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Plans and strategy for the year ahead.

Posted: Fri 21 Jan, 2022 2:11 pm
by Not your average framer
Whwn we are at the start of a new year and we don't know what the last year has been like for each other, but It has probably been a little bit different in different ways for each of us. When the weather starts warming up, I'm planning to be doing a bit more. I'm quite well stocked for most of what I need and I got a bit of a general plan in my head. I'm already not exactly running the most typical framing business and I've got a bit of a name for being the guy to go to, if you need something done which is a little unusual. It never started like that, it was always customers asking me to do this and that and if I had time to fit it in, I did it.

I guess that when you are based in a small out of the way small town, if people have not got a need to seek you out, then there are generally more accessible places, which are easily to get to. As a result, I've been treading my own less well trod path and doing different things. I had no idea, where this would lead me at first, but it has very largely been the key to survival thus far. I now need to work less hours due to my own health limitations and looking after my wife following her stroke, so slightly different strategy! I'm still very largely aiming to be producing items which are niche market items and interesting because they are different.

This so far has worked well as my health places limits on how much I am able to do with my limited mobility and endurance, so I have been seeking out things which to produce which do not limit me too much and will enable me to obtain a decent return for my efforts. I make a few mistakes along the way, but finding out what works and what does not work, seems to be all about long learning curves. What seems to be a good idea at first, does not always turn out to be so great when you try to sell it. Some ideas turn out to be real winner and others can be disappointing, but knowing why one work well and another doesn't is very often just a mystery.

I will still do normal framing jobs, but I will be doing some items to sell and be displayed in my shop windows and to sell on ebay and Etsy as well. I have had some success selling ready made deep box frames, these tick over quite well. They are not absolutely massive sellers, but they are profit able and worthwhile to do. Small to medium sized ready made frame often to sell in matching pair are surprisingly popular, in fact much more so than I was expecting. The match part of the deal seems to be of particular importance! Small frames in pairs out sell, small individual frames and customers will happily spend more per frame for frames in a matching pair than for similar individual frames. Matching pairs appeal to the interior designer market quite a lot it seems. Quirky interior design related items are always very easy to sell. Small mirrors with a candle shelf are also popular, especially if they look a bit rustic. With so many historic homes in the area, rustic looking items was always going to be an easy to sell market for me. I make a decent amount of rustic items and they are enormously popular. Pricing items too cheap does not help things to sell, lots of people are put off of buying anything which is a little bit on the cheap side. If something takes 10 minutes to produce, then the minium price will be £10.

You can't be fully productive all the time, so when something sells, you also need to allow for items which are slow to sell, or those times when you are doing necessary, but otherwise less productive things. I have learnt that it is better to sell a smaller number of items at a higher price, than a larger number of items at a lower price. If people get to know that they can beat you down on price, that lower price can easily become what everyone expects, so I try not to do discounts except for worthwhile quantities. I do have a small number of regular trade customers who I try to look after and there are a few regulars looking for frames to frame items for selling on eBay who often buy stuff out of my pound box. This next year will see me focusing a lot more on this general strategy. Watching the pennies, has been very important since Covid came along. Also making things which, I can produce in batches and particularly from my waste materials has been a major focus. I don't put my pound box outside in all weathers, particularly because this is not giving the right message and I don't want to spend time needing to keep cleaning those items in the pound box. It's not stricty a pound box, as there are some more expensive items there are well. A pound is not a very exciting sale by itself. Fortunately most of those looking for bargains, usually buy more than one item, so it's not always so bad.

Re: Plans and strategy for the year ahead.

Posted: Fri 21 Jan, 2022 2:34 pm
by Parm
Hi Mark,
Brilliant post (as always!).
Best wishes for the New Year. Keep well, your an inspiration.

Re: Plans and strategy for the year ahead.

Posted: Fri 21 Jan, 2022 3:52 pm
by Not your average framer
Thanks Parm,

Also best wishes to you for the year ahead. I'm not so sure about the brilliance of my post and my thinking. The future is very hard to second guess. Eventually I will give up my busines and let my landlord take back my business premises, but I'm not really in a position to empty the shop of my stock at this time, so I guess that I will need to turn my stock back into cash and make various items to sell, while running my stock down in the meantime. Fortunately, I still get a lot of enjoyment out of still doing stuff like this.

All the best,