Today we’d like to introduce you to Clarine and Frank McDonald.
In 1964, Frank began working in the picture framing business with Aaron Bros. Picture Framing. For the next 20 years, he honed his skills working for individual frame shops as well as Arron Bros. He also started making his own hardwood picture frames and displayed them at art shows in and around the Los Angeles Area.
In 1984, he married Clarine and they opened a fine art frame shop specializing in handmade hardwood frames and art installations for offices and homes.
Their reputation was built on this specialty as well as the high-quality acid-free products used to protect their clients artworks.
In 2000, with the slowing of the economy, Frank got interested in making fun house mirrors, as a sideline, after seeing some antique distorted mirrors in a local establishment. After some trial and error, a new contemporary style was created using acrylic instead of glass making them lighter in weight and more cost effective.
Within the next year, a website was created, www.funhousemirrors.com to make them available across the country. The standard size mirror is 11″ X 47″ and comes in three styles – distorted, fat and skinny. Custom sizes are also available.
These mirrors are sold to businesses such as restaurants, bars, the weight loss industry, doctors offices, event planners as well as homes for the enjoyment of children and adults alike.
In 2016, they moved their business to Burbank where they continue to do custom picture framing, art installation and selling the fun house mirrors through their website.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Opening a new business has its ups and downs. Marketing your product can be trial and error and building your base of clients can take years. One of our challenges was being on the side of the street where there was very little street traffic.
So, we began by holding gallery art shows to support artists and to establish a roster of potential customers for our framing business. We also advertised in local newspapers hoping to build a client base from the neighborhoods surrounding our location. This avenue did not work for us.
Since we had a store front, we were able to display samples of our framing in the window hoping to lure potential clients into our store. However, being on La Brea where the traffic flies by at warp speed, did not really get the attention of the people in their cars. We found that word of mouth was our best-selling tool from the clients we had established in our first few years.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Get The Picture – what should we know?
Get The Picture is a small mom and pop business run by the two principles Frank and Clarine. Frank is the frame designer and maker and Clarine works with the clients designing and choosing the proper materials for their framed piece. They both do the fitting.
As stated previously, they specialize in and are known for custom hardwood frames made from oak, maple, walnut, koa, etc. using museum quality materials.
They spend as much time with their clients as necessary making sure they will be happy with the results. Also, they like to get to know their clients personally as well as professionally.
They are proud to have made so many people happy with their framed pieces and to have put so much artwork on display for people to enjoy in their individual environments.
The fun house mirrors were added as a sideline and are still being sold across the country bringing laughter and joy to all. These mirrors are designed to fit in small spaces and are unique to Get The Picture. They are simple, contemporary and still large enough for adults to see themselves in full view.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Chuck Arron of Aaron Bros. was a mentor and huge supporter of ours and was always there for us until the day he passed away. He was a great loss in the framing industry as well as to so many people that he helped along the way.
One of our first clients, Carla, was so supportive. Being new at pricing out a job, she was so understanding when I would have to call her and tell her I made a mistake and she just laughed it off as no big deal. To this day, she is still a client.
My doctor, Paul Keith, not only supported us as a client but also brought to us a whole new client base with the introduction of his interior designer, Vincent Jacquard, and all of his clients and friends. Again, they are all still clients and have become friends along the way.
Augie Wong, who worked with us for 10 years, we could not have done without for his expertise in woodworking and his devotion as an employee.
We are eternally grateful to all of our friends, who gave us a leg up in the beginning of our business and to all of our clients who stayed with us over the years.
- Art installation – $95 per hour, 2 hour minimum – $75 travel time
- Fun House Mirrors – $79.95 each plus shipping of $29.95 (May be more depending on the area)
- Website: www.funhousemirrors.com
- Phone: 818-842-2968
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Yelp: www.funhousemirrors.com
- Other: www.funhousemirrors.com