This talk between Website Planet
and Fred H. Lerner, Founder & CEO of MailPix, will give you an insight on the story of MailPix from its early days, the key factors that made MailPix become a multi-awarded tech startup, and what’s in the future of the Print On Demand industry.
Can You Briefly Introduce Yourself And Mailpix?
MailPix is my 7th startup. Our flagship business is the app 1 Hour Photo, which is the only app that is connected to over 20,000 retail locations such as CVS, Walgreens, Walmart and Duane Reade for prints in 1 Hour! *
Our platform provides a seamless integration that enables printing of both your personal photos and those in which you are tagged, and our service allows for same-day printing at thousands of retail locations through our phone app or PC. Lastly, we also offer convenient shipping options to deliver the printed photos straight to your doorstep.
I’ve completed one IPO and 25 acquisitions, sold two companies to Kodak and others privately. I’m a United Nations’ Hall of Fame recipient and member of the Board of Directors of the International Photographic Council, past President of the Photo Marketing Association International and was the founder and CEO of Kodak Processing Labs.
What Inspired You To Start Mailpix?
I’ve been in the photographic industry my entire life from the days of analog photography to today’s digital world. MailPix and 1 Hour Photo are today’s “picture making” technologies.
What Steps In Building And Scaling Your Business Have Been Most Challenging?
Customer acquisition and retention has always been the challenge when starting a new business.
I’m a great believer in John Wanamaker’s quote:
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
We try every advertising opportunity that is presented to us that we can measure. We are a performance-based, ROI driven business, and we have built our business organically, like the Great Pyramids – one stone, (customer) at a time, and by acquisition.
What Are The Most Memorable Achievements So Far?
To me growing a business from a startup to a recognized force in the photography industry has always been very rewarding.
Among the latest awards:
- Most Innovative Photograph Print Solutions Company in USA at the Global Business Awards (won both in 2022 and 2020)
- Selected by the Tech Tribune as one of the top tech startups in Huntington Beach for the fifth straight year.
Who Are Your Typical Users And What Problems Do They Have When They Come To You?
Smartphones have made it possible for virtually anyone to take pictures and capture memorable moments. With a camera in their pocket, people can easily snap a photo at any time, and as a result, they accumulate a vast collection of digital images over time. Almost everyone now has a camera in their pocket full of memorable images.
However, despite the convenience of having these digital images, many people still value the physical representation of their memories.
Once we show them how easy it is to preserve their memories by making a print in 1 hour, they become instant lifetime users.
There is a sense of permanence and nostalgia associated with physical prints that digital images may not capture. By creating a physical representation of a memory, people can hold onto that moment in a tangible way, and revisit it whenever they want, without having to scroll through countless digital files on a device.
And What Makes Them Eventually Choose You Over Your Competitors?
We are absolutely frictionless
. No credit card is required… Just add your name, email and phone number, and your prints will be ready in 1 hour.
And let’s not forget that MailPix has the broadest retail reach of any mobile photo printing app on the planet.
What Do You See In The Future Of Your Industry, And What’s In Your Future?
The photographic industry is growing albeit with lots of consolidation. We grew our business by acquisition and plan on making more such acquisitions.
I’m often asked about the impact of AI on our industry, but there are still so many unknowns that it is hard to quantify. Obviously change is coming, but how it will affect us is still unclear.
The plethora of AI tools on the market is proof of that. Any sort of evaluation we can give to these platforms is temporary and by no means complete.
If You Had To Share One Piece Of Advice For Aspiring Online Entrepreneurs, What Would That Be?
While I appreciate the work-life balance, a startup requires total commitment, 24×7 and an understanding partner and homelife is essential. Nothing will ever replace good old-fashioned, “hard work!”