Early last year (Spring 2017), I woke up to some amazing idea about starting an interesting project on campus, one that is centered entirely around students. For three reasons, I promised myself I was going to make this work.
- I really wanted to do something for the first time ever.
I always had the habit of talking and not executing. I could inhabit ideas and talk about how awesome they would come through over and over without getting tired and yet still not take action.
2. The fun in the journey.
Winning isn’t always everything, but wanting to win is.
I thought, what if this doesn’t come out fine in the end? I could derive satisfaction from the fun in executing an idea in the real world for the first time. I could count my losses and still be cool, besides I’d learn a thing or two.
3. Making real money.
I really could make something HUGE out of this, because why not? o boy!, I was WRONG!
What’s in an idea? — A light-weight pop-up social media-ish photography boot!🤳
The idea for ‘events.uniport’ came out of the ugly experience of attending events on campus, big events like matriculation and convocation ceremonies.
PS: ‘uniport’ means the short form for the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
In my first two(2) years in college, I had the opportunity of attending 3 big events; my matriculation ceremony and a convocation and another matriculation ceremony respectively.
In all of these big events, the experience of taking pictures from commercial photographers was really terrible. Although, the commercial photographers may be considered professionals, yet that didn’t help in making the situation better.
Here are a few of the pain points we articulated in our quest to solve the problem and alongside our proposed solution;
Pain-Point 1 🔺;
On such a big eventful day, a lot of people are making calls and sending texts, so mobile phone network is always an issue, people are distracted and would refuse following a photographer to his/her boot in such distracted state. 😢
Proposed solution 💚;
Rather than appeal to celebrants to follow us to a boot, how about we take the boot to them? By this our solution has to be light-weight, flexible and accessible
Pain-Point 2 🔺;
Celebrants have to come back a week later for their photos, searching through albums of others photos to find their bunch.😢
Proposed solution 💚;
Have celebrants get their photos in an instant and stress free way.😍
Photographers are really legacy and make taking pictures on a big day so boring. 😢
Proposed solution 3💚;
Bring fun in the mix; get people happy and talking.😍
Boots are too abstract from reality(boots look mannequin-like) and make photo unreal.😢
Proposed solution 4💚;
Background could be anything in sight, makes for realism and being in the moment.😍
Pain-Point 5 🔺;
Pricey and stressful.😢
Proposed solution 5 💚;
Cheap and stress free in an instant.😍
Bonus idea 🔥;
Create a way for people to connect with other celebrants and relive the event afterwards. With tagging of our profile on Instagram this was easy to get done.
One thing top of our mind was also to be sure that our solutions were not too pricey to implement. This ensured that our solutions were scalable, sustainable and reusable. To have a boot at the event, intending commercial photographers would have to book a space for N6000(~$17) prior to the BIG DAY, thereby getting a means of identification.
What’s a matriculation/convocation ceremony without pictures?🎈
After our findings, it ended up that a ‘social media-ish, branded light-weight, easy carry-on photography boot made of plywood would do the trick’.
We already had a means of identification since we were students of the college and had our students ID card. Also, since our solution is lightweight, and flexible, we didn’t have to pay money for owning a boot.
Pictures or it didn’t happen! 😍
Here are a few pictures from the event. You can browse the Instagram page gallery.
What I learnt/Results.
Never ever say you can’t even when mathematics still say you can.
Starting a project on paper is pretty easy if you are already good at planning, but transferring paperwork to reality is hard. On paper, mathematics and statistics tells you that you can pull it off, but in the real world its much more than just that. Barely, an hour into the project I already mentioned giving up thrice.
- Making money will mostly be in the later part, don’t give up.
- Its weakening when its all fun and you’re losing.
- We charged N100($0.36) for every shot taken and took home over N17,000($46.5) between the hours of 9am — 5pm meaning about 170 people paid us to have a stress free photography experience.
- We brought people together afterwards. Loads of people tagged us and connected with one another, sharing and commenting on our Facebook and Instagram pages.
- Marketing is a skill. An amazing skill.
- Its hard to measure individual work in a team where everybody does the same function.
- Some customers are never worth the headache they bring along, no matter how much they pay you.
- There are always lessons to learn.
Many thanks to my friends and team who helped in pulling this off; Nosa, Kevwe, Praise, Lois, Jekwu, James. You guys rock! 🙌 ❤😍🔥