Signage from large companies

J Phipps TN

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Jul 14, 2004
Kingsport TN
I'm just curious,

If the moulding companies were to offer signs and ads for display in your shops how many of you would take advantage.

Maybe if we all say we would be willing to invest in the signage, then maybe the large companies like Larson Juhl, Decor, Roma, and any of the others that I'm not thinking of would be willing to start up programs for displays and signs.
Just like the flooring companies and the car industry do.

Have you ever been to Lowe's and seen the display ads for the different floor companies? You know Lowe's doesn't make those up. It's the floor manufacturers that make those up. That's why you also see it in the independent flooring shops.

Who doesn't know about Stain Master Carpet?

So lets put pressure on the big guys to step up and help us little guys out. It's all about branding and if the manufacturing companies won't do it then we can't do it for them.

I mean we are their bread and butter. So if we keep bugging them maybe they will step up to the plate.

What do you think?

Am I way off base or right on target with this one?

Jennifer :confused:
I have the Larson sign stuff up, And it's great but I am talking floor ads and not just from one company. I mean all of them should be doing it.

And what about TV ads and store front ads and displays to place in windows. Just like thier booths in Atlanta. We need all the larger companies to start doing this.

Also sale ads in addition.

LJ also has TV ads for you.

I would guess that if you are a good customer (their eyes, not yours) most companies would proide you with artwork that you request and you could bring it to your local sign company to customize it to your needs
If anyone is interested, I've designed several merchandising signs that coordinate with my direct mail print ads. We have an Epson 9800 printer that can print 44" wide by any length you desire.

I've posted pics to show you what the completed signs look like. We dry-mount the signs to foamboard and suspend them from the ceiling ... they look outstanding, and draw a lot of attention.

I do freelance design work on the side when I'm not busy framing pictures. I'd be more than happy to lend my services and design/print large merchandising signs for your store.

If anyone is interested feel free to contact me at

Also, more of my work can be seen at: or

Those are great. That is exactly what we need. I may want you to do some for me. Do you ever do moulding logo or is that Taboo?

I think the moulding companies have it backwards. If you want us to become "big enough customers" we have to have the right tools. They should help provide those to all of us if we are a dealer of theirs. At a cost of course, I'm not asking for a hand out, just help with marketing "thier" product.

We are professional framers, not marketing professionials.

Am I alone in this? Am I the only one who thinks we should expect this from the largers manufacturers?


I think you're right, Jennifer. That kind of signage benefits your suppliers. If they are smart, they'd be willing to help you out with some freebies. It may be a simple matter of asking. Make sure you ask all of your suppliers, and put up materials from whichever ones provide it. The laggards may eventually take the hint, when they hear back from their reps that the competitors are doing it.
Most of the moulding companies already do this and I take advantage of them in my store.

Roma and Studio and Larson Juhl are the three I use at present. Ask your company reps and they will be happy to supply you with all kinds of neat and useful gadgets. My particular favorites are from Roma. We have aprons, a moulding inches chart, tape measures, note pads, and too many other useful things to remember.

Our customers actually notice and ask to see the lines, which I think is interesting to prove the point that branding does make a noticable difference. At least in my store it has.

Jennifer, I asked the regional manager and my LJ rep for this kind of thing when I first opened. Kind of like the beer companies do for liquor stores.

An open sign with an LJ logo I would have purchased, business hour sign, plus POS merchandisers. Nielsen has the slat wall hangers with their logo on them that are nice. I use those for my ready-mades etc.

But, I agree, more "brand" signage would give many of us independents visibility.
I am viewing this thread with a skeptical eye.

Unless there is a <u>tremendous</u> blitz in consumer marketing by a moulding manufacturer like Larson-Juhl, I cannot see how in store branding would help us.

In twenty years, there has not been one customer who asked specifically for Decor, Roma, Presto or whatever moulding. If the sample looks good on their art, they don’t care who makes it. And, since there has not been a such consumer marketing blitz by any manufacturer, not one person in a thousand has ever heard of Larson-Juhl, for example.

Likewise, I cannot recall someone saying, “Gee, I love the color of this mat board, but it’s Crescent and I really wanted Bainbridge!” Nobody cares.

To me, having an in store sign from one or several distributors comes with a catch: it makes us beholding to them and makes us just a little less independent.

Joint marketing and advertising ventures in the media, … that’s a whole ‘nother ball game and maybe a whole ‘nother can of worms.
Thank you Lori,

I will ask! I think if we all do it, It will eventually help all of us.

And Bill,
The reason no one asks about a certain line is because they don't know about them. That is the whole point. If they see signage, they will be more likely to ask and learn.

Also, it just gives credibility to our stores. Even if they don't understand, it makes them feel good to know there is a larger company backing our product.

I can't wait to call Roma and get my stuff!!!

Jennifer, I have also gotten aprons from Crescent and Larson. I have seen that sort of merchandise from a number of vendors, but not the "in-store" signage variety except the Larson black signs. They aren't bad and I use them, but more POS kind of displays would be nice.

And Bill, I agree with Jennifer's last statement. The instore signage helps with one variety of credibility. Think when you go in a wall paper, or flooring, or window treatment store. Even when the brand is new or little known, people "feel better" when the display is "impressive." And, I think a "brand" display feels more comforting to the consumer.

I suppose I'm an atypical consumer, but I really care about quality and it's reassuring when I see quality brands. If, after surfing several websites and seeing people selling Neilsen and Larson-Juhl, I go into my local framer and he's got no-name molding that's "just as good", I'd better have a relationship with the guy already or I'm apt to be skeptical. Or he's going to have to spend the time to sell me on the quality of the molding, time he wouldn't have to spend if he simply had the stuff that has an existing reputation.
Could be creating a monster...

What if the consumer becomes so educated that he/she asks for a certain brand that you DON'T carry - do you lose the sale or roll it over to a brand you do carry. Seems like it could make it more difficult for the framing designer/sales person and it can be hard enough now.

I think this scenario is a long way off in the future, if ever... but that was my first reaction after reading thus far.

Roz, I am considering a laminate for for my art/loft area. I found some tile look-alike Pergo in one of the big boxes. I went to my independent flooring guy. I told him what I saw and liked. He said, "I can get that for you, but ..." proceeded to show me a different brand with a very nice POS display and explain that this was "comparable" and because it was his "standard" brand he could get it for me for less money.

It looked as good to me and I believed him. (maybe I'm gullible, but I don't think too much)

I haven't bought yet, but if the design (color, etc.) he has fits when I get to it, I will likely go to the small guy. (His prices were as good, and his brand is comparable. ;) )

The key point here is that the display was an important part of subliminally convincing me of the products quality.

I don’t think you are an atypical consumer at all. I think all of our customers demand quality products. But most people don’t go on forums like this or surf the web looking for brands of picture frames (or mats).

How, as a consumer, do you know that Larson-Juhl is a better product than, say, Admiral Moulding? Just because many other framers use the stuff doesn’t guarantee that it is good quality.

I would venture to guess that many more bars have flashing signs for Budweiser beer than those for Tuborg. That only indicates that Budweiser has a better marketing campaign than does it’s rival.

The difference here is that frame manufacturers have not had a marketing effort to reach the consumer directly, so the average customer is not likely to have a preference for (nor likely to have even heard of) one product over another.

I am still not convinced that having a Roma or a L-J sign above my corner display will make anyone believe that I am anything other than an outlet store for those products (sort of like a Dexter Shoe Store).
Originally posted by Bill Henry:

I am still not convinced that having a Roma or a L-J sign above my corner display will make anyone believe that I am anything other than an outlet store for those products (sort of like a Dexter Shoe Store).
I am with Bill in this and wonder how far your insecurity can go?
All you may hope to get is be less independent, less prestigeous, and look more like a Home Depot or Hardware store where the client comes in asking for a 2 ton epoxy glue and, if you don't have it, goes next door. Assuming the potential/regular costumers had learned to recognize one line from the other (which I doubt they care to do), insted of buying you and your work, they'd buy XWZ, not because of your rare designing qualities, but becaiuse of their brand loyalty.. You need to develop customer addiction to you and your work, not to your tools and acessories' brand names.

I do sell frames and still don't need nor care recognize my competitors' lines. Why would then your once or twice a year client be more curious than I? They care for looks and price only.

Who really cares that his home appliances were made by one or the other manufacturer? Let's be sober, LJ or Roma are not Tiffanys or Rembrands, yet they may be the best you can offer. Besides, what would you tell your clients about knock offs being less expensive than brand names? Do you expect them be horrified and be paying more for the same as long as it is the orriginal brand? Who are you kidding?

Again, in reality this is not a discussion about frameonomics, but about feeling very confuse and insecure and turning to "icons" with prayers for help.
I just have to say, This kind of branding has worked in the flooring industry for years and I beleive it can work for us too.

If you don't think it will work, don't do it.

But for those who do.... Stand Up! and put pressure on the big manufacturers to help us sell their product!
Remember, it is their product and we are the retailers who are making their bottom line for them.
I have seen an increase in my sells since putting up a Craig Ponzio wall, and I believe it does bring credibilty to my small but high end shop.

We need to quit whining about the BB's stores and start making the best of what we have.
And the one thing we have is the high end lines with a name brand.
I know you say that JoAnns carries Larson Juhl, but my understanding is that they are not allowed to carry the Craig Ponzio line and if you see that they are, Then you need to call for that matter, we all need to call them and raise the roof!

We need to stomp and scream and fight for our small business.

I truely beleive branding is the way to go. We just need to stand togather and demand the resources to do it.

The more of us we have asking, the more they will feel the need to provide.

This is just my opinion, and I am going to drive my reps crazy untill it happens. I hope you guys will too.


I will get down off of my soap box now
I love the signs like Matt posted. Those aren't manufacturer specific signs. They are store specific signs. I think that’s what is called professionalism. I'm moving at the end of this month and my new location doesn't even allow hand written signs.

I thought that this thread was about branding our store and showing our level of professionalism through signage. If so that I'm all for it. I think posting signage specifically about a moulding company is pointless and lazy.

Somebody mentioned wallpaper earlier. We have all wallpapered right? Can you tell me who are the better wallpaper companies and who are not? Heck I'd be doing well to name a single company. Same for paint. I like how Home Depot has the gourmet colors like Ralph Lauren and Disney. But I take the specifier up the desk and request this color in any paint under $40/gallon.

Matt’s signs boast his gift certificates, sales, website, and the like. These are areas he desperately wants his customers to know about. Advertising a Craig Ponzio wall with signage isn’t what I would call setting yourself apart any more than the signs, I ignored, in the wallpaper store and paint store did.
I guess you've never heard of "Stain Master Carpet", or "Wear Dated Carpet"

I have and I remembered them, and would feel better about a store that carried them, knowing they are backed by the larger company!

Just because I'm good at sign making doesn't mean my product is worth anything.

A manufacturer's sign is not backing your business but theirs and it's always speaking for their product, not the way someone else may put to use that product. You are by no means backed just because your money bought their product. Manufacturers won't get into qualifying users and backing the best of them with distinctive signs, much less all of their buyers just because of that.

LJ sign does not back you any more than you both are validating the artwork that goes into your frame and LJ, you and the artist are conjointly backing the constructor who built the wall that
the framed art will finally rest on.

You seem to have a personal vue about brands, labels, ads in general, and being admitted and supported in special. If so, you don't need to wait for the manufacturers to send you their original signed signs. You can doctor personalized signs and diplomas in hope that your client would be favorably touched and buy one more frame than needed for the occasion.

I can't explain it any better than that without beig wrongfully suspected of a second degree in psychology. Masterpiece has done a wonderful job without waiting for anybody else's help. Why complicate things? Do it yourself. Decorate your shop the way you see fit.
"Stain Master Carpet" and "Wear Dated Carpet" is seen in every TV ad, every home decor magazine and every carpet ad in the newspaper, that is why you recognize it. I don't recall ever being asked about a particular brand of framing material in 20 years. We don't need that kind of branding. If it were a worthy endeavor I am willing to bet all the companies would have inundated us with signage.

The important thing to brand is your store and your image. That is the only thing the customer is going to remember after visitng your store. I had a lady the other day looking around my store when she was writing out her check. She was looking for my store name of which I have very few. That is a big clue to me to get my name up in more visible places.

The suppliers have gone to good measures to brand their product to us, it is instantly recognizable to us because we are the ones buying it from them.

I'd love to see the suppliers go out and market custom framing to the public....
Originally posted by J Phipps TN:
I truely beleive branding is the way to go. We just need to stand togather and demand the resources to do it.

This is just my opinion, and I am going to drive my reps crazy untill it happens. I hope you guys will too.

Jennifer, you are right, Branding is the way to go need to brand your business and you can't do that by relying on your manufacturers. You have to do that yourself.

Here's my opinion, Drive your reps crazy about something like this and they may not help you in the future with things that really do matter.
I do have plenty of signs around my shop and lots showing what we do. I have done my part and am very pleased with the result.

My point is that, when I chose to carry a moulding company, I am selling thier product for them, and they should help with the promotion of that product. Not all of it, but at least a portion of it.

If you have a retail store, usually, not always, but when you invest in a line of products, the company with offer promotional items.
Some that come to mind are Yankee Candle Company,
Aspen Mullin Spices, Boyds Bears Inc,ect.

You guys act like I'm asking the moulding company to do it all. I'm not. I'm just asking for help in promoting their product.

And those floor companies are not "backing" the installation of the product, just the quality of the flooring.
It's the same with moulding. The Company is backing the quality of the finish, not how I put it togather.