If you’ve ever has something custom-framed – whether it’s a family portrait, college degree, or piece of art – then you know how frustrating it can be to have to deal with framing services. Aside from ludicrous prices of the frames themselves, having to interact with the people behind the counter can just be downright uncomfortable and confusing. Last week, DC-based Framebridge launched a custom framing service that not only offers prices 50 to 70 percent lower than traditional retail frame shops, but gives consumers the convenience of going through the entire process right on their computer or iPhone.
“For years, I avoided buying art – on trips, at flea markets – because the price and hassle of custom framing at traditional frame shops made it impossible,” said Susan Tynan, Framebridge founder and CEO. “I wanted to take that barrier away, so people were free to find things they love and get them up on the wall.”
I don’t think it would be wrong for me to describe Framebridge as a a Warby Parker for picture and art framing. The company has essentially disrupted a largely antiquated industry that continues to run on a model that no longer fits in with the modern consumer, and they’ve done so in a way that offers both convenience and affordability without cutting back on quality. And, with backers like New Enterprise Associates, Steve Case, and Tim O’Shaughnessy, it’s a company worth looking into.
“We tried to completely reimagine the experience. What makes visiting a traditional custom frame shop uncomfortable? Let’s remove it. The upselling, the unclear pricing, the overwhelming, outdated selection – gone.”
Using Framebridge’s mobile app, you take a picture of the art or photo or whatever you want framed, then you simply use the app’s visualization tools to preview what that piece will look like in each of the various frame styles offered by the company and how it will look on your wall. They also offer a “Designer’s Choice” service that will provide expert consultation on the best frame and mat styles for your picture. From there, customers ship their art through prepaid, custom-designed packaging provided by Framebridge, or simply upload the image from their computer, iPhone, or Instagram feed. And, finally, within two weeks, the picture or art will arrive custom-framed to the art’s exact dimensions.
Frames from the company are produced from their studio in Lanham, MD using the highest quality materials, including wood molding, acid-free matting and foam boards, and UV-protective acrylic. Currently, they offer 21 differently frame styles in three collections: “Classic,” “Clean,” and “Eclectic”. Pricing ranges from $79 for a small piece (up to 9″ x 12″) to $149 for an extra large piece (up to 32″ x 40″). They also offer Instagram “mini” framing, which prints and frames 5-inch squares of your Instagram pics.