Artist Interview with Casey Melton from F. is for Frank

I hope you enjoy our Artist Interview with Casey Melton with F. is for Frank- she is a super talented artist who has literally carved out a great business in Dallas, Texas.  Casey is also an old friend who is bubbly and full of life: her work is a great extension of her personality.  I hope you visit to see her quirky, beautiful, work.

Where are you from? Atlanta, Georgia

Where do you live? Dallas, TX

What college did you attend? What did you study? University of Georgia, double major in Marketing and Sculpture

How did you get involved with F. is for Frank?  One of my first jobs out of college was working at a company called studio 3-0.  Shannah Frank was co-owner of that company along with a guy named Brad Oldham (Todd Oldham's brother).  Shannah sold her shares of that company and it was eventually bought out.  I decided to go work for Shannah and about year later I bought into f. is for frank to become co-owner

How has the business evolved since you started at F. is for Frank?  When we first started F. is for Frank, our main business was custom interior architectural elements like hardware, sculpture, lighting and furniture.  We did a lot of collaborations with designers and architects.  When the economy fell apart the custom jobs were the first to go because they were to most expensive.  We cast pewter in our studio and would make jewelry for ourselves, friends and family.  Shannah is trained as a jeweler so 4 years ago we decided to create a line.  We love creating jewelry because we can do it almost all in house and its all our designs.  We still do the custom side of our business but don't advertise it.  Last year it was about half our total revenue but this year our jewelry is leading.

Tell the readers about the name: how did you two come up with F. is for Frank?  Shannah started the company and her last names is frank.  It's cute and catchy.  People always comment.

What is your all time best seller?  Our woodgrain collection is still really popular and we have had it for 4 years.  Our fox and bunny collection draw the most attention

All time worst seller? The hickory collection was not that popular.  We cast a hickory nut with a natural impression of a heart.  I loved it but the nut was on the heavy side once cast in metal.

What, in terms of marketing works well for you?  Free press, editorial coverage, facebook, instagram, twitter, our blog and occasionally we will trade for advertisement on blogs, doing indie craft shows.  We focus on marketing that gives us a direct result.  People can click on something and go directly to our site to potentially purchase and then I can see the results on Google Analytics.

What, in terms of marketing has not been a success?  Buying print advertising.  we are not big enough or rich enough to just buy advertising just so people start recognizing our brand.  maybe one day but for now if i purchase anything i need a direct result.

How have you gotten the awesome press you have received? Being lucky helps, having a unique product, and of course getting to know the people that work for the magazines or knowing the people that influence the people that work for the magazines.

How do you get your work in stores?  We have done the New York Gift Show (NYIGF) 3 times and POOL in Las Vegas 3 times.  For us it took finding the right tradeshow for our product and doing that show consistently.  The first time you do a tradeshow do to expect to make all your money you have invested back.  I would be happy if you made your booth fee.  Stores don't always like taking chances on the newbies.  They want to know you are a brand that will be sticking around for a while.

How do you turn your ‘creative fire’ on? Experiences, surroundings and Pintrest

What is your favorite thing to create? I love creating new product.

What is your role in F. is for Frank? What is Shannah’s?  We both do the designing, sculpting, casting and finishing.  She does more of the technical aspects of the jewelry while I might focus on the production.  She does the accounting while I do the marketing.  She bids out the custom jobs while I focus more on the store relations.  We are both involved in all aspects of the business and its a true collaboration

What do you spend the most time working on?  It changes everyday.  Today I spent the majority of the day on the polishing machine, cleaning up jewelry we had just finished casting.

What is your least favorite part of your work?  Putting on the hard sell.   Its hard to sell your own work and a little awkward.

What do you want to happen with F. is for Frank in the next 5 years? Next 10 years?  I just want us to continue to grow.  I want us to be profitable enough that Shannah and I are making a comfortable living.  I want our company to fulfill our creative drive while not letting us loose focus on other important aspects of life like raising a family and taking care of our ourselves.

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