Why a frame shop?
The custom framing market in the United States is valued at approximately $2.5 billion, with approximately 15,000 custom frame shops in existence. Independently owned stores dominate the retail market (garnering as much as 65% of sales). Chains, including a small number of franchised brands, and custom framing departments within art & craft stores, obtain the remainder of the sales. The retail market in most cities is very fragmented, with few market leaders, and little or no store brand awareness (with a few regional exceptions). Most customers choose their framing provider based on proximity.
The custom framing market also belongs to the home decorating field, a much larger market, where purchases of items to be hung on walls can vary from art to sconces to mirrors to curio cabinets. The channels for acquiring pictures can vary from inexpensive ready-to-hang art found at discount department stores, to decorative framed art often found at better furniture stores, to original works of art purchased at exclusive galleries. Other home decor items such as curtains, carpets, furniture and accessories also vie for consumers' purchases.
The trend for consumers to spend more on improving and decorating their homes in recent years has allowed the custom framing market to grow, and has fueled a greater demand for well-designed and well-made home decor products. Recent homebuilding trends for larger houses with larger rooms and higher ceilings also help the custom framing market, as more or larger pieces are sought to decorate these spaces.
Despite recent downward trends in the housing market, picture framing remains strong. People unable to move into newer, larger homes choose to remodel or improve current residences, providing a continued source of work for the picture framer. Custom framers who employ good business practices are flourishing while less prepared framers succumb to market pressures as larger competitors prevail.
Recent co-marketing efforts with the photo and scrapbook industries seem to be taking hold. This creates advantages for all market segments. Indeed, the future looks bright for well organized, well managed, and well run independent custom picture framers.