Magazine Article


Custom Framing Provides Profitable Niche

Wizard’s Integrated Framer Visualization Software allows customers to see what their photos will look like matted and framed within minutes.
Ocean Exposure’s Chris Smith cuts a mat on their Speed-Mat unit.
Jon Weiner installed the Wizard system in January and has been happy with the results.
Ben Ham, owner of Ben ham images, said that the framing business helps complement his photo business and the majestic masterpieces he shoots.
With ten different frame/mat combinations, available corner sets, and the inclusion of a three-tiered Elevations Mat, Framing Made Easy gives users a custom frame without the hassle of being custom.

Wolf said that the framing world has changed and the digital era provides more opportunities for the retailer. "Technological advances in the picture framing industry have made picture framing possible for retailers with little to no previous framing experience," he added. "Stock photos can be pre-framed and priced for sale in the store. Photos and framing components can also be priced a la carte. Retail customers will appreciate the ease and convenience of 'one-stop shopping.'"

Wolf reported that Wizard makes it easy for anyone to get started in the photo framing business. CMC placement programs start as low as $145 per month and include month-to-month rental, lease-to-own, and purchase options. "Take advantage of the risk-free rental offer: rent a CMC for 60 days and if you don't like it, return it," he concluded. "Wizard will even pay for the shipping. All you pay for is the monthly rental fee."

Framing Portraits and Other Photographic Art

"Wizard's Computerized Mat Cutters allow you to cut beautiful, decorative mats perfectly, and in a matter of minutes," said Jon Weiner, owner of Frames, Etc. located in Roswell, GA, a northern upscale suburb of Atlanta. "Wizard CMCs are a cost-effective way to help grow your business."

In addition to running his full-service frame shop, Weiner is also a professional photographer. "I specialize in rock 'n' roll photography for print publications." he said. "Over the years I've shot rock acts from the likes of Jerry Garcia to the Black Crowes. In addition, I also shoot weddings to help supplement my framing business. Framing nicely complements my photography business. When I do shoot a wedding, they usually will get their portrait framed with me-it helps feed one business into another."

Weiner said he installed the Wizard system last January and has been happy with the results. "The Wizard has proven to be an invaluable tool for me," he said. "I'm a one-man shop and I need to get things turned around quickly. I basically chose spending money on the Wizard over hiring another employee. The Wizard also provides me with many creative choices. You can't cut this stuff by hand that quickly. It's a real time-saver."

Weiner also utilizes Wizard's Visualization Program in his store. "Wizard's Integrated Framer Visualization Software allows my customers to see what their photos will look like matted and framed within minutes," he added. "It's a great selling tool."

Another photographer using the Wizard CMC system is Ben Ham, owner of Ben Ham Images in Hilton Head, SC.

Ham's framed images are featured in homes, corporate offices, and boardrooms across the country. Shooting with a wooden large-format camera and capturing images on film, Ham's scenic works images are shot from sea level to the high altitudes of the Colorado Rockies.

"I'm a large-format black-and-white fine-art photographer who is in the framing business," he said. "I added framing to my business about eight years ago-once I found out it was a profitable service. I went from handheld mat-cutting at first to digital production with the Wizard CMC. There is a lot of money to be made in framing. In some cases, it costs more to frame an image then to actually shoot it."

Like Weiner, Ham also said that the framing business helps complement his photo business and the majestic masterpieces he shoots.

"Framing makes the whole package complete," he said. "When customers see the finished product framed, it takes on a whole new feel. Mostly everything that goes out of here is framed."

All of his images are printed on 100% acid-free rag Hahnemühle paper. The finished prints are mounted on acid-free boards and finished with acid-free, double, just-off-white mats.

Ham said he only uses one type of frame to give his images a signature look. "The frames are 3-1/2-inch-wide, Italian-made distressed wood," he said. "The profile is a relatively flat scoop. The look is old-world classic; the appearance is European antique. It's the perfect complement for tone and feel of the work."

He added that the glazing is museum glass. "This amazing glazing offers the added benefits of UV protection and an almost glare-free surface that does not soften the image as 'non-glare' glass does," he said. "You are tempted to touch the surface to see if glass is in place. There isn't a better glass available, period. My motto is, target the high-end market and give them the best product I can give, and they will pay the premium for it. It's paid off big time for my business."

Ham added that he gets most of his paper and supplies from LexJet. "I utilize LexJet as my main product supplier," he said. "I get most of the products I use from them, including Hahnemühle Photo Satin Rag-it gives the image a nice matte finish. I also use their inks and Sunset lines of canvas and paper. They even sold me my Epson 9800 printer."

LexJet's Framing Made Easy Makes Framing Easy

In addition to the wide selection of inks and media it sells, LexJet also offers framing solutions for the retailer. LexJet's new Framing Made Easy solution, featuring Elevations mats, gives those involved photographic and fine-art reproductions the complete custom framing experience without the hassle. The new frame kit line makes framing simple and economical, while it adds a new profit center.

"Short of giving away each print with a bag of thumbtacks, photo labs and photo retailers can profit by providing their customers with an image that is ready to hang," said Alex Ried, LexJet's product manager. "In the past, many retail locations and photo labs had offered custom framing as part of their services. While many still do, others have since moved away from this due to rising variable costs such as time, labor, materials, transportation, etc. Essentially, the costs of offering this finishing service outweighed the potential return on that investment.