In the world of art, I always find this one of the most exciting times because with the hustle of the Holiday season behind us it gives me an opportunity to explore new ideas. As an artist, I used to make it a point to slow down and use this time of year to look for new inspiration and or evaluate if what I had been doing was what I wanted to do and/or accomplish the goals I was after. Now days I place a lot of this energy into considering how we can better serve our customers. This includes improvements in product manufacturing, order processing workflow and even new shipping options. I also plan to stress more our ability to offer custom sizes print options.
As our Chief Development Officer, one of the areas I look at is trends in the industry. Perhaps one of the better places to gauge this has been this week has been the largest Photo Expo in the United States. This year it was conveniently held here in San Antonio, TX. For those that are not familiar with Imaging USA it is a 3-4 day event packed with instructional seminars, workshops and of course the tradeshow itself. For me the tradeshow was what interested me the most because it gave me the chance to touch base with some of the vendors we use and even share experiences with some of our competitors who were there. Below is a brief video of which shows off this year’s Expo:
As a follow-up today we were visited by Hahnemuehle’s Marketing Director who had attended the show all the way from Germany. Along with here was our own Sales Manager for the U.S. Midwest and the Sales Manager from the West Coast. After giving her and the West Coast Sales manager a tour of our production center we had a chance to discuss some of the things within the industry such as product trends as well as ways we might be able to make improvements. One of the things I shared was when I compare what we do with many photo labs that were present at the expo was how our philosophies may differ. Even though we do service many photographers, the higher percentage of them are artists that are not photographers. This has led to a great opportunity for us to fill the void of custom size printing where many of our competitors have found it either too expensive or unwieldy. Not that offering custom sizes is without challenges but seeing that we service so many artists that require a wider range in print size we have found it greatly beneficial to all.
Therefore, with things like canvas, fine art prints and posters (products more likely to be ordered by artists but no frequently ordered by photographers too) you can order from either a list of most common sizes or enter your own size that goes outside the norm. For us producing a 14×20 canvas or framed print is no different than producing a 16×20 other than the physical size of the final product.