Cindy: How did you get started in the picture framing business?
Mark: I more or less stumbled into it. My first 2 partners and I met at the Art Institute of Boston. After graduating from AIB, were all working at jobs that we were getting tired of and came up with the idea of framing art for artists to support ourselves as artists.
Cindy: Did you have any experience in professional framing?
Mark: No, none at all. One of us worked in a frame shop, one was a painter/carpenter and I worked at a restaurant as a waiter.
Cindy: Every business needs a little start-up money. How much did you start with?
Mark: We all chipped in $2,500. I got my portion from my grandparents.
Cindy: What was it like during the first couple of years?
Mark: We all needed to keep our other jobs so we could make ends meet, but we loved what we were doing. We started slow, and it took us well over a year before we were actually making a salary. I think it was $50 a week. We did something very smart though. We rented out an entire floor at 205 A Street. We divided the floor into a number of studios and we rented them out. We charged everyone a little more than what we were paying so we didn’t have any rent.
Cindy: Then what happened?
Mark: Well eventually I was able to give up one of my shifts at the restaurant. That was the real turning point. I weaned myself out of the restaurant business after about 3 years.