Archives - Photo Redesign
Photo Redesign was a great idea, with poor execution.
While I certainly had a lot of fun building the storefront, and even more fun researching the blog posts and recruiting the designers, the site fell flat on its face; it didn't make a single sale.
No sales was tough to stomach. I had poured so much effort into the platform, finding graphic designers, willing to work on-call, editing photos as orders came in. I spent countless hours, negotiating compensation for their work, and determining how jobs would be allocated fairly throughout the team.
After admitting defeat, and preparing to take the site down, I stepped back to take stock of what had happened. Even though Photo Redesign was short lived, there are lasting lessons to be had.
Photo Redesign forced me to wear various hats that I normally wouldn't have. I learned how to better collaborate with other creatives; forming a remote work culture using tools like Slack and Google Hangouts. My people management skills were tested while I had discussions with designers about compensation, company structure, and growth of their own portfolios.
I had some copy writing experience from The Throwback Lab and knew the importance of custom copy for SEO. Each Photo Redesign product had an in depth product description, alt-text, and custom meta description; I'd taken all the steps I could for better SEO. I created keyword rich, viral-style blog posts, linked back to the appropriate products. I even renamed all my product images so their file names could be more easily searched.
What went so wrong? Why weren't there any sales?
I didn't do my homework.
Like many founders wearing several hats, I was a generalist, not an expert. I knew some of the basics of what I had to do, but with many things, I was Googling on the fly, jumping in with two feet. With all the rush of building something new, sorting out products, pricing, marketing channels and anything else; I neglected the first thing anyone considering a new business should do: market research.
I had worked in the digital printing industry before, and was familiar with digital design services, and what people might be willing to pay; I thought I had a pretty good handle on what would work and what wouldn't. I hashed the idea out with a few friends and they thought it sounded solid too; I sold myself on the idea to early.
Sure, there might have been a demand for what I was selling; but not from the same groups of people. Those interested in the camera bags I was selling probably weren't interested in digital design services, and vice-versa. In hindsight, I should have created a strong buyer persona, and really dug into what my customers wanted, and how they wanted to be sold to. I would have quickly learned that my products and my target market weren't a good match.
Photo Redesign was a great experiment, and I still consider it a success because of the additional skills and know-how I have moving forward.