Newcomer Gryphon Moulding Makes a Splash

Newcomer Gryphon Moulding Makes a Splash

Amy Leibrock

This one-year-old moulding company is gaining momentum by listening to customers and selling timeless designs

In 11 years, Philip LaMarche has gone from sweeping floors in the LaMarche Moulding warehouse to owning his own moulding company. He’s taken what he learned being part of the moulding company his grandfather, Hertel (Peter) LaMarche, founded and struck out on his own with Gryphon Molding and Frame in Santa Ana, Calif.

“I left LaMarche Moulding and started Gryphon Moulding with the intent of being more customer oriented” said LaMarche, who is the company president. “My background was sales, so I was out there in the field with the customers every day. I wanted to do something where I was working closer with them.”

LaMarche started the company last year with Vice President Denny Hsu, who had been a LaMarche Moulding employee for almost 20 years and LaMarche’s first boss at the company.

“They’re great people” said LaMarche of his family’s company. “It’s a great company. We just felt we had to do things a little bit differently.”

The company began designing moulding in July of 2001 and made its first shipment in December.

“Our first profiles and designs … quite a few of them were designed on a table saw in my garage,” said LaMarche.

LaMarche took the samples overseas and worked on finishes, then brought the results to their customers, asking for their opinions.

“We’re really trying to design moulding that is new in design but not trendy,” said LaMarche. “We want to create designs that may be new and fresh today but will still be palatable to the market five years from now.”

Instead of designing according to style or fashion, Gryphon prides itself on listening to what framers are asking for.

“We know what they want. We know what they need,” said LaMarche. “We’re all about the customer. When the customer says, `jump’ we say, `how high?'”

Currently Gryphon carries approximately 100 mouldings, 80 percent of which are the company’s original designs. LaMarche is dedicated to keeping the line to mostly originals in an industry in which he sees more and more companies offering similar looks.

According to LaMarche, the reaction to Gryphon’s initial offering has been outstanding. In its first seven months Gryphon exceeded its one-year business plan goals.

“All our customers say is `give us more moulding,” said LaMarche. “Our line is so small right now, it’s just not enough for them. We wish it could be more, and eventually it will be. That’s our goal.”

LaMarche would also like Gryphon to have a better usage ratio than other companies. Ideally, in five to 10 years, LaMarche would like his company to have a much larger line with no discontinued items.

Industry involvement is another Gryphon objective. “Our goal it to become much more involved in our local and national state chapters of the PPFA [Professional Picture Framers Association]” said LaMarche. “We would like to host chapter meetings and put together some promotional things for our customers”

After all, it’s the customers that inspired LaMarche and Hsu to start their own company. “The customers are the industry, and the reason we’re staying in the industry is because we loved working with them. They’re neat people,” said LaMarche. “Besides loving the moulding and loving the design, you’ve got to enjoy the people you work with. We’ve always seen the customers as the people we work with.”

Gryphon Moulding & Frame

at a Glance

FACTS & FIGURES

* Philip LaMarche and Denny Hsu started designing

moulding in July 2000 and sent the first shipment in

December 2000.

* Gryphon Moulding & Frame is named for a winged

character in Greek mythology whose function was to

protect the treasures of the gods.

* With distributors in New Jersey and Denver, Gryphon

Moulding & Frame sells nationwide.

* Gryphon’s product line consists of 80 percent new

designs.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Pfingsten Publishing, LLC

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group