Frames are meant to protect, display and hang onto something special. Custom framing allows the opportunity to preserve and present anything that has meaning to the client (i.e. art, a piece of the Berlin Wall or a wasp’s nest). However, it’s unfamiliar territory for a lot of consumers. To help you better understand this art, Ken Herren and Melissa Williamson-Herren, owners of Your Art’s Desire in Minnetonka, explain their journey to the business, recommend tips for first-time framers and present a few options, from price conscious to over the top.
The Herrens have a combined 38 years of experience in the framing business. Neither one of them expected to pursue framing, yet individually, each fell in love with the business. With Ken’s nursing background and Melissa’s social work experience, these two came equipped with the relational skills that allow them to deliver much more than just a beautifully crafted frame.
Their passion is evident as they treat each client uniquely, listening to each story with the same engagement as the last. The human connection is crucial to them, as they believe the best custom framers are builders, artists, carpenters, interior designers and listeners. Customers are essentially leaving their most prized possessions in the framers’ hands, with no guarantee of the end result. For this reason, the Herrens agree this field calls you to act with integrity.
Demonstrating their commitment to honesty, they offered up the real dirt on how first-time framers could approach custom framing:
1. Find a place that asks good questions, collaborates and listens. It’s all about the relationship!
2. Be weary of the “always on sale” framer. Material costs are similar across the business, so remember the best price isn’t always the best framing.
3. Keep in mind custom framing is a one-time purchase. It’s unrealistic to compare ready-made framing with custom framing.
These tips can be quite handy, considering the numerous misconceptions about custom framing. A common misunderstanding is that custom framing is expensive. Most custom framers will work within the buyer’s budget without compromising their vision. As Williamson-Herren says, “It’s a hard illusion to break because we are creating things that are meant to be timeless in a culture that prioritizes price.”
Another obstacle for first-time customers to overcome is the perception that there is set criteria defining what’s considered frame-worthy material. “It’s just a…” is a common phrase for consumers that don’t always believe their art, picture or artifact qualifies. In actuality, it comes down to what’s special to the individual.
Thankfully, the final product usually removes all doubts about custom framing. The Herrens agree that as the final product is unveiled, it’s seeing it all come together. According to the Herrens, at Your Art’s Desire, more than 70 percent of first-time shoppers become life-long customers. That speaks volumes.
If you’ve got a piece of art that’s in need of a frame, Your Art’s Desire has a variety to choose from. Here are three frames and three price-point options to consider:
- A simple, affordable, classic frame is available for $106. This includes a 12 ¼” by 14 ¼” frame, mat and UV-protective glass.
- To bring things up a notch, $240 will buy a 13 ¾” by 15 ¾” wood frame, UV-protective glass and a triple mat (three color options).
- For those wanting to splurge, a top-of-the-line arrangement is available for $385. This includes a fabric mat with a fillet in a decorative wide-profile frame. Fabric mats are favored for their density of color, texture and richness. The fillet is the small frame within the larger frame. No glass is needed because the top of the art is laminated, protecting it from UV rays and water. For a finishing touch, they brushstroke the art, allowing it to resemble an original masterpiece.
Custom framing encourages the client to become the artist. And with all artists, it’s about embracing the freedom to define what is beautiful.