J. Pocker custom framing and print shop originated from humble beginnings. Robyn Pocker’s grandparents came to America as youngsters with nothing but the need to work and be successful. They started the shop in 1926 and, ninety years later, Pocker continues the family legacy as president of the company, carrying on the longstanding traditions of excellent service and quality design work. “I learned from masters,” reflects Pocker, who credits her father, Marvin, for her strong principles and ability to tackle a challenging economic landscape with ease. The company has expanded to four locations in the New York metropolitan area.
How did you prepare for your career?
The preparation for coming into the business was really watching my parents and the other people who worked for them for years. The customer comes first— that’s a good lesson to learn in the service business. I watched and imitated how they spoke to our customers. The customers were like friends; the conversations were very familiar. We all worked hard. In those days, we had the factory right in the building on 63rd Street. We sold frames during the day and in the evening there was the follow up to track orders, then paperwork for billing. Rule number one: Pay your suppliers first.
What traits have made you successful?
Learning to talk to anyone, really (shy is not done in retail), the ability to work long hours and never feel it was too much, and the ability to make lasting friendships with my customers.
What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of what I do is being able to engage new customers and understand what they need. From top interior designers in the metropolitan area to a new apartment dweller, how can we be a part of making a space look chic and pulled together? How can we come up with the best solution to display a [Joan] Miró or a much loved family portrait? Each of these situations brings a lot of satisfaction.
In what ways can women help each other break the glass ceiling?
Women entrepreneurs are so fortunate now to be able to tap into organizations specifically for women. I’m a huge believer in getting involved and having other women to talk to about your business. There are wonderful local groups, and WPO (Women Presidents’ Organization) has been a big part of my working life for years. There is no reason to be lonely at the top anymore.
How do you keep your company on trend?
There are always innovations in products in the framing industry. We are fortunate to be the company the industry seeks out to try styles and new techniques. We always want our customer to have the best product as well as a framing design with integrity. We also keep our website up to date so we can have a conversation with a client from anywhere. I still believe that framing is a person-to-person, in-store experience, but in today’s world, your online presence is the first impression people get and one thing hasn’t changed: you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
J.Pocker Custom Frames and Prints:
175 West Putnam Ave., Greenwich, CT, 203-629-0811
222 Post Rd. West, Westport, CT, 203-222-7800