Brush Your Ideas

How to Start Selling Picture Frames - A Complete Guide

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September 21 2020

There are a number of businesses that let you incorporate creativity with your business skills. Out of such businesses, picture framing is among the great ones. Let’s find out why.

Anyone who buys a painting or gets a beautiful photograph or portrait made would love to frame it with beautiful picture frames - or even custom picture frames.

If you have an eye for aesthetic designs and want to create and sell beautiful custom frames, then this would be the perfect business for you.

So, let’s understand how to sell picture frames in steps.

Step 1: Budget Considerations

When you think of setting up a business, your budget plays an important role in deciding its direction. In case you set up a physical store, make sure that you invest in a shop in a high-traffic area for better visibility. Though it may sound expensive, it would be beneficial in the long run. If you invest in a shop in a low-traffic area; you may need to spend more on marketing your store.

Again, if you want to set up a store with an infrastructure to accommodate everything - machinery, inventory of raw materials, workforce, delivery men, etc.; your budget needs to be quite high. However, in case you have a limited budget; you can opt for cost-effective solutions like dropshipping. This way, you won’t have to spend on inventory management, shipping charges, and other overhead costs.

Another way to sell picture frames is by opening an online picture framing store where you can offer your customers the freedom to create unique picture frames by integrating an online product design software product. This is a more cost-effective approach. 

For some businesses, a combination of a physical store and an online presence can also work well. If you want to establish your presence among customers in your vicinity, you can start your business with a physical store. As your business grows more popular and nearby customers start noticing it, they would spread good word-of-mouth and help increase your popularity further. You can also list your business on Google listings for people nearby to reach your store and connect with you better in person.

After having established your local presence very well, you can also launch an online site and use online marketing to promote your business to national and international customers.

Besides considering the initial expenses, also consider various ongoing expenses based on the type of your store. For instance, a physical store would need timely maintenance no matter how small it is. Similarly, you would need to spend on all sorts of online marketing practices in case you have an online store to keep it more visible and profitable.

In short, whether you open an online store, offline store, or a combination of both; planning your budget is a must. A well-estimated budget plan is the first step to establishing a successful business.

Step 2: Register Your Business

Business registration

Registering your business with your local authorities is always a good practice - rather a compulsory practice. If you establish a legal business entity - a corporation, an LLC, or a DBA; your business will stay compliant with laws and regulations. It would also help prevent you from facing any legal issues that an unregistered business may have to face in the future.

Step 3: Obtain Applicable Licenses and Permits

Once you have registered your business, get all the licenses and permits required to conduct your business. The licenses and permits you require depend on your business type and specifications. In general, you may need fewer licenses for an online business than those for an offline business. There are still a minimum number of licenses like seller’s permit, employer identification number, business tax certificate, etc. that you may need even for your online retail business.

Step 4: Analyze Your Competitors

Analyzing your competitors is indispensable. Without knowing the products your seasoned competitors offer, the offline and online strategies they use; you can’t compete well. Therefore, always conduct well-planned intensive research on your competitors’ offerings, promotional and marketing strategies, pricing, and more.

Only with proper research into all these things, you will be able to know in-trend custom picture frames, ideas of unique designs, pricings, ranges of discounts, etc.

All this well-researched knowledge will help keep your business relevant, competent, and ahead of the curve.

Though you can start with selling custom picture frames, you can expand your business once you have established yourself well.

For example, you can consider selling art and framed photographs and offer framing services. Similarly, you can also hire artists to create custom artwork on a commission basis. You can also tie-up with manufacturers or retailers dealing in hang artwork for walls and sell it on a consignment basis. This implies that you will have to pay for only the quantity of a consignment sold and you can return the rest to the dealer or manufacturer. These are some of the ways you can increase the overall profitability of your business.

Step 5: Decide on Your Target Market - Expand It

Target Market

If you want to make your business a big success in a short duration, you should have a clear idea of your target audience. In general, targeting the local audience who are on the hunt for beautiful custom picture frames can be a good idea.  If you succeed in impressing them with your custom picture frames and design samples, they’ll spread good word of mouth of your brand. Slowly but surely, this will help increase your local customer base.

The next step you can take is focusing on your repeat customers. Remember - efforts to attract new customers are generally far more than retaining your old customers. So, make your best efforts possible to retain your old customers.

The third step you can take to expand your target market by collaborating with a bunch of local interior designers with a huge clientele base looking for framed artwork. You can extend your framing services to even local galleries and museums that need their art pieces to be framed or reframed.

Pro Tip: Never look for quick success. Ensure that you don’t shell out all your capital reserve in diversifying your target market and end up facing a fiscal deficit later. Rather, expand your budget and opt for more and diverse options to increase your target market in steps.

For instance, big orders from interior designers can require more time and skills. Therefore, instead of taking them at the start, focus on strengthening your ties with local individual customers. Once you are ready with a sufficiently big local customer base, you can proceed to the next step - collaborating with local interior designers. Then with local galleries and museums - and so on.

Step 6: Promote Your Business - Well

Promotion and marketing - form the two cornerstones of any business. Along with a well-built business plan, strong promotional and marketing strategies also matter. These strategies depend on the mode of business.

In case you have an offline store, you can: 

➤ Use promotional pamphlets and newspaper ads for broader and better outreach.

➤ Collaborate with nearby retail stores that deal in a wide range of decorative items and are popular in the vicinity. You can display your samples over there on a commission basis and receive a fixed percentage of the total sales those stores make through selling your samples.

➤ Inscribe your logo on your design pieces for people to know your brand name. 

➤ Launch an online storefront to increase and strengthen your web presence and use local marketing strategies to enhance your outreach. Ensure that you display a map on your site to show directions to your local store(s).

In case you have an online business, you can:

Marketing Strategy

➤ Embrace the modern-day web-to-print storefront technology - to let customers order their products online.

➤ Use cutting-edge online product design software - to enable your customers to use their creativity to create their own designs for custom picture frames.

➤ Use On-Site Search Engine Optimization - to make your website appear in top search engine results. These strategies can include optimization of your website content and loading speed, and ensuring that it is fully responsive across all platforms and screen sizes. 

➤ Use Off-Site Search Engine Optimization - like registering your business in various directories, writing guest posts and SEO articles, participating in forum discussions, etc.

➤ Use Social Media Marketing - to promote your business across one or more social media platform(s) and increase your brand awareness.

➤ Paid Marketing - to utilize paid ads for a faster outreach to a large audience.  

➤ Email Marketing - to promote new products, offers, and form a personal connection with new and existing customers via numerous surveys like post-purchase surveys, satisfaction surveys, and more. 

Opinion: Though both online and offline business have their own significance, an online business can be a better option if you don’t have a big capital reserve to invest and want a wider outreach in minimum time. Especially if you are planning to go global in a few years, an online business is the perfect business model. 

All Set to Sell Picture Frames?

If you have made up your mind to venture into selling custom picture frames; you can follow well-thought steps as discussed above and succeed in that.

If you are looking for a web-to-print storefront solution along with an online product design software, you can drop us a line at sales@brushyourideas.com and our team will revert to you within 24 hours.

All product and company names are trademarks™, registered®, or copyright© trademarks of their respective holders. The use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

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Sulabh Chauhan

With experience in content writing and a good command over Grammar, Sulabh Chauhan is always up for innovative writing. He also possesses good research skills that become the source of valuable content in his posts. With an inclination towards exploring the printing technology, he keeps searching for the latest trends and printing industry practices. He is such a big cinephile that hardly any Friday of his life passes without a movie in a cinema hall!