Peter Barr, general manager, Sales & Marketing, Photo Create, recently gave an overview of the business and outlined new developments – including its successful new Facebook app – at Dscoop, an international conference of HP-affiliated graphic arts businesses.
With Photo Create fairly taciturn on the local front, we asked Don Franz, who covered the conference for his industry newsletter, Photo Imaging News – International Edition, for permission to re-publish some of his report:
Peter Barr noted that digital prints initially retailed for 59 cents in Australia, but are now as little as 10 cents each. He said that in August 2006, the Eastmon group formed Photo Create, and three years later it closed all its retail stores, focusing on manufacturing photo imaging products primarily for ‘big box’ companies, Big W and Harvey Norman, while providing contract manufacturing for such local and global partners as Snapfish, Blurb, Creative Memories and Fujiflm Australia.
Today, the company has 250 full time employees, but the ranks of the staff swell to 600-700 during the peak season. In Australia, it runs 7 Indigos and in New Zealand it runs 3 Indigo digital presses.
Recently, it opened Photo Create USA in Tempe, Arizona (around the same time that founding managing director, Rob Tolmie, left the company). Canvas prints are the major product in the US, along with home décor products (www.fabness.com).
Peter Barr said the company has four key core strengths: Expert Data Management that can control a print run of one (it receives 30,000 orders/day); Systemization & Scalability to handle growth; Lean Manufacturing to minimise production time and costs while providing top quality (it offers more than 600 different products); and Fast Implementation of Online Retail and Wholesale operations.
The company looks at both existing and emerging markets and works with its print partners. The business opportunity is to develop innovations to grow the overall market size. At the same time, the company works to have continuous improvement in its core competencies. Packaging is a huge factor in the overall cost of a product, so the ‘shipping’ consideration weighs heavily on the selection of products for manufacture.
To tap the consumer and social platform market, Photo Create has now established the Facebook application, Winkiwoo, for creating either a photobook or a status book (www.facebook.com/winkiwoo or http://winkiwoo.com). The application remains within Facebook, and allows people to also use images from their friends as well. It’s available in 14 languages.
A US$4.99 6×8-inch status booklet can be created for shipment anywhere in the world. So far, books have been sent to 84 countries (including 100 books to Afghanistan). There are three photobook choices: Winkiwoo Lite (20 pages, 400 photos) – US$14.99 + US$4.99 international shipping; Winkiwoo Mid with a hardcover (US$24.99 +shipping) and Winkiwoo BIG (US$39.99 + shipping).
The maximum size of images is limited, although Mr Barr said that low-res images can produce satisfactory books. Livechat customer service/care is available 24/7 in Australia and the US.
COMMENT: Well fancy that – who would have known, eh?