Shannon and Dave run this heart-centered business from their central Michigan workshop. I’ve been honored to be one of their photographer partners and just love their work. Shannon took time out of her busy schedule to allow me to interview her for my blog. You’ll want to grab a cup of coffee or tea and settle in to learn more about their story and these beautiful frames.
I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did!
What Inspired Farmhouse Frames?
I was a photographer for 7 years before we started creating frames full time. I had a newborn studio in Central Michigan, and Dave, my husband, would make these frames for my clients. At the time, it was a way to provide a unique product to my clients that couldn’t be found anywhere else.
Shortly before building my photography business, my husband got sick, and we found out he had a brain tumor. Weeks later he had his brain surgery and started a long recovery. He eventually went back to work but ended up losing his job.
Once he lost his job, we still had bills to pay and a family to feed, so out of necessity, I went into a photography group on Facebook that I was a part of and posted a couple of frames that he was making for my business. I was hoping to sell a few just to get some extra income, and it blew up. Photographers from all over the US were encouraging us to sell to them so they could offer to their clients as well. At that time we decided that we would take a leap of faith and create a business that would hopefully allow us more freedom and quality time with our three daughters. I really believe that had we not gone through his health scare and recovery we would have not taken the risk of starting a new business. That experience forced us to reevaluate what was important in life and also what we wanted to spend the rest of our careers doing.
We started working out of our shed, then moved to our garage, and then moved into a vacant building where we opened up to provide wall art to professional photographers across the nation. Our business has grown steadily over the last 7-8 years and has now become full-time employment for both of us.
Photographer Credit: Lynzee Harrison Photography
What Types of Photographers Do You Partner With and Why?
First and foremost, we partner with photographers that are in-person sales photographers (IPS), meaning they provide wall art to their customers. We search for a professional that is passionate about providing a high-quality product to their clients and who values heirloom wall art. When applying for a professional account each photographer is added to a waitlist. From there we start an interview process to see if they will be a good fit for our product, as well as if we will be a good fit for their business. We go over things like goals for their business, what we can offer them, what products they feel will fit their brand, etc. When we do add new accounts, we try to space them out based on their location to ensure they can provide a product that is exclusive to their business.
It’s really important to us that our customer base is set up to be successful in their business. We value each of our accounts and are blessed to create personal relationships with our customers. It’s not about the money in the sales for us, it’s more about having great working relationships within the industry, as well as being able to be part of providing tangible products and memories for their clients.
Why Repurposed Barn Wood?
If you come through Michigan you will see miles and miles of corn fields and farms. So for us, barn wood was easily accessible and part of our everyday life. We also started the business when “farmhouse” style was all the rage. Since we have expanded our offerings to include Modern versions like Gold and Black and Traditional styles made of Oak and Maple that are locally milled here in Central Michigan.
We love to preserve history and be able to provide customers with a product that they can say is centuries old. With all our orders, I include a card that will tell you where the wood is from, what material it is, and how old the boards are. I think it’s really important to include that information so when the customers hang the frame up on the wall, they know the history of the wood and where it was sourced. Every frame has a story to tell.
When we started the business, we would tear the old barns down ourselves, which was a huge undertaking. Now we outsource this part of the business to a small business that specializes in tear downs. They tear everything down for us, de-nail it and deliver it so it’s ready to go. All of our reclaimed wood is from Michigan and Ohio and we keep all of the material, including the shipping boxes from small businesses around us.
How Does the Framing Process Work?
We have specific designs on our website that the photographers can order from. We change those once every 1 or 2 years, and that’s based on the kind of materials we can source. When we find wood, we have to buy it in bulk as it can be very rare to find another board that is similar.
We create designs based on the wood designs that we have for up to 2 years. When photographers order from us, they show those corner samples to their customers so they can get a physical look at the different tones and textures of each design. Our accounts will submit an order and attach the digital image that their client has chosen to be framed. From there we look at the image and Dave hand selects the wood to complement the file.
The framing process includes cutting each board into multiple stages to create the frame. The cutting and clamping stage takes multiple days. After that, it goes onto the finishing stage. Here each frame is hand carved and sanded to ensure everything is straight. During this process, I print each image on the Fine Art paper of the client’s choice. Each print also gets sprayed with 4 coats of UV finish and is either mounted, matted or hand torn depending on each order.
The final stage of framing Dave and I complete together. This includes inserting UV acrylic, the image and the final backing and hardware. Each order is gift packaged and shipped to either the photographer or directly to the client.
How Can Readers Support Farmhouse Frames
We’re always looking for photographers that are passionate about offering this kind of product to their clients. If you are an IPS photographer, you’re welcome to visit the website and apply for a partnership. You’ll be added to our waitlist, and I will reach out to you with any next steps.
Contact us today to schedule your family portrait session!
(209) 456-9353 or firstname.lastname@example.org
or click the Contact link at the top of our website.
Farmhouse Frames Central Valley CA Partner
Your family portraits deserve a special place in your home. With my full-service photography process, I guide my clients through the process of creating portrait artwork with their images.
As you can see, it’s no wonder why my clients love these gorgeous, custom frames. Not only are they beautiful, but they add to your family’s story with the history each of these frames holds. I’m so grateful to know Shannon and be the Central Valley Farmhouse Frames partner. If you have any questions or wish to schedule a call with me, please send me a message here.