Business Development Week – Blog

Planning - for the future?Last week was one of the most important for the UK School of Framing, a couple of times each year we gather together our resources and offer a small number of students a really in-depth introduction to the world of picture framing. Unlike most of our other courses this one is entirely for people whose intention is business orientated. Most of the days are hands on, so we do have some people coming in for specific skills like framing fabrics or 3D Box frames but the majority of the participants are here for the duration and will go away, with a huge number of skills, to start looking for some paid framing work to do.

Framing 3d objectsThe week starts with an Art and Photography framing weekend, just the same as we usually run, for some of our students this is pretty simple but the aim is to be able to take a complete novice and to raise their skill level to the point that they could, with some confidence, accept a professional commission. After the weekend comes the first of the real business days, a day spent looking at planning a workshop, buying tools and materials, costing work you undertake and offering added value to your clients.

Professional kit This is the real crux of what we are doing: teaching someone how to make a frame, even how to make a really nice frame, will not necessarily enable them to make a living at it. What we are doing is teaching them to look at framing in a business like way. The middle of the week consists of 3 days of specific projects: framing a 3D object, we do a teddy bear, Framing to conservation standards and framing fabrics. As a framer you need to know these things, it is what makes your business viable; you simply cannot afford to have to turn down work, or to subcontract. As a side benefit you also end up with a small heap of framed work that will go a long way to building your ‘catalogue, showing your customers what sort of things you could be doing for them.

Learning about the businessBusiness Development Week is all about equipping people to be able to make a living out of framing, whether it is the practical, hands on skills of constructing the product, the business skills of knowing how to make money or the production of samples to show your future clients what the possibilities are.

I chatted to many of the students on Friday to see how they felt the week had gone: no one had any reservations all the class seemed confident that the next step was getting out there and finding customers. One lady who had started the week very cautiously asking for reassurance quite a bit was, by the end of the week, producing complex pieces of framed fabric without any help at all.

Some of the finished work

The final day was another day of talk, Duncan, our MD talked everyone through what he did to build and market his own framing business and got them to think about what unique services they might offer through their own. I had noticed during the canvas stretching course how businesslike it all seemed, at the end of the Business Development Week I can see that once you have a motivation beyond framing your own work that actually it is all very focussed.

Class of 2011