make a difference with your frames

dave moen

Feb 14, 2005
Riverside, California

we are considering opening a small hand made picture frame shop, specializing in solid hardwood picture frames and hand carved picture frames.

the objective of this venture is to help support bible college students, by developing and preserving hand wood working skills; in developing countries.

the first location would be in the philippines, so my guess is local or regional hard woods would be the first choice; as this would help keep the costs down - for framers. with the second venture being located in thailand.

professionally, i am from the business development and technology world; so please bare with my newbie questions.

do you think there is a market here in the united states for solid hard wood hand made picture frames and hand carved picture frames?

if so, what are people looking for these days. do many people look for solid hard wood or hand carved picture frames. personally, i think simple and elegant designs would be good for hard woods then again i am a fun of the mission, arts and craft movements too. however, i think there might be a good market for some stand and custom hand carved picture frames.

we are looking to partner with some local framers and shops to help provide a market for their products. any advice, insights on the industry trends, customer needs; would great be appreciated.

if your a framer and interested in helping support our mission. please contact; for additional information or just make your post here online; this is a great resources :)

thank you for your advice in advance.

best regards,

dave moen
Hi Dave - Welcome to the Grumble! Your idea sounds like a good one - sort of like the Ten Thousand Village concept of giving indigenous peoples a hand in their own economy. Teach a man (or a woman) to frame.....

I for one would definately be interested in carrying some of your products. You could start out with the usual standard sizes, like 5x7 and 8x10 as photo frames and then work your way up. My customers are always looking for unique photo frames (now that dollar stores and drug stores are cutting into the readymade markets).

I don't carry many (don't have a lot of room) but I could support a few dozen, if the price were reasonable.

Good luck in this new venture - I think it is a brilliant idea. I am familiar with a group that supports several villages in India by engaging and teaching the folks to make statuary (cast resin and metal) and other villagers do the hand-painting and finishing.
Nothing wrong with hand carved hard wood frames.
Many may still feel sorry or embarrassed at increasingly using glittering plastic forms as frames. If you manage to keep selling price VERY low your idea might very well fly. But don't expect instant gratification or to keep most of what's worth for it takes many hands to carry and promote your product and each and every one is there to make money. Closer to product's final user you get yourself, larger the amount of money you make in that trophic chain.
One very important aspect you must strictly control is properly drying your wood for American use. A frame (any wood) will react dramatically and crack open in temperature and humidity controlled environments. Philippines and Thailand are humid tropical countries which make for much of your concern. Knowing wood first is a must if you want to be in this business.
Don't let yourself be taken by Framar's apparent grace. It does not come without conditions. Your product must be very appealing in every respect (design, quality, price, service etc. and those are qualities to be acquired and proven over a long period of time) in order to get a tentative order at first. Repeat order is a different story all together and it requires much fine tuning in all areas until the engine is well oiled and running round. That alone will take much dedication and a few good years.

If this business was conceived as a by-product or a kind of supportive activity for a Bible study initiative I'd be very cautious and erase most of what I wrote above as irrelevant.

interesting comments. for me the throught is about doing well by doing good; i have traveled and lived in many countries around the world and spent most of the past 15 years in asia pacific. the work that many of these artsans produce is wonderful, how ever in many place people are leaving as its increasingly more difficult to make a living. my throught would be to help make it easier for them, similar to fair trade coffee helping the small farmers get better share.

the is a great consideration about drying wood; where can i learn more about approaches to wood preperation.

thank you for you comments.
dave, the short answer sounds a little ungracious, but I will explain.

"Welcome to the Grumble, now you must leave."

But come back often. You did some great digging around in the internet to find the Grumble... now I'm afraid you're going to have to dig a lot harder and through a lot of very confusing bulletin boards of woodworking.

As a framer but first a woodworker, I extend my deepest condolences, and wish you well in your education. Wood, is a very addictive substance; woodworking is a viceral practice that can suck the time right out of your life and harbor your soul parsiminously hiden away in a solitary garrett or garage.... humming blithly as your hand graces over hundreds of years of growth....

Sorry, got kind of carried away there.

Hmmmm drying...

you might start with an email to Rob Johnson at Woodworkers Journal Ezine....
web page

then there is W.A.R.P. and the USDA, who you need to become friends with anyway as you begin your journey of importing agricultural produce (wood) into the US.

Then there is also a drive up the hill to UCR, and their Ag deptartment...

With a lot of hard work, I would say you're about 5-7 years out from filling that order for Mar.

Best wishes, good luck, and my the force be with you.

I would suggest googling "Scott Landis Green Wood".

I am not completely sure as to what he does but I believe he is participating in a similar endeavor of yours, in that he goes to Central America and helps the indigenous population to set up woodworking concerns.

He has helped to get through some of the governmental hurdles for importing the wood products they build, but mainly he is also helping set up local economies.

I also know that he had done some of the footwork that led to HomeDepot selling sustainable wood products (which they have since ceased doing due to not being able to get the quantity they needed. Kind of an ironic issue-not being able to get the sustainably grown wood in huge volume....hmm) But I don't know where his involvement ended or began.

While he may not be able to help you get your products across our borders and into pier one, he may be able to enlighten you on the hurdles you'll have to jump, and how to get started.

thank you for your insights, will take a look at those websites and continue my journy. i know there is lots to learn, but anything is possible in life if your willing to try.

for me, this may never be a huge venture; but the point is to help others and try to do well by doing good. much more fun then those corporate jobs. you see, i was a senior technology manager with wells fargo responsible for developing their wholesale internet banking poratal and before that was a director of technology with a leading hong kong venture capital firim. however, i think this venture could really make a difference and be lots of fun along the way.

thanks again for insights.

best regards,

dave moen
Holy cow, Cornel - "Framar's apparent grace" - never in my life have I been the subject of such a classy put-down!

Yeah, Dave, just call me "Pollyanna" - but what the heck - I am involved in a small "doing well by doing good" project of late and I wish you nothing but success!!!

Listen to the Wood Guys - they know whereof they speak.

As my good friend Peter would say "Cornel, you know just enough English to get yourself in trouble" (when trying to be sounding polished or funny).
Sorry if my words sounded like classy put-down. What I meant to say was that as friendly and encouraging as your post sounded, it would be wrong to believe that you (or every other framer for that matter) would buy frames just to support a "doing well by doing good" project, Design, Quality, Price and Service being the most prominent Gods and Godesses framers believe in.

thank you for your encouragement, i really like this idea and hope it can make a difference from some of these craftsman and artisans in developing countires.

to me, seems most are just exploited as i have often worked in developing countires and its hard to find a fair deal for their work at times.

i hope this work will help provide a more sustainable way of life for these professionals and even better if we can help the next generation too.

still have lots to learn, but thank you to those who are helping me better understand the challenges of this venture. we hope to begin production soon.

best regards,

dave moen