If you are selling direct to collectors, you should offer framed art for many reasons. (See my book Guerrilla Marketing for Artists: How 100 Collectors Can Bulletproof Your Career to learn how and why selling direct to competitors is important.) You kill sales if you don’t show and ship your art as a finished ready-to-hang piece.
Leaving it up to the art buyer to have to go the effort and expense of finding a framer, selecting suitable framing is usually a bad idea. Your odds of making a sale get dramatically reduced when your buyer has to factor in the expense and often frustrating and exhaustive chore of selecting the right frame.
Although generally true, depending on your work, this may not be accurate. Some galleries want to do the framing, but not many. Some will have your work framed locally at your expense.
One of the galleries where I worked did lots of custom framing for the interior design and ordinary buyers. With hundreds of choices to start, just getting down to a few corner samples that seemed most appropriate was a time-consuming task. With indecisive customers, it was worse. There were times when they would leave a piece with us to come back another day to work on the frame…YIKES!
Jason Horejs, my good friend and co-broadcasting partner on our monthly Art2Market Sessions, wrote this incisive blog post about framing, The Challenges of Framing Art. He gives readers useful insights from the mind of a successful gallery owner. Like me, he believes you will sell more art with framing.
Spend all you can afford on clothes, but make sure they’re quality, not flashy since clothes make the man. – Shakespeare
I liken framing to clothes and would paraphrase the great Shakespeare to say “Framing completes the art.” Not to be outdone by the like of Shakespeare, Mark Twain said, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” You get the point. Framing adds a finished quality to art. It is also functional in providing protection to the art and adds ease in hanging options.
Here are just a few of the reasons to frame your art:
It is my belief that the success of art sales and fulfillment sites such as FineArtAmerica.com is due in part to offering a framed art finished product for buyers. They give options for framing and substrates, but they do not overwhelm the customer as a giant wall of corner samples does in many frame shops.
I am not saying the experience in a custom picture framing shop should be avoided. It often is the best solution for higher priced art, things that are difficult to frame, and for those who want the most advanced art conservation techniques used in the framing process. You will only find those services in a professional picture frame shop.
Keith Bond, a regular columnist for the Fine Art Views blog published by FASO.com, penned an incisive post titled, Don’t Skimp on the Frame. He suggests spending about 10% of the retail price of your art on your framing, although he spends 15% on his because he feels it is that important. His range is in-line with Jason Horjes’ research in the above mentioned post. He found a range of 7% – 15% was the average spread on picture framing.
I have known Kim Klatt for decades. He and I were once friendly competitors and ultimately worked together selling magazine advertising and tradeshow space in properties such as Decor and Art Business News magazines, and the Decor Expo and ArtExpo tradeshows.
Kim and his wife, Tracey, are the proud owners of Picture Perfect Framing. They are salt of the earth kind of folks who go out of their way to help friends and customers. The type of people, you are happy to call a friend, and can say it with conviction.
They have a versatile product for artists that will help them sell more work and save them money in several ways. Check out their site. They offer a very affordable selection of float frames. Artists can purchase completed float frames in a wide variety of sizes, styles and colors.
Additionally, they can accommodate custom sizes and still keep their prices affordable. They are able to do this because their frames are assembled in a just-in-time method. That means they are not carrying a large inventory and overhead of pre-built frames. Their buyers gain from this economical way of managing their orders. It allows them to pass savings along to their customers.
Besides Perfect Picture Frame’s wide selection and low prices, their frames are double-boxed. The advantage to the artist is once your art is framed, you can reuse it to ship or store your art. You save on shipping costs because you are not paying for shipping materials. If you pack a lot of framed art for shows, this is an excellent way to get the work safely to the show – and back if it doesn’t sell. Or, out the door with a happy customer who is not faced with getting a fragile exposed frame home securely.
Here is what customers have said about the shipping boxes:
Just wanted to send you a quick picture of some of my work in the float frames I get from you. These are wonderful in the gallery and the buyers love them. I must say that these frames are much nicer than any other float frames I’ve examined and seem much more substantial and of a higher quality. Considering these frames are also the best price on the market I consider it a doubly good thing! Also, the way you package them is genius and I appreciate the fact they each ship in their own box with a fabulous extra piece that holds them and can be adjusted to various sizes. The gallery actually uses that piece to ship other art since it holds it so nicely. Overall you do a wonderful job and I really appreciate all your extra attention to detail. Thanks very much!” – Gail
“The way you package them is genius and I appreciate the fact they each ship in their own box with a fabulous extra piece that holds them and can be adjusted to various sizes. The gallery actually uses that piece to ship other art since it holds it so nicely.” – Fred
If float frames are a solution that will work for you, then you owe it to yourself to give them a call, or order online.. I have no financial interest in giving you this recommendation. I am doing this because I believe the whole concept of float frames and double-boxing with multiple use shipping makes sense. I can also attest to the quality of the customer service I know you will receive from working with my friends.
You research the 600+ blog posts on this site, and you will find a handful at best over the past ten years where I give this kind of recommendation. Try working with Kim and Tracey. They want you to be happy with your results and promise to work with you to achieve them.