Professional photo framing
– back to the beginning
Lee Simpson wasn’t always in the business of professional framing. Had his life gone down a different path, Lee might have been a butcher, a market stall holder selling coats and other outside wear, or even managing his own team of car valeters.
Ambition was never in short supply – the problem was direction. With a gentle nudge from his family, he started work as an apprentice for 4 years in printing and reprographics. Along the way, he became a skilled Mac operator, an expert in colour retouching, and the vital link between the printing, finishing, and binding departments of his employer.
Later, Lee got married. After he and his wife received a copy of their wedding album, they both felt sorely disappointed with its quality and its presentation. Lee knew that he could do a far better job of the album himself with the lessons he’d learnt in professional printing services.
From small acorns…
Set-up and launch of our professional printing services
Receiving his substandard-quality wedding photo album pushed Lee to go back to college to learn leather craft and bookbinding. Then, funded with a small loan from his father-and-law and based in the confined space of his garage, Lee set to work building his first professional photography printing and professional photo framing business, Sim Imaging (originally called Sim 2000 Imaging).
Lee spent the early days of his business traipsing from trade show to trade show in his trusty Jeep. His stands were somewhat smaller in scale than his larger, more established professional framing competitors. What won it for Lee and for Sim Imaging were his enthusiasm, his passion, his painter’s table stand, and his tasteful plant pots to make the space look a little less bare!
At this first professional photography exhibition (The Photography Show, previously the Focus on Imaging show), he was so inundated with requests and enquiries that it caused him to nearly miss the birth of his first child!
How we built our professional photo framing business up
Juggling the not inconsiderable tasks of building a business and being a family man, the next few years were frenetic. Lee saw the next big tasks in front of him as developing a beautiful and varied range of professional photo framing options for customers to choose from. Just as important was building a selection of stunning albums so that client photographs could be beautifully presented and preserved for posterity and for enjoyment.
Lee’s focus has always been on two specific types of customers – consumers and professionals. For consumers, the framing of their photography must be striking and elegant – the quality of the presentation must match the personal importance of the images. For professionals selling their photography and graphic design services into businesses and the public sector, they must stand out and be as individual as the organisation in whose premises the photographs are displayed.
In 2006, he moved out of his garage into a small business centre. Year after year, the range of professional photography products grew with Lee making sure that the level of quality and attention to detail that customers expected was maintained. At the same time in this competitive industry, Sim Imaging has invested continually in the very latest technology.
Sim Imaging eventually split into four separate divisions – the original professional printing services business, stationery products, a professional photo lab, and a wall art and professional photo framing company – Sim Frame.
Back to the future of professional framing
Sim Imaging took over workspace unit after workspace unit in their original business centre as the company expanded. We became too big for the centre and we moved to a 16,000 square foot purpose-built space for our professional framing and professional photo printing needs – giving us plenty of room to grow the business, grow our range of products, and meet the expectations of our growing customer numbers.
In 2011, we were shortlisted for the Album of the Year award – and we won. We had become and we remain the one stop shop for all personalised photo products for professional photographers, for semi-professional photographers, and for consumers.
Our proposition remains the same just as it did on the first day that Lee opened up the business in his garage. We produce beautiful, hand-finished products to a world-class standard because every image is special and because every image means something to someone.
Our first ever customer still buys from us. To all of those who have joined us on our journey so far, thank you. Please stay with us because there’s even more to come from Sim Frame as we continue to innovate to produce the very best professional photo framing and professional photo printing for our valued clients.