One must wonder if you, grumblers, know of any other oval frame makers, better or even worse than In Line Ovals is.
You see, I don't buy the apparence that all grumblers are made of same stock and are perfectly happy with one and only one maker and his line (quality, look, price, service etc.).
In fact, I truly hope there can't be a common denominator when it comes to oval frame manufacturers, regardless who gets to take all your votes. After all, you don't seem to be equally gray and sparkless when it comes about regular frames and moldings. Right?
No, Matoaka, I am not speaking of In Line Ovals' gentle monopoly. In fact their monopoly is just a narrow perception resulting from grumblers' rather very low expectations when it comes to oval frames. I know for a fact that there are many capable oval frame makers but grumblers seam to ignore all but ILO.
There are costumers that can't pay much for an oval frame and they are happy with just about anything as long as it is of oval shape. But sometimes, when a client is so demanding as to ask for a 26 x 42 inch large oval, rather than go for rectangles of same size in hundreds of different profiles and finishes (leave alone the fact that oval frames are more expensive to begin with), he might be willing to get and pay for more than just a shiny oval shape. For those rare cases (that spell money in your pocket as well) I was pushing the subject beyond ILO.
I can't believe that you, in person, can be honestly happy with say Bandix' gentle monopoly, and willing to ignore the rest of the suppliers, just because you can put together frames in any sizes and thousands of profile-finish possible combinations using exclusively Bandix Moldings. This is what grumblers look to me like any time oval frames topic comes into attention. All their sophistication fades away and what's left is called In Line Ovals. Sorry, but that's the truth and this thread is rather proving my point until this point, don't you agree with me?
I don't necessarily agree with your premise. True, most framers that need an oval frame think of Inline Ovals first but who do they think of when you mention "Big Box Framers" or "All in One Shopping Convenience Stores"?? It is a matter of convenience to everyone rather than stepping out of line to offer their patrons a more sophisicated line of oval frames. The whole world is geared to CONVENIENCE nowadays.
Decor's 2004 Sources issue lists no less than 54 companies that carry oval frames. There is probably duplication there as to the brands of oval frames carried but I wonder how many framers have even checked with AWC, Artisan, Frameguild, or even Abe Munn's business for ovals of a different quality?
I would not condemn all framers by what you read on the Grumble. Most posts offer the names that readily come to mind when one is typing out a reply to somebody's question about most anything. Alot of framers use Inline Ovals and have not looked further because of the everpresent advertising in most of the trade magazines. You have to dig a little deeper to find quality in many items that we all use from day to day.
While I agree with most of what you’ve just said, grumblers’ devotion for In Line Ovals strikes me like very odd of a preference (not to say quite superficial and undeserving rating). Here is why.
You see, I got to know hundreds of American framers and I can tell you from first hand experience that they usually are well educated, sophisticated and extremely curious people, always ready to go the extra mile in hope to find that special new/different/better design, quality, service or price. In today framers’ world brand loyalty is a dream, regardless how ever present someone’s ads may be. The lower end framer will very likely be on the look for cheaper knock offs while the higher end framer is always seeking to be different if not unique in his offer. This is not a make for brand loyalty, right?
It hurts me to see that with its very modest quality and boring designs In Line Ovals is truly venerated across the board by all grumblers. You see, if I were asked to recommend an oversized oval frame maker, my first question would be: “what is the available budget” or some other line of questions as to determine what the real need is like. Jumping to recommend upfront one manufacturer over the other sounds unprofessional and sends very bad vibes back to me.
I think one reason framers aren't going to a lot of effort looking for sources for really fine ovals is that - in my market, at least - the interest in oval frames has wained steadily for the past 20 years.
15 years ago, I stocked oval frames in a good variety of sizes and styles and they turned very nicely.
Now I sell maybe a dozen-a-year - mostly for Olan Mills oval "portraits" and the occasional cross-stitch.
Let's compare ratios to see if you can understand where I am coming from.
In most frame shops there are maybe 1000 - 1500 frame samples on the average. The number of jobs coming into the shop may vary widely but let's take a figure of about 10 - 20 per week. The average frame sale in most shops is around $250 - $350 according to recent polls. Out of those jobs sold, I would venture a guess that maybe one oval every 3 months would be a high estimate for most average shops.
Now, if 30% of your frame sales (of those average 10 - 20 per week) are high end sales, how many high end oval frames would you be expecting to sell over the course of a year? Maybe 1 per year? 2 Per year? I am speaking hypothetically now, and using some dreampt up averages for the typical small frame shop.
Is the effort involved to keep records, samples, catalogs, and references for high end ovals on hand worth the time it takes to keep everything current? Or would the average framer simply fall back on the most convenient source of oval frames for that one sale occasionally? How many other oval manufacturers have a real presence in trade magazines and art publications? How many framers know where to look for something out of the ordinary for a high end oval frame?
I am not condoning the use of Inline Ovals as the only source of oval frames for a typical shop, I am simply trying to indicate the trend of most framers to go the extra route for that which sells frequently and take the path of least resistance for those items that hardly ever are asked for.
I am constantly pulling down frame corner samples from my display that don't sell and replacing them with new samples that I think might sell well. If the market isn't there in a particular area for a certain type of frame, ie., closed corner, ovals, etc., most framers won't keep a display of them on hand to take up wall space that could be dedicated to some type of sample that WILL sell.
I am working on a bid for a starting order of 60 assorted sizes of oval frames for a local group that is raising donations for a new project. They don't want to invest in high end frames because the point of the project is to make the largest amount of money for the project that they can raise. I got bids from 5 different oval suppliers including Inline Ovals. The bid that I accepted was NOT from INO but another company who carried the line of ovals that the client found to be attractive to their cause and price range. I would not stand a chance in you-know-where of getting this job with expensive but well made attractively gilded oval frames.
I hear you. By the way, you should consider teaching because your thoughts are very well structured and delivered, no kidding.
You see, my friend, I was not pleading for either high or low end oval frames because I understand the reasons and the merits of all manufacturers in this market.
However, correct me if I'm wrong, when I hear of someone asking for an "oversized oval frame" of exact size 26 x 42 inch that rings to me like a client with purpose and means. FraminGal was able to offer 30 x 40 oval frame but her client did not go for anything less than 26 x 42. Oval frames are more expensive than regular frames and a price concerned client would be less likely to be so assertive.
This is why I presumed that FraminGal may be well advised to start by offering better quality custom made frames first. Instead, three grumblers rushed to offer ILO as if they were asked who is the least expensive and boring oversized oval frame manufacturer.
ILO is perfect for decorating Gray Hound waiting rooms though. I give'm that much.
Tanous from London make bespoke ovals either finished to your requirements or unfinished and you can gild them yourself to whatever spec you like.They will also make spandrels etc.
Not cheap but not nearly as expensive as you might imagine either.They ship anywhere in the world too.They also have the biggest selection of swept frame styles that I have seen to date.These type of firms need to be supported or else all we will see are the crappy jelly mould rubbish that comes from Taiwan.