A year of saving cameras, getting to know the global analog community and startup life is behind us now. I will try to be as truthful and prompt as possible about how it all went, as many of you are here just to win these freaking beautiful puppies:
Throughout the first year we ended up doing three things:
1. Build a hassle-free reclaimed camera platform for global buyers.
We did this by having only professional sellers and clear condition ratings. We now have 7 sellers on the platforms and ended up helping them sell around 10,000 cameras or items in 4,000 packages to 40 different countries.
2. Mapping out the existing analog industry and community.
For a sustainable future, the biggest challenges lie in coordinating repair shops and keeping developing services at an entry-level-friendly price. We now have data from almost 5,000 community members in seven languages and are processing it to have a global overview for everyone to see. Please fill the form if you haven’t already.
3. Trying to open up the conversation between the industry and the community.
As a bit of a long shot we are trying do this by crowdfunding a conference where we hope to get the answers to the community’s most common questions. The #futureoffilm conference crowdfunding is still open, but unless we see a remarkable step-up it seems that we will have to find a new way to open the conversation.
As some of you know, I co-founded Kameratori Oy, the camera shop that is the biggest seller on Cameraventures.com, in 2010 and my initial goal with Cameraventures was obviously just to increase sales and network with other quality shops around the world. However when I entered the international analog industry scene by interviewing over 300 people to find team members, I noticed that there are bigger issues to solve for an agile digital era startup like Cameraventures to ensure the sustainability of analog photography, than just where can I safely get a quality camera.
To tell you the truth the industry is in very poor shape. Yes, film is coming back in 2017 faster than ever before, but 20 years of very hard times has left its toll on the supporting structures of the industry. There are very few magazines, journalists, trade fairs, etc. left and those were the instances that kept the conversation alive back in the past. The industry and community have to work or at least talk together about the future needs for analog photography to be sustainable. Our team’s (2 full time + 3 part time) vision ended growing to be a bridge between the community and the industry, either by coding the things others should already have or by empowering good old-fashioned communication.
We are very much in the beginning of achieving this vision, and there are many much more qualified to do it, but it is a task that needs alot of people working on it – so we will work on it from our end. If you don’t have very strong opinions about this, it is totally normal, as most people don’t tend to worry about the future of their pastimes, only about the sustainability of their daily income. I have been feeding my growing family (Ken no pun intended :)) from the analog scene from 2004 so it is natural for me to have strong opinions about this.
So here I stand – alive after a year of changing plans, physically exploring six countries and their analog industries, reading thousands and thousands of answers (the #saveanalogcameras form has about 35 questions, so with current results we need to go through about 175,000 answers) and ready to do a bit of partying for the achievements of the first year.
I also want to invite you guys to the birthday party celebrations by hosting the biggest giveaway I dared to imagine, with the grand prize being a Leica M3 + 50mm f0.95 Canon Dream Lens with RF coupling (we have pretty nifty technicians here in Finland), a kit worth 6,000€. There are many ways to participate in the giveaway, just scroll down to the rules and you have until the 23rd of June (2017) to do so.
Hopefully year two will be as exciting as year one and thanks for sharing the journey with me. There is a lot to do, but it is well worth it to have those physical pictures available for our kids.