Where It All Began - The Trade Show Floor
It all starts with Jay Goltz. In the early 90s, his Chicago custom framing store was doing well and growing at a steady clip. Driven by a suggestion from a friend in the industry, Jay flew overseas to check out the international picture frame moulding show SACA; then held in Florence. Walking onto the show floor, Jay was amazed and utterly overwhelmed. It was truly a foreign land of thousands of frame styles that had never reached the US market. He began importing items for his stores. His first orders were random from this or that company without much understanding of who had the better run factories or business practices.
Jay learned his first words of Italian, “No problem”, which seems to mean there might possibly be a tiny little problem. In time, we learned who the more reliable sources were, who had the best quality and who created the fewest headaches.
There was also a learning curve as to what frames would be well-received in the states and what styles were just too exotic. To the salesman who touted, “You need this. This style is really come back”, Jay would famously say “Call me when it gets here”.
In 2000, it became apparent that in order to increase our importing efficiency, the volume needed to be much higher. And so Bella was born as an initiative to offer the best unique and boutique mouldings to fine frame shops across the country.
As a wholesaler, being an end-user of the Bella line ourselves has always been one of our advantages. The line is selected “by framers — for framers” so we strive to offer well-designed items with few imperfections and avoid those problem finishes or profiles. New items are market tested in the Chicago stores to prove their mettle before they are launched to the nationwide audience. By learning lessons both small and large, we became a well-oiled importing machine. The original team from 2000 is all still here — 15 years older and wiser.
From the get-go, the Bella “look” was shaped by always dancing to the beat of our own drum. We think cool, unique, well-designed frames should be the go-to “bread and butter” in every frame shop.
Colorful Italian marquetry, amazing hand-finished frames and yes – even glitter can be the new normal. Bella goes boldly where no framer has gone before!
We’ve always been on a secret mission to spark our customer’s creativity and push frame shops
out of their comfort zone so they can be leaders in their market. Our marketing efforts seek to
show the versatility of the line and encourage framers to think “out of the box” and use Bella to solve design problems.
Seamless, Colorful Photo Frames
10 Years Later & Prisma Frames
The acquisition of Prisma in 2010 was a super exciting game-changing moment. Bella expanded the market reach of this type of seamless acrylic custom product and went from being solely wholesale into manufacturing. It took a lot of time, manpower and trial and error to figure out the best ways to work with the acrylic and paint to deliver consistent quality.
Shout out to the masters working behind the scenes cranking out those frames!
The Future of Bella
What’s next for Bella? We are in the planning stages for the 2016 West Coast Art and Frame Expo in Las Vegas next January. We are growing into a larger booth space and will be releasing an introduction of over 100 mouldings as well as new pattern selections for Prisma.
Bella Through The Years: Photo Slideshow (swipe left or right to navigate)
Here’s to another great 15 years! We look forward to continuing to help you stay three steps ahead and be the design destination in your community.