Products to Offer in Packages
We have that Noritsu lab we use. There's software that we're using currently. We're shopping some new stuff from Photo Links that's gonna be... Hopefully will make our printing way easier. But we hook it up to the printer. It's all built on a computer. We got the templates. You pull open a border. You just go, "Boom, boom, boom." Print it out. Easy cheesy. It's almost exactly the same interface that most labs have for you to order their stuff. But instead of waiting for it to come from the lab, it comes out of your machine. The machine investment when we got it was like a hundred thousand dollars though, so it's not typically something you'll see in a lot of studios. Now you can get more affordable options, and there's some that are even as low... I think Fuji's got one that's DX100. It's really cool. I think it goes eight inches wide, and it's, like, twelve hundred bucks. It does a great job. It's not as fast. It doesn't have as many options. Not as many bells and whistles. But you co...
uld take on in-house printing at a very reasonable rate. You really could. I think that most photographers who go to in-house printing, you don't see a lot that leave it. There's a lot to be said for having the ultimate control of your product line. It's there. It's perfect. If you have somebody come in and they say, "I wanna buy another five by seven," and you can hand it to them in five minutes, that's a huge customer service thing. It's a big support-local-business thing. So we really, really enjoy it. But I also understand that it might not be something that somebody can do. And because we do in-house printing, some of our products vary from what you're gonna be able to find at a lab.
On picture day, do you have everything displayed, like, "This is A. This B."
That's a great question. So for our extreme volume days, like the big, big ones where we're doing a hundred teams, two hundred teams, yeah. When I'm at a high school, no, 'cause kids don't care. With the high school stuff, orders come and I never see parents and never interact with parents. So they get the order form. They're familiar with our brand because we've been doing it for a long time. They place an order. The kid brings the check and the order goes home. That's it. Now with the smaller kids on picture day, the big picture day, we do take a ton of orders that day. And there's a lot of people that, even though we do all the work to get the order forms out, even though we do all the work to do online ordering, pre-ordering, all that jazz, still have a ton of people that come in that don't have order forms. And so we find it easier to just have samples out and say, "This is exactly what you're going to get." And people just like to... There's always junk afterwards 'cause all these people touch them and ding them and drop them. So it's kind of annoying because every year I have to dump a bunch of money making new samples and printing stuff up, and I know that it's only gonna last for, like, three days. But, yes. So, if we do banners and posters, we do include them. Not all of our leagues allow them. Some of our high schools flat out don't let us shoot or sell posters. Okay? Some of them... Now one of the school's that we're working with, we do posters for them. We do banners for them. But the banners are only the high school seniors. So it wouldn't make a lot of sense to put that as a product on, because I would have a ton of refunds I would have to give, because parents would buy it, not reading that it's for seniors, and then I go, "Uh, here's your 25 dollars back." I just don't wanna do that. So, the leagues that we do that have sports posters, we do put them on. This is one of our banners that we do. So we do work for a school in Stillwater, and we do banners for every single sport. They go in the hallway. So this is a four by six banner. Four by six... This is all... This is from Miller's. Banners are like a thing that's almost becoming this... You have to have them. You just have to have them. It's becoming a product now that a lot of schools and parents know exist, and they see them. So we hang these up. They're all grommeted, it's real nice. It's a great product. But these are, in most cases, the big vinyl ones, they are not big revenue producers. What is nice about those is we sell those as four foot by six foot banners. And then we also sell them in a smaller size as either a ten by fifteen or a twelve by eighteen, but it's the same aspect ratio. That's key. We only design it once. So then what happens is parents or league officials or whatever, that hang the banner up, I will sell the smaller versions. We'll make money off of that. But the big, big ones, we don't typically make a huge profit off of those. And this did change a little bit. They used to ask for the really long panoramic ones, and we got sick of designing the same banners twice. So now it's a four by six, but we didn't do any change on the pricing. Okay? The banners are... It's important to have them. You can get banners depending on where you're looking. Like, I've seen them as low as ten bucks. It's crazy. There are some places that are super cheap, and there are some place that are also, the more you buy the less you can pay. So I saw one company was doing, once you get to x number of feet, you can get them as low as 70 cents a square foot. Like, that's crazy. Crazy. The biggest thing with these, though, is remember, when you're designing them, you have to design your big one to have the same aspect ratio as the small one so you don't have to do the work twice. Our back side is our a la carte items. This is laid out intentionally so. We even got it set up... The reason why we do the envelope and the insert is I want you to be able to take your envelope, put it down on the table, look at this, fill it out. Right? There's your a la carte stuff. It's just easy to read, easy to work. Having it all, like the big, massive envelopes and stuff, I find they just get all matted up and wadded up in people's purses. They get all gross. I don't like it. So we keep it small, simple. Our biggest a la carte item is our magnet. We sell it for six bucks. It's our largest add-on. There are some photographers that do... There are some people I've seen that do interesting packaging options, and I've seen some people that even dive into this build-your-own-package. You can have this, and you can pick one of these items, and two of these items, and one from the blue bin, and something from the mystery box. And it's a terrible idea. It's a terrible, terrible idea. Have one package. Have your most... Offer one thing. Profitable add-ons should be add-ons. Don't substitute out elements of your package to give away a product that they would buy. That's ridiculous. It's not a bad thing to make money. So you create your package. You have your add-ons. Make the magnets. Our magnets are literally we get the magnets from JDS as literally a sticker. Peel the back. Next one. That's it. Trim it up. Make sure it looks good. Next one. It's not a big deal unless you have to do three thousand of them. Here, that's all it is. I mean this stuff... It's not rocket science, guys. This is really easy. So our other stuff that you would find, we're gonna go through how you would order this, but Miller's is our lab of choice. They do all of our school printing. They do all of our accessory and specialty items for the sports. So as we go back to this one, you can see we have the water bottle right here. This thing's actually really high quality. I love this water bottle. We also sell metal prints from them. It's literally just these easy metal prints. And the metal prints are cheap from Miller's. So some of the things that we're doing with them is we'll actually put instructions and directions on them, 'cause it's just a nicer quality piece instead of taping an eight by ten, or a piece of paper on a wall. You can put that up. You can have a little stand on it. We have the magazine covers, which is really just an eight by ten with a template that we customize. And so there's all of these products that are just... I think that you're forced to have a pretty big portfolio of products. So this is the sports tickets that they have. And again, we'll go through this, but Miller's has all these templates for you, so you don't even have to design them if you don't want to. I think you're forced to have this huge portfolio of products, and what I sell is this in a couple of variations across everything that we do. But not having all of this would cost us jobs. So you still have to have all the products, all the specialty items, all the posters. You have to have these items available, because people leave. So they'll say, well, "Joe Shmoe Down the Street Photography, they can do this. Why can't you?" So we have it all. We offer it all. This is still our biggest seller. The sponsor plaques we actually get through Miller's. These are the sponsor plaques that we get through them. These are awesome. They're 12 bucks. And so the way that Miller's works with this stuff too, everything's done in a day. I mean, it might be two days. It's a day generally. And it's free overnight shipping. So we sent off 150 plaques and I had them the next day. It's crazy. And so there's a ton of advantages, and if your are a smaller studio getting into volume, I would strongly, strongly, encourage you to find a good lab. Find someone to partner with, because they're going to take on the responsibility of having the production labor. They're gonna take on the expense of having the production equipment, so you don't have to cover that. You don't have to go buy a hundred thousand dollar lab, and you don't have to bring in a bunch of contract guys to work to knock out your products. So if you're just starting and you're smaller, do that. If you are an established studio with multiple staff members, and maybe you are doing some in-house printing, it is very doable to do your own printing. It's not as hard or as expensive as you think. I think that having the list, like I said, is the key part of it. Some of our leagues do get custom stuff. It's rare. Some of our leagues do require that we give them custom products. I'll show you guys too, one of the other things that we do... So this is all of our order forms that we produce for the schools are gonna have their branding. It's just a little nice thing that we do to try to make sure that they feel... That they know that we're committed to their school. So it's always brand-specific order forms. Make it personal. Shouldn't feel big boxy, even though it's a volume job. Okay? We had one account that we go that was the... We competed against Voldemort for, and we won. And that account required us to maintain the packages that they had had prior to us coming on. So it was, we have had doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, A, B, C, D. These are the items that we have to have. So there's some variations. There's variations in pricing. There's variations in packages. It's kind of interesting to me too, because some of the things that I've found is they always say you should put your highest package first, your lowest package at the end, because will see the first one, and it's easier to sell them. I still sell the same thing at this account, even though that package is listed at the end. There's less options but it's at the end. I still sell this, but with four wallets instead of two. My biggest seller by a lot. And we have on that one, we have it add on an acrylic frame. But because it's not a separate package, and we aren't allowed to display it as a separate package, I will sell maybe ten frames because it's harder for people to see it. So how it's laid out, some of the things that you'll think are gonna make huge differences might not. And some of the things that you think are inconsequential may be huge. So, I always like... Just do it. Just start selling but pay attention to your data. Look at what people are buying. Look at if you change some things up and you shift it, how are they reacting? Is it positively or negatively influencing their buy rate?