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Building a Business with Old School Values and New School Tools

By Jen Gramm, Tru Vue® Director of Marketing

We are continuing to focus on framers in our blog with a post on Will Velasco of Will Frame It in Glenview, IL. Will  was featured in  our recent ad campaign, which showcases the talent and expertise of our customers.





Ten years ago, Will Velasco made a bold move to leave his career in electrical engineering and start his own business as a custom framer. Despite launching his custom frame shop in one of the most challenging economic downturns our industry has ever seen, Will thrived in his business by combining the very traditional concept of value and the modern tools of technology.



“The first few years were tough, because our timing wasn’t good with the economy going in the direction it did,” said Will, who gained experience framing part-time when he was in college. “But we learned to zero in on the customer and try to make them feel comfortable. We treat customers like family so that they know that we are happy that they’re here.”



Building trust is a key element to setting the business up for success, according to Will. Many of his customers bring in items like a child’s first portrait, photos of grandkids and great-grandkids, sports memorabilia, fine art, and other personal treasures. Preservation is important to them, and they want to feel confident in leaving their pieces in the hands of Will and his team. They are also interested in materials that offer the best protection for their projects like archival materials and conservation glazing.



“If you are bringing something to me to custom frame, you want it to last a lifetime,” said Will. “We only use conservation products, and Museum Glass® is our number one seller. Once customers see the difference, they usually will choose Museum Glass.”



Will’s time-tested approach of using high level customer service is enhanced by his use of online marketing. To help spread his shop’s good reputation, he encourages his customers to leave referrals and reviews on his digital platforms like Yelp.



“Customers come in because of what they read online,” he said. “It all boils down to someone walking in and being happy when they leave. When people give us good reviews, it makes a big difference.”



Tapping into online tools has also been helpful to Will in running his business. He uses the Tru Vue® website to find display ideas for Museum Glass and uses product information for his marketing. He also follows Ken Baur’s articles on pricing, which he credits with helping him find the right pricing for his business and gaining the confidence to stick to it.



As his customer base has grown, he has seen younger people begin to take an interest in framing. Having an online presence is critical for this generation of consumers who are comfortable with a mix of technology and the personal touch.



“I have framed so many Pearl Jam and Phish posters lately,” Will said. “This generation likes small businesses, though. They like to interact and have conversations. They like to see and hold the frames. But you need to be online to reach them.”



As he moves into his second decade in business, Will sees this mix of customer service and new tools as the winning formula for continued success.

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.

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