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IPIC Bold and beautiful, say attendees

#IPICBOLD was the theme for the 2018 Photo Marketing Convention and Trade Show held once again at the fabulous four-star rated M Resort in Las Vegas, last week.

Australians at IPIC2018: Stephen Perris (Byron Photo Magic); Stuart and Mirian Holmes (iPhoto); Carly Michael (Michaels); Louise Miller (Griffith Camera House); Alan Logue (Hutt St Photo); Kate Worth (Michaels).

International membership is open to all Australian and New Zealand photo specialists (retail, prolab and school lab) via Independent Photo (iPhoto) for a low annual price of $995.95 +gst (about the cost of a cup of coffee daily). IPI International Membership opens your business to the latest cutting edge trends in photo marketing and transparently shares the best & brightest ideas.

Several Australian photo specialty retailers took time out of their busy lives to attend:
– Byron Photo Magic – Stephen Perris (first visit);
– Griffith Camera House – Louise Miller (regular attendee);
– Hutt Street Photos – Alan & Catherine Logue (regular attendees and presenters);
– Michaels Camera & Video – Carly Michael (previous attendee and presenter) and Kate Worth (first visit time);
– And, Independent Photo (iPhoto) – Stuart & Miriam Holmes.

‘One thing which was clear from attending IPIC for the first time is that photo specialists have similar strengths and challenges, no matter where you are in the world,’ said Stephen Perris, Byron Photo Magic.

‘For instance, the rise of film both in sales and processing seems to be happening in many pockets both here and in the USA. Whether it is through an increase in demand generally, or as a result of who can provide the service remains unclear, and who knows how long it will continue. But glad I am part of the current trend…

‘The focus on archiving to help people keep a record of their memories was worth pursuing, and the idea of “packaging printing” also was of interest.

‘Obviously I could go on and on, but maybe more members need to experience the conference first hand – I mean it only took me 30 years to attend!

Those retailers attending regularly are rewarded with a strong strong sense of community, with networks being created and strengthened over the years, as Carly Michael observed.

‘Being able to connect with others who have the same job in this shrinking industry, “geek out” on equipment and talk work for three days is a really unique experience – and it’s surprising how little non-work related conversation crops up – even during late night networking drinks!’ she said.

Carly went on to say that she found good value in the talks given by APPO (Association of Professional Photo Organisers), seeing beneficial synergy between the two organisations. She intended to connect with APPO members in Victoria.

She said the fundamental challenge for photo service providors was outlined in a question from one of the presenters in her break-out session: ‘How can we expect anyone to print their photos if they don’t know how to find them?’

‘My aim is to work with the IPI members to create a successful campaign to encourage people to print their photos thereby ensuring they will last for future generations,’ she said.

Carly also presented to a large group in a ‘Live Learning Session’ featuring several IPI members’ success stories. Her concern is that we live in a period of the ‘Digital Dark Age’ that we may look back on with no keepsakes, despite taking more photos everyday than ever before.

Bigger than ever
As usual, the IPIC2018 Team did not disappoint, with a superbly-run convention featuring two intensive Boot Camps (School & Sports Photography; and Events – from concept and creation to promotion and delivery). These were a pre runner to the three days of intensive IPI University and breakout sessions.

The overall #IPICBOLD theme was that of sharing experiences from successful implementation of B2B (business to business) strategies, to customer service fine tuning, creating ‘Clients’ from ‘Just Customers’ and leveraging your store’s ability to produce an even wider range of in-house and hub-and-spoke’ products. Maintaining and enthusing on your business’ abilities by never saying no to a customer need.

All breakout presentations were introduced in snapshot previews as part of the major group Live Learning sessions, including: DIY Professional Video Studio onsite with Segway; an editing course session by Erin Manning; Print Refinery update and overview; what’s new in the MSP/ & MSS marketing collateral; and online forum updates.

Once again the IPI Marketing Group has demonstrated its ability to stay ahead of the curve in modern photo retailing techniques, with inclusive and sophisticated, fully-supported marketing collateral and networks.

A measure of the value of IPIC 2018 can be gauged by the fact that Michaels CVD sent two staff members along this year. Relatively new recruit to Michaels photofinishing services department, Kate Worth, volunteered her first impressions to PhotoCounter:

‘As a first timer at IPIC and being in a new role, I learnt a lot about the industry and how other labs are run. My best take outs from IPIC were:
– being able to network and connect with other labs, particularly with those in Australia;
– Seeing how different other labs are from the one I work at, whether that be a chain store or a smaller independent store. This was eye-opening for me as I realised most of the other labs are having the same issues or successes that we are seeing, even from the other side of the world. This wasn’t something I was expecting to get out of IPIC;
–  The Archiving and Digital Photo Organising talks from APPO were outstanding. The connection between archiving, photo organising and printing to save image and make them last for a lifetime is critical. I personally found these really inspirational and would love to put this into action at Michaels.’

Brenda’s Best
Brenda DiVincenzo, the IPI’s indefatigable Director for Member Success, and the driving force behind the annual IPIC shows for the last decade, nominates her highlights of 2018:

This year at IPIC, members were reinvigorated through member-driven content. All topics were either member-requested or member-led. Hot topics included:
1.       B2B products through a new ‘walkabout’ style session, using the resort as a potential client and the found signage and marketing materials as proposed items for quoting. Latex printers were one of the hot items on the trade show floor.
2.       Archiving concierge services through panel discussions, APPO sessions, member-led sessions and brainstorming workshops
3.       An urgent plea from Carly Michael (Michaels CVD) on our social responsibility to urge the world to print their photos as they take them. IPI members will be brainstorming this topic over the next year and testing solutions along the way.
4.       An emotional presentation by Veronica Chapman on the ‘6 Steps to Grow your Business with Intent.’
– Brenda DiVincenzo


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