Selling Artistically Balanced Mat Proportions – President’s Corner

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Hello Framers,

Having trouble getting mat proportion you’d like when designing on the frame counter? For your clientele, more often than not, it’s a money issue. The perception that bigger is more expensive. So getting your customer to agree to a wider mat can be hard to do.Rami

Confession time. When I first began framing, my approach was to save people money any way I could. This was because, that was my approach to framing for myself. Consequently, The art suffered and my customers suffered. I let people walk away with mediocre framing and I had to walk away with a slight feeling of shame inside.

Gradually, I began to realize that the people who walk into a frame shop, no matter who it is, are expecting to shell out some serious money. My problem wasn’t that my frames aren’t cheap enough; it was that I wasn’t selling a perception of value.

Next time, try this technique.

Establish the mat colors you’ll use then pick your frames. Take the art measurements and start calculating the price. Don’t discuss mat proportions with your customer. Establish those sizes in your head and work that into their price. Now, tell them the price and wait for their reaction. Afterward, no matter what the reaction is tell them, “and that’s with a such and such size mat.”

This at least gives you a chance to deliver that price to their thoughts before counting it out. In a sense it’s “a starting from the top down” method. This technique, of delivering the price first then giving the details last, always worked for me. It’s a simple switch to your usual routine. Give it a try and see if it works. If you have any tips on getting the mat proportions you want, let me know and leave a comment below.


Start Your Holiday Rush Preparedness Now! – President’s Corner

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pirate RamiOctober is the month we normally start preparing for winter. It’s also the month frame shops everywhere should knuckle down and prepare for the onslaught of holiday rush. If you haven’t prepared your work flow yet, START NOW! The holiday season marks the beginning of last minute people with thoughtful framing ideas. It’s up to you as the framer to be the hero who performs holiday miracles.  Thanksgiving is around the corner and people need to fill those empty spots on their wall before the relative come over. Indeed, the holidays can feel like a hurricane passed through your shop.

Two steps to be ready for the holiday rush:

1. Plan your scheduling.

Don’t overextend yourself. Be realistic and figure out when your cut off point is. Mark this date and let everyone know NOW! If you’re on facebook announce this cut off date to the crowd. I can’t stress this enough. Share this information to your clientele now, either by word of mouth or by some sort of newsletter. Do this weekly, perhaps, post it every Monday. You’d be surprised how much more business this will stir up.

2. Stock up.

If you know you’ll need it and you've got the means to get it, then get it now. Your foam board, craft paper, framer’s points, glass, offsets, screws, hangers; get em now. don’t wait. Many shops don’t keep too many of specific color mats in stock, but for the holidays it’s a wise investment. I suggest keep atleast black and white mats on hand just incase. Don’t forget those stretcher bars. Also, keep lots and lots of spray paint handy. If you’ve done this long enough, you know why. Not enough time to order more black metal frame molding, just spray paint a silver stick black.

-- Rami

Contribute to the EPFG – President’s Corner

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Rami Alhakeem

Hello, fellow evergreen picture framers. I know it’s been awhile since our last president’s corner. I've been kind of sick lately, and haven't been feeling very well. I guess, I've caught some sort of bug. But deep inside, my soul has been feeling bad too.

I had high aspirations for my presidential position. I wanted to bring us back together as a community of framers by hosting another meeting. Unfortunately I haven't been able kick start anything. Every date and place we planned conflicted with too many peoples schedules. The people on the board of the EPFG are made up of all volunteers with a common interest to promote education in framing. We intend to do this any way we can within our means. We used to provide education by hosting meetings for members to attend. Though, many people want to join our group, many cannot commit to attending our meetings. It has become more clear to me that times are changing and our expectations have to be different.

Despite this there is an inherent  value to meeting in person. I am currently seeking a frame shop or gallery in the Seattle area to host a small scale meeting in March. Nothing big and fancy with bells and whistles... We just need a warm, dry place to get members together to vote on officers and do some sharing and networking. If you are in the Seattle area and are able to help, please email us at

So as I said, we want to continue promoting framing education. We mostly do this by contributions to our blog. Our contributors are volunteers with a passion for framing. They shine a beacon of light for our group and help guide us on our path. It is because of them we have a strong readership. I am always looking for new contributors. Contact us if you’d like to be a contributor. I contribute with my comic, “The Jagged Corner”, Jennifer Peterson with her “Step Up Your Game”, and even the mat cutting legend Brian Wolf contributes with his “Practical Mat Decoration”. Do you have any ideas or expertise that you could share with the group?


June President’s Corner

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I can't wait to see all your beautiful faces at the PPFA Cascade Chapter meeting this Sunday, June 23rd at Framers’ Inventory Portland, Or. I'm going, and if you'd like to come along go ahead and give me an email or a phone call at the Frame Makers. Our phone number is 253-564-2320 or email me at

We didn't get enough members to RSVP their interest for our Labor Day Weekend Education Festival, so the Festival will be postponed to a date in the future.

We are now in the process of scheduling a General Meeting in Burlington, Washington at William Bounds Custom Framing and Gallery. This meeting will be either August 11th or the 18th, and once we lock in our guest speaker we’ll finalize the date. Keep a lookout for the update on this meeting.

It’s about time we had a meeting up north for our many friends there.

On a side note. Being president of the EPFG is proving to be one of the most difficult ventures I’ve ever undertaken. My responsibilities in the frame shop are enormous. My responsibilities as president is equally substantial.  The enormity of my responsibilities way heavy on my shoulders and I ask myself why I carry on. I’m reminded of an English proverb. “ A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.” Often times I carry on alone and I don’t meet my goal or it is nowhere in site. Yet, I carry on.

May President’s Corner

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prezI’m Rami Alhakeem and this is another President’s Corner.

The life of a framer is a stressful one. I don't think many people know the pressures we go through. The deadlines we have to meet. The range of people we haveto deal with. The crazy unrealistic expectations they have for us.

Somebody walked into the shop and made fun of one of my client’s art. He asked me how do I feel about framing other people’s awful art. Ouch, that hurt. It cut right into me. It was as if to say there is no dignity in what I do. I'm not going to tell you how I responded. I'll save that story for a Jagged Corner comic.

I wanted to be a framer because I wanted to be an artist. I was selfish when I started framing. Artist are inherently selfish. Artist scumm.... It’s a love hate relationship.

When I’m framing I don't consider myself to be an artist. I'm a magician and I put a spell on you. I make you fall in love. Then I break your heart with the price, but then you pay it anyway because who can refuse love? I think it’s a fair trade.

I look inside you and I see what you want. I am merciful, I am giving, and I grant what your heart desires.

Artist are a dime a duzin. We pimp frames, that’s how we roll. Walk away into the sunset proud. Spread the love.


April President’s Corner

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EPFG President Welcome to another president’s corner.

 Here is what’s going on with the EPFG. We’re in the process of revamping our library. Our members have free access to the library so if you're not a member, please consider becoming one. For a list of books and videos available please follow the link below.

We’ve narrowed down a possible date for the EPFG Education Fest to Sunday of Labor Day weekend starting in the afternoon and going into the evening. So far Embassy Suites in Tukwila, WA has given us the best rates. That day’s rates works best for our budget. Time is quickly passing, and we need to make a decision whether to commit to this date. What do you think of having Education Fest on September 1st? Please leave a comment below.

Awesome news. We now have a new treasurer, Kim Rene Weiser. Kim is a fellow framer and one of the most responsible ones I know. I trust that she will help us restore the EPFG.

Also more awesome news, I had a lovely conversation with David Greene who is president of Cascade Chapter PPFA. We talked about how we might be able to join forces and make our two groups better. He also extended an invitation to all EPFG members to join CC PPFA at their June 23rd meeting. This meeting will be at Framers’ Inventory, Portland, Oregon and will consist of three educational classes by Jim Miller. Please follow the link below for more detailed information on the classes.

For the low, low price of $100 you’ll be able to attend all three classes and lunch.

If any EPFG members would like to carpool to the June CCPPFA meeting please contact me or leave a comment down bellow. I’m Rami Alhakeem and you’ve just been filled in with EPFG news.

-- Rami Alhakeem

March President’s Corner

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Hello and Welcome to the March episode of the EPFG President’s Framing Corner.

If you can't watch the video, the following is this month's President's Corner.

I’m Rami Alhakeem, The new president of the EPFG. I’m going to use the monthly President’s Corner as a way to inform all of you on what the board is doing each month. So here's what’s happening with the EPFG. I’ll start by recapping all of last year. Nope I think I’ll go back even further. This is what I know. Along time ago. Way, way back in the day. The EPFG started off as the MacCormick Club. It was mostly an informal club. Eventually the group got their act together and turned it into a non profit organization. The EPFG membership swelled and a tradition of educating framers was born. This tradition went on for many glorious years. Fast forward to last year. Way less frame shops in existence and way less galleries in existence. If you’re still framing for a living congratulate yourself, you’re part of dying bread. Literally. Many old school members retired, closed shops or moved on. The old EPFG board made up of passionate volunteers, had to step out sometime. A whole new board stepped up to fill those shoes.  EPFG-ad2But last year was tough. Some of us realized it was more than they could handle and had to step down. We’ll I've stepped up, Jennifer Patterson is definitely stepping up, Stacia Harvey stepped up. We believe in restoring the EPFG tradition of making better framers. We created a better newsletter with a blog format and I’m very proud of all we've accomplished with that alone. But I want more. I want to bring us all back together again. I want you to support the EPFG by being a member. I don’t care if you’re not a shop or gallery owner. If you’re a framer and you’re proud of what you do and who you are, join the EPFG. There’s honor in what you do it’s more than just a job this is a passion. That’s what our founding members felt and that’s how I feel. I really want to bring the annual education fest back and I want it in the Fall but I need your help. Membership is only $40 dollars and we need members. At the very least register with the site so you can leave a message down below. I’d love to hear what you have to say. Would you like to see the Education Festival back again? Would you go to Education Fest around September? I hope you liked the video. I think It’s a good way for you to get to know me and the EPFG a little bit better. Don’t forget to leave a comment down below this post.

Rami --

President’s Corner

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We bared our souls to one another. We laid it all down on the table during our last meeting. Sheri, Jennifer, Stacia, Molly, and I were there.

If you’ve never met us, I’ll sum up who we are. We are the foolish kids who inherited the 40 year old EPFG. We are the ones who did not turn our backs on her. We are the framers who will march forward and continue the tradition of educating framers. We made small strides, we are growing up, we are maturing, we are changing, but we are by no means dying. Many have given up on us but we have not given up on you. 



I have outlined our mission for the board this year.

  • We are bringing back the Education Festival.
  • We will have other educational events besides the festival.
  • We will bring reputable instructors to teach these classes.
  • We will bring back framing competitions along with a possible Frame Shop of the Year Award and Framer of the Year Award.
  • I will personally be visiting frame shops everywhere for the purposes of recruiting and surveying. 
For your convenience we've added a calendar page and a list of events to our new site. A link to the calendar page can be found up above in the Activity menu. No events have been posted at this time but they will be added to this page in time.

I am Rami Alhakeem and I am honored to be the 2013-2014 EPFG president.

Vice-President’s Corner

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In these busy trying times, many of you have smaller staffs than you’re used to, and the budget to attend trade shows and festivals might be hard to come by.   BUT there is an affordable wealth of information which you can access each and every month - a trade magazine. I've heard too many times "hmmm, I don't receive them anymore - they just quit coming" PLEASE renew! At just $20 a year or so, it's a bargain for great ideas, and tremendous advice.

OK I admit that I used to just go through the pictures intending to go back and read cover to cover but not always accomplishing that task. In the recent few years though, I have made it a point to read every word, and I find myself getting really pumped up and excited. There have been some fantastic articles on overcoming price objections, difficult clients, design tricks, merchandising, and installations. Who can't use some advice or new ideas in these categories?

Gone are the tear-out subscription post cards, replaced with subscription information printed within the magazine. To receive Picture Framing Magazine, call TOLL FREE 1-888-238-0049, or email at Check out their website  You can also access information on Décor Magazine at .

My employer, Jayeness Moulding, receives monthly a handful of magazines to hand out. You are welcome to stop by to pick up a free issue, or please call me to grab one for you. If we run out one month, I will put you on priority for the following month. You can reach me at 206-715-2134.

The main lecturers for our industry who give seminars at conferences and trade shows submit articles for us to read - no traveling or vacation time needed.  Publications are struggling in this web-based age, so let's support our trade mags to keep them around for us.

President’s Corner

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Recently I had a client in my shop with that all too familiar look on his face when I told him the price of his work, a little perplexed at the cost of a project that pushed just past his comfort zone. After some careful thought he look up from his work sitting on the design counter questioning what components of the frame contributed most to the cost, the molding, glass, mats, etc.

Smiling, I looked up and began to explain the major and most important component in his project wasn't any one of the materials used in the frame, but my years of experience in designing and building a frame that both complemented and protected his work for years to come. In short I was the major expense.

When we promote a custom frame it’s our experience and skills we are selling; that’s where the value lies for our clients. Offering large discounts and giveaways lowers the perceived value of both skills and experience. Our competitive edge as small custom framers lies in our experience not in discounting something larger retailers could only dream of offering.

 Happy Framing!


President’s Corner

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The new committee and I are excitedly planning many changes necessary to keep the guild relevant to both present and future framers. Building a strong working relationship with guild members is key to this goal.

Over the coming weeks I plan to get out on the road and introduce myself to as many guild members as possible. Your feedback and ideas are an important part of maintaining a thriving custom picture framing industry.

While much has changed in the way our industry is marketed to the wider public, it’s my hope there will always be a small corner shop with a skilled craftsman building frames and spinning stories for those who grace his shop, bringing a smile to the face of all.

—Jerry Martin

President’s Corner

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As I reflect back on my career as a picture framer I quickly come to the realization that the real thrill in this industry is more about those special moments shared with those who trust in and challenge us to enhance their lives as they enter our places of work. Talking to other framers, their most treasured stories are those they have in common with their customers, many who become friends.

My own journey in picture framing began as a young artist where at the age of ten my parents would take my work to be framed at a local frame shop. There are always two parts to this story, Creating that perfect piece of work on the design counter followed by the thrill of seeing my work finished and transformed when I pick it up. I know now that last part was just as important to me as it was to the framer serving me all those years ago.

I ran my own picture framing business in Australia for over twenty years, with the encouragement of friends and customers it grew along with my family eventually incorporating an art gallery, digital print service (fine art and photography), and a coffee shop all under the same roof. On a personal level I maintained my passion as an artist, Took time out to mentor others as they started their own journey in business on their own. I was involved with several art and business organizations over the years and I look forward to sharing those experiences with the guild.

—Jerry Martin

President’s Corner

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Hello EPFG folks—

Here we are, February 2012. In previous years, we would be

frantically planning for our annual education festival. This year, we ended up cancelling it and were unsure of the very future of the guild moving forward.
Well, I am excited to say that we have some people inter-ested in filling our board positions! Great folks with a lot of fresh perspective and enthusiasm, ready to step up and revitalize our EPFG! Who knows what the next year will bring?
Please come to the next meeting, February 15th, 7:30pm at the Scotch and Vine where we will be voting in our new board and tak-ing on the next chapter~ —anna

President’s Corner

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Well, I am sposed ta write a letter here, but I don't have time, what with all the time-wasting stuff us business owners do around this part of the year. I've been so busy working until 3am, fixing horrible framing disasters, tending to sick kitties, filling family obligations, coming home and working because my internet at the shop is unreliable, paying bills and taxes, finding innovative ways to spy on my employees

President’s Corner

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Hello EPFG members,

I know you've read a lot about the situation we on the board find ourselves in, and there has been some interest expressed, but what we need right now is action.
If you want to see this organization go forward, we really need you to step up right now.
I feel very badly about my inability at this time to hold the position that I have been put in, and if I felt I could devote myself to do an adequate job as president, I would.

Will You Help Bring Us Forward?

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Hello EPFG members and non-members alike,

First of all, I'm excited to once again be hosting the October meeting at my shop in Tacoma on the 11th. It's a fun little tradition, that we dress up in costumes,
talk about out "Nightmares on Frame Street," and have a fun last general meeting of the year, before we go into full holiday mode at our respectiveyshops. Rami also has a really helpful presentation about simple and free ways to boost your web presence. Come, have fun with us!

Oh the stories I could tell.. if only.......

What I can tell you is that my little business is booming, and going through some growing pains in the process.

My life in general is a lovely wonderland of fun that even my therapist shakes her head at, and I volunteer in a couple of other organizations, that I'm having to step back from. I'm pretty sure I'm not really that much different from the rest of you. I understand why it's difficult to lend time and energy these days to everything we want to do. I also know that the EPFG has been around for a long time, doing a lot of great things for our framing community, and helping to unite and educate any of us who would like to participate.

I got involved about 6 years ago, just after I opened my shop, first as a board member at large, then eventually VP, and now I've reluctantly taken on the position of president.

The EPFG had already by that time been headed up and nurtured by some of the same people who had been doing it for many years already, who were already tired, but were passionate about continuing the tradition and trying to get new people interested in taking the organization further. But it's come time for some of them to step back, and it's also time for the younger generation of framers to help push us forward.

We have a couple of passionate, energetic young framers, like Rami, who are full of ideas and willing and able to the work to take us forward. But we need more of you. And we're not just looking for shop owners, perhaps especially not. Do you have drive, passion, ideas, and some time? Will you help bring us forward? It will help bring you forward too.

Thank you so much, and I really hope to see you all soon! —anna