Thistle & Poppy Frames Countless Options

Manufacturing

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY MONDAY BUSINESS EDITION MONDAY MAR 14, 2016

Photographer Christie Frankenstein started making custom picture frames to stay competitive in the portrait world, but struggled at first to have a good profit margin on that service, Then she and husband Jens figured a system to use magnets for interchangeable frames, and Thistle & Poppy was born. Now the product is patent pending, and business has grown so much that Frankenstein has leased out warehouse space in Bradenton and hired three people to meet orders.

How did the idea for interchangeable photo frames first come about? My husband would always tell me how the framing side of our business was not profitable. I was hand-making and hand-painting every piece. So we were looking for a way to streamline [the process] to make money. We figured out this snap point system, got rid of the glass and backing and the framer points. Then we just stumbled upon this magnetic idea—he just had these magnets on a work bench—and realized it was much easier to take frames off and not waste time.

The company markets the customizable nature of these. How do you maintain so many options for frames? I always wanted to hold onto as many options as possible. Limiting myself to 15 color options was the biggest struggle of my business career. We have 5x7, 8x10 and 4x6 frames, and we offer 10 bases, 19 frame styles and 15 colors, which allows for 4,750 combinations. Once we developed the magnetic idea, we were able to keep all these options and allow people to switch frames as many times as they like.

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