Are you considering startup as an option in your further career?
If yes, then you might want to learn how a company called PortraitFlip that delivers handmade paintings majorly in the USA went from a dorm room company to a company that brought in $200000 in the first year.
MEET THE FOUNDERS.
Mr. Lavdeep Chahal, one fine day was finding a service that could deliver a handmade portrait from a photo of his girlfriend, but couldn’t find any service back then in his country and the only service available overseas would have dug a hole in his pocket.
He quickly grabbed the attention of his roommate and his dear friend, Mr. Sunny Choudhary by explaining how this is a fantastic startup idea!
After a couple of brainstorming sessions, they thought they could do this as a side hustle until they completed their graduation in Mechanical Engineering and started working on the website whose responsibility was given to the third partner, Mr. Shubhanshu Maheshwari.
THE INITIAL PHASE OF THE STARTUP.
The idea of PortraitFlip was to act as a middleman between people who want to get a handmade painting from a photo and the artists around the globe.
They started working on the following aspects in the initial phase:
- Building a website on WordPress.
- Contacting artists worldwide and partnering with shipping companies.
- Strategizing marketing plans to reach the target audience.
All of the above tasks were being done with their college studies, and they never committed to PortraitFlip entirely in the initial phase.
HOW DID THEY MARKET THEIR SERVICE WITH NO MONEY?
Everything was ready!
- The artists were in talks.
- The shipping companies like DHL and FedEx had quoted their delivery charges and were offering a good deal.
- The website was set up by buying a good domain and hosting service.
- The order trial was successful.
But it had been 10 days of no orders!
That is when the trio understood they missed out on marketing the product, which they ignored because of no funds.
Quickly, Mr. Sunny looked into various aspects of marketing and how much funds would they require?
He came up with the following list:
- Google and FB ads.
- Content Marketing.
- Social Media Marketing.
- YouTube Marketing.
- E-Mail Promotion.
- Affiliate Marketing.
They decided to execute each marketing option one by one and started with Google ads because that would bring an order in lesser time as compared to others.
The initial funds for running a Google ad were lended by their hostel mates with a promise to repay with interests.
Everything went right and they received their first order through a Google ad, slowly and steadily they started receiving orders and simultaneously worked on other marketing aspects like:
- Product page SEO.
- Content marketing through blogs.
- Conducting giveaways and sending promotional E-mails.
- Partnering with ShareASale.
- Sending out promotional E-mails.
- Posting unboxing videos on YouTube and creating hype.
- Partnering with local gift galleries.
PortraitFlip was working from 6 months now and had delivered smiles to more than 100 customers worldwide through their paintings.
Marketing ventures were showing great results and bringing in audience to the website, but also their final year of graduation was over.
It was time when they decided whether they wanted to enter the corporate world working as an employee and getting a big fat check at the end of the month or continue with PortraitFlip.
After a lot of brainstorming by the trio, the choice was clear; instead of opening the doors of interview rooms, they opened the door of their new office!
THE UNEXPECTED TWIST IN THE JOURNEY!
PortraitFlip was built with a scope of delivering Couple Portraits, Baby Portraits, Family Portraits, or even House Portraits, but something unexpected happened which brought in a lot of business and gave a new direction to the startup.
70% of the orders which people were placing from various parts of the world were of Pet Portraits!
It was alright when they received one or two in a week, but when they pulled up the sales data for the 2 months, they were amazed to find 70% of their sales were occurring through Dog, Cat, and Horse Portraits.
WHAT IS PORTRAITFLIP TODAY?
PortraitFlip is 1.5 years old now and in the very first year, brought in total sales of $2,23,863.
In the journey from a dorm room startup to an extraordinary startup that delivers smiles through paintings, they have achieved a lot,
- Raised a business from scratch.
- Got a Trustpilot rating of 4.9 and have maintained it till now.
- Introduced framing options like Gallery Wrapped and Framed.
- Got featured on more than 100 websites!
- Inspired the young entrepreneurs through various interviews on Radio and Startup Websites.
- Provided employment to promising youngsters.
WHAT CAN BE TAKEN AWAY FROM THIS STORY?
- You don’t need a lot of money to raise a business from scratch.
- Side hustle or a step by step approach is safe to start an enterprise.
- Your business is nothing until you get people’s eyeballs on your product (Marketing).
- You have to change with time and serve what people are interested in (Pet Portraits).
- Your attention to product quality will pay off and will bring more business so that should be on 1st
All The Best!