I May Have Left The Photo Retail Business, But I Still Love Photography
It was exactly on my birthday in August, two years ago, that I signed the papers that allowed me to exit the photo retail business. I found a sense of irony that it happened by chance on that day, since it was a rebirth for me – a chance at middle age, to do something new in my life. My journey through 28 years in the photo industry saw my business, Unique Photo, go from a small local wholesaler to the nation’s largest distributor of film and photo supplies only to go almost out-of-business as film sales plummeted to hell.
It was that desperation to save my business (and feed my five kids) that led me to transform my company into the successful retailer it is today. I reinvented our business and it is gratifying to see my old company still executing so effectively, what I created, and to see so many other camera stores using those concepts to be successful too. When you get credited for reinventing an entire business model and you get to exit on top, it’s quite gratifying.
However, I do get asked often whether I miss the photo industry. And I usually answer, “Hell, no!”
Seriously, I do miss interacting on a daily basis with so many of the close business friends I have made over the years – that is the hardest aspect of my exit. Do I miss the seven-day-work-weeks of retail? Do I miss the low-margins and fierce competition? Do I miss the demanding, sometimes unreasonable customers?… Hell, no!
Despite my exiting the retail side of the business, one thing I have not left behind is my love of photography. Having created, what some call the best in-store education program in the country, I had the opportunity to see and learn from some of the greatest photographers in the world. And thanks to the awesome folks at Panasonic, I get to continue to share my love of photography and teach others as a Lumix Photographer.
Last Saturday, I was guiding a Photo Walk in Manhattan, with my good friend and fabulous New York photographer, Mike Waterhouse (@MikeWatehouse). We toured many of the special sites in the Financial District, Battery Park and Lower Manhattan. And finished with a sunset shoot over the Hudson. Send me an email if you want to know about the next walking.
Wishing you all a BIG week,
P.S. Join me every Sunday for my LIVE Show @8pm Eastern on Facebook. The show is dedicated to helping YOU have a BIG LIFE with a discussion on topics such as: Relationships, Parenting, Divorce, Dating, Heath, Business, Social Media and Personal Branding.