Design Disruptor: Susan Tynan, Framebridge

Custom art made easy.

Susan Tynan, Framebridge
Photographed by Maria del Rio for Lonny.

Chances are you have a print hanging around your house that you’ve been “meaning to get framed” for months (maybe years?). See, that’s the problem:  Custom framing can often be a laborious and expensive task. So, when we first heard of Framebridge, founded by Susan Tynan, we knew we’d be bookmarking the site. From custom prints to textiles to photos in their e-shop, your walls have never looked better.

Give us the short story on how you got your big break in the design space.

". Custom framed items look beautiful and are personal additions to your space. But, it was just so expensive and so confusing to get done. I could not believe there was no solution. Finally, in Morocco, I saw a beautiful piece of original art and I thought — 'I can’t buy that because I cannot frame it.' I knew I had to solve the problem for myself and for others."

What do you offer that other brands or sites don’t?

"Framebridge is the only high-quality, design-centric online custom framing service that handles your art from start to finish. We have a large team of designers and craftspeople. You may interact with us online, but a lot of people are focused on framing your piece to perfection."

What does a typical day look like for you?

"I walk my two little girls to school and then head into the Framebridge office in DC’s Georgetown neighborhood. I take meetings and calls with investors, vendors, candidates, and partners. I wander by everyone’s desks so I can look at photos from a recent shoot or samples of new packaging or new frame styles. My official work day ends at 7 p.m. and restarts around 9 p.m. online. I work a lot, but I genuinely love what I’m doing."

What’s been the most rewarding project you’ve worked on to date?

"Well, my colleague Tessa Wolf, designed a collection of frames with metallic finishes that look amazing. It was so much fun to launch them because I knew how hard it was to get them right. Tessa walked around with a sample in her bag for a full year while we tried to get the rose-gold finish just right."

I’ve always been obsessed with the challenge of custom framing.

How do you define success?

"Happy customers. When I meet someone who says, 'my wife is obsessed with Framebridge' or, even better, 'I bought this map because I knew I could frame it with you,' I’m thrilled."

What’s one thing about the design industry you’d like to change?

"It’s still too intimidating! I think fashion has really democratized. It’s cool to mix high-low pieces and it’s outdated to be obsessed with labels. I want the same for interior design. Your home should reflect you and if it does, it’s great!"

Susan Tynan, Framebridge
Photographed by Maria del Rio for Lonny.

Where do you go for inspiration?

"My team! I surround myself with interesting people and I am a leach. I ask them questions; I learn from their adventures. Also, travel, of course. My husband is Australian so major travel is part of our regular lives."

 In a space that’s so saturated and driven by trends, how do you make your work feel timeless and unique?

 "At Framebridge, we feel strongly that if you decorate with items that are personal to you, you cannot go wrong."

What advice do you have for people trying to enter the design space?

 "You have to love details and you have to stick with it."

Is college needed — yes or no?

"Yes. I needed it because my business is equal parts design and disruption. We needed to understand the old business model of custom framing in order to streamline it and make it less expensive for our customers."

 What’s next for Framebridge?

"Our customers are so stylish and so innovative. We’ll be working to develop more inspiration by showcasing the amazing ways people are already using Framebridge."

See the full list of Lonny’s design disruptors here. 


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