Martin & Julie Steele, Picture This, Queensbury, Bradford. West Yorkshire
♥ How long have you been in the boutique business and what made you get started?
21 years self employed - previously employed by an independant gallery for 10 years, suddenly dawned on me that I couldn't climb any further up the ladder so decided to start up my own business.
♥ What’s your shop like and what do you sell?
Our shop has two retail/gallery areas, in house framing workshop and we provide a bespoke framing service for anything and everything! We also sell framed artwork prints and originals, original photography, greetings cards (handmade and fine art cards), limited ranges of pottery, dried flowers, sculpture, candles and handmade jewellery. Although we have a website and customers can view examples of framed items and also items for sale, we do not have an online shop we prefer to provide a personal service and meet our customers face to face so only bricks and mortar!
♥ What’s your typical day like - the best bits and the worst bits?
Our week is divided up into sections to enable us to complete our list of jobs for that week. The early part of the week, usually the quietest in terms of people coming into the gallery as many of the businesses in Queensbury close on a Monday, consists of the boring bits such as admin, book keeping etc and also this is the part of the week where we cut the mounts, moving onto cutting the glass and backings to fit, then the latter part of the week is spent actually cutting out the frames and assembling them ready for finishing for the best bit, customers to collect on Friday/Saturday, it is very rewarding when customers are pleasantly surprised at how their item has been enhanced by our framing. Attending to customers is the least predictable part of our job as no two days of the week are ever the same, the number of people through the door each day varies considerably from week to week.
♥ What do you look for in handmade goods to sell?
It's very difficult to assess what we think customers will buy, but generally speaking if something is eye catchingly different, of good quality, nicely packaged and presented then we would be more inclined to say that we would stock it.
♥ Do you actively seek new designers, or wait for them to come to you?
We are generally approached on a regular basis by artists wanting us to give our opinion on their work and whether we think it's saleable. On the odd occasion if we see something we think will suit our gallery and appeal to our customers we will approach an artist, but this doesn't happen very often.
♥ What’s your best seller?
The bespoke framing side of our business is what we call our 'bread and butter' but generally speaking people call in to browse our framed and unframed art work looking to see if there is anything to suit their tastes. Our motto is 'right person, right time' - sometimes if a picture has been in the gallery for a period of time you begin to wonder if it will ever find a home, with that a person will call in, fall in love with it and buy it!
Comic Book Prints from Picture This
♥ How do you prefer a designer to approach you about selling their work? Any tips?
The preferred method of approach for us would be a polite telephone call or an email to discuss the possibility of us becoming stockists - we will then arrange for them to call in with some examples of their work if we think it is suitable to our gallery. Quite often people do 'cold call' and whilst we would still give them our honest opinion we do sometimes find this method inconvenient.
♥ What sort of basis do you prefer to work with your designers - consignment or wholesale?
For the most part we deal with artists on a 'sale or return' basis, this way we can minimise our outlay and upon sale of the item both parties are remunerated. Publishers of prints however, require us to purchase the art work at wholesale prices, we then frame them and display them in the gallery. Smaller items such as pottery, jewellery, candles etc we tend to buy wholesale. On occasion we frame art work at our cost if we think it will appeal to our customers more if framed.
♥ Link us up!
Picture This website
Picture This on Facebook
"Meet the Stockist" is a collection of interviews with stockists of independent designers' work, posted on the last Friday of each month. If you are a stockist and would like to be featured, or you are a maker and know of a great stockist to interview, email me!
Don't forget to subscribe if you heart my blog!