The 2019 NFL season is underway, but for RJ Jacquez, football is always in season — or, at the very least, its jerseys are. Because, for this custom framer, jerseys aren’t just uniforms. They’re year-round business.
RJ, who owns the Jacquez Art & Custom Framing shop just outside of San Diego in Chula Vista, California, specializes in custom framing sports jerseys. After a video tutorial he posted on YouTube in 2016 on how to frame an autographed jersey scored tens of thousands of views, he and his shop were propelled into the spotlight as a choice framer for jerseys and sports memorabilia.
“When we posted that video, I jokingly told my wife, ‘wouldn’t it be something if we end up framing mostly jerseys?’” recalls RJ.
Jersey framing turned out to be no laughing matter. Today, it accounts for nearly 80% of RJ’s business. Even professional athletes patronize his shop, including NFL players Connor Williams and Charles Omenihu, who — as past collegiate teammates — had jerseys framed for each other after signing with their respective professional teams, the Cowboys and Texans.
Not all Jerseys are Uniform
While YouTube may have initially pushed RJ’s shop into the spotlight, it’s a keen sense of design that keeps it there. He believes that when it comes to custom framing sports jerseys – as it is with framing any piece of treasured memorabilia – 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,” RJ says. “I always love saying that we are not a cookie-cutter type of shop where all jerseys look the same.
“We really dislike the traditional, rectangular matting that you see on 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.”
Premium Glazing Gives Jerseys a Clear Look
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.
Tips to Elevate Your Framing Game
For framers beginning their own jersey-framing project, RJ offers a few tips that can help elevate compositions, beginning with the jersey itself.
“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.
To see more of RJ’s custom framing work connect with @jacquezart on Instagram.
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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.