Published March 21st 2018 in Photographer Stories by Team AR
→→→→ Remember when portrait boxes took the world by storm?
Genuinely endorsed by Sue Bryce 💜
Meet the creator: Nicole from Seldex Artistic Albums.
Nicole: So I went to Photokina one year, and I saw a box over there, but it didn't have matted prints in it. I thought that it would be a great concept to sell matted prints inside a box. So we come back, I come back, and we designed a box where there was a cloth cover or there was an image cover. We released them, I took them to the U.S. that year for our U.S. distributor, and they were popular. People liked them, people liked the fact that they could use them to upsell packages for portraits, and that sort of thing. It wasn't until probably six years ago that, when Sue Bryce started using them, and then she came out with the review wall and in-person sales, that they just skyrocketed.
Jannah: Hi everyone and welcome to "Yarning with Jannah." Today we've got Nicole from Seldex Artistic Albums down in Melbourne, and she's come to chat with us about all things printing, have a little giggle, talk about portrait boxes, and all the wonderful things that she creates. Where did you come from?
Nicole: My name's Nicole, I'm from Seldex Artistic Albums, and I'm the sales and marketing manager. I live in Melvin, Victoria, and our office is in Brunswick, and I've been there for 28 years.
Jannah: You've been at Seldex for 28 years?
Nicole: 28 years.
Jannah: What got you into the album industry?
Nicole: Well, I was silly enough to go for a job interview in a house, and then after three months I was so bored that the salesgirl left when was having a baby, Megan, and I said to Joan, "Can I do sales? Can I start doing some sales?" And then I started doing sales, and now I've got started.
Jannah: You've been there ever since?
Nicole: Yeah. Been there ever since.
Jannah: What have you seen ... What has been the biggest change that you've seen in the 28 years?
Nicole: I'd have to say the film to digital has got to be the biggest change. It affected everything, you know, from the way people used to do weddings ... Years ago, they put their film into the lab, they'd get their prints back, they'd do proof books for clients, and then they'd do a wedding album. They'd have heaps of reprints for mums and dads and everything else, so it's a huge change. All that's gone, everyone wants USBs, they do their own prints, you know? Even the album designs change. For matted albums, it's all magazine-style albums with different layouts and that sort of stuff. You're right, it's all changed from CDs to USBs. A lot people do online downloads now, instead of actually giving even a USB stick. It also opened it up so it was a lot easier for people to become photographers for weddings and everything else, compared to film days. They had to get a lot of it right on camera, back in the early days. Nowadays, with Photoshop and everything else. We've got a lot more ... They can change things afterwards, they don't have to worry about getting it right straight away. For a lot of other people it made it easier to get in. A lot more professional photographers out there nowadays than there was back then.
Jannah: Have you seen many ... it's hard to say from a printer’s point of view ... People that just fold after shooting too many weddings?
Nicole: Definitely. We'll get 15 or 20 new registrations a week from photographers. You can look at your books the following year and a lot of them are gone. A lot of them are six months, some might last two years, but if they're not ... it's shoot and burn, it really isn't a sustainable business, so a lot of them realize after doing it a while that it's not gonna ... It's not something they can make a full-time career out of.
Jannah: What do you think ... What do you need to do in order to make it a full-time career?
Nicole: I think you need to sell product. You’ve got to have a way to upsell your packages, so products is the easiest way to do that. And I think going out and shooting a wedding for a thousand dollars, if you're spending hours and hours ... you're spending 8 hours at the wedding, and you're spending another 8 or 10 hours retouching photos and all that sort of stuff ... It needs to be sustainable. You've got to be able to charge more for your time.
Jannah: Excellent. What's one thing that took off beyond your expectation in what you've seen? Whether it's in your business, or whether it was a trend, or anything.
Nicole: In our business, I'd have to say our folio boxes. Since when we started those, probably 13, 14 years ago ...
Jannah: Did you design the folio boxes?
Jannah: And so you guys were the first.
Nicole: The very first to have them, yeah. So I went to Photokina one year and I saw a box over there, but it didn't have matted prints in it. I thought that it would be a great concept to sell matted prints inside a box. So we come back, I come back, and we designed a box where there was a cloth cover or there was an image cover. We released them, I took them to the U.S. that year for our U.S. distributor, and they were popular. People did like them, people liked the fact that they could use them to upsell packages for portraits, and that sort of thing. It wasn't until probably six years ago that, when Sue Bryce started using them, and then she came out with the reveal wall and in-person sales, that they just skyrocketed. Everyone realized that it’s an easy product to sell, and that it's ... you can show them, and have your clients ... Show them pre-printed, and show your clients that they can walk away with the finished product. That's probably the one product that just went crazy when we thought it was gonna be popular, but not to the extreme that it's gone now.
Jannah: And that was your baby?
Nicole: That was my baby.
Jannah: You came up with that?
Nicole: I did. Now every man and his dog does it. And claims they came up with it.
Jannah: Oh, god. It's like the folio boxes were born at Seldex.
Nicole: They were. Very proud of that, about ... Yep.
Jannah: That's very awesome. Do you have lots of other ideas in the pipeline, or different things you're creating at home?
Nicole: We do, and that's a big part of the business is that you've got to keep changing the products and try to come out with something new and different, because these products are quite easy to copy. So, trying to stay on top of trends and materials, and giving the photographers something different to sell, so that they're not selling the same product as every other photographer around them, or in their suburbs. We've got quite a few things in the pipeline this year that we're working on. I'll tell you about them later on in the year.
Jannah: Oh, really? So you don't have anything cool that you're gonna tell me what you're up to?
Nicole: No, nothing that I'm prepared to release just yet.
Jannah: Ooh, that's juicy! I'll get you offline later.
Jannah: I'll make you tell me later.
Jannah: Great. Where else do you guys distribute? You said that you distributes to the States, so you've got a distributor over there, where else?
Nicole: So worldwide, our biggest market is Australia, but we do have ... a large part of our market is the U.S., so we've got a U.S. distributor Finao, and we've been with them for ... Well, since it started, ten years ago. Everywhere else in the world, we just ship direct. You can order online ... And that's one thing we're about to do. We're about to release a new international website. We'll have collect shipping fees for different countries, so it'll be a 25 dollar flat shipping for New Zealand, it'll be a 50 dollar flat shipping fee to the U.K.. That'll make it easier for photographers ordering, so that they'll know the base cost of the product, and they'll know the base cost of what their shipping is, regardless of how much they order. It'll make it easier for them.
Jannah: Yeah, that sounds it.
Nicole: A couple of weeks, and that'll be up and running.
Jannah: So exciting.
Nicole: You heard it first.
Jannah: So you're off to WPPI? You're gonna miss me, obviously.
Nicole: There's still time to book, Jannah.
Jannah: I know.
Nicole: You can still come along.
Jannah: I can still come along.
Nicole: You can.
Jannah: I can sleep on your couch again?
Nicole: Yes, my couch is always there for you.
Jannah: And so is Finao releasing anything big at WPPI this year?
Nicole: I don't think product-wise, their booth this year is more based around an educational-type booth, so Susan Stripling from Wedding School in the U.S. will be speaking on there, and there's quite a lot of other speakers, so that'll be something different that they've done. So it’s exciting to get back over there.
Jannah: Yeah. It would be. Lovely.
Nicole: It's always fun.
Jannah: Yeah, it's always fun. We can't keep a straight face, can we?
Jannah: Let’s try and be professional!
Nicole: Alright, well, we haven't sworn yet.
Nicole: We haven't sworn yet.
Jannah: Yeah, no, you're right. We haven't. We've kept it quite classy.
Nicole: It might still happen, yeah. Real classy.
Jannah: Thank you very much for coming on "Yarning with Jannah."
Nicole: I love "Yarning with Jannah!" Anytime.