How's It Going?

Framing Goddess

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Jul 18, 2000
Cleveland, Ohio
I don't know about the rest of you, but the holiday season is in full swing here.

Hanukkah is next week and many of the pieces on my 'to do' list are due before then. And 90% of the remaining pieces are for Christmas. My incomplete ('to do') list is easily double what it usually is and there is more flowing in daily.

It seems that the rush has amazingly started early this year.

If that isn't good enough, I just rec'd a big box of juicy new closed corner samples from AMCI, yum. And did I mention that I am wearing a groovy pair of new shoes I treated myself to while I was in NYC this past weekend? ( )

Okay, okay, I am bragging a bit, but I want to know if anyone else is feeling it like this already.

Edie the happyascanbe goddess
It's nice to hear that someone is busy. We are a new shop in a new strip mall and all of us are SLLLLOOOOWWWWWWW. If this keeps up I'll be closing before my first year open party.

Happy Holidays (or so I hear)
It's a little crazy around here, FINALLY!!!!

The problem is the last minute people coming in with requests for this weekend!

And I LOVE the guy who came in Tuesday, and asked if he could have his painting framed by Wednesday afternoon, He brings it in I measure and he takes it home to finish.

OK so I do it. Then when he has to pay he is bothered with the PITA rush fee. He asked what PITA means, I tell him, he laughs and doubles it for me! Hey I said I loved him right!

As I said last time, Merry ****ing Christmas, it's here.......
Normdog, it'll come. If not put out an ad saying to the effect of Frame that artwork you GOT for X-Mas!

NJ is the birthplace of the mall, you have to do well! Good luck.
So... Where in NJ are you??
I have an interesting thing going here. I had a great Nov. and have a good backlog, but this week has been surprisingly quiet. Wierd. A few small jobs, but not the holdiay rush I've had. Maybe it will pick up in the next two days.
Oh, JB, I feel your pain. I've been there and back several hundred times, it seems.

This last down cycle was particularly brutal. The first thirteen years of business, we had constant, though sometimes slight, increases. The last four we have been, at best, flat and have even dipped below the previous year's numbers. Ouch. This year we are even with last year (not a banner year by any stretch) and the influx of new business recently has me optimistic about December.

All subject to change at any moment! I'll keep you posted through the dark, cold days of January and February. I'll probably have to pawn my jazzy new shoes then, for a scrap of stale bread...

Edie the butfornowI'mstylin' goddess
WOW, Thank you all for the support, it is much appreciated.
Framah we are in Warren New Jersey. You can see the shop at

Off topic ... I just noticed I am no longer a Grumbler in Training.. I thought I felt a little different today. I think I should get a pay raise. (that is if I actually got paid for doing this)

(I am used to spellcheck so pardon any mistakes in my spelling)
We do free gift wrap here .
We are busy all day long wrapping presents. We love doing it and the customers are thrilled.
We have also taken in many high end frame jobs along with our regular $100. to $400.00 type frame jobs.
Being in business almost 25 years helps. It does take time to build up a business. You can shorten the time period to build up a biz by advertising ALL the time. Never stop even if you are busy.

We have a very nice bunch of customers.
Here in Seattle, we aren't feeling the love here. October was our worst month ever, and November wasn't much better. Now it's after Thanksgiving, and we're still waiting for this "rush." I'd settle for a normal month of business at this point. This week we had one new job in. One. And two people came in to take their work back. So really, we're -1 in net orders this week. I haven't had anybody take back an order in years, and now two in one week. It's gotten that bad.
Ok I got to thinking and I decided to find out if this season is any different than some holiday seasons of the past. So I dug up a few threads from days past.



The story never changes. Most are people are busy for framing but doesn't have any sort of huge rush. So I called pops. He told me that in the 80's it was the same story. His sales were way above non-holiday months but he was rarely hammered (with work not booze) to the point of not handling the workload.

I have way more work coming in now than I did any other previous month and its more steady. Lately the first time I look at a clock is 1:30 when I think, "I had better get to framing." However I'm not hammered (again not the booze) and I feel the peak is near. Fortunately I'm ok with that. I wish it would be busier but I'm happy with what I have.

For what its worth...

Carry on!
It seems to be the year for shadowboxes in "Sweet Home Alabama". We have just finished a large christening gown, jacket, and cap. Now we are on cub scout and boy scout uniforms with all the memorabilia. Next comes a football jersey with pictures, etc. While other places in the country have been doing these kinds of jobs for years, people in the South are just now catching on. Business is good!
That’s funny you say that because I was telling my wife the other day that I am dying for a 2-dimentional object.

In the last three weeks I have framed 2 stupid name doily things, 2 street signs, three antique textiles, a jockey uniform, and three baseball theme boxes. Shew... what I wouldn't give to frame a photo or print!
I've been taking in so much work that it's hard for this one man show to keep up with writing orders and designing. The last half of November almost tripled the first half. The scary thing for me though is that 90% of the work isn't for Christmas! When will people start bringing in the holiday orders? The good side is most of my customers are kind enough to tell me that there's no rush and they can wait until after Christmas...and I believe them!

I think my customers may be setting me up! I've already had a few say no rush and stop or call a week later to ask if their work is ready because they're having guests over this weekend. Of course I can get it done...!!!%&*&% with a big

My best bet is to keep working and stay on top of everything I can. Get everything out NOW! That's why I'm still here at 12:02 am. Of course my mind is going and I decided to grumble before going home.

I've been in business long enough to know that the faucet can turn off at any minute or gush and all I can do is be ready for either.

Dave Makielski

"You can't change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust your sails".
I'm sensing I won't be having much of a holiday season this year. My sales have never been stellar but each year I have been over the year before and that at least indicated some growth and forward motion. This year has been eerily quiet. I've had one kick butt month all year. It also just occurred to me that I have not come in on Sunday for most the year, there just hasn't been any need.

I haven't seen most of my spendy customers this year either, in fact my average ticket is down. It is hard not to take it personal, but, to my knowledge I have given good service and my return business and referrals is just about all I have got.

The odd thing is when I sent out postcards to my database last month I noticed I had 150 new names added this year. That seems like a lot of new names considering my business is down. I see that many new customers as a positive thing although they aren't spending as much money as I would like.

I also had a really good Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving which I never really have before. I had high hopes it was a sign the season would be good.

I've talked to many others in this area and everybody has told me they are down too, so it is just the local economy having it's way.

Lordy, what a long three years it has been......
It is pretty weird here. Some days we have a spectacular number and the next day we check to see if we have turned on the OPEN sign... We have finally gotten to the extra Holiday Page of workorders (computer generates the ToDo list, which keeps us all straight) and some have been tricky and therefore fun things, but there have also been a lot of new mats in old frames and repair of broken glass, too. Well, we'll take anything for money. I feel that things are sputtering here, so maybe the economic engine will catch, turn over, and finally start running.
Things started out with a bang here. Nice corporate job, alot of other higher ticket jobs in November. No traffic at all this week. Kinda scary. The only thing I can attribute this to is that M* is running 50% off a complete job. Also they are running a 24.99 price on any 8x10 with a 2 inch border. Ad says hundreds of frame and mat choices. Is this being advertised in any other market?
LIttleframer, yes it's in columbus as well. the only bright spot is the Big Boxes are all cutting off Christmas orders this Saturday.
Most of the work I've taken in this wk has been for "after Christmas". That's normally a customer's way of warning me that they will NOT be picking up the work and paying the balance until after the first of the year. January is typically a good month for me, but this upcoming January is gonna be great as I've got a big 31 piece job for one particular customer that's remodeling his home. This job along with about 25 other jobs on the list will make January super.

November started out wonderful and then was sorta slow for a week. The week of Thanksgiving, the holiday work poured in. We're just working the jobs in the order they come in and so far, the two of us are staying right on course.

Overall, for the year, I'm up about 10% over 2003. As long as I see growth, I'm a happy camper.

Another thing I've noticed this year, as Ellen mentioned, have taken in alot of upgrade work. Changing out mats, upgrading glass, etc. Just as Ellen mentioned, it's all good.

Tis the season....
We started mid-November with a bang, and have slowed a little on framing orders, but our gallery sales are surprisingly strong. Maybe this will be a harkening back to Christmases (?) past?
We've been chock full of some fun and interesting orders lately.

Thanks for the shoe site. I like strappy shoes, so Pico is my favorite. Do you think they will ever appear at Value City?! I got a nice pair of leather-lined green suede Doc Martens there once. What a deal.
Jana--- send some of your overflow up here !!! Have only heard the X-mas word twice in the last 2 weeks - so it looks like it's gonna be another banner year. OSU stuff slowed down also! GO BUCKS !!!
Jerome - does that mean "nothing"??? If so , I could say the same!

This is my worst year EVER (after 23 years of ups and downs!). I have only written one frame order ALL WEEK and that was only for one frame!


In the mean time, (or mean times) I have kept myself busy making up "free frames (free to me, that is!) out of discontinued corner samples, old customer frame discards, scraps of moulding from here and there. I cut these (by hand, with my Canadian Tire mitre box and saw), and repaint, refinish, or decorate them. At least I'll have some stock if or when those last minute folks come in for cheap small frames!!!

I also keep a supply of unfinished simple wood frames in standard sizes, which I can paint, stain, or decorate to match anything.

I was thinking today that maybe someone put a curse on my shop. Anyone know any good witch doctors???
Originally posted by Framar:
Anyone know any good witch doctors???
(let's see if I can do this...)

Ooooh, eeee, oooh ah ah. Bing, bang, walla-walla, bingbang. Oooh eeee, oooh ah ah, bingbang, walla-walla bang bang...


Man, is it late, or what?
In the future, when searches are being done pertaining to sales at Christmas time and someone comes across that last post of mine, I will flatly deny that I made it...

That's OK Betty - cause I think it goes "Ooh eeh , ooh ah ah, TING TANG walla walla bing bang" but I never read it here, folks!!!

Betty - What are YOU doing up at this hour???
Boy, do I have to teach you guys everything?!! You got the chant right, but for the curse removal to work properly you have to simultaniously wave a paper bag of Little Debbies over your head....

In answer to the original question, the week before Thanksgiving we were booming and I thought "Woo-hooo! Good season coming up!"...the last 2 weeks, the door has barely opened....a sales rep came in yesterday and said it was not much better up in Dallas. Now, where did I put the bag of Lil' Debbies?
Does it matter which kind of Lil' DEbbies? I have Oatmeal Cremes!!! Gonna try it today!

Every Rep I have talked with in the last month say it is slow in this whole area.
Little Framer:
M* is running that promotion here on the West Coast as well. We also have a local art supply store that is offering custom cut mats. Interesting thing is that they have a three day turn around time, you pay for the cuts, then, if you don't already have the matboard, you're charged for that as well.
Well, ... I have to appologize
right after my earlier post I had a reasonably substantial order. Then yesterday, was dribs and drabs (kind of average orders) until this young (to me anyway) kid comes in. He has a 11 x 14 B & W portrait photo. Throws it on the counter and says how much? "Keep it low please." So I show him a single mat with one of my "discount" flat black mouldings. He says anything a little nicer? So, we wind up with a reasonable design. He pulls out 3 more and says do these the same. Then he sees my World Series panoramics and says "I'll take three of those." Then, he pulls out three 4 x 6 photos and asks if I have a "triple frame" for them. I say no, but I can cut a triple opening mat and frame them up. We do a reasonable design and he says, here, I have 6 more. Do them all the same. Long story shorter, this "kid" drops over $1500 in quick and easy, good margin jobs!

yeah, I love the holidays!
Framing Goddess, just a note about your shoes- thanks for the link, those puppies are fab. I was just salivating, ooh-in, ahhh-in..

Still lovin' my blue Fluevog's, tho...

I have nothing to add about how the Christmas season is going, sorry for the shoe sidenote.
(now is that technically a frankenthread, since she mentioned shoes first? oh, these rules, I'll never get them straight)