Susan Tynan found herself no longer buying souvenir artwork during family vacations or trying to preserve her children’s handicrafts because the cost of custom framing was too hard on the wallet.
That prompted Tynan to create Framebridge, a Web-based service that allows amateur art collectors to frame pieces at a lower price. Framebridge officially debuted its Web site and mobile app Thursday morning.
The company has also raised $1.25 million from a trio of well-known, local investors, including New Enterprise Associates, Revolution chief executive Steve Case and former LivingSocial chief executive Tim O’Shaughnessy.
“Everyone was interested in this idea of bringing a new audience through new technology to an old industry,” Tynan said.
Tynan previously worked with Case and O’Shaughnessy at Revolution Health and LivingSocial, where she was a general manager and head of business development until March 2013. She oversaw the deal company’s At Home division, which often sold discounts for custom framing.
“I knew people were looking for a deal on framing,” Tynan said, but stores generally aren’t transparent about the cost of displaying a piece of art. There are often additional costs or unexpected fees that bump up the price.
Framebridge charges a fixed price depending on the size of the artwork, ranging from $79 for a 9-by-12-inch piece to $149 for a 32-by-40-inch piece.
“The cost structure of current frame stores means many customers are met with prices they are unwilling to pay” Dayna Grayson, a partner at New Enterprise Associates, said in a statement. “By making beautiful framing affordable, Framebridge is meaningfully opening up the market to a new segment of consumers.”
Customers can select from 21 different styles categorized as clean, classic or eclectic. They then upload a photo of their art to the Framebridge Web site or mobile app to assess what it will look like in the frame.
Once a style is chosen, Framebridge sends the customer a box to collect their artwork. The company’s eight employees, including professional framers, then assemble the order at a production studio in Lanham and ships it back to the customer’s front door.
“We do think we’ll capture some of the existing framing market because it’s easier,” Tynan said. “But we do think this is a way for new people to experience custom framing.”
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