If you are one of the longest operating family-owned commercial photography studios in the United States, you bring the collection online and make it available to collectors, advertising agencies, businesses, interior designers, and the public.
No easy task, Brady Stewart Studio spent four years researching, filing, scanning and printing, a wide array of Black & White, Sepia and Color photographs. This significant collection spans most of the 20th century (1901-1990). There’s more work to be done. Brady Stewart Studio will add 25+ images to their web site every week until completed, which they believe will be another few years to finalize the scanning and filing.
That is all fine, well, and good, but how do you turn this into a viable business? Most of us with any semblance of a collection realize the challenge of keeping track of what we have, the value of each item, and whether or not you can turn it into cash. Far from the average person’s ‘Cash Closet’, how does an independent operator like this compete against the likes of Getty Images, and other online image providers?
One answer would be market segmentation. Make an effort to concentrate on those most likely in need of a specific period piece, e.g., local museums, architects, non-profits, locally-owned and historically significant companies, etc. Another market would be period collectors who are looking for something that may add to their own collection, or as a family heirloom. Artists and graphic designers are always on the prowl for something unique and different – what’s old is new again.
Like any other business that wants to draw attention to itself, it looks like Brady Stewart Studio has embarked on garnering local press and speaking engagements. What else could they do? Enter today’s demand for social media marketing in the form of a newsletter, blog, Facebook page, Twitter, etc. You need to grasp a community of interested parties and turn them into your outbound marketers, a.k.a., “buzz”. Easy for me to say, but when you have the burden of researching, filing, scanning and printing more of the collection, where do you allocate your time, first?
Isn’t this the challenge most small businesses face today? Demand rich and resource poor, you often find yourself asking how to easily grow your business, without the additional staff and expense.
Photos are courtesy of the Brady Stewart Studio.
More about the Brady Stewart Collection:
The collection captures a historically significant period with photographs of Advertising & Products, Building & Churches, Duquesne University, Homesteading in Idaho, Manufacturing & Equipment, Lake Chautauqua and Erie, Lifestyle & People, Niagara Falls & Washington DC, Pittsburgh City Scenes, Sports and Transportation. Available in a wide range of shapes and sizes, the photographs were made by Brady Stewart, Brady Stewart Jr., and associates of Brady Stewart Studio Inc.