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In this issue:

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Massive April Savings


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The excitement of chicks, bunny rabbits, sunny weather and the thoughts of skipping through new grass to have picnics by the sea or on the hillside has filled us with a light-headed sense of kindness.  In other words a spring time, special offer has been set up for the whole of April.  We know that not everyone, who wanted to, managed to visit the Hobbycrafts exhibition at the SECC, Glasgow:  rail strikes certainly made the exhibition halls quieter than usual.  So, we thought, as there is a bit of lull coming in the exhibitions circuit and because not everyone can get to the exhibitions when they are on, why not let you benefit from show prices anyway?

So here’s the deal – MOUNTING MADNESS
All board system mount cutters will be offered at show prices during April (prices listed include vat):
Logan 301 S Compact   - £99.00 (was £115.00)
Logan 401 Intermediate - £165.00 (was £ 185.00)
Logan Simplex 750 - £299.00 (was £330.00)
Logan Framers Edge 655 - £499.00 (was £599.00)

In addition, we are offering a show price, mount board package:
20 sheets (56 cm x 81.5 cm) of any colour combination white core boards £40.00 + pp … that’s just £2.00 per board!

20 sheets (56 cm x 81.5 cm) of any colour combination black core boards £59.00 + pp … that’s just £2.95 per board!

Also, you can buy 40 sheets, any combination of white core & black core boards: white core will be priced £2.00 per sheet, black core £2.95 per sheet (+ postage and packaging)

We doubt that this deal can be beaten during under normal trading conditions, but remember the it only applies on orders received before the end of trading on 30th April 2007.

 

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New Features with Mouldings


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At the point of going to press with this newsletter, our new look mouldings area on the website should be going live.  We know that the new method of showing profile descriptions and measurements will be clearer and that the ordering system will be simpler all around.

We also now operate two exciting, new services.  A chop service so that you can have mitred, moulding lengths cut to order: all you need to do is provide exact measurements.  The second service is a “pack” order service allowing you to take advantage of a massive 50% discount.

In both cases, details of how to use these services are from the home page, clicking on the mouldings area on the left-hand set of blue drop down menus.

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Whats The Story From Glasgow?


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Here’s the story, then, of our first, 2007 Scottish Adventure.  Our seven-day mission was to run a photo framing weekend, a complete Business Development Week, offer 1 day training workshops to those not looking to do the  business week and then exhibit for four days at the Hobbycrafts show at the SECC.  Did this involve a highly trained team of skilled craft workers and show staff?  No – one trainer, one “exhibitionist”, a van and, oh yes, a third bloke who popped in from time to time to tell us he’d bought a kilt and was having fun walking the hills (part-timers!!).

The serious point of this first part is to mention the three who completed the business week, because their “stories” illustrate the variety of people joining our business weeks as well as demonstrating their range of ambitions and aspirations.

MIKE stayed with the group for the whole week (7 day programme).  He has had a career in the forces, joined a major supermarket chain and is now taking advantage of a package to leave that line of work, to develop his arts and crafts work.  For many years, Mike has been designing and making decorative mirrors in the style of Charles Rennie McKintosh, one of the most important names in the early 20th Century Arts & Crafts movement.  Mike has sold the mirrors through craft fairs and has also developed a couple of retail contacts for regular sales.  His aim is to see if he can extend his product range further and open up new markets by offering framed pieces as well as the usual style of mirror.  He also has ambitions to add bespoke framing as an additional income stream and wanted to develop a more complete range of framing skills.  Mike clearly already had a lot of the knowledge about marketing and selling his work, so the emphasis for him was more about the practical side of setting up a framing workshop and how to create a healthy, framing order book.

ALAN completed the 5 days, which form the core of the business week.  He has worked in IT until recently and has followed his career working both in the UK and the USA.  His reasons for change are, as for many people, all about improving his quality of life … BUT bills still have to be paid.  Alan has already set up a framing workshop and is trying to develop a service, which will mean visiting customers over quite a large area of West Scotland.  As a talented photographer, he also has ambitions to exhibit and sell his photography all year around, as well as tapping in to the seasonal, holiday market.  Having already undertaken quite a lot of framing, he was particularly keen to extend his knowledge of framing through the three 1-day, more specialised framing workshops, which form the core of the business week.  Even though his skill levels are clearly very advanced, there are always the little “handy hints” that you pick up on these days.  Alan’s big challenge was how to make sense of working across a large geographical area, develop work routines that allow him not to spend so long on the road and how to give the operation a really high profile, bringing business to him.

JOHN completed 4 of the 5 core “business week” days … 1 day off for a football match in Milan – this does actually tie in with business, as you will see.  Here is somebody who has had a career in sales (management level in a major electrical stores chain), a second career in the police and is now looking ahead to turning a hobby into a means of earning an income.  The football is a vital ingredient in these new plans, as John is a part of the whole fan / memorabilia world for his chosen team.  As well as the practical issues about setting up a workshop and getting to grips with the tools and skills of the trade, he was really keen to think about how to develop a product range within his area of interest, how to market it and how best to reach his core customers.  Even after his sleepless night, having returned from Milan in the early hours of the morning, you could still see a glint in his eye when he framed the logo and writing from an old t-shirt – it was a masterpiece! 

So three completely different people, each with their own future paths, but all having several important features in common:

  • Enjoyment of working creatively and practically
  • A good “aesthetic” eye
  • An existing product in mind, as well as offering a bespoke framing service
  • Individual, existing skills and knowledge which transfer very well to setting up as a bespoke framer
  • A real interest in what they intend doing and an openness to new ideas
    And
  • A great sense of fun and many tales to tell … believe me I could write a book.  Another time perhaps


Read on for details of next Business Development Weeks

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The Next Big Chance


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We should also mention that you can sign up for any of the specialised training days as workshops.  In fact, Margaret and Gillian did just that and worked with us on the Framing Fabrics day.   Gillian is also building up her own framing business and has completed basics courses with us as well as having a go at this day and at an earlier “Adding Decorative Finishes to Frames” in Manchester.  More about Margaret in the next item.

If you want to have a go at a Business Week or join in on any of the special days, individually, the next batch of dates is listed below.  Click any of the titles to find more information about the sessions or to book.  All sessions are in Nuneaton, (near to Coventry & Birmingham) easy access from major motorways.

May 5th -  11th  Business Development Week
May 5th:  Basics of Framing

May 6th: Mount Cutting & Decoration
May 7th: Business Day 1
May 8th: 3D Framing
May 9th: Conservation Framing
May 10th: Framing Fabrics
May 11th: Business  Day 2

Please note there are other dates and venues available for each of these later in the year.  For details visit the web site Training Zone.

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Corrugated Card Is The New Mountboard


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Remember the exhibition at the SECC, Glasgow?  Well Margaret came to our rescue there.  Here’s a word of introduction first, to set the scene.  Lord of the Rings has Gollum, Top Gear has the Stig….DIYframing has Alex.  Many myths now surround each of these characters, each highlighting skills, cunning and just a hint of menace. Judging by claims around Beaconsfield, it would also appear that Alex spends much of his life in dark, dank areas – the back of the DIYframing store. In fairness, however, we think that the others could learn from “the Alex”. 

You see, as well as being a skilful exhibition organiser, he has additional magical skills, not least turning a VW van into the Tardis, judging by the amount of kit we had to unload.  However that is nothing compared to his ability to shift stock.  Some claim they can sell ice to Eskimos (or should it be the Inuit).  Anyway, Alex could do that and follow it up with a whole new air-conditioning plant for each igloo!  Many claim that the secret route to fiscal safety, apparently, is just not to make eye contact: easier said than done when someone shouts out at you as you innocently pass by the DIYframing stand in search of the Fudge Man.

On this occasion, even Alex had to admit there was a challenge.  The trainer, who shall remain nameless, had kept all of the spare mount board in the training room several miles from the SECC along with the cutting heads for one of the demonstration cutters.  At the same time the “Happy Wanderer” had been so busy looking forward to buying kilts and trying them out near Loch Lomond, that the mountboard colour samples and cash tin were still, safe in Beaconsfield.  Not daunted, using keen powers of persuasion and creative sales patter, Alex vowed to approach the Scots needle workers and crafters head on. He politely texted his colleagues, to draw attention to the fact that he had to start the show, somewhat deprived of essential materials and equipment – naturally the text version was a little shorter.  Even so, he had managed to sell two mount cutting systems and a couple of 20 sheet packages of mountboard, by demonstrating how to use a cutter on corrugated card, claiming it to be the latest trend in photography framing – “it adds a bit more texture and depth than mere mountboard.” 

One customer made the fatal mistake of asking whether DIYframing did masking tape.
“Madam, is masking tape really best for securing your artwork?” … followed shortly by,  “So you use a rule and hand held cutter to make your own mounts do you?”  Poor soul had no chance.

Anyway Margaret, a very keen needle worker, having completed the major part of the Framing Fabric day, intended to visit the Hobbycrafts Show, making the most of being in Glasgow.  A cunning plan came together, with Margaret kindly offering to take much needed supplies, to help Alex out.  So the story has a happy ending. 

Alex went on to make many sales,  Margaret visited the show, learnt how to prepare her needlework for framing …. and bought a lovely new mitre trimmer!

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And Finally


Congratulation to all of those who spotted our April Fools prank which went out just in time on Sunday (click here to read the Special Product Alert)

It would be unprofessional of me to ridicule the handful or so who called saying they couldn't find the Id number IM....N....A-PR-IL...F-OO1 or the guy who slammed down the phone after he had realised he'd been caught out and probably wasted half his morning contemplating what to do.(A big sorry to him I hope you used the free phone number).

Over 40 of you however were on to it like a shot sending "congratulations on a fine prank" email. Here are a couple of my favourites

"Thanks for the warning about the metre guillotine. Being April 1st I immediately
thought that it was a hoax, but then I thought better of it since I know what a fine upstanding individual you are . I therefore checked the guillotine, could not find the aforementioned serial number...i hence set about on a mission to smelt the damn thing! Several hours later after googling 'home smelting' i managed to turn my garage into a kiln at 1600C and smelted it. Alas, there was no sign of the aforementioned gold....Now, I am left disappointed, but wondering whether I have invalidated my warranty?
Please advise.......Alan

I had a look but couldn't find a serial number. All it had was the maker's name: Hu Yu Foo Ling. Do I have a problem?.........Chris

I look forward to trying our best to capture you all next year if you have any suggestions for April fools prank please don't hesitate to call us.

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Thank you for your continued support.

Until next time...

Signature

April 2007

What are you up to these days?  A sudden change of weather and longer daylight hours, really do make us all feel chirpier. Something in the spring light makes people reach for the paint roller and the wallpaper table with a new look for every room in mind. Home improvements and early holidays make us want to make a new series of framed pictures to help with the new look and remind us of relaxing in the sun.  For those of us involved in framing, it also offers a whole new range of exciting projects to try and, for those of you earning money from framing, there is a whole new market to explore.  A different look or a few added extras in your work will make a huge difference.  Look out for three new titles in our courses programme to help lift your framing from the ranks of the ordinary:
Adding Decorative Finishes to Framing
Stretching & Framing Canvases
Custom Framing

This latest bulletin comes hot on the heels of a Special Customer Alert published early, on April 1st …. well, too good a chance to miss.  In this edition is the story of a recent visit to Glasgow (in the heart of the rail strike), a bit of springtime madness that will definitely work in your favour, new moulding services not to mention a highly imaginative bit of marketing.

Duncan

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