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Mirror_ Mirror on the Wall

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									    Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
                 A Growth Opportunity for Frame Stores

                                                     by Jim Daniel




L
        ook into any frame store           frame stores are uniquely positioned     est in mirrors as a decorative tool.
        these days and it’s not surpris-   to deliver this product to consumers.
        ing to see yourself looking                                                 Why Frame Stores?
back. More and more frame shops            Home Design Trends                       Customers are realizing they can get
across the country are featuring mir-      Pick up a design magazine, and           the best mirror selections at frame
rors as part of their product mix.         you’ll see that the use of mirrors in    stores, where moulding in a variety
     Mirrors have become big mon-          home decor is one of today’s hottest     of sizes and styles is readily available.
eymakers for framers. In some                                                       Better prices and endless design
shops, mirror sales now account for                                                 options are also key reasons cus-
as much as 15 to 20 percent of busi-          The use of mirrors                    tomers are heading to frame stores.
ness, according to Jim West of Cash                                                      Consumers are also flocking to
Moulding, a framing distributor in              in home decor is                    frame shops for their mirror pur-
Birmingham, Alabama, where mir-                                                     chases because they can match mir-
rors have been sold for more than 10              one of today’s                    ror moulding to other framed art-
years. “Mirrors are a positive influ-                                               work for a unified decorative look.
                                               hottest decorating
ence on sales,” West says. “In our                                                  While furniture stores and chain
stores that offer mirrors, their sales                  trends.                     stores compete for mirror sales, they
are a direct improvement to the bot-                                                can offer only ready-made products;
tom line.”                                                                          therefore, an integrated design look
     At TC Moulding, based in St.          decorating trends. Mirrors not only      with other framed artwork is not
Paul, Minnesota, mirror sales went         provide a open and airy feel to a        possible. In frame shops, mirrors can
up a whopping 208 percent within a         room, but a hint of elegance as well.    be custom-designed or ready-made,
one-year period, says John Richards,       And as mirrors become an integral        giving customers a greater variety of
Vice President of Sales and Market-        component of interior design, furni-     options.
ing. Despite this fact, mirrors still      ture stores and home decorating               “As a designer and educator in
represent an untapped resource for         chains have responded with larger        the framing industry, I stay abreast
many frame shops. “When my sales           selections. As a result, consumers are   of up and coming trends as well as
reps go see framers who haven’t yet        more exposed to mirrors as a deco-       the trends that slip up and surprise
sold mirrors, they offer to send them      rating option.                           us,” says Kaye Evans, CPF, a design
a framed mirror to hang in the store.           Richards is even seeing framing     and educational consultant. “Selling
Usually, that results in a sale, and       designs that combine mirrors and         mirrors is just such a niche trend.
the framer realizes the potential.”        artwork into one piece as well as        Framers should be able to sell cus-
     Mirror sales are growing at           mirrors framed with sconces and          tom-framed mirrors for a lower price
frame stores for two primary rea-          candelabras for maximum play with        than most stores sell ready-made
sons--the use of mirrors in room           light reflection. These unique design    mirrors. Most important, the con-
decor is a huge design trend, and          ideas highlight the consumer’s inter-    sumers receive the same valued trust

64 PFM   i June 1999
Mirror, Mirror
as with custom art framing. This         receive them as part of their regular
very profitable niche could be ‘just     glazing product orders.
what the doctor ordered’ to spark
current business.”                     How to Sell Mirrors
                                       Promoting mirror sales can be as sim-
Benefits of Selling Mirrors            ple as putting a sample on display in
Richards says there are three reasons your store to let customers know dec-
frame store owners should consider     orative mirrors are available and can
selling mirrors:                       be matched to other frame jobs.
     • The high perceived value of     Some frame shops use direct mail and
mirrors, particularly those with       coupon offers to bring customers into
ornate or custom designs, allows       the store. Because the demand for
framers to increase their profit mar- decorative mirrors is high, simply
gins.                                  incorporating them into normal mar-
     • Mirrors diversify a frame       keting efforts often brings about
store’s product selection and position immediate results.
the store as a destination shopping         So if you’re looking for a profit-
location for home decor.
     • Frame stores can offer better
designs than the ready-made ver-                 Because the
sions available at furniture and chain
stores.                                           demand for
     Ancillary benefits include the
low labor investment in ready-made
                                                  decorative
mirrors as well as the greater visual        mirrors is high,
appeal of the frame shop with a vari-
ety of mirrors hanging on the walls.           incorporating
“Mirrors brighten and open up
frame stores just like they do                them into your
homes,” Richards says. “They are
good visual merchandising for frame
                                            marketing efforts
stores.”                                    could bring about
Profits and Pricing                         immediate results.
Mirrors can run the gamut in con-
sumer pricing from $150 for a
ready-made, standard-sized wall mir-     builder that’s easy to order, market,
ror to $800 or $900 for a highly         handle and sell, just look in the mir-
ornate mirror. The benefit to frame      ror. s
shops is in the profit margin, which
can be as high as 70 percent.            Jim Daniel is President of Operations
     As a result, glass suppliers have   for Sandel Glass, Clovis, California, a
started offering mirrors as part of      full-line glass supplier to the picture
their product lines so framers can       frame industry.

								
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