Retail Business Case Study – Gold Leaf Gallery

Gold Leaf Gallery Overview Debbie Shores and Traci Brevard run Gold Leaf Gallery with one goal – to make art more beautiful in framing. The sisters help people find art they love. They also take treasured objects and help shop visitors preserve and display what they hold precious. It only takes a few minutes for […]

Written By Matthew Martin

February 13, 2019

Gold Leaf Gallery Overview

Debbie Shores and Traci Brevard run Gold Leaf Gallery with one goal – to make art more beautiful in framing. The sisters help people find art they love. They also take treasured objects and help shop visitors preserve and display what they hold precious.

It only takes a few minutes for visitors to recognize what these two women do comes from the heart. When a visitor came in with a large Gregorian Bible that had been in his family for generations, Debbie walked him through how she would protect it using acid-free storage materials and an archival box to protect it. When a man asked about preserving a uniform she explained how the gallery mounted precious fabric using 100 percent cotton thread, never glue or adhesive like some custom framing businesses might.

The limited edition prints, original paintings and sculptures in their gallery are unique, and each one moves the soul. Gold Leaf Gallery is a place of serenity and poignant beauty. Debbie and Traci approach every project, every customer with expertise and integrity.

The Problems

The custom frame shop’s website didn’t always convey what was behind its doors. Debbie and Traci weren’t the original owners, so they didn’t create the gallery’s first site.

Traci described the original website as “very stagnant.” The previous owner had likely had someone build it when Netscape Navigator was the dominant web browser. The site hadn’t been updated and didn’t reflect what the gallery owners wanted to create.

“I think the tagline was something like ‘One Stop Art Spot,’” Traci said, shaking her head.

“I have a sticker that says, ‘U-Frame-Its at Gold Leaf,” Debbie added.

They immediately scrapped that site and hired someone to design a new one, but they didn’t get what they hoped. Links didn’t work. They couldn’t add pictures. In order to view some pages, users had to leave their site and enter a separate gallery. Store visitors kept telling them search took them to the old, original site, the one with the cheesy tagline.

From Bad to Worse

Gold Leaf Gallery owners decided to try again with another website redesign. The new site had better graphics and seemed functional, but it wasn’t optimized for search.

“A lot of our new business comes from people moving to Tyler,” Debbie said. “When you move, you always have a picture broken. Movers scratch a frame or break glass. New residents would search for custom framing and come to us.”

One day Gold Leaf owners realized that traffic had disappeared. No new customers were coming in because their online visibility also had disappeared.

At a meeting Debbie asked a group to search for keywords related to Gold Leaf Gallery. People searched for custom framing, custom art projects, picture frames, frame shop and other related terms, but their gallery was nowhere to be found. They started to realize how much business they might be losing to their competitors.

What had once been a steady stream of new business completely dried up. They realized online visibility was essential to online growth.

“We had a 20 percent drop by the second year,” Traci said. “That’s one fifth less business. When I did the numbers for the year I knew something was drastically wrong.”

“I called Matthew at Spade Design, and at first we wanted to save the site we had, but it wasn’t built right. As soon as he created the new one, here came all the people.”


Debbie and Traci wanted to accomplish the following with their website redesign:

  • Increasing site and store visits with an SEO friendly site
  • Raising awareness of their commitment to excellence with a site that establishes the look, tone and feel of their brand
  • Showcasing the fine art available in their gallery
  • Educating consumers on their other services like memorabilia preservation and flat screen TV framing
  • Inspiring site visitors with a glimpse at how custom framing can elevate their treasured photos and fine art

“We wanted traffic,” Debbie summarized. “And we wanted new people to know we’re the best.”

The Changes

Spade Design created a website that reflected Gold Leaf Gallery’s culture, community focus and services. We started like we always do, by focusing on the audience owners were trying to reach. That audience included people who needed custom framing, especially those who wanted service for the first time.

New customers and new site visitors both needed an intuitive site layout. Spade Design made navigation simple and self-explanatory. Hours and contact information are easy to locate. The new site is mobile friendly, which is especially important for new area residents who haven’t yet unpacked their desktop PC.

Gold Leaf Gallery’s new site included optimized call to action buttons, search engine optimized content, a clear value proposition, a search feature and other elements critical to a high quality user experience.

View the finished site here.

The Results

Almost as soon as the redesigned website was live, Gold Leaf Gallery started seeing more traffic, more new customers coming straight from a moving truck.

Average yearly new customers before website redesign: 0

Average annual influx after: 96 (owner estimates around eight per month)

Average initial sale from new customers before redesign: $0

Average initial sale after: $200-$500 per customer

New customers nearly always turn into repeat business. After the redesign, owners estimate improved online visibility and search engine optimization brought around $50,000 in new business the first year alone.

Social Media Marketing Changes

Because the website redesign was both successful and profitable, Gold Leaf Gallery owners reached out to Spade Design again. Now the digital marketing agency also handles their Facebook and Instagram feeds. They report the following benefits:

  • Improved brand awareness
  • More followers and an increasingly engaged audience
  • Increased store traffic and conversion rates
  • Increased site traffic from social media
  • Higher search rankings
  • Richer customer insights

Traci gave as an example an event the gallery had the night before. Fifteen people out of the 70 who attended mentioned they were there because they had seen the event on Instagram.

That means event attendance was more than 21 percent higher due to Instagram visibility alone. Still more likely attended because of Facebook publicity.

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