How did you end up doing framing?


Jan 20, 2005
For us It was such a crazy story, I was woundering how did you guys decided to get into framing?

A larson juhl rep told us: "framers always came from somewhere else. Nobody said when they were 5, I want to be a framer when I grow up."

It's true for us, My husband is a Photographer and I am a Flamenco Dancer. we both enjoy framing a lot and can't believe we get pay to do what we do. We want every job to be as perfect as possible and I guess that's why people come to us.

Framing was not our dream but it became one of our pasions and a dream job. He is still taking pictures I'm preparing to dance profesionally. But I think as long as people keep on coming we'll still be making frames:}
I think I am rare. It is the first and only job I ever had. I took a 6 year sabbatical to have 2 children, then started my own business.

I started when I was in college. I needed a cheaper way to frame my art (I was a fine art major). Started working for Prints Plus, then graduated to real framing. Been there ever since (10 years and still going).
I'm in it to make money!!!

(Why is everybody laughing ??? :confused:
It's the only profession I have ever known.
And I have always known that I would be self-employed, I wasn't quite sure as what, but something in visual arts was appealing.

I started framing when I was 21 as a part time college job and never stopped. Seven years later, I expanded my job to that of an entrepreneur and business-owner. Yikes.

It has been treacherous and exciting and horrifying and interesting and gratifying and hugely responsible for who I am today. I have made my living doing this for the last 17 years and I don't know what else I would do if it weren't for picture framing. I suppose I would find something if I had to.

Edie the buticoulddothisforeverandbeveryhappy goddess
I started framing after my hobby - cross stitch took me to have my first piece "professionally" framed; I knew I could do a better job! I was so disappointed, that I started to look at the industry in my spare time. Practiced on my own things and my familys' things out of my basement, word got out, and then it started from there. I kept my day job, did my framing at night, and the more involved I got into the framing, the more of a pull I felt to move away from my corporate job. After 8 years of basement framing, I left my day job and opened my studio (a building built specifically for framing) september of 2001 (bad year to start off anything like that!) I did well, and then the only gallery left in the village near where I live, went out of business, I networked to get a space and got it, and now, 2 9 months later, I have moved into a larger location and am expanding my services focused around framing. I am turning my other location into a different type of retail shop that meets the average tourist consumers'wants :)

I'm like Cliff, I want to make money!!! I have invested everything back into the business, and I think this year will be the sunlight at the end of the tunnel :)

I think a passion for what we are doing once we get initiated into the professionl, seals the deal. I can't see myself going back to the corporate cubicles - EVER!

my 2 cents

Had a roommate in that was a manager for a wholesaler. I had a mishap with a job, was not my fault, then he said work for me. I figured what the heck. I was doing the art school thing so it would help me. Since I have worked as an itern at a museum/arts school and three great frame shops. Now I am back to where I started in wholesale. I love the business, I can't see leaving the industry. Great folks and I love to see art.
Patrick Leeland
The usual way:

Marine Geology > SCUBA diving > underwater photography > Brooks Institute of Photography > picture framing.
My Mom taught me everything I know.

21 years later... thanks Mom.
Ten years ago I bought an existing business without ever having framed the first piece. The previous owner stayed on a few months and the employee stayed a couple of years. I got my feet on the ground and went to framing school in Atlanta. I surround myself with fantastic help and like to spend my time with customers and doing the business end of things, although I still help with the framing. A great career for me. And we just celebrated 30 years in business.
It all started with me when my wife kept after me to get some kind of hobby. I was working in a major shipyard in the planning and scheduling section.

I'd always been interested in woodworking, but didn't have the room in my garage, or the equipment, to pursue this fully. So - I tried a smaller scale - making frames.

I did this for a few years when my wife was offered this business. However, at the time my job was taking me overseas for a year. Lo and behold, the day before I left we took possession of the business.

When I returned from overseas, I helped out on weekends. After another year and a half, I made the decision to quit my job and work the shop full time with my wife.

We are still trying to make it a profitable business, but are sure having fun doing it.
Nadia ;
i don't mean this ina negative fashion but I think somewhere in the archives of the search feature this question has been explored before.I say this in an attempt to allow you to maybe see more replies.

That being said ;I got into framing when my wife Marie took some of her cross stitching to a local shop for a specialty mat ( it followed the roof line of a group of Row Houses) .I thought the price was exorbitant and said "I can do that".
The Framer agreed to loan me his Dexter and straight edge if I thought I could. To his amazement I did on my first try. He then asked me to cut mats for him.

I have been learning ever since but the two biggest things I have learned is that you rarely complete an involved mat on your first and only attempt ,and that is the reason they cost what I thought (THEN) was exorbitant.

I also learned not to allow sucess to go to your head. The end all job may be just around the corner and NO amount will adequitly compensate you for your efforts.LOL But you never say that can't be done either.LOL
I had spent a small fortune for 20+ years having family heirlooms, portraits framed by a custom framer. After I retired from teaching school, I started working with a local framer as his bookkeeper-organizer-office manager. He started teaching me; and after going to the classes in Atlanta, I started helping him full time. As of Feb. 2004, we are now partners 50/50.
I have been selling equestrian art of almost 17 years and had a wonderful arrangement with a frame shop in town. They did all my framing wholesale and I made money on the framing and did not have to do anything. As I expanded and took on finer art I wanted to increase the options I was giving my customers for framing. When I talked to the owner of the frame shop and explained that I would like to offer nicer mouldings and multiple opening mats etc., they said I needed to learn to do this myself or find someone else. I started taking classes when ever they were available and have now been framing for about 4 1/2 years. It has been the greatest thing I have ever done.

To me vacation = framing classes!!!!!!

I think if I live to be 120, I will still go and take classes to learn something new! Not only do I think it is great fun, but it is what seperates me from alot of the other framers in town.

I New to the site and haven't read the all the past postings. One of my regular customers ask me this question the other day and got me thinking about how others framers got into this.

So what better place to ask than the grumble :}
I wanted to be a FARMER but answered the wrong add. It wasn't until I joined 3000 frames and cut 5000 mats did I realize that their was no cow or chickens.

Now with my own shop after working for others for years I am truly going broke fast.

With that said I won't get out til I hit rock bottom.

Maybe then I can find a farm.
It goes like this (1977 to present):
Fashion Design-US Navy-Scuba Diver-Travel Agent-Radio Production-Radio Ad Sales-Sail Maker-Tour Operator- Charter Boat Co Owner-Event/Wedding Coordinator-Yellow Page Ad Sales-Local Newspaper Ad Sales-Framer!!!!!!
My Dad is an artist and I've cut lots of mats for him and did a little framing. At some point I collected antique nautical prints, framed them and sold them. So, art has always been in my life. Growing up, my mom and I were always involved in some type of arts and/or crafts (from weaving to Batik, from candle making to quilt making).
I opened my shop Oct. 18, 2004..... barely 3 months and business has been good. I just secured a large job for a hotel... making frames for 6'x3' mirrors for all their rooms! In addition, they've asked me to re-mat a few dozen prints as well as order a few dozen new prints!
There are plenty of artists and hotels in this area to keep me busy.
Now, if I can only feel confident enough to price for a nice profit!!!!!!!

Isn't that a contradiction in terms?? "New Jersey Farmer"?? :cool:

So here's another contradiction in terms. I was an autobody man for 33 years and, during that time, I raised quarterhorses and appaloosas on my farm and the last 3 or 4 years of my bodyshop career I got into homebased framing before I opened up my first shop in 1990!

I guess that would make me a bodyman/farmer/framer at one point in my life!!

(Man, was I confused!!)

But, as many of you have already mentioned, I love my work and that is 90% of the battle for peace in MY life at least. If you love, truly love, what you spend your time doing, the money becomes a lesser part of the equation. Peace of mind and harmony with your surroundings speak strongly for a fulfilling life.

I have always had a creative background: pottery, photography, graphic arts. At the time I began looking into buying a frame shop I had been with my employer, a well known health/spa resort, for 12 years. The original owner of the frame shop, whom my mother and I both knew, was in the process of selling the shop after 22 years. One day my mother said, 'We should buy Anne's store'. I thought that was an interesting suggestion but it didn't go much further than that. About a month later my mother said ' YOU should buy Anne's store' This time I began thinking about it, talked about it and then began the process expecting something to halt or derail this idea. Well, nothing got in my way and here I am 3 years later.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Originally posted by Framerguy:
Isn't that a contradiction in terms?? "New Jersey Farmer"??
Believe it or not, more than two thirds of the geographical area of NJ is rural, and 90% of that is outside town/village limits. Much of the produce that feeds NYC comes from NJ. There are also some fairly large dairy farms.

So, it isn't called "The Garden State" for nothing.
Thanks David, you beat me to it.(Framerguy)

My high school football team was also called the Fighting Farmers.

Don't believe what you see on the Sopranos, that is only a small part of Jersey (the second highest income state in the nation, second highest real estate prices in the nation)