Thursday, April 26, 2012

Proud of My Team Today

I rarely use my blog to talk about company stuff.  Lord knows we have plenty of outlets for that.  But today is different.  We’re launching Aspen today and Aspen is the culmination of a lot of work and ‘what if’s.’  I’m very proud of my team because they’ve worked very hard.  More importantly they’re proud of themselves.  In a very real way, Aspen is their dream, their vision, their sweat and it is, 100%, their creativity.
First off, since this is outside of the walls of Pictage let me kill a bunch of rumors.
  1. Pictage does not charge photographers per image.  We charge per page just like everyone else.
  2. New Sequoia and Aspen Albums do not warp.  They can’t.  In reinventing this line we searched high and low for the highest quality materials.  We’ve tested them in ways you couldn’t imagine.  They come with a 100% no-warp guarantee.
  3. New Sequoia and Aspen Albums are not expensive.  In fact, Sequoia 2s are among the lowest priced, highest quality albums you can buy.  (this leaves room for you to make money).
  4. You do not have to use Pictage Album Design.  Obviously you can if you like but we built the easiest album ordering tools available for folks who want to make their own designs their own ways.  (Seriously - like 3 clicks).
  5. Pictage does not take commission on wholesale albums. We don’t take commission on any wholesale sale.  
  6. Once you add in the subscription, etc it’s the same price as everyone else.  Not likely.  You have to see the prices of these books to believe that.
Ok.  Enough of that.  I sat down with my team last year and asked them what they would do if they could go ahead and do anything.  They scratched their heads and thought about it (for the uninitiated, head scratching is a metaphor) and they came back and said they wanted to build exceptional products and sell them for low prices.  It would seem like you couldn’t do that.  We can.  The reason that we can is because we don’t spend lots of money marketing.  We already serve 10,000 photographers.  Their subscription subsidizes our product development efforts.  We can (and do) pass that savings right back to our clients.
Since then we’ve been on the product development express.  The Gallery Series was launched last August, featuring innovative print treatments like Acrylic and Bamboo prints, framed fine art prints, etc. Earlier this year we released Sequoia 2.  A simple, well made album for price conscious customers and today we’re releasing Aspen, an entirely new line of handcrafted books made with the best materials available but priced in a category that allows our photographers to make real money reselling these products.
Aspen albums are made right here in Los Angeles.  We’re excited about the product line we’re releasing, with new Leather, Acrylic and Silk cover options and lots of fun new colors and combinations.  We’re more excited that this is just a beginning.  We have plans for many new options including photographer-branded packaging, mat/flush hybrids, high relief cover leathers, all ‘green’ books, fine art books, etc.  All of these options are being put together to allow our photographers to create a book that is unique to their studio and their preferences and 100% branded to them.  None of our books carry any Pictage branding at all.  (Frankly, I can’t understand why anyone would ever sell an album by its brand.  Very few consumers will ever have heard of them and something that is branded to your studio can only be acquired from you.) 
When I say “we,” I really mean “they.”  For our team here this is probably the most exciting new product release in years.  This team is justifiably proud of the work they’ve done and they are excited about creating these books.  (I think they’re also excited about ordering them with their employee discounts - but I love that too!) Aspen is a real example of what happens when management gets out of the way and lets the smart people do what they think is right.  Congrat’s y’all.  Great job!
(and remember... what’s next is what’s important).


Eric Cotter said...

Great stuff. Glad to see you guys cranking on products

Elena Nathani Badrutt said...

Hi Eric, I'm not yet a member at Pictage, but I'm interested as a professional photog starter.
I am quoting albums for a potential wedding client and I can't find pricing of these albums. They loved the Aspen / Sequoia type but I need to tell them an approximate pricing for a 50 pages album. Where can I find this info? thanks a lot!!!