We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Wendy A. Williamson a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Wendy, thanks for joining us today. What do you think Corporate America gets wrong in your industry? Any stories or anecdotes that illustrate why this matters?
Customers are often wooed by the deeply discounted prices advertised for “custom framing” at big box stores. But is that really “custom framing”? Let’s examine. When you visit a big box store, you are often times not working with the person that will be creating your piece. In fact, more often than not, none of the elements of your piece (the frame, the matting, or the glass) will be cut on site. Those elements are created off site, then assembled on-site by a minimally trained salesperson. And sometimes, your artwork or your precious memorabilia will be shipped off to another location altogether for framing. Big box stores can also have a very limited selection of mouldings and matboards to choose from. And, the quality of this selection is sometimes questionable. We recommend that buyers always ask if the materials they are purchasing are conservation-quality and if the mouldings are wood (not PVC). These materials help preserve the artwork and protect it from damaging environmental factors. Plus, big box stores are often not capable of executing difficult designs or oversized pieces.
At Ken’s Custom Frames, we’ve offered true custom framing since 1969. After a comprehensive design consultation, we hand make each piece on-site using conservation materials and wood mouldings. Our workshop features modern picture framing equipment including a computerized mat cutter with the ability to execute complicated designs and shapes, a double mitre saw for clean cuts, an oversized vacuum press for professional mounting, and a pneumatic v-nailer/joiner for precision corners. Unlike big box stores, your artwork and memorabilia never leave our shop. Our expert craftsmen boast a combined 85 years in custom framing and related industries and are ready and fully capable to execute your challenging, difficult, and visionary designs. We “think outside the frame”!
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
In the late 1960s, after graduating from Texas Christian University, Ken Post was unhappy in his job and looking for opportunities for business ownership. His brother-in-law owned and operated a custom frame shop in Richardson, Texas and offered to teach Ken the ins and outs of the business. Ken eagerly accepted his offer and in 1969 opened Ken’s Custom Frames & Gallery in Fort Worth, Texas. When the store first opened, Ken was renting space in a strip center off of Granbury Drive. Due to his hard work and dedication he found success and in the mid-80s, he purchased a building down the street. This building, located at 5925 Wedgwood Drive, is the current store location. Over the years, Ken’s wife, Jane, assisted with bookkeeping and other operational tasks at the store. Additionally, Ken was lucky enough to have two long term employees who contributed to the success of the store – Ron Wilkerson, who passed away in 2008; and Robert Rodriguez, who is still working at Ken’s as the Head Designer and Director of Customer Relations. In 2015, Wendy Williamson, Ken’s daughter, took over management of the store and in 2019 she became the legal owner, striving to maintain the exceptional level customer service and workmanship our customers have come to expect.
Over the years, Ken’s has developed a reputation as the place to go for high-end custom framing, shadowboxes, and challenging framing jobs. The reality is, however, that we also offer competitive pricing on basic custom framing jobs, with the added bonus of a knowledgeable and attentive staff. We have been privileged to work with long-time corporate and non-profit customers and dozens of prominent, local designers. We have a large, devoted customer base in the DFW area. Our methodology is simple: offer exceptional customer service and superior quality.
Any advice for growing your clientele? What’s been most effective for you?
Online and social media marketing has been the number one most effective strategy to help our business expand its customer base. It has helped us reach a broader audience, a younger audience, and a more diverse audience. Before, we relied heavily on word-of-mouth referrals and repeat customers. While business was steady, we did not see a big range in types of customers. Since launching our website and social media pages, we have not only been able to stay connected to our existing clients, but also introduce ourselves and build a rapport with new customers who may not have known about us otherwise. We love not only meeting these new people, but also the variety of work it brings in.
How’d you build such a strong reputation within your market?
We are a family-owned business that has been open since 1969. That says a lot. We are also very fortunate to have a talented, long-time employee, Robert Rodriguez, as our Head Designer who has been with the company since 1986. Providing that consistency and continuity of service is important to customers.
All employees of Ken’s Custom Frames pride themselves on exceptional customer service and superior quality. You can expect expert workmanship with every project we produce. Plus, we provide complimentary, comprehensive design consultations for all customers.
We want you to absolutely love your finished piece and we will take the time to make sure it is just right.
- Website: https://www.kenscustomframes.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kenscustomframes/?hl=en
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kenscustomframes
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/64691967/
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/kens-custom-frames-and-gallery-fort-worth
- Other: https://nextdoor.com/pages/kens-custom-frames-gallery-fort-worth-tx/
Cevin Williamson, Wendy Williamson, Ken Post