Case Study: Picture Framer - Rosy

What do you do?

I help customers to design framing layouts and choose the type of mount and frame for each piece of artwork they bring in. We discuss the decor of the room in which the picture will hang, and make decisions based on this. I then do all the framing myself - including cutting and assembling the frame, mount and glass.

On top of these things, I am the owner of my own picture framing business, which means that I take care of the administrative side of things too. This includes things like bookkeeping and invoicing. I also teach framing courses in my shop.

What is your background?

I studied art at two different colleges before working as a designer. While I enjoyed working in advertising and design, I felt that I would like to have my own business.

I began doing my own framing, and eventually I was able to open a framing shop. It has done well, and I've lately been able to open a second framing store and gift shop.

What characteristics do you need to be successful in your job?

A picture framer must be hard-working, and complete his or her jobs quickly and cleanly. It is also important to be personable and organised. You must not only be polite and friendly to customers in the store, but also be consistent in answering their phone calls and following up on projects and paperwork.

Framers must also have a strong combination of creativity and practicality. The creativity comes into play when you're coming up with the concept for a frame, but the practicality is necessary to decide on materials and the approach you will take.

What other jobs could you do using the skills from this job?

Picture framers could use the skills they've acquired while dealing with customers and apply them to a position in public relations.

Woodworking, printmaking and interior design are other possibilities. A picture framer could work as a salesperson for the manufacturer of picture framing materials.

What changes will there be in the future?

I think the demand for picture framers will remain about the same in the future. People will always want things to hang on their walls, and although there may be slight fluctuations in the market, the overall demand remains the same.

Computers are likely to be more important players in this job. Software already exists for designing and pricing frames, and computers can now aid mount cutting, though it is still very expensive. In addition, an increase in the use of power equipment is also on the horizon for us.

What are the biggest challenges in your job?

I think the most challenging aspect of being a picture framer is dealing with new design problems every day, since every picture is different and requires a different approach. Also, everyone I meet has different tastes, and I've got to work to satisfy all of them.

Are there many opportunities to enter this career?

Yes, there are some opportunities for picture framers. The best thing to do is make sure that you have a strong background in art and design principles.

What do you like about your job?

One of the things I like most about being a picture framer is the interesting people I meet. When people bring in their art for framing, they usually have interesting stories to tell me about how they acquired it.

I appreciate all types of art and I get to see a wide variety of art on a daily basis - almost all of it interesting.

Finally, each job is different. I like the creative challenge of choosing a frame, from the thousands of sizes, shapes and styles available, which best shows off a piece of art.

What do you dislike about your job?

I dislike having my patience tested on a daily basis. I need to be patient with employees who make mistakes, and with indecisive customers. It takes a lot of patience to help someone select a frame while I have three other customers waiting to be served.

Finally, I dislike the long hours I sometimes have to work. Often I serve customers and frame pictures all day and then need to stay late to complete bookkeeping and order new supplies.

What advice would you give to someone interested in your career?

You can learn the techniques of framing by working with an experienced framer. But to create attractive framing presentations for customers, you need to take art courses to learn about colours, different media and the principles of design. You should also cultivate a love of art through books and attending galleries, so you are able to discuss art with customers.

A day in the life

8:30 am - 9:00 am

Going over my schedule for upcoming jobs. Making sure that everything is progressing on time and ordering materials.

9:00 am - 12:00 pmFraming several prints:

  • Cutting and assembling the frames, mounts and glass.
  • Covering the back with paper to protect it from dust.
  • Adding eye hooks and wire for the picture to hang from.

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Eating lunch.

1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Typing invoices and updating books. Calling customers to arrange deliveries.

3:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Putting last touches on some framing done yesterday. Delivering three large framed pieces to the customers and collecting payment.

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