Creating custom frames in a the Gorthahork studio.
With state-of-the-art picture framing equipment and an experieced eye, Tirconaill Studio creates custom picture frames for artists, photographers and art collectors. The workshop and studio are located in Gortahork. Founded by experienced graphic artist and framer, Kevin McMonagle, the service aims to provide a quality, local framing solution.
There has been an oppurtunity in the local framing market since the last framer in the area retired.
The studio is currently doing a very small amount of work for freinds and family and depedant on cash flow, hopes to open to the general public in August. The studio workshop is fully equipped with state of the art framing equipment and machinery.
The need for a framing shop in the Cloughaneely and Gweedore area is steadily growing. With the rise of social media and digital photography, more people are looking for unique and creative ways to display their photos and craftwork. On top of this, there has always been a community of artists and photographers in and around the Cloughaneely Gaeltacht, all of whom travel to letterkenny for framing services.
This customer base in the Cloughaneely and Gweedore area is growing, and after the closing of the frame shop in Gweedore there is now no local competition. Artists are loyal to their framers however, and many will travel extra mileage to a trusted framer, so incentives must be provided.
Another incentive for artists to choose Tirconaill over shops is acccess to the Images of Ireland online shop. Customers of Tirconaill studios can sell their prints on this space, which I will market. The website is up and I am now gathering work to populate it with, the response has been very positive, and the site will be soft-lauched at the end of the month.
Kevin has fair command of spoken Irish, having done bunscoil in Gortahork and Cashel na Gór. Later kevin studied up to the basic leaving cert oral level online through NUIG and takes local courses throught the autumn and winter months.
A percentage of the business will be conducted through Irish, espeically small talk with customers. Some of the titling work on the frames will be required in Irish. Non-SEO based marketing content and signage will be primarily in Irish.
Tirconaill.com will eventually be bi-lingual, shop.tirconaill.com however is marketed outside of the gaeltacht and must be in English for search engine optimization.
Tirconaill studios would do well to have access to a native Irish speaking writer or translator, for help with these marketing materials and would especially appreciate help in comming up with a tagline in irish.
Branding and Marketing Strategy
The marketing and branding strategy has digital and local components.
For local exposure I will create point of purchase displays to leave in local craft shops. I will also print labels to use on the back of all products.
Digital Marketing will primarily be inbound and SEO based. Currently there are two websites and one instagram account associated with the business.
Tirconaill.com will be optimized for the framing side of the business and shop.tirconaill.co will be optimized for the pre-framed artwork and phtography.
Currently tirconaill.com is at page 3 for "framing shops in Donegal" on Googles listing. It should be on page 1 in the next 6 months with blogging and content marketing.
The Images of Ireland web shop is a newly built site and is not yet saturated in the search engines, however it will be heavily optimized and marketed.
There is an instagram account but Etsy will provide a central role during phase 2 for selling pre-matted work online. There will be an Etsy shop and campaign on it's lauch, because of the nature of the Etsy algorythm and it's review system it is best to leave Esty until there is a large body of work build up.
The Tirconaill Studios logo is simply the letter "t" on a shield, it suggests the Donegal coat of arms. This logo needs to be extremely simple so that it can be used as a photographic overlay.
Images of Ireland Online Shop
color & reverse versions
The framing business model is relatively simple. You are paid by the quantity of frames and mattes created. The limit that one employee can produce in a year maxes out at the equivelant of 40k in earnings, when this happens a part time employee can be brought on.
Until recently retail cost per item was gernerally calculated by multiplying the cost of materials by three. However recently the cost in wood and paper materials has increased substantially and the retail cost per item create is calculated at double the cost of materials. This is still profitible.
By creating 10 frames a week the business will be profitable as my overhead is currently low.
The secondary income stream of selling pre-framed and pre-matted photographs, could be seasonal, but it remains to be seen, I did a couple craft markets to get a feel for the demand, response varied depending on location but was mostly great.
About the owner
With a solid background in design and photography, and a well developed eye, Kevin McMonagle has the experience to provide expert framing advice and solutions, whether it be to artists or those looking to purchase a pre-framed piece.
Kevin holds a degree in graphic art and learned picture framing while working in one of the longest running frame shops in Letterkenny, where he learned the "ins and outs" of the business. Kevin is connected to a large business network of artists, photographers and other picture frames in northwest Donegal.