April 16, 2018 Issue
Bringing to market a revolutionary new concept for bringing photos from your Phone to an 8”x8” Photo Board that simply Adheres to any Wall, PhotoSquared is enabling people to once again see their Pictures in Print
Chief Executive Officer
Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
CEOCFO: What is concept behind PhotoSquared?
Mr. Miller: PhotoSquared takes the principle that people take thousands of photographs on their phones, and they rarely are seen by anyone. Some may be posted to social media (maybe), but must go nowhere. PhotoSquared prints photos directly from your phone, on to an 8” x 8” photo board that simply adheres to any wall surface.
CEOCFO: Are people looking to have physical photos or do you have to create the desire since people seem to have lost that concept?
Mr. Miller: I do not think people have lost the concept. I think people are really enamored by having pictures of things they like to see often, and get them on their walls; it is just a hurdle to get that achieved. You have to send your photos to a printer to get it developed, then get a frame and put a nail in the wall; you have to figure out the size of the frame and which wall it is going to go on. It is a tedious, complicated and expensive process. Whereas with PhotoSquared, in a few seconds of placing your order, these 8” x 8” PhotoSquares arrive and are ready to attach to the wall with no hammers, no nails, and no damage. If you want to change your PhotoSquares, no problem, you can just pop it off and pop another one back on. We feel that the 8” x 8” size is the perfect size for people today to achieve a photo wall without much thought or effort.
Mr. Marksamer: If you look at the growing success of Etsy and the DIY movement in general, while everyone appreciates the technology and the ease of taking digital photos, there is a growing movement of home décor that involves doing things yourself in an easy way. The wall décor space in general is still growing at over 8.5% rate each year, so there is plenty of room for new products like ours to enter the marketplace and be successful in everyone’s home.
CEOCFO: How does the technology work on your end?
Mr. Marksamer: The App is available for both iOS and Android and it is a simple process. Simply access your camera roll, Instagram, or photos from your Google Photos account within the app. Google Photos was added to allow customers to access their nicer, DSLR camera pictures that you might have on your desktop. You select however many pictures you want with, a minimum of four. You can do some light editing of the photos within the app. Once you set your photos, then it is just entering your shipping information and check out. We then print the photos to PhotoSquares the next day and have them packaged up and shipped right out. Typically customers have their pictures anywhere from two to five days after they place their order.
see on your site “Water Resistant, UV Resistant. Would you tell us about the
quality of the product?
CEOCFO: What is your business model?
Mr. Miller: The business model is about acquiring client acquisition, going off of that demographic and making sure that we get our brand out in the market place. There is a $6 billion industry in online photo printing and getting pictures on walls, so we want our piece of that market share and we believe there is room for us to grow.
CEOCFO: What will be the model later on, will it be cost per picture; what is your plan down the line?
Mr. Miller: Once we have a solid fan base, our plan down the line is to introduce some slightly different products. We also plan to ship to different to countries, as we have people in various countries around the world asking about our product. I think there is a lot of opportunity for expansion.
CEOCFO: How long has PhotoSquared been available?
Mr. Miller: We had a soft launch in January of 2017. We truly went to market in June of 2017. From concept to today it has been a little over a year.
CEOCFO: How have you been reaching out to prospective customers?
Mr. Miller: We do a fair amount of guerilla marketing. The majority of our marketing is done through social media such as Facebook and Instagram.
Mr. Marksamer: Additionally, we recently started expanding into SnapChat advertising in March of this year.
CEOCFO: What are the demographics? Who has been jumping onboard?
Mr. Marksamer: Our key demographic is 45 year old women with kids. As we see the photos being printed it is not surprising to see that the vast majority of the PhotoSquares are of kids and families, on vacation trips, holidays, and things like that. We also see a large number of pictures of dogs!
you feel that people will continually collect the photos like people used to
do years ago?
Mr. Miller: It is also about the ease of being able to move and replace, and reorganize and rearrange our PhotoSquares. It really lends itself to being able to continually upgrade, enhance or add additional PhotoSquares to your wall.
CEOCFO: What has changed in your approach since the launch?
Mr. Marksamer: Keeping things as simple as possible for sure. We went to market with some aggressive ideas of targeting small audiences. We keep things as simple as possible whether that be in the app and showing large images of what your PhotoSquares are going to look like, or on the marketing itself not trying to overcomplicate our messaging and just focus on the simplicity of the experience and the product itself.
CEOCFO: Do you see a point when you might look at different sizes, different configurations?
Mr. Marksamer: We explored the idea. It does go back to the simplicity idea though. 8 x 8 inches is a size that you can always fit in your house or wherever it might be without over thinking things. Once you start to add multiple sizes and go bigger, then people have to start wondering if they can fit it in a space or that space. For the time being we really like the simplicity of having one product skew--one size fits all. Down the line if we get enough demand we will take that into consideration. For now, people are responding extremely positively to the one size.
CEOCFO: What is the competitive landscape?
Mr. Marksamer: There are a few competitors out there with similar products. There are different variations of substrates whether it be glass or canvas. Our specific type of product that allows it to just stick to the wall is definitely a key differentiator from the glass and the canvas where you still have to mount them to the wall by hammering holes. It lends itself to a more modern solution I think. We are always keeping an eye out for any kind of similar product that is coming out, whether it be app or desktop-based. We are looking at what they are doing in terms of their marketing and user experience and their customer feedback to see where we can improve.
CEOCFO: Is there much editing?
Mr. Marksamer: Customers are definitely using the editing to align their photos properly. Typically when you are taking a picture it is in 4:3 or 16:9 rectangular format, and we are translating that to a square. We found that most people became pretty comfortable with Instagram over the past few years, and wanted to focus on that one (1:1) format. We see a percentage of people using the black and white filters in the PhotoSquared app, but typically people are editing most of the photographs before it even enters the app. If you think about when you take a picture you are often reviewing them shortly after, and that is when you typically make your edits. While the edit screen is a very useful tool, it is not the primary driver in the user experience.
CEOCFO: How does it stick without making marks?
Mr. Marksamer: We provide a double-sided adhesive with a proprietary glue that allows it to stick firmly to pretty much any wall surface. To remove a PhotoSquare, just give it a quick twist and pull, and you can pop it right off the wall. You can then re-apply it to a different space if you want. We have done our testing that you can move it around ten to twelve times and the adhesives still maintain their stickiness. The product is so light-weight that we are providing more adhesive than is needed, but it levels out the board when it is on the wall and does give that extra reassurance that it is not going to fall.
CEOCFO: Are you seeking partnerships, investment or funding as you move forward?
Mr. Miller: I think that we are always looking for some kind of strategic partnership. There are a lot of people that already have tons of customers in our demographic and our market space that we could potentially partner with. In addition, funding is always welcome. I think the more money we can spend on our marketing, the faster we can grow our market share. The faster we can gain that market share, obviously the revenue the company can generate grows and we can look at a number of areas to expand.
CEOCFO: What are the next steps and what should we expect a year from now from Photosquared?
Mr. Miller: More PhotoSquares on more walls!
Mr. Marksamer: We are building out our brand. We want as much brand awareness nationally and internationally as possible. We see this as a simple solution that can work anywhere in the world. The climate does not matter; the wall surface does not matter. Many walls around the world are not made with drywall, they are made with cement walls and that does not lend itself to hanging a photo with a hammer and nail. We see a ton of opportunity internationally to have PhotoSquares on walls around the world.
CEOCCFO: How does it feel to have a product that makes people feel good?
Mr. Marksamer: It’s a really nice feeling. We get tons of customer testimonials. It is funny that people will take the time to reach out to us, without us soliciting them. People are just sending us photos all the time and showing us their PhotoSquared walls. Many people say they gave it as a gift to their parents or grandparents and they loved it. Or maybe they did it as a tribute to a deceased relative. And many are doing travel walls (like I am), showing off their various family adventures. They are so proud of their walls that they are building out, and they really do look great. It reaffirms that this is a product that people really do want and are enjoying. It is a really cool feeling to know that we were able to give them that simple solution they did not know about or had not thought about before PhotoSquared.
“With PhotoSquared, in a few seconds of placing your order, these 8” x 8” PhotoSquares arrive and are ready to attach to the wall with no hammers, no nails, and no damage. If you want to change your PhotoSquares, no problem, you can just pop it off and pop another one back on. We feel that the 8” x 8” size is the perfect size for people today to achieve a photo wall without much thought or effort.”- Keith Miller
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