NDN Custom Frame does custom framing, photo restoration

11/03/2017 08:00 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Nation citizen Lori Smiley, owner of NDN Custom Frame, shows samples of her framework. NDN Custom Frame is a mobile framing service in which Smiley travels to the customers and works with them on customizing framework for their photographs and artwork. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Samples of frames from NDN Custom Frame owned by Cherokee Nation citizen Lori Smiley. NDN Custom Frame is a CN Tribal Employment Rights Office-certified business. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Nation citizen Lori Smiley, owner of NDN Custom Frame, stands between two framed pages from an 1892 issue of the Cherokee Advocate. Smiley’s business framed them several years ago for their owner, Cherokee Phoenix Assistant Editor Travis Snell. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TULSA, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Lori Smiley began framing photos and artwork in Houston nearly 20 years ago. After coming back to Oklahoma, she started a business called NDN Custom Frame.

After residing in Tahlequah for the past 18 years, Smiley moved her business to Tulsa but keeps her Tahlequah ties and works with customers in the area.

NDN Custom Frame is a mobile framing service in which Smiley works with customers in framework customization at their homes or businesses.

“We’ve always prided ourselves on customer service, and so we’ve kind of just taken it to that next level. What we do is we actually go to our customers’ homes or our customers’ businesses and we pick up the artwork and we deliver it back to them,” she said.

Smiley said a customer might show a piece of artwork or a paint chip to help match the framework within their home or business.

“What we do is we actually go to their home so that we actually get to see the surroundings that it’s going to be hanging in, so that we can get an idea about their style before we actually choose the frames. I usually give them about three or four selections of samples. If they like one of those and we go with that. If not then I’ll send three or four more out to them,” Smiley said.

NDN Custom Frame also specializes in photo restoration, taking old photos for resizing and digitally making corrections.

Smiley’s business is CN Tribal Employment Rights Office-certified, and she’s worked with the CN on projects, including framing and restoring photos in the Three Rivers Health Center in Muskogee, the Wilma P. Mankiller Health Center in Stilwell and the Vinita Health Center.

“They (CN officials) would bring us a small photograph, and then we would blow them up so that we could frame them, which I love that concept because so many people end up waiting while they’re in the clinic and that gives them a chance to walk around and give them something interesting to look at. So many people find their relatives…in some of those photographs, too. So I think that kind of makes it cool,” she said.

Smiley chose to have a mobile framing service over a retail shop because it allows her to “focus” on her job. “It gives me more time to focus on just the framing and not have to worry about managing a retail shop and be there all the time. Plus, I can work around my customers hours and work at their convenience.”

She said she prides her business on its quick turnaround time and pricing.

“That’s the other benefit to not having a retail location is we’re able to keep our price down without having all the expense of having a retail shop every day,” she said.

Pricing varies and depends on the style of framing, size and matting. NDN Custom Frame uses acid-free materials and conservation glass.

Smiley said she’s worked with repeat customers during the years and now “generational” customers. “I actually have generational customers now because I have framed for people’s parents and now those children are grown up and now I’m framing for them.”

As a Cherokee business owner, Smiley said she’s “proud” and gives credit to the CN for helping grow her business. “It makes me proud that I am a successful business owner and that Cherokee Nation has helped play a part in that by giving me the opportunities to bid on some of these bigger projects so that I can prove to them what I can do.”

For more information, visit NDN Custom Frame on Facebook, call 918-431-3100 or email ndnframers@yahoo.com.
About the Author
lindsey-bark@cherokee.org • 918-772-4223
Lindsey Bark grew up and resides in the Tagg Flats community in Delaware County. She graduated from Northeastern State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, emphasizing in journalism. She started working for the Cherokee Phoenix in 2016. Working for the Cherokee Phoenix, Lindsey hopes to ...


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