Hobbycraft Case Study

Hobbycraft PLC need a solution to start a framing department and used our Custom Frame Startup Package

All About Framing has spent considerable resources and time putting together an IT system that could be developed and deployed nationally and ultimately internationally, so we were extremely pleased when we partnered with Hobbycrafts PLC to prove the custom framing concept in their stores.

Hobbycraft stores sells everything for the artist and hobbyist from drawing paper to a sewing machine, so many of the finished crafts they cater for need framing. A particularly good example of how framing fits well within such a store is Michaels in the USA who have an almost identical offering to Hobbycraft. Each of their 1200+ stores have a custom framing counter where orders are taken then when completed frames are returned from their manufacturing plant they are assembled by fully trained framers. The Custom frame business accounts for 17% of their revenue ($805M). You can see why the idea was attractive to Hobbycraft!

The planing stage....

We treated the planning of this pilot scheme as a blue print for a bigger rollout and produced an engagement document that was agreed by both parties. The document included detailed plans on store layout an a full training program for staff as well as a full process map that gave step by step instructions on how best to run a Custom framing shop.

Diagrams and ideas were discussed before the final plans were made.

The in-store manufacturing area in the diagram (right) was sidelined because there was a very good space already available which we developed further with work benches, sheet material racks and storage pigeonholes for holding finished work awaiting collection.

Training program........

For any new businesses taking on the responsibility of framing other peoples work it is imperative that you have the right training. The UK School of Framing is part of the group of companies that make up All About Framing. At the school run 13 individual courses taking people from the very basics to a professional level, each course is full accredited by the Fine Art Trade Guild.

Hobbycraft's attitude to training registers as very important to the company as it gives the professionalism that staff need to be the best. So we developed not only a very robust training program for the new framers but we also tested and critiqued the work they did afterwards so there was a full understanding of the quality that was required. Below is how each day was structured taking into account all the main disciplines of custom framing.

Day 1 - Introduction, Frame design and pricing 1, Handling of artwork, Mount cutting, Attaching artwork, Joining, glass cutting, assembly and finishing.

Day 2 - Reverse engineering, Mount cutting 2, Attaching artwork 2, Assembly 2 Joining, glass cutting, assembly and finishing, Review.

Day 3 - Frame design and pricing 2, Role-play, Conservation Framing.

Day 4 - Shirt framing, 3D Framing.

Day 5 - Live hands on training in our gallery;

Day 6 - Fabric Framing 1 Canvas’s and stretching techniques, Fabric framing 2 Cross stitch and tapestry final review of training.

4 students attended the course during which they created frames that not only taught them how to use the pricing system but were used as samples to hang on the wall in the custom framing area.

The build and fit-out .............

We worked with Hobbycraft contractors to complete the final build they created the display wall and arranged electrics and completed the painting. The All About Framing team went in and installed the hanging system and arranged all the samples and range description all with the framed examples that had been completed during the staff training. We further designed and built the workshop utilising the space so all framing operations could be carried out and customers frames securely stored.

Conclusion......

Southampton now have a wonderful custom framing area within the store, a functional assembly and frame storage area and well trained staff to carryout all the framing jobs that are bought in by customers.

The whole process is handled by FrameIT and All About Framing manufacture the rims, glass, mount and backing which are delivered weekly.

Sales continue to grow month on month as the word spreads that Hobbycraft Southampton is the place to go for framing.