Now, the hottest frames at Kohl’s are brass ones with brushed looks and other metal frames with a cutout or filigree look. Wood has been downtrending there, while metal-and-wood frames had reached the stores too recently for Lewandowski to give a verdict on their success.
Another department store buyer reports that he will be giving more emphasis to alternative metal frames for spring. However, he will not be deemphasizing wood frames, many of which he rates as either very strong or growing in strength.
In the former category are “interesting” wood frames such as carved, matted, chunky or laser-cut styles. The latter category includes colored wood frames, contemporary woods such as fruitwood with black accents, and wood-and-metal combinations. Wood museum-look frames are, however, starting to downtrend for this buyer.
At Matthews’ Hallmark, a Montchanin, Del. – based chain with 138 stores in 13 states, popular frame styles include colored woods and traditional brass, reports assistant gift buyer Karen Hess.
On the vendor side, Block of Loui Michel sees metals”coming back strong,” particularly those with copper finishes. Similarly, Burnes’ joe Schriver cites unusual finishes, “especially on metal,” as being very popular.
Barry Gordon, general manager of Melannco also sees a lot of anodized or brushed metal looks entering the market. Alternative metals are being used more, he explains, because they are easy to shape. Laser-cut metals will also be strong, Gordon feels. Melannco has introduced some lace laser frames on which the profile is cut as well the border. However, Gordon also takes a longer view, noting that wood and metal frames always flip-flop in popularity.” For his part, Gordon is bullish on mixed media, such as wood and resin, as exemplified by Melannco’s Moose Mansion series for Father’s Day, which illustrates golf, hunting, fishing and Americana themes.
The company is also exploring handpainted looks in ceramic and has introduced a new fabrication, papier mache, as well as some crystal frames.
“Frame profiles are getting wider and more intricate in design, whether it be gold leaf foil or cuts,” observes Rich Giron, vice president of sales marketing of Fetco. This company’s tabletop show launch included a handcrafted version of a laser-cut frame in the wide-bordered Creative Cuts group. Also part of this group was a wood frame with a die-cast metal bezel that comes in either a gold or pewter finish.
Fetco’s new Classic italian collection also features wider profiles and more embellishments. The vendor also addressed the strong interest in frames and photo storage boxes with multiple openings in its market introduction. One frame, called the Screen Collage, gives a trifold screen effect.
As at mass, miniature frames continue to be “very, very strong” in the upscale market, says Joe Schriver senior vice president of Burnes of Boston. “We’re shipping them by the hundreds of thousands,” adds David Ferriera, director of marketing for M.W. Carr.
The Container Store opened a 24,400-sq-ft location in Rockville, MD, just in time for the Christmas 1994 holiday shopping season. The chain offers the widest selection of gift wrap materials, according to Pres Kip Tindell. Another Container Store in the capital area, at Tyson’s Corner, VA, produces the chain’s second highest sales per square foot. Tindell also plans to open a store in the New York, NY, area, and eventually he plans locations in Chicago, IL, and Los Angeles, CA.