In 2017, Eric Mauskopf was ready to start the second chapter of his career. Having worked in real estate for two decade, Mauskopf found that many of his clients were also art collectors. Seeing the parallels of the worlds of real-estate and the art industry, Mauskopf decided to jump headfirst into the latter.
Mauskopf bought famed framing company J. Pocker and set about building on the brand’s impeccable reputation. Mauskopf and the clients of J. Pocker see art as an investment and a way to store their wealth, much like buying property. His company’s frames not only hold and showcase those great investments, but they accent them.
Pocker has continued to thrive under Mauskopf’s leadership, and the new owner is working steadfastly to learn even more about the art world. Recently, Mauskopf sat down to discuss his career, J. Pocker, and moving from one professional and into another.
Pocker’s staff has been hand selected for their knowledge and experience in the framing industry. Many have been designing for some time. In your case, framing is something new. Eric, can you tell us about your journey to J. Pocker?
My previous two-decade career in real estate saw me in management roles at high end residential properties. I recognized the similarities between the value of real estate and the investment in art. My experience in real estate garnered relationships with the very same clients who invest in artwork and entrust their framing needs to J. Pocker. These residents are art collectors, interiors designers and sophisticated New Yorkers who helped me appreciate the culture and style that adorned their homes. These relationships helped me appreciate the importance of the interior design culture and the aesthetic for which J. Pocker’s clients endeavor to achieve.
What is it that inspired you to purchase the company from its previous owner, Robin Pocker?
It felt like the perfect transition. Art, like real estate, is increasingly being perceived as a safe haven for the storage of wealth. In fact, the similarities between the two categories have become more striking over the last several years, as the global economic terrain has shifted. Many of New York City’s most successful real estate moguls also have impressive art collections, with works by everyone from Matisse to Warhol.
You previously worked in real estate. How does working in the properties industry translate to being successful in the art world?
My being in real estate for over 20 years prior to joining J. Pocker, is a perfect fit. I managed high-end residential condominiums in NYC. The residents in the buildings I managed are very sophisticated and expected top-notch service, which is what I provided. Many of the residents in the buildings I had managed are J. Pocker customers. These same people helped me appreciate culture and style and provided me with an understanding of the value personal belongings such as a custom frame, mirror, or artwork have in people’s lives. And of course, the awareness that real estate and fine art are relatively partners in the investments of the mega-wealthy.
The company has been around for over 90 years. What is the secret to J. Pocker’s longevity?
Pocker has been serving clients in United States and abroad since 1926. It was a family-owned business for three generations. J. Pocker excels in unique style gilded gold frames, bespoke frames and custom designs some of which are not seen anywhere else in the world. For nearly 90 years Pocker has prided itself on excellent customer service, maintaining strong relationships with repeat clients, top designers and trade partners, and the strong connection the sales team has with each designer client.
Being that J. Pocker has such a long reputation as a family-owned business, how difficult is it to uphold those standards set by its previous owners?
It’s actually been a smooth transition. We embrace the family environment and intend to keep the service our clients receive and their experience both friendly and well educated. It is like no other in this industry and that will continue to be the norm at all J. Pocker locations.
The entire J. Pocker team is small. Fewer than 30 members are in the elite team. Are there plans to grow the team further and expand the company’s stores?
Each member of J. Pocker’s design team is hand-picked for their extensive knowledge and experience within the framing industry. With backgrounds in art and art history, the sales staff is confident in helping our clients pick the perfect frame from the initial consultation through installation. We do expect to expand in to other New York locations and possibly New Jersey, which would create the need for additional qualified staff members.
Who is the ideal buyer of a J. Pocker frame?
Pocker is known throughout the tri-state area as the “go to” source for frames and artwork. We service both designers and retail clients who are interested in purchasing the appropriate frame for their art, mirror or photograph. We have an established designer base and hope to expand it to include more millennials.
Can you tell us about some of the designers you and your team have collaborated with?
Victoria Hagan, Charlotte Moss ,Bunny Williams, Michael Smith, Alexa Hampton, Drake/Anderson, Mario Buatta, Cullman Kravis, David Keinberg, Alex Papachristidis, Ingrao, and Susan Orsini are just some of the great designers to work with us.
As an entrepreneur, what advice would you give to someone who wanted a career change as you did?
As many of the most successful people prove, you don’t have to have it all figured out from the start. Plenty of highly successful people chose to make major career changes, some even many years into their lives. Change is really about something inside you, it’s about who you are today, what’s important to you now and having the patience, courage and confidence to start chapter two of your career.
Eric, what’s next for you and J. Pocker?
Pocker is focused on significantly increasing the number of interior designer clients we work with. Because we have been in business so long, we have a vast selection of styles of frames, mirrors, TV mirrors and artwork in our NYC showroom gallery, for clients to choose from and we can work with any budget. Interior designers bring in fantastic projects and our staff enjoys assisting in the overall design of a space. We will also be looking to open an additional retail location in the New York City vicinity, so we can service a new generation of both clients and designers. We have established ourselves as an upscale resource for custom frames, prints, and room finishing solutions of discerning quality and taste since 1926. We think our business history and art knowledge also appeals to millennials and Generation X.
What is a day in your life like?
Every day is different. I work with the design teams throughout our four locations on a day to day basis. Often visiting the locations in Bronxville, Greenwich and Westport. I am focused on business development, which includes meeting new designers, developers, hotel owners and more. I attend events and have my marketing team working on creating events that promote our business.
What makes you smile?
Going home after a long day and seeing my beautiful wife and amazing sons. My family makes all the hard work worthwhile.
Eric, do you have any hobbies?
At the moment my hobbies are all about the art world. I visit galleries and museums. I’m taking a class at the New York School of the Arts to further my knowledge of the framing and art world. And I attend as many art and design events as possible.
What are you never without?
In this world of technology, I can never be without my iPhone. From business calls to emails and to taking photographs of relevant products and art.
Can you share two of your favorite quotes with us?
“It takes 20 years to make an overnight success.” – Eddie Cantor
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. ” – Wayne Gretzky
If you had the power to change just one thing in the world what would it be?
Homelessness brings a sense of loneliness that erodes the core of a person’s self-value. When you are homeless, a simple smile and a word of kindness can make a big difference in a day full of hardship. If I had the power I would encourage others to support organizations for the homeless and poverty stricken. Sometimes I feel as though people focus more on animal rescue then people rescue.
For more information on Eric Mauskopf and to see J. Pocker’s one of a kind frames, please visit https://jpocker.com.