going to try again because I think they SHOULD sell, and if I'm not selling them, I'm doing something wrong.

More thought into this, and I'll come back.
 

FrameMakers

PFG, Picture Framing God
Joined
Mar 20, 2001
Posts
7,395
From
Powell, OH
Sarah, I feel that to sell ready-mades you have to show a lot of ready-mades. If you only have 20-30 then forget about it. To do this well you need to have hundreds.

It's all about preception. I have been in shops that only have 20-30 frames & they have a layer of dust on them. Others have thousands, and have huge ready-made sales volumes. It also seems key to put ready-mades on sale on a regular basis. Even if you double your reguslar price and cut it in half. Everybody loves a bargain.
 

Framerguy

PFG, Picture Framing God
Joined
Apr 12, 2001
Posts
7,261
From
Destin, Florida
Originally posted by Sarah Winchester:
This a very interesting thread. Of course, the first thing I had to do was figure which one 'Tom' is....Framerguy, right??
That's right, Sarah, I was fairly regular on the Grumble and took about a year's hiatus about the time you may have registered so it's quite likely that you didn't have a clue to the connection of "Framerguy", "FGII" (another story in itself), and "Tom". There are a couple other "Toms" on the Grumble so it is easy to get confused as to who is who.

Regarding offering readymades in your business, I think that Dave makes some salient points. You will need a large enough volume to have "readymades" stick in your customers' minds and , in an area where BB's have a presence, it probably would be a good idea to emulate their methods and offer a portion of them on sale or put them all on sale periodically as the big dogs often do. From my experience it seems that the frames of the smaller sizes are more in demand than those of say 22X28 and larger. We moved a butt load of photo frames in all styles and finishes and we had a large selection of open back readymades that moved very well. As I mentioned earlier I had to order on average 250 - 300 readymade frames per week during the "on" months. Of course we had slow times as did everyone else and I may have had to order only 125 or 150 frames on some weeks. But Hobby Lobby offers such a wide variety of products and gifts that if frames were off that week there was something seasonal or some sale offering that would offset the lower income from the frames.

I would suggest scouting out the Big Boxes in your area for their offerings and see what kind of variety they have on their shelves. If you have no BB's around then I would put some thought into carrying readymades at all. If they aren't available in your area in other stores and aren't imprinted on the consumers' brains as a bargain to look for, you may have a hard time generating interest in them. I can't explain this phenomenon but it just seems that people shop for their already favorite bargains and are more apt to go where they will recognize the merchandise as that which they have shopped for in the past or had some kind of good experience with.

FGII, aka, Tom, aka, Framerguy
 
Top