As the Philadelphia and Atlanta football teams officially kick off the 2018 NFL season tonight, both will surely be looking for a good start to the new season, just like the rest of the league. When it comes to capitalizing on football and other sports this fall, athletes are hardly the only ones who can score big. With a little bit of work, custom framers can also see huge wins with customers looking to preserve and display their sports jerseys.
With the help of RJ Jacquez – a master in the art of framing sports jerseys, and the owner of Jacquez Art & Custom Framing in Chula Vista, Calif. – we’ve assembled some tips and tricks for you to use to better connect with fans and help them preserve and display their favorite sports apparel and memorabilia for years to come.
RJ’s shop just south of San Diego exploded with new business two years ago after he created a detailed YouTube video showing the steps to properly frame an autographed Kobe Bryant jersey. Today, that video has generated nearly 70,000 views, and RJ says his shop receives jerseys for custom framing on a near-daily basis from people across the United States, Canada, Mexico and as far away as Switzerland.
“When we posted that video, I jokingly told my wife, ‘wouldn’t it be something if we end up framing mostly jerseys?’” RJ recalls. “And today; our framing business is roughly 80 percent jerseys.”
With business success like that for sports jerseys, it’s wise to listen to insights from a custom framer who clearly knows his game.
All jerseys are not uniform
When it comes to custom framing sports jerseys –as it is with framing any piece of treasured memorabilia –RJ says that it’s important to think about the story behind the project, and how you can best tell it.
“Each framing piece is a form of storytelling, and the more personal the story is, the better the finished product ends up,” he explains. “I always love saying that we are not a cookie-cutter type of shop where all jerseys look the same.”
“For one thing, we really dislike the traditional rectangular matting that you see out there with most framed jerseys. We pin our jerseys on our easel and stare at them until inspiration strikes, and then we go to work on them. The way the shoulders end up when stretched and the sleeves guide much of our design initially, so we pay close attention to every detail. Our customers are looking for something special and unique, and we take that trust very seriously.”
Enhancing that trust is the fact that Jacquez Art & Custom Framing uses Tru Vue® Museum Glass®, with its 99% UV protection and anti-reflective qualities. “It’s the only way to go when framing autographed jerseys – bar none.” RJ says.
“The reason why our customers select us to frame their jerseys is because of what the jerseys mean to them, and for that reason, they always want the best materials available. They expect the best acid-free matboards, the best matting design, and obviously the best glazing in the business. Without a doubt, Museum Glass is the best.”
For local customers, RJ uses sample displays at his shop that compare the clarity difference between standard glass and Museum Glass.
“Nine times out of 10, they will choose Museum Glass,” he says. “For our remote customers, I often email them two framed jerseys – one with our standard glass and one with Museum Glass. And, again, more often than not, they choose Museum Glass. If you are going to frame something so important to you, and you’ll only frame it once, you may as well go for the best.”
Technique makes the crowd go wild
“Every jersey project is unique in its own way”, says RJ. “But no matter the details, there are three framing techniques that are essential in order to get a framed jersey to “look amazing.”
1) Removing the wrinkles and stretching the jersey
“The jerseys we receive are usually folded in a plastic bag and extremely wrinkled.” RJ says. “Our first priority is to remove the wrinkles and stretch the jersey just right, not too tight and not too loose.”
2) Designing the matting
The second vital aspect is matting design, with RJ saying, “People tell us that our designs are why they choose us to do their jersey framing, and what sets us apart from everyone else. Design is such a huge part of our process; we will often go through four or five design iterations before we are happy and do the final cut.”
For an example of the design process that Jacquez Art & Custom Framing follows for each project, take a look below at the steps followed in framing the jersey of famous Denver football star, Britt Davis.
3) Placing memorabilia
“When we started, we were mostly including a photo of the player and maybe a patch or two,” RJ says. “Now, when people see our work online, they are sending us so many things to include that it is pushing the bar of our design. The key is to find the right place for each item without overcrowding the design or taking away from the jersey itself, in any way. Recently, we did a Michael Jordan jersey with six rings, two photos, a patch and a plaque. Plus, the jersey was a ‘stat’ jersey, so you can imagine how challenging it was. But it turned out incredible.”
Framing season never ends
“The beauty of this country – and any other countries in the world, for that matter – is that there’s always some sort of sports happening all year long.” RJ says. “Our goal is to frame jerseys for anyone who likes our work, regardless of where they may be on the planet.” That’s a good way to score consistent business.
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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.