The past 20 years has seen the rise of a new paradigm in photography. This shift to a world of mostly digital data has not been good for the photo lab industry, nor has it been good for professional photographers. Since the mid 1990s we have been wrestling with these changes, and riding a decline in our business, but only addressing it in a superficial way.
In 2013 we took a deep introspective look at where we were with help from a business review from a Federal Government agency charged with assisting small to medium sized manufacturers. Pleasingly so, we passed all of their requirements and was rated as a business with potential. Which when your world is mostly filled with unsatifying financial reports and huddling inside your industry, was a great lift emotionally. We do love what we do, and believe in it, and to have outsiders recognise this was a relief.
Out of this review, we were invited to attend a "customer led innovation" six month long course where the deep naval gazing happened. It was here, under the guidance of Professor Sam Buccolo that we dug down to realise at the core, we run this business because we believe in the power of photographic record. We are in this because we love the photography that marks our world, and we want to help others who feel the same. We run this business for pictures that matter.
We want to connect people with photographers who can capture those critical subjects or moments, we want to help people identify those important pictures from peoples' own collection, we want to help print them to suit their purpose, we want to help people personally archive their pictures for generations.
So what did we do? We built a show room where we demonstrate photographs being used in different places as decor, we have built a room to design albums and collections to tell stories, we have archival storage systems for both digital data and prints. We have build a meeting place for our professional clients where they can come and be inspired and inspire us. We have put our photographic history front and centre in many ways, we are trumpeting as loudly as we can why we are in business, because we believe we are not alone in this affair. People value their own sense of history, and photography is the best way to record it.
The new website is under construction, new pricing is coming to suit the new products and packages. We are making albums on site, we are personalising USB flash drives on site, essentially we are fitting our products and systems around our customers.
So much is happening and there's more to come. We are in this industry for the long term, we love it, we live it and we want to help others, professionals or passionates (or both).
The opening this week was just stage one of our changes. We hope you will talk with us, tell us what you think, what you like, what you need, and come along with us on our journey. Our business, is about so much more than earning a dollar and we want to build something really strong for our future and yours.