Let's help each other?

Jean McLean

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Feb 25, 2001
Millinocket, ME, USA
I missed a few weeks of Grumble and the first message I read today was about Larson Juhl cutting mats for JoAnne's? Well, good for them. If they can offer this service and get the business which in turn will help them stay in business...good for them. So, how about all the nice framers out there who are not big businesses and would like someone to help them with their mats? There are many, many nice frame shops who do not have CMC's and need help. Why always give it to the big guys? (Sorry big guys but there is room for both of us!) Here I am up in Maine wishing for someone to walk through my door needing a few mats. I have a CMC which is idol more than I want and am more than willing to help fellow framers out. Larson can have the big guys...I want to help other framers. Why worry about what Larson does? We all need to pool our resources and help each other out so we can all stay in business. Yes, I know about Jay Goltz, etc. I just want to say, hear ye, hear ye....I would love to cut mats for other framers who need help. I'm darn good, very creative, and have a Fletcher-Terry CMC workhorse! We are ready, willing and able. We are honest and fair in our pricing and I will not take on more work than we can handle. Call us if you need help. Sorry if I am stirring up trouble...I don't mean to. I just think that we all can help each other out as framers. I want to see you stay in business as bad as I want to stay in business. Cheers, Jean, in Maine
That brings up an interesting question...

What do folks charge for such a service?

We just bought a Wizard and have been approached by a couple local shops, and don't know what to charge.

Sorry...this is Jean again. Distance does not matter. I don't care if one lives in TIM-BUCK-TO or YOU CAN'T GET THERE FROM HERE (where I am!) It does not matter....you are only as far away as the nearest post office which is right across the street from me. Think about it folks....why let Larson or others all get the matting jobs, etc. Those of us who are willing to take on the work...speak up! I really feel there is ample work for us all. We can help each other and let companies like Larson help the big guys. I certainly realize I don't want that responsibility.

I wholeheartedly agree with you on helping out fellow framers. I have offered my experience and knowledge to anyone who is in need of learning. And there are more than a few around the Midwest who have benefitted from my willingness to share what I know with them.

I have found that my new location has a much more competitive air about it than my last location. That is OK if the framers want to take that tack with their business. I have found one framer down here that wants to learn and I will do whatever I can to give him some help and teach him whatever he needs to learn.

You can put me on the list for one who is ready to help with mat cutting, learning how to do certain tasks in the frame shop or whatever. I know how to teach and I am good at what I do and there is no reason to be anything more than open to those who don't know or who want to learn what I already know about framing. Those who take a guarded or defensive attitude about their business are only losing out on the knowledge of others who want to help further the professionalism of our trade.

Thanks for starting this thread. Maybe there are others who will take the initiative and offer to help those in their area or elsewhere with what they are good at doing in their shops. I know that many of us have little specialties that we focus on and can share with others some of the little hints and tips that will make their jobs easier.

I realize that this is going a bit further than you initially intended but we all need to be more proactive in keeping our business alive and there is definitely alot that we can give to others that will help to make them better framers also.

It can all begin with a simple email to somebody with a question and materialize into a good working relationship with other framers if nothing else.


P.S. The Grumble is what this is all about. Sharing and helping and answering questions of others. I have had other framers help me out when I was in a bind and I am willing to do the same to the best of my abilities.
After speaking with some other CMC-equiped shops, we'd be happy to cut mats for other framers, too. Bring or send your mat and we'll cut it -- $10 design and .18 a corner sounds about right. If we supply the mat we'll charge our cost for the board + design. Does that sound about right?

BTW we're not doing this right now, but we'd be happy to start :D
I think this is quite a nice idea that you folks have put up here. This is such a good idea. I think this might help out some of the folks that have had some health problems and other dilemas. This is very nice and i hope all of you can do this. I think it is important to help when you can. All of you guys have good hearts which create good ideas.

all warm and fuzzy
So, are the other framer's supposed to be mind- readers? Seems to me if you have a service to offer to others you should let them know. A friendly phone call or note should do the trick.

Framer's are notoriously protective of their businesses and what goes on in their shops. It's too bad, really. I have met alot of very nice people in this business through networking and would be willing to help anyone, even locally, if they asked. I had a couple of local framers help me out when I was new, and I've never forgotten. Sometimes you just have to put your defenses down and be nice.
Jan i hope my replies to the thread you have mentioned are not taken too negatively. I agree completeky with the concept of the small guys helping each other (Netweorking without wires LOL)
However i think you may have missed a very important concept in the original post. LJ is STARTING with JoAnne's at their request. However I am told that LJ plains to extend this service to ALL shops if it can be made to work. So you very well may be able to subscribe to the mat cutting service just as you have enjoyed Chop and Joined services ,when this is all ironed out.
However until then and even after the help of friendly competitors will always be welcomed I am sure.

Together Everyone Achieves More

Dermot.......given to me today by my 10 year old daughter.
Originally posted by Jean McLean:
Here I am up in Maine wishing for someone to walk through my door needing a few mats.
Create a brochure to that effect, visit art shows and other smaller framing shops.

Call every framer listed in the phone book and surrounding phone books.

Be on the lookout and keep your ears open (while you're out in the "world") for people who do their own needlework framing, and for people who know "part-time" framers.

It's not "if you build it they will come." It's "seek and ye shall find..."

We have a "Neighbor" who is actually about 10 miles from our shop. He has a CMC, and does both retale and wholesale. He has been very helpful to us by cutting a mat that did not fit our 48" mat cutter.

One of my salesmen told me about him.

As I tell my customers, it costs nothing to ask.
Dermot: TEAM - Wonderful. Don't children lighten up our lives? I will always remember this.

Buddy: I didn't miss anything. I am saying LJ can have the big guys and even the small guys if they work hard enough at it. I believe that there is more than enough work out there to keep us all busy if we work together. All we need to do is spread the word, get something organized within our own group to help each other, and distance should not matter. I live where I have to drive 1 hr. just to buy a pillow case and do just about everything through the mail. Postage and freight charges are a business expense that is deductable anyway and can be passed on to customers. I am sure LJ will be mailing orders just as I would. Think LJ will be willing to cut one mat for one of us with 10 openings in it? I doubt it. I will. If they do....will they do it as enexpensively as I will? Competition is good but it boils down to who you want to give your business to all the time. It does not always have to be the Big Guys. WE need to help each other so WE can stay in business. If your a large frame shop with lots of business and your own CMC then you are all set. It is the small shop that is struggling I want to help which in turn, helps me. Hope I made this a little clearer. Also...I want to make something else clear....I am not begrudging LJ anything. I like them, I order from them...BUT, THIS IS A BIG COUNTRY AND THEY CAN ONLY DO SO MUCH! Again, I say "let's help one another". Jean in Maine...www.memoriesofmainegallery.com If you want help, call me. 207-723-4834 as I am ready.
Try advertising in Decor and PFM
Jean McLean,

If you’re interested in getting custom mats done, check with Don Mar (actually their division run by Donny Junior – Sara Graphics). They have been doing our “oversized” mats for some time now. ... and they are cheap!

They will cut, say, a double mat 50 x 40 for not much more than I can get the blank mats wholesale.

I won’t link you to their web site ‘cause it stinks, but call Sara Graphics and talk to Joyce. They’ll send you a price list.

They have been a life saver (no endorsement of the software company intended).
Jean has a CMC.

I think she's interested in being the cutter - not the cuttee.

I've cut some mats for some other framers, but I backed off on that after the Mat Maestro ate the last two pieces of 40x60 suede.

It was too much like using your pitbull as a therapy dog.
Jean I wasn't trying to discourage you nor say LJ was the only answer. In fact I am at a bit of a loss since here in the New Orleans area their are suppliers that deliver on a tri-weekly schedule and cooperation between shops that are distant enough to not be in DIRECT competition has been the practice for as long as I can remember.
Why just Yesterday LJ failed to add on a leg that I needed of a mldg. that I came up inches short of(however I did call them after cutoff time.mea culpa!) and I called a very good friend who checked their invetory and then recomended another shop that might have it,when the first shop didn't have any didn't. so we not only help each other but we ecommend others that might also hep. As for cutting mats Even before CMCs when that same shop ,I called had a Fire ,I allowed them to use ALL my equipment till they where up and running again. I have also heard of a FEW shops that have Wizards that will cut special mats for those who just can't see their way clear to pay the $250-4350 /month.
However ,here we have shops that just down the street from each other ,(some times that's not such a good thing.LOL) So it's not hard to locate help especially when we were all involved in PPFA.
But back to the LJ concept .They will Automatically download your customer's order just as you might in your shop from your POS Comp. to the CMC. Then they will package it and send it out with your next order. This is much faster and WAY more safer than Snail-mail espeiclly when as you say "ordering just One mat". I shudder to think what will happen when the postal service ships that nice fragile ,flat ,thin mat.LOL
However I can't agree more with your concept of what competition does for the price of things . I have often been annoyed when at Framing shows and seen the price quoted for certain equipment that I KNOW is available else where for less ,only to have it priced astronomically because they feel they have a captive audience. Even when there is only one source the price is more "What they can Get" instaed of what it is worth for what it helps with.
So by all means Advertise your concept and do it for a better price and keep the big guys honest. But realize that they do have some advatages that we may not and sometimes those advatages inable them to do things faster and maybe even cheaper than an undividual can. Unless you are willing to just be Altruistic and help those less fortuneate than yourself. If so I really commend you. I know I've been there and done that and will in the futue. But some times you find out all the effort wasn't really necessary.
I hope I didn't sound too negative nor uncooprotive ,because you can belive I am anything but.

[ 02-07-2004, 10:39 AM: Message edited by: BUDDY ]
I like your idea. I would love to network with other local framers, however, that doesn't seem to be the case with others around here. I even invited one framer to go with me to an open house at one of my vendors. She looked at me like I was an evil person trying to kidnap her for evil purposes. I also asked another framer what he would charge me to do a specialty mat on his CMC. The price was really high --- if I remember right, it was full retail or very close.

I finally found a vendor that charges me the cost of the mat board plus $1.75 for a rectangle opening. There are various charges up $6.75. I thought this was reasonable especially since I couldn't afford a CMC.

You are onto a great idea, just let others in your area know you are willing to do this for them.