Winner molding

Whynot

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Some of your corner samples sell for you much better than others. What is it in your opinion the true combination of factors that would make a certain molding into a winner in your shop?
Your answers would be of interest to manufacturers of all kind, I hope.
 

Baer Charlton

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It's already on my wall, 68-078C. Close second is
the 51-500w. :D Antiqued solid cherry, and a narrow ebonized walnut. [cuz there aint no true black]
 

Bob Carter

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Hi Cornel-Some factors we deem important:

It has to pass a couple of "smell tests". The first of which, it has have a high level of appeal visually;the staff has to like it. If they don't like it, those corners might as well stay in the box, because they won't come off the wall very often.

It needs to fill a need on our wall; it can't be just another, similar at a few pennies off the original. We don't need more "me,too's"

It needs to represent great value or great design; both are great. Lacks both and it stays in the box. Great design can overcome great value, but only in degrees. That doesn't mean it can not be spectacular, but you mentioned winners, not favorites.

Has to fit my market

Now, how the heck wil that help you? I think this is so subjective that 31 flavors will seem restrictive.

One of the lesser issues for us (and this will probably not be what you want to hear)is the complexity of finish or source of origin. Our consumers are less impressed with how many hand rubbed layers or high the Karat rating than if it looks spectacular on their piece.

To me, a winner is that moulding that literally sells itself on the perfect peice at a price that yields great margins and widely acceptable price to the consumer.

That selection process is a mile wide and an inch deep and is constantly changing

It would have been easier to ask what makes a beautiful woman. Actually, that would be easy. I would just show you my wife
 

Jay H

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Bob is correct
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His wife is very easy on the eyes!
 

stud d

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Why did Bob say " Hi Cornel" ??? Is this someone switching up their name?

You know this is one of those things that no two frame shops will agree on. Take a walk into some shops: one will be all gold leafed finished corner frames and the next can be gold, but the nickel a foot junk, the next hard wood finished corner in house frames, the next shop is the acid wash decorator type of style. Each shop is going to be different. That is why there are many different companies out there.

The kwality should match the price, a good rabbet (so more than a single mat and glass can fit into the frame), a reasonable company to deal with, a good looking sales consultant with a shiney head...well 3/4 is ok too
Patrick Leeland
 

Whynot

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While mentioning specific lines and models may be of illustrative and comparative value in this case, Bob’s answer is more in line with what I personally was hoping to gather from you. As I had suspected it, a winner is that molding that made it into framer’s heart for a number of good reasons. Understanding all those reasons and their particulars are of most interest to me.

Mandatory requirements such as successful molding must fit one’s market and be visually appealing aside, I’d like to better understand the following:
1. “It needs to fill a need on our wall” is an intriguing formulation. Bob, everybody else, can you further elaborate on this concept (the need part)?
2. Great design can overcome great value, but only in degrees. When and in what degrees?
3. What about great value and not that great design? Is great value alone a powerful propeller by itself?
4. “Great margins and (yet) widely acceptable price to the consumer” is one more intriguing hint to me.
5. I wonder if winning molding recipe differs from one end to the other of the market. If so, how does it?
 

Bob Carter

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Jay-Thanks for the compliment. One of th egreat mysteries of life is how she stuck with a simpleton like me. All I can say is that I sure got the best of that deal

Cornel-We get swamped with corner samples and the process has to be very discriminating. I cannot articulate what specifically drives the process, but it's one of those "you know it when you see it" things. Does it fill a need or replace an existing? Do we have any calls for that type of sample? We carry around 1200 samples on our wall and I'll guarantee that we probably only sold half of that (and remember, we are one of the bigger users). We do attempt to keep a wide blend, but acknowledge where the breadth of our sales come from.

You ask about great value and great design. We sell to as wide a demographic imagineable, my answer will certainly be much different than the mainstream approach. We do not actively seek only one or two segments, and our high end is not our most popular category. An item may look great, but without empirical data, I will suggest that for every dollar over $15/ft retail, there is a diminishing, inversely proportional, sales history. Go to $30/ft and it is very noticeable and so on until the sample never comes off the wall. Just because it is a fantastic doesn't but needs to retail at $35/ft, almost ensures a poor sales history.

That doesn't mean we won't/don't show it. Just like that bottle of Dom Perignon, you have to a few bottles in your restaurant, but not many like it. Conversely, the majority of wine sales are probably in the $20-30 a bottle range.

Is price the great propeller? Not entirely, and in some clientle not much at all. But, there is a reason there are 16 First Class eats on an airliner and 146 coach seats. We need to offer First Class seats to that group that will/can pay for it, but we need to acknowledge the critical importance of the Coach passenger

Great margins come from skillful buying. It is difficult to score a skillful buying advantage on Dom Perignon. Sure, if you bought a boxcar load you could certainly get amuch better price, but how much of the stuff will you sell? I am a mechanical retailer trained in areas like Gross Profit and Turnover. $200 a bottle doesn't have a high degree of consumer acceptance. It needs to be on the menu and it needs to carry an elitist price-the consumer expects to pay a premium.

But have you noticed how often, when selling high(est) end moulding, the mfgrs often suggest a reduced margin? Do you think Cadillac or Tiffany's use that same mentality?

Price is important and needs to factored to each level of the buying public's needs. It is not monolithic.

For me, great value simply means the "perceived price" greatly exceeds the suggested price (based on margin). In essence, if it looks like it ought to sell for more, it ought to. The value to the consumer is when that price is still below that "expected price" but a greater margin than a "normal, cost based" markup
 

Rick Granick

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I agree, Bob. That's an excellent analysis and analogy. I don't see any logic or advantage to being a shop that has "3,000 frame styles to choose from". It's just an administrative headache, and it intimidates the customer. The old 80/20 rules still applies. The key is to have a versatile selection of useful moulding styles that you know will "get the job done" for you, however you define the job for each particular order or customer.
One of my favorite suppliers just came out with a series of frames that replaces ones I used to get from a supplier that's now out of business. They are beautiful, but the cost point is only slightly below what I used to be able to retail the old ones for. Meantime, another one of my suppliers had introduced a similar series that is almost as nice, but at a more realistic price point. Like the restaurant stocking wines, sometimes you just have to go with a compromise, as long as it meets your basic standards. You will sell a lot more of it.
After framing for 33 years, choosing is often a gut feeling that turns out to be right.

:cool: Rick
 

Whynot

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Not at all, Jerry. Dave only wanted to say that in his shop free corner samples were guaranteed to better be noticed by way of taking the most prominent place on his wall, which in return would bring about higher than usual selling records for that moloding.
:D


Bob,
special thanks for your generous and instructive answers. IOU.
 

Phoneguy

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Because my shop/prep/layout/customer area is all in one small room in my basement my samples are all in boxes. I recently organized the boxes, by colour, size, and time needed to order (next day vs 2, 3 or 1 week availablity). I put some really big gold stuff at the bottom of a big box because I never get any customers who want that. First lady came by to pick up 5 prints, and left 2 more...One in a really big clunky gold frame! Go figure
 

geperry

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Whynot: Where in the northeast are you?

In my shop, I don't sell much of the elaborate stuff. Mostly a nice clean gold with simple lines, same with the silver. There seems to be a trend towards the cherry mouldings lately. Been told by a local lumber dealer that cherry has been more affordable lately. I don't sell much white colored moulding. Sell lots of blacks. My customers are mostly home and business owners (lots of hotels in my area).
 

Walt C

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Another consideration is customer service and availablility. If I have a supplier/manufacturer that gives me heartache when I have a problem (bad cut, color markedly different from sample etc) or if their mouldings are on constant backorder, their samples don't get a very prominant place on my wall (if any). And more importantly, I don't steer my customers in that direction when helping them design a frame.
 

JudyN

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The ones that sell best are the ones that "sell" themselves. They have to have a quality look about them.

And they don't have to be "free"... lol
 

Whynot

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Winner molding must be also about steering your customers, as Walt C. is saying, toward your favorite moldig. That explains a sensitive part of my dilema concerning this topic. I was trying to understand why a certain molding/frame of mine was selling exceptionally (obsesively)well with one of my clients, in Washington, DC, while same model is doing modestly in the rest of the country, not to mention that some designs are doing excellent in certain regions but not so in others. It isn't strictly about filling a need on one's wall, I guess...
 
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