Jan 2, 2008

Hidden Pictures - Hidden Profits

So, my last post wasn't so popular - LOL! So, let me add to it and further clarify as to why photos must be put in the center of our universe. Between my folks and I, we have about 3000 slides. I can't scrap a slide - it would look stupid. But, since I was born in the day when slides were cheaper than photos, I have three full carousels of 80 slides each of me from birth to around age 12. The number of photos I have from that same time period are less than about half that amount. My dad was a slide man. Every photo from my wedding 20 years ago is in a little plastic box inside a little white cardboard frame as is my husband's 2 year mission for the LDS church to Denmark and my once-in-a-lifetime 2 month trip to Australia in college. These images are only viewable when I can borrow my dad's Kodak slide projector. And, that thing is vintage. Replacement bulbs for it are running over $100 on eBay because they don't make them anymore. What happens when we can't get anymore bulbs???

I investigated slide scanning this weekend as I stated in my previous entry. It would cost about 50 cents PER SLIDE and I would have to box them up and send them off. Some companies then send them on to Costa Rica or even India without really telling me. I'm afraid to send them through the USPS, having them land in the Costa Rican mail service is unthinkable - even though these companies claim they have never lost anything. It would be my luck to be the first.

I can scan them myself, I have a FANTASTIC Epson scanner. But I did three boxes of them earlier this year and found loading 4 slides at a time into the slide converter was too time consuming. And, I have yet to see a batch scanner where I can load a bunch in that has a good review for a home-based model. The commercial models have much higher ratings. But, I'm not likely to invest that much.

Of course I'm not having every slide scanned, but let's say I had 2000 of them scanned at 50 cents each. That's $1000. Now, let's say my LSS sent me an email that said, "Hey, we now offer slide scanning for .49 each! Bring your slides to a crop and we'll scan them while you crop!" I'd be all over that. It's not hard to load my slide boxes into my bag and take them with me.

Okay, so, over the course of a year, I bring in a box or two at a time and eventually get the 2000 I wanted scanned at my LSS. The LSS just made $1000 off of me. That's quite a bit of money. So, now I have 2000 photos that I am excited to have my hands on. What, as a scrapper, would be my next step.... thinking... thinking... thinking.... yup, I'm going to want to SCRAP those photos. So, my LSS not only helped me with a problem but they helped to create a new revenue stream for themselves. I now have a lot more photos to work my way through and I'm going to need the products to make the pages.

I have yet to talk to anyone in the baby boomer generation who doesn't moan when you mention slides. We all have them. I looked at my three carousels full of my birth-12 ones last week and wanted to cry. Many are washed out to almost nothing while others have gone almost completely black. At this point, I'm getting desperate to do something with them before they are lost. I could wander around looking for a camera shop or local service to scan them. But, I would feel more "at home" at my LSS since they "get" why those are important to me.

Helping consumers tap into those hidden pictures will open up more opportunities for retailers in our industry. This is just one of the reasons why I say we need to pay attention to the photos first. What the consumer does with those new-found images is up to them. That's where our opportunity to grow begins. They can be as creative as they want (and that's what we want). They can print them out and scrap traditionally or they can go digital. But having those photos out of the little cardboard sleeves and into the hands of scrappers is what I'm talking about when I say that we need to focus on the photos. We want customers to have photos because they won't scrap without them. So, we, as an industry, should devote more time looking for ways to help them get more of their images into a scrappable format and spend less time quibbling over the other stuff. The other stuff will follow if we do our jobs and show consumers how fun it can be to do something other than just slip those photos into a plastic sleeve.


Musicmom-Amy said...

I'd be all over that too! Slides were the "in" thing. Doesn't that make us as old as 8-tracks?

Anonymous said...

Yep, we have the slides and the projector that you can't buy bulbs to fit anymore...


Michele said...

I never thought about all the slides my customers have. Thanks for the tip!