THE WCAF EXPO CELEBRATES AN IMPORTANT MILESTONE FOR THE ART AND CUSTOM FRAMING COMMUNITY By Alexis Orlacchio
esigned to be a one-stop shop for all things art and
encourage others to do the same.”
custom framing, the very first West Coast Art & Frame
The Expo welcomed 26 new exhibiting companies and
Expo was held at the Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino.
also hit a high number of buyers in attendance this year.
It’s been 20 years since the WCAF Expo debuted in Las Ve-
“We received a lot of feedback saying how great the energy
gas, and even though the industry has changed dramatically
was at the show and a number of our exhibitors have told
over the last two decades, the need to bring the custom pic-
us it was their best show yet,” said Deborah Salmon, trade
ture framing community together has not wavered.
Attendees, exhibitors, and instructors from over 44
Jim McNickle, marketing director for the Fletcher Busi-
countries traveled to Las Vegas to attend the West Coast
ness Group, said the company had one of its busiest shows
Art & Frame Expo, which returned to the Paris Las Vegas
in years. “We were pleased with the interest we received for
Hotel & Casino, January 28-30, 2019, with The National
the company’s TA-350 Auto Saw, joining automation, and
Conference beginning a day earlier. Impressive and diverse
our saw blade technology offered through our Atlas Saw
booth displays lined the show floor, which kept a steady
Group,” he said. This year, McNickle noticed a variety in at-
flow of attendees shopping and meeting with exhibitors
tendance with many customers from the graphic and sign
throughout the entire event. Among all the feedback from
as well as woodworking industries purchasing equipment at
the show, the same themes kept presenting themselves:
the show. He said, “This is continuing proof of the market
busy, high-energy, and successful.
crossover that we have anticipated coming into framing. It’s
a good sign for the industry and manufacturers supplying this market.”
“The show was well-attended and upbeat and our team’s
Attendees and instructors alike stressed the impor-
hard work in terms of new product design and merchandis-
tance of coming to the expo due to the drastically chang-
ing really paid off,” said Josh Eichner, executive vice presi-
ing technological advancements and their impact on run-
dent of Framerica. “Supporting the show helps the overall
ning a business. “The industry and technology is changing
industry by extension. We believe that there is an obligation
so quickly that if you miss a year, you miss a lot more than
among companies like ours to be at the show and we would
a year,” said Kent Untermann, president of Pictures Plus in
Attendees are able to network with vendors and other framers.
Kapolei, HI. “The education at this show is amazing and you can find so many diversified products in regards to printing and all other aspects of your business.” As the owner and
Framerica showcases their new lines of moulding.
founder of his retail chain that offers prints, mats, frames,
COCKTAIL PARTIES AND SPECIAL EVENTS
home décor furnishings, art on demand services, and more,
At the sold-out 20th anniversary party, guests took
Untermann said he finds coming to the show crucial to the
photo-ops with Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley imperson-
success of a framing business.
ators and lined up to get their pictures drawn by caricature
Michael Keeling, sales representative at Universal Ar-
artists, sponsored by Crescent. “We had a number of attend-
quati Moulding, spoke about the convenience the WCAF
ees and exhibitors tell us it was the most fun they’ve had at
Expo brings to his company. He said, “Universal comes to the
a business event!” said Salmon. Three lucky winners were
West Coast Art & Frame Expo because it’s a fantastic ven-
chosen to receive raffle prizes including Caesars Entertain-
ue to be able to showcase the full complement of our entire
ment show tickets, limo transportation, and a free suite for the 2020 WCAF Expo. Salmon continued, “We feel honored to be able to bring the art and custom framing community together once a year, and it’s such an important milestone to be able to celebrate 20 years.” Guests snapped fun pictures with props in a blow-up photo booth sponsored by Larson-Juhl, treated themselves to a chocolate fondue fountain, and enjoyed networking with their colleagues. Among many standout special events was a brand-
Exhibitors offer discounts, demonstrations, and more.
new photo walk to The Neon Museum, one of Las Vegas’s top tourist attractions. During a private tour of the museum, attendees discovered the captivating history behind these
line: the Universal line, the Arquati line, the equipment line,
iconic signs while learning how to take eye-catching photos.
and our value-core line. You need a good opportunity and a
The following morning, they were able to print their photos
good venue to showcase all of those products. Also, the qual-
at the Canon booth as a souvenir from the show.
ity of the buyer here is very, very high.” Melissa Sherman is a design consultant at Sherman McNutly in Los Angeles, CA, who said she enjoys coming to the show every year to stay up-to-date with the framing industry and get important face time with sales representatives. “I always try to offer my clients things other places wouldn’t offer and I have the ability to do that because I come to the show every year and see it before everybody else does,” she said. With the show being held in Las Vegas, Sherman said she feels like she’s getting a vacation on top of priceless networking opportunities.
Special events and parties make great networking opportunities.
Brian Wolf shares creative mat designs using Wizard CMC software.
Attendees in one of the many hands-on National Conference workshops.
The expo offers great networking opportunities in an exciting trade show atmosphere.
Eric Tollefson shares his expertise on compo corners and metal leaf.
etworking is one of the main reasons that attendees N come to the WCAF Expo.
The National Conference offers seminar topics covering branding, sales, marketing, and more. Chris Paschke leads one of her sold-out National Conference seminars.
Retailers shop for new moulding samples.
Attendees expand their skillset by learning new gilding techniques.
Scan-and-go kiosks make for an easy check-in process at the Expo.
Attendees browse a dynamic array of art, new products, and the latest equipment.
The PPFA competition features the “Top 50” pieces of the PRINT and OPEN competitions.
An exhibitor host a free seminar in their booth.
Giving new equipment a test-run.
ye-catching booth displays capture attendees’ E attention.
J ohn Ranes demonstrates easy-to-use and practical mat cutting techniques.
Attendees come from around the globe to stay up-todate on what the industry has to offer.
Attendees discover new business strategies.
Daniel Beauchemin teaches retailers the importance of partnering with interior designers.
Hands-on workshops continue to gain popularity at The National Conference.
Jay Goltz presents one of his sold-out seminars at The Natonal Conference.
THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE
Attendees enjoy PPFA’s “Welcome to Vegas” cocktail reception.
ees were eager to adopt new marketing strategies and she
Running in conjunction with the Expo is The National Con-
noted a high level of engagement and appreciation from the
ference, the industry’s leading educational program, which
attendees in her seminars.
offers innovative seminars and hands-on workshops every
Hartford joined Jay Goltz, Meg Glasgow, Jim McNickle,
year. The conference featured over 30 new offerings this year,
and Kevin Meath as a panel expert at the Picture Framing
most of which were sold to capacity.
Magazine industry breakfast. This year, the discussion fo-
“The retailers who are taking these classes are the ones
cused on the changing landscape of the art and framing in-
that are going to distinguish themselves in terms of growth
dustry and included insight from these experts on how to
and success,” said Daniel Beauchemin, CEO of Chelsea Frames
best adapt to the new climate. Hartford described feeling
in New York, NY. Beauchemin, a successful interior design-
a new energy during this year’s breakfast panel and was
er and instructor for The National Conference, is a master
pleased to receive positive direct feedback from national and
at building and maintaining connections with the attendees
international attendees. She said, “A marketing director for
that take his seminars and is always willing to continue the
a European glass production company messaged me saying,
discussion outside of the classroom. “There is a true thirst for
‘The panel was such an inspiration,’ and it was refreshing to
knowledge in our industry. I constantly have people emailing
see my persona as exactly what she needed to see. And (my)
me to talk about my classes, I even had someone from Chi-
insight? Worth a million!”
cago come and visit my shop to see the business first-hand.”
It can be difficult for retailers to have access or devote
Ginger Hartford, founder of EurDesign Studio in Dacu-
time to continuing education, and long-time attendee L.B.
la, GA, reaffirmed the notion that retailers are eager to learn,
Brown emphasized the impact that attending the conference
stay current, and evolve. She said, “Retailers are hungry for
has on her business. As the owner of Clinton Hill Simply Art
education to better understand marketplace trends as well
& Framing Gallery in Brooklyn, NY, Brown said she closes her
as digital marketing and ways to streamline and scale their
shop every year to attend the expo and that her clients al-
businesses.” An instructor for The National Conference, Hart-
ways notice a difference in her energy and inspiration when
ford strives to share her experience and perspectives to help
she returns home. She said, “Whenever I come to the show, I
others in the industry. She teaches seminars on topics like
always take classes. I want to be ahead of the curve and the
social media, marketing, and targeting millennial customers.
instructors here are specialized in certain areas. And if prod-
“Community is a powerful thing. I’ve always been passion-
ucts are recommended in any specific class, then I can stop
ate about mentoring and coaching retailers to win. Embrac-
by the booth and take a sample.”
ing resource partners with tools and expertise to share not
The National Conference is constantly evolving to offer
only empowers your growth, it’s the best investment you
framing retailers the highest quality and most up-do-date
can make in your own personal development and the future
education to facilitate their growing businesses. General
success of your team and business.” Hartford said attend-
interest courses also draw a huge audience for the confer-
Ginger Hartford uses her branding and marketing expertise to show attendees how to target millennial customers.
Attendees shop for new moulding samples at the Omega booth.
ence. This year, the conference added brand-new seminars,
sold-out quickly. William Adair presented his keynote semi-
luncheon sessions, and a cocktail reception that focused on
nar, “The Frame in America: A 35-Year Retrospective,” which
the great frames of Europe led by the industry’s best frame
detailed the style and origin of American frames and why
historians. These offerings gave attendees a glimpse into the
they’re more than just a magnificent border.
fascinating insights of these iconic period styles.
“The competition was a blast this year! We had several
In her keynote seminar, “Recharge Your Business: Take
first-time entrants with some beautiful designs,” said Robin
Your Business from Ignored to Adored,” Meg Glasgow, owner
Gentry, Outgoing Chairperson of the International Framing
of Finer Frames in Eagle, ID, demonstrated how to use the In-
ternet to reach new customers and shared some of her fasttrack success secrets.
The winners of the International Framing Competition, both PRINT and OPEN editions, were announced at the PPFA
Jay Goltz, president and owner of Artists Frame Service in
Competition Reception. Contestants in the PRINT competi-
Chicago, IL, outlined the key aspects of creating and building
tion were tasked with framing a digital print canvas titled
a brand as well as how these tools can transform your busi-
“Waterfront I,” created by James Burghardt. Joseph Boutell of
ness and your bottom line. Goltz opened his business shortly
The Source on Lake in Pasadena, CA, took home first place for
after graduating from college, and it has grown to become the
his piece. Sarah Beckett of SB Framing Gallery in Milwaukee,
world’s largest custom picture frame shop. After a successful
WI, was awarded gold in the OPEN competition for her ce-
run in its first year, his keynote titled “Creating Your Brand:
lestial piece showcasing phases of the moon.“We know how
A More Deliberate Approach to Building Your Business,” was
passionate framers are about their framing because it shows
brought back to The National Conference lineup by popular
in the high caliber of entries we get in the annual digital and
international competition,” said Valerie Becker, Incoming
“I’ve seen a tremendous positive change in our industry,” said Goltz, who has been teaching for The National Confer-
Chairperson of the International Framing Competition Board.
ence for the past 20 years. “The types of questions I’m asked
are more advanced, the level of engagement is higher, there
“Attendees and exhibitors are excited to see what’s in store at
is generous sharing in the classroom from other attendees.”
the new venue,” said Salmon. Next year, the WCAF Expo will
Goltz recalled reconnecting with a retailer who, within the
be switching hotels to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino Las
past year, has been able to pull himself out of debt and start
Vegas. “We look forward to upgrading experiences for both
building a savings after implementing Goltz’s pricing strate-
our attendees as well as exhibitors and found the following
gies. “More and more people have come back and said they
reasons beneficial to both parties,” said Salmon. A few key
took what they learned at the show and told me it has trans-
highlights of the move to the Rio include flexible classroom
formed their business,” he said.
spaces located adjacent to the trade show floor, an all-suite
PPFA ANNUAL CONVENTION
hotel that provides multiple price points for attendees, larger convention facility, and more.
The WCAF Expo hosted the Professional Picture Framers As-
Mark your calendars for the 2020 West Coast Art &
sociation in Las Vegas. Returning special events such as the
Frame Expo and The National Conference, which will be held
Framers Breakfast, Welcome to Las Vegas Cocktail Party, and
January 26 - 29, 2020, with The National Conference begin-
the International Framing Competition cocktail reception
ning January 25. PFM
WEST COAST ART & FRAME
More Than Just a Trade Show! • Over 100,000 sq.ft. of Art and Framing Exhibits • New Product Launches and Equipment Demonstrations • Industry Professionals From Around the World • Home of The National Conference–With Over 100 World-Class Seminars Designed for Your Success
www.wcafexpo.com NEW SHOW HOTEL
SAVE THE DATE
RIO ALL-SUITE HOTEL & CASINO
TRADE SHOW: January 27-29, 2020 CONFERENCE: January 26-29, 2020
3700 W Flamingo Rd Las Vegas, NV 89103 34 PFM April 2019