Research shows that custom framing consumers count on their framers to turn their personal treasures into art. One of the best ways we do this is to inspire customers with ideas for framing projects through samples of our own work.
Walk into any of your customers’ homes, and you could probably find two or three things that would look great on their walls. But since we need customers to come to us with their projects, the best thing we can do is to get them thinking about their walls the way we do. Here are some tips to help make this happen.
It helps to know what customers want, and the good news is that it has never been easier to get a pulse on consumer trends. Social media sites like Pinterest and the volume of information from major players in home decor available on the internet give us a wealth of information. It can be overwhelming, so curating is key.
Set up a Pinterest account and do a monthly search of home decor trends.
Choose five to seven posts to review at a time. What’s helpful about Pinterest is that it is highly visual and sources information from all over the internet, including posts from bloggers who spend a lot of time researching top trends. You benefit from their efforts.
Follow top home decor media on Facebook.
Publications like Elle Decor and House Beautiful, and multi-media brands like HGTV provide far more information online than in print or on television. One easy way to review their coverage of home trends is to get it in your Facebook feed. You can “like” them through your personal account, but one advantage to following them on your business account is that you can easily share posts with your own audience of followers.
Mix the old and the new with a subscription to two or three print publications.
Sometimes the virtual experience can’t replace the tactile experience of flipping through the pages of a magazine. You can also keep these in your shop and tag articles or pictures you think will appeal to your customers. This can be helpful to those who are “just browsing” or having trouble at the design table.
A quick online search shows some current trends that have long-term appeal, an important point for custom framing, as preservation and longevity are valued in our business. Here are a few that may spark some of your own ideas.
Though gallery walls are frequently created with ready-made frames so that photos can be changed on a regular basis, many are anchored by larger pieces where there is an opportunity for more permanent framing. Stairway walls and family rooms are popular places for these, but today they are located all over the house and often feature more than just family photographs.
Twice a year Pantone comes out with their colors of the year. For homeowners who are painting or redecorating, these will inevitably be on their radar. They will be used in big ways, such as painting a room, or small, like throw pillows. Catch the eye of customers who love trends with a display of frames in the Pantone colors and appeal to those who have a more “classic” sense of style with stained wood frames that pair well with trending hues.
Framers are receiving more requests for shadowboxes, and this is a reflection of other home trends that have emerged over the last several years, such as the allure of texture and the desire for personalization. And as vintage continues to appeal, one hot word emerging in home decorating is authenticity. Mass manufactured items made in the vintage style are no longer fashionable. This is an ideal opportunity to inspire customers to find ways to incorporate true family heirlooms into their homes and expand the definition of what those might be through interesting shadow boxes.
Creating pieces for your display wall that are inspired by trends such as these is the best way to showcase your work to customers. Mini galleries can show how multiple pieces work together. Featuring frames in trending colors can demonstrate how to go beyond wood tones and metallics. Shadowboxes of unusual objects can spark ideas about things that customers never thought about framing but now can’t wait to do.
But the display wall isn’t the only place to inspire customers. Here are three ways you can reach them.
Gallery wall classes.
Not everyone has the DIY touch to create their own gallery wall. Customers will love you for helping them through this harder-than-it-seems project. You can also post a video or photo tutorial on your website. Promote both your class(es) and online how-to through social media, e-newsletters and even an “retro” post-card mailing. (You may even find that some of your customers are inspired enough to “pin” or “share” it, further expanding your reach.)
Not every project you do will link to trends, but if you are doing your research, you will recognize when one is. If you are collecting your customers’ stories when you work on a project for them, you can use these to inspire others by sharing them on your website, through social media and in your e-newsletters.
Partner with local experts.
Social and traditional media are a great resource for home trends, but having a local expert is an ideal way to engage customers more directly. A partnership with a home design professional from your area can including anything from hosting a class on decorating trends at your shop to having the designer provide content for social media posts, your website or e-newsletter articles.
If you haven’t already, once you delve into home decorating trends, you will find many other ways to inspire your customers and showcase the amazing work you can do for them.
And don’t forget, the majority of consumers start searching for ideas themselves online. So be sure to place photos of your fabulous designs on all your business social media pages as well- maybe your designs will start trending and inspire more customers to your shop.
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This article is intended for educational purposes only and does not replace independent professional judgment. Statements of fact and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) individually and, unless expressly stated to the contrary, are not the opinion or position of Tru Vue or its employees. Tru Vue does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented.