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The Daily Dish Shopping

I Tried It: How A Custom Framing App Caught My Eye (and Changed My Mind)

Say buh-bye to the over-priced, headache-inducing custom framing of days past.

By Courtney Thompson

Like most people my age, one of my favorite things to do at night is completely zone on out on my phone, scrolling aimlessly through Instagram and Facebook before I fall into a social media-induced sleep. While doing this for the past few months, I’ve been pausing on one ad in particular—Framebridge. “We’ve reinvented custom framing to make it fast, easy and affordable,” the girl in the video ad whispered to me through my headphones. Well, Framebridge, you had me at fast, easy and affordable.

Backstory: When we lived in Brooklyn my daughter took this adorable art class that involved lots of different mediums—feathers, sparkles, finger paint—and she made these three long skinny paintings that were just awesome. I loved them so much I wanted to frame them and remember her tiny hipster creativity forever. So I headed to a big chain that specializes in custom framing (and one that is also known for its steep discounts), and after waiting in line for twenty minutes and then spending another half hour measuring the artwork and choosing my frame and the mat color, I was told it would cost $600. That was with my 60-percent off coupon. To say that my one brush with custom framing left a bad taste in my mouth would be an understatement.

So while I had sworn off custom framing forever, I decided to give Framebridge a try. First up: Download the app. Easy Peasy. Next up: Create an account and decide what you’re framing. I’ve long since given up on the Brooklyn artwork, so with the holidays coming up, I opted for a couple of photos of my parents with their grandkids. Both images were on Instagram and in my phone’s gallery, so I was able to quickly upload them into my account. The app boasts its willingness to frame items other than images—posters, maps, original artwork, diplomas, you name it. I didn’t go down this road, but if I had, Framebridge sends you a pre-paid envelope for any items you want to frame.

Once I uploaded my images, I cropped and then chose the print size. Prices start at $39 for extra small prints (4x6 and smaller) and go up to $159 for extra-large ones (up to 40x30). I went middle of the road with a large frame that cost $100. Next up I was asked if I want to work a designer—for free. Um, yeah I do. As a working mom, I’m faced with professional and personal forks in the road from the moment I open my eyes every day ’til the moment I close them. So, yes, Framebridge, I’m going to let your expert designer make the decision for me. How luxurious that this is even an option!

From there you can pick from five frame colors and give your designers any special notes to consider. One downside is that you can’t go back into your order when you’ve reached the shopping cart, you’re limited to adding a special instruction instead. But considering a dialogue opens almost immediately with your framing specialist, I didn’t see this as being a huge problem, more like a hiccup in the process.

The next day I heard from Jen, my sweet designer who complimented my photo and offered up four frames for me to choose from. I picked my favorites on Thursday and received my frames the following Tuesday.

Ensconced in bubble wrap, the finished products look beautiful. And while I’m super excited about the quality of the gifts—they are pristine and made in America to boot—I’m more stoked about the fact that Framebridge was as fast, easy and affordable as it promised to be. Lots of the ads you see late at night on social media are literally too good to be true when you test them out IRL, but that simply isn’t the case here. A nice touch: The handwritten note from the Framebridge team thanking me, and the gratis hook and nail included in the shipment.

Want to try Framebridge for yourself? The app is offering a 15% discount to first-time users via the code "BRAVO15."

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