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Frame USA Employees—Favorite Hobby Friday

Get to know Frame USA Employees–Favorite Hobby Friday

Last week on Favorite Hobby Friday I talked with our favorite monster drawing customer service rep, Kelley Kombrinck. This week I bring you the Favorite Hobby of our Posterservice Sales rep, David Estep.

David, tell us about your favorite hobby.

My favorite hobby is creating art.

  Favorite Hobby_David Estep 1

Your position here makes a lot of sense knowing that; when did you first start creating it?

I have been creating art for as long as I can remember!

So then you must have a pretty neat story behind how you got started, tell our readers all about it. 

I spent my younger years creating art much like every other kid until father gave me a quill pen and ink set that was my Grandfathers. To a young kid it was ancient but it was so cool at the same time. I was fascinated with the result of the ink on paper and spent years working with nothing but. Fast forward to Art School where I studied advertising design and worked a lot with markers creating mark ups. I fell in love with the bright colors of the markers and they now are a part of everything I create.

I was right, that was a pretty unique story, so how long did it take you to become a master at it?

It took me about a year to develop my own unique style before I was happy with the direction it was going. I was influenced by a wide range of sources—fine artists such as Picasso, and Matisse, more contemporary artists like Andy Warhol, psychedelic artists Alex Gray and Ed Paschke and of course comic books. 

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So now that you have your style developed, how many hours a week would you estimate you spend on your artwork?

I work on an art project, usually a few at time, almost every day.

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So since you do it every day you must have a favorite part, what is it?

Everything from the conceptual to completion. There’s something really cool about each step.

If every part of the process is your favorite, do you even have a least favorite part?

I am not void of having an artist’s block, so when it comes on it can be very frustrating. Sometimes it is difficult to translate my thoughts into images.

Artist’s block is awful, what is some advice for our readers that may want to start creating art?

I truly believe we are all artists, everyone has the ability to create something that expresses a feeling or a thought they may have. So, I say go for it, don’t be afraid of the outcome. Create for yourself first, and the number one idea, enjoy yourself.

So taking your advice, tell us about the most memorable experience with your art.

I have been accepted into a few art shows that are very jury heavy such as Summerfair and the Hyde Park Art Show. I was interviewed in the Citybeat publication and on Channel 9 morning news to promote the 2004 Hyde Park Art Show. It’s really nice to be recognized for my work.

I would say those both would be unforgettable moments; what is one thing you have learned about yourself through mastering art?

There is a release for the voices in my head, my art. Kidding aside, there is some truth to this. I find I have all these artistic ideas and they really start to cry to get out which I feel I must address. Once out, I can move on the next voice/idea.

Art is such a great outlet for working through things! 

Thanks so much David for taking the time to tell our readers about your favorite hobby! 

Favorite Hobby Friday continues next week as Frame USA‘s CEO, Daniel Regenold, tells all about his favorite hobby!

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Holiday Shipping 2014

Holiday Shipping Schedule for 2014

As Christmas quickly approaches everyone is scrambling to get their gifts ordered and purchased so that they arrive on time. Buying presents online, although convenient, is a risky business to get into for Christmas, you never know if you’re going to get the gifts on time. Frame USA is all about life hacks (in case you don’t already know, check out part 1 & part 2 of our life hacks) so we’re going to make things extremely simple for you.

If you need Picture Frames or mats by Christmas, no matter where you are shipping them throughout the United States, your order needs to be placed by December 14th.

December is the only time where our standard 5-7 production time doesn’t apply. You will notice when you place your order and recieve the confirmation that it will say that it will arrive on or by Christmas Eve. We guarantee you with 100% certainty that you will receive your picture frame and mat orders on time if you order by the 14th.

If you would like to know the exact dates that we are shipping out orders, our full holiday shipping schedule can be viewed on our website here.

Since we have made your lives easier, we ask you to consider paying it forward this holiday season and making the life of someone else easier. How can you do this? Consider donating $1 to our charity initiative, Fill The Truck, when you place your orders this holiday season. That $1 will be going to 4 different charities that support those in need year round. $1 could buy you a plethora of items on a fast food restaurant’s dollar menu, but instead of spending it on that, give it to Fill The Truck so that we may help those that are in need!

Happy Shopping—May the odds be ever in your favor! (they will be when you shop with us!)

Frame USA Employees–Favorite Hobby Friday

Get to know Frame USA Employees–Favorite Hobby Friday

From what we have heard from our subscribers, last week’s Favorite Hobby Friday was a huge hit! This week we bring you the favorite hobby of one of our customer service representatives, that many of our customers who have purchased picture frames from us may have spoken with, Kelley Kombrinck.

I sat down with Kelley to discuss his favorite hobby and the talent that was first displayed here.

Kelley, we first experienced your talent when you drew a Unicorn and an elephant on a customer’s order, why don’t tell me a bit more about your hobby!

I’m a guy who likes to draw. Mainly charcoal or pencil/pen and ink on paper. Most of my work is done by hand but I’ve begun using digital media—i.e. Photoshop—to color my pictures. My genre of choice is horror art—ghosts and monsters and such—and my style is mainly comic book/fantasy, but I can still bust out a pretty accurate portrait if I need to.

  KelleyK- Hobby 1

Judging by your level of skill you’ve probably been drawing for a pretty long time; When did you first start?

I have been drawing as far back as I can remember, and it was always monsters, always.

So why did you start drawing monsters at such an early age?

As a kid I just drew because I wanted to be like my older brother who also drew really well. As I got older and realized I was good at it I started drawing to break the ice with the people who sat around me in school because I was kind of weird and awkward and it helped to get people on my side right off the bat.

Most creative people are a little weird, so you’re not alone in that— how long has it taken you to become a master at it?

Like most artists, I’m still mastering it and continue to develop and learn. I will say that I really kicked it into high gear in my early twenties when I started incorporating more realistic human anatomy and working harder to understand light and shadow.

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The level of detail in all of your pieces is outstanding, how many hours a week would you estimate you spend drawing?

It depends on the week. Some weeks I don’t draw at all. Other weeks I might put 22 hours in. When I’m working on a hot project I’ll get lost in it.

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Kelley frequently brings in his drawing pad in to the office and work on his craft during his lunch hour—that’s dedication!

22 hours, that’s a long time, you must really enjoy it—what’s your favorite part about it?

For me, there’s a moment where a picture is not quite finished, but where I’ve gotten all the main elements penciled in and they look how I want them to look—the picture still has a way to go and there’s a lot of cleanup and smaller details to add — but I see the most important parts and they are staring back at me as if they just stepped through a door out of my imagination. I go on and finish the picture and its great and everything but it’s that moment halfway through that is my favorite.

Wow, that was really poetic, with how you talk about drawing it’s hard to imagine that this question would apply to you but, none the less, what’s your least favorite part about it?

Oh lord it’s when I get a picture to a great place and then I go one step further and it hurts the picture. Sometimes it’s just something that bothers me and no one else really notices but I’ve occasionally ruined a drawing that I’ve put a lot of time and work into by just not letting it rest when it was done. I also hate when I go to ink my pencil drawing and I make a mistake—ink does not forgive.

Like most artists you appear to be your own worst critic! What has been the most memorable experience?

I’ve had several. One of the most memorable was having my work displayed in a black-room art show at a specialty shop back in 2001. My first— and last — exhibition. I drank all the wine and left early with a headache but I did sell one piece.

Sounds like a successful night to me! What is one thing you have learned about yourself through drawing?

I’ve learned that I can really take a critique without getting my feelings too hurt and turn it into development. People are quick to tell you what you’re doing wrong and sometimes it’s just to be snarky but if I can pull something useful out of it and improve my technique then I’m all for it. Some of my biggest jumps in growth have come out of brutally stated critiques.

That is a great ability to have as an artist— what is your advice for people who may want to start drawing?

I think that if you want to start doing it, you probably already are but if you’re wanting to take it to a level where you want to show or sell your art remember this: your style and subject matter is your own, do what you want, but when your technique gets criticized, listen with an open mind. Even if the critic is a jerk, they might be right.  

I think that is something we could all use, even those that aren’t artisticbe yourself and stand up for what you believe in!

Thanks so much Kelley for taking the time to answer my questions!

I hope you have enjoyed Favorite Hobby Friday so far! Stay tuned next week for our Posterservice Sales Rep David Estep’s favorite hobby!


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Fill The Truck–Frame USA’s December Charity of the Month

December Charity of the Month: Fill The Truck

In our blog post about Frame USA’s Favorite hobby that we posted yesterday, we mentioned that our favorite hobby is giving back to those in need.  We do this selecting a different charity organization to donate to on our website and retail store every month.

If you read that post, this will come as no surprise to you, we have selected Fill The Truck as our December Charity of the month on frameusa.com as well as the charity in our retail store. For every picture frame online order that we receive we will donate $0.75. In our retail store, we will donate $1.00 for every custom frame orders. This amount is on top of the donations that we get from our generous customers.

To read more about the past years of Fill The Truck, Check out Monday’s blog post.

Fill The Truck 2014

November 25, 2014 marked the beginning of the 5th annual Fill The Truck.

With help from our corporate sponsors: Planes Moving & Storage, Akers Packaging Service, Inc, iHeart Media, and Krieg Offset, as well as all of our customers, We hope to make this year the most successful year yet.

All of the donations, both cash and physical goods that we receive will be going four different charity organizations: The Healing Center, Valley Interfaith, CAIN, and Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky.

The donations that we are collecting are things that almost everyone takes for granted such as: Toilet paper, personal care items, winter clothing and bedding. All of these can have a profound impact for those who are in need.

In honor of #givingtuesday today, please consider donating $1 to Fill The Truck when you place your order for Picture frames online today as well as throughout the month of December. It’s as easy as clicking a button. Fill The Truck Check Out Page

If you’re feeling extra generous and would like to donate a physical item visit fillthetruck.org!

Get to Know Frame USA- Favorite Hobby Friday

 Favorite Hobby Friday

Last week for Favorite Hobby Friday, our Director of Sales, Chas Hall, was interviewed about his favorite Hobby. Since last Thursday was Thanksgiving, and we were out of the office that Friday, we are bringing you last weeks favorite hobby Friday today! We wanted to take a different spin on it and tell our customers what Frame USA’s favorite hobby is as a company.

Frame USA’s Favorite Hobby is Giving Back to those in need.

On a monthly basis Frame USA chooses charities to support through our website as well as our retail store. We mentioned in our blog post about our November Charity of the month, Free Store Foodbank, that in September alone we donated over 1,500 to our two charities.

However our biggest charity initiative by far is Fill The Truck.
Fill The Truck first started back in December of 2010 by Frame USA’s CEO, Dan Regenold. That December he had a vision to fill a 54 foot semi-truck for a local charity. He put together a team of giving coordinators to make this initiative as successful as possible in under 30 days. By the end of December, Frame USA ended up needing a second truck because they were so successful at getting donations that they over filled their semi by 7%. This equaled 833 boxes and over 30 skids equaling more than $22,200 in donations.

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The truck isn’t just a means of transporting all of the donations that we get, to Dan, the truck represented hope, life and a second chance for people within his community who were down on their luck.

Since that December of 2010 Frame USA has been coordinating Fill the Truck every year. This past Tuesday, November 25, 2014, marked the beginning of the 5th Annual Fill The Truck. The best part about this charity initiative is that it isn’t just a one man show. From now until December 21st when the trucks are delivered to their respected Charities, the employees at Frame USA will have this initiative on their brains and will do everything in their power to make it as successful as possible.
With that being said, Fill The Truck is a massive charity initiative that performs at hyper speed in just under 30 days. All the donations received are boxed and packed by employees donating their time.

Fill The Truck 2011   FTT_2011_2_Frame USA
On December 21st when we deliver the donations, we are delivering a second chance to the people in need. It is this reason that we continue to do this initiative every year, no matter the man power and time that it takes organizing.

Fill The Truck 2012
FTT 2012_2_Frame USA

One thing that we have learned the past 5 years that we have undertaken this challenge is that no matter how small a donation is, it can completely change someone’s life around.

Fill the Truck - Packing Skids   Fill the Truck - Packing Up the Boxes

Our piece of advice for all of you is that it doesn’t take a large donation of cash to make a difference in someone’s life; something as simple as a hat and glove set can mean the world to someone in need.

Stay tuned every Friday to get to know Frame USA & our employees.

Get To Know Frame USA Employees– Favorite Hobby Friday

Get to know Frame USA Employees–Favorite Hobby Friday

The people who work for Frame USA aren’t just a bunch of drones. We want our customers to know us to be familiar with the people who day in and day out provide you with quality American made picture frames at affordable prices. We thought we would give you an inside look at what our employees do in their spare time. First up: Chas Hall, who is our Director of Sales and our newest employee!

I interviewed Chas about his favorite thing to do when he’s not at work here is that interview.

  

So Chas, what is it that you enjoy doing on your time off?

I participate in something called The Warhammer 40K/Fantasy, which involves collecting, building, painting, custom creating and gaming with plastic, metal, or resin miniatures.

Warhammer_40k game piece  

Impressive!  So when did you first start creating the pieces?

I began this hobby at the beginning of January in 2012

So you’ve been  doing this for almost 3 years now,  how did you get started?

A friend of mine was familiar with my interests for painting and building things. He was also aware of my competitive nature when it comes to playing chess and checkers and quickly realized I could apply each of my interests into one hobby, which I immediately developed a passion for.

That’s a pretty involved friend, How long did it take you to become a master at it?

Because there are so many challenging aspects and areas of the hobby it can be difficult to master all areas. However, if there is a specific aspect that I feel I’ve mastered it would be custom creating projects. For example, I would be taking a kit and fully converting the product in a unique way, which is opposite of what the manufacturer or instructions would suggest.

  Warhammer Fantasy_Chas

You’re saying that you start majority of your pieces completely from scratch, that must take up a good chunk of your time, How many hours a week would you estimate you spend?

At least 45 minutes per day in a 7 day period.

Warhammer 40K_Employee Hobby

So that is roughly about 5.5 hours a week! What is your favorite part about it?

My favorite part about it is custom creating something or converting a product that is not a direct representation of what is included within the kit.

I can tell you’re really passionate about this hobby, with that being said, do you have a least favorite part about it?

The gaming aspect is my least favorite because there are so many rules, terms and Warhammer 40k/fantasy lingo to learn, which can dramatically slow down game play. There are also constant updates within game rules that may affect a player who is not completely familiar with his/her rulebook, which can also delay game time.

That would be difficult to stay up to date with, so what has been the most memorable experience with Warhammer 40k/Fantasy?

Without a doubt that would be winning painting and/or conversion contests in tournament entries!

If you’ve won tournament entries you must be pretty talented, what is your advice for people who may want to start participating in it?

Have patience and have fun! Don’t expect to become great at custom building, painting and/or gaming over night, it takes time. Encourage your friends to participate so that you can continue to learn and grow together!

So since you’ve been doing it for a couple of years now, what is one thing you have learned about yourself through mastering this?

One thing I have learned about myself is that even when it comes to having interest in a hobby, I have a pretty solid ability with attention to detail, specifically with painting schemes, instructions, etc!

Thanks so much Chas for taking the time to answer my questions!

Not only does this allow for our customers to get to know our employees but it allows for our employees to get to know their coworkers on a level that they may have not had the chance to.

If you have any additional questions regarding his Hobby, leave us comment  and we’ll get it answered for you!

 

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Stay tuned for the next Favorite Hobby Friday!

Retail Custom Framing VS Our Build A Frame Custom Framing Feature

Retail Custom Framing VS Build A Frame

Framing is expensive and time consuming, with so many options it’s hard to find the right frame for the photograph or art that you are trying to frame. Having that piece be an odd size will make it even more expensive and time consuming.

There are so many online retailers out there that sell ready-made frames, including Frame USA, but very few that offer the option of purchasing completely custom made picture frames. Most online frame companies don’t offer the option because it’s hard! Custom framing by nature is so personal and requires a lot of back and forth between the customer and framer. There are so many options that are offered in your brick and mortar stores for custom framing, which are just not realistic for online companies.

We admit that the options available on our Build a Frame are nowhere near the options available in our retail frame shop, with that being said, Build a Frame is one of the best options for online custom picture framing on the market today, from our perspective in the industry as well as the feedback we’ve heard from customers who have used it.

I was curious how Build a Frame matched up, price wise, with your traditional brick and mortar retail custom framing, so  I did some research. I thought I would share my results for those of you who are skeptical of our Build a Frame.

During my lunch this past Friday I took a field trip to two very well known frame shops here in Cincinnati. These two frame shops feature a lot of advertising and newspaper ads and are known for their crazy sales so I thought I would see how our Build A Frame Matched up to them.

I went to these two frame companies and ask for a custom framing quote for an 8×10 picture with a double mat in a simple 11×14 black picture frame. This is a standard picture frame size, but it is often used as the beginning of a custom order.

Here are the quotes:

Retail Custom Framing Competitor #1

When I went into this frame shop I was actually worried that my results would not work out in our favor— they had a huge sale going on where everything was 50% off and then you were able to take an additional 30% off that sale price. The price for my 8×10 picture with a double mat in an 11×14 black picture frame with standard glass backing and assembly which included a wire hanger was $75.62.  I saved a total of $131.56; I don’t want to imagine what the cost would be without that sale.

Retail Custom Framing Competitor #2

My lunch time was coming to an end rapidly so I decided for this next shop that I was going to call and get a quote. The price for my 8×10 picture with a double mat in an 11×14 black picture frame with standard glass backing and assembly which included a wire hanger was starting at $70. That means that there is a chance that it could go up depending which picture frame molding I went with.

Our Custom Framing tool: Build A Frame

Custom Framing Online vs Retail Framing

So using Build A Frame I priced out myself exactly what I asked the two frame shops for. Since this is an Online Custom Framing tool the convenience of not having to stand in lines or even leave your pajama is there. The total including shipping and tax since I was shipping it to my home in Cincinnati was $51.23  without the tax for those of you who are not having it shipped to somewhere in ohio would be $47.99

Using Build A Frame would save me around $24.39.  Want to know what you could buy with $24.39?

  • Miracle Berry Tablets—alter your taste buds for an hour so anything sour tastes sweet
  • LifeStraw- drink from any water source and have filtered clean water to drink from
  • Rock-It— it turns just about any surface into a speaker
  • Bubble-Calendar— a calendar made from bubble wrap that you get to pop every day
  • A new pair of shoes
  • Two Chipotle Burritos

I could go on but the point is not only does Build A Frame have all the convenience of shopping online ( no lines, no leaving your bed) but it also saves you money, So unless you have a really complex custom framing job, give Build A Frame a chance, it won’t disappoint you, or your wallet!

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Custom Framing: Online vs. Retail

Being both an online picture frame company and retail store location, we’ve learned the ins and outs of the framing business. This is not to say that we know everything — far from it! However, we do know a good deal about the difference of the custom framing process. When we released Build A Frame, we changed how custom framing operated.

In our store, retail and online custom framing are of equally high importance. Both orders are assembled with utmost care, attention to detail and design sensibility. The main difference is price point, which is different with every framer out there. Our Build A Frame process and price in the store is the same as it is online. The main difference? Customers in the store can physically see the products in person.

FRAMING (2)

 

Have you had a great experience with either a retail or online custom framing experience? Let us know in the comments what made it unforgetable!

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Frame USA Sponsors “Tee Off Against Breast Cancer”

Breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women during their lives — a frightening statistic, considering the cancer’s devastating effects. Whether women experience it directly or help their friends and family deal with the shock, organizations like the Bethesda Foundation are reaching out to help. That’s why we at Frame USA recently sponsored and attended the TPC River’s Bend Ladies’ Golf “Tee Off Against Breast Cancer” event.

The golfing event went to directly support the Mary Jo Cropper Family Center for Breast Cancer — a center that does far more than raise awareness. All donations go to assist in cancer research, direct medical care for affected patients and general support for those going through this life-altering disease.

It is because of these reasons that we were (and still are) proud to support the above foundations, and plan to do so whenever we can as a company. To learn more about the Mary Jo Cropper Center, click here.

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From their website:

As the Tri-State’s leading breast care facility, we provide compassionate and comprehensive services, including screening, diagnosis, research, and the most current treatment options for breast conditions in one, convenient location. Our facility stands out because:

  • We are the only local breast center accredited by the prestigious National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC).
  • SealOur team provides comprehensive services, including 3D digital tomosynthesis mammography, ultrasound, MRI, breast biopsies, and breast cancer rehabilitation.
  • We have an expert multidisciplinary team involved in breast care and disease treatment.
  • We offer convenient hours and facilities. Our Center provides on-site radiologists and surgeons. 
  • We offer Breast Health Navigators to educate you and coordinate care, ensuring that you have a supportive team of specially trained nurses to advocate on your behalf.
  • The Mary Jo Cropper Family Center for Breast Care actively participates in clinical research to ensure the most current treatment of breast disease. 
  • Our staff strives to allay patient fears by delivering compassionate care in a nurturing, comfortable environment.
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Frame USA Retail Store’s Annual Tent Sale Returns!

Starting August 1st, tent sale shoppers can save 25%-50% off all picture frames and posters under the tent!

For Cincinnati locals, you’ll be happy to know that it’s that time again! Frame USA is having its annual tent sale. Our early August tent sale has always been about saving hundreds in art, wall decor and framing. Join us as our progressive approach to savings expands from 25%, 35% and all the way to 50% by Sunday!

Now, while we are also the type to hold off to get the best possible savings, waiting until Sunday does limit the number of frames available. At these prices, everyhing sells fast!

Here are some tips from us on how to get the most out of our great prices from the tent sale:

1. Stop by early, even if you don’t intend to buy.

An early start on Friday means there are more chances to find exactly what you’re looking for.

2. Know when to buy, and when to wait and save.

If you are looking for something common (like a brown 8×10 frame), you shouldn’t find too much issue finding what you need. If you’re looking for a specific type of frame, or to find an odd-sized custom frome that made it into closeouts, you may want to hurry by. We also have plenty of great posters to put in those frames as well.

3. Think ahead when attending the sale: birthdays, holidays, graduation, dorm rooms, etc.

Sales like this don’t happen very often, and even our employees are thrilled to stock up on items for their family and friend’s gifts. If you have any significant events in the upcoming year that need a frame, you can save some serious cash at our tent sale.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Our staff is knowledgeable and ready to help answer any and all questions about art and framing. Stop by and join in on the fun!

 

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Frame USA
225 Northland Blvd.
Springdale, OH 45246
513-733-9800

Event begins Friday, August 1.