We are publishing an interview of Manjima Mukherjee (Founder) & Payal Basu (Chief Administrative Officer) of Flashback – A Startup which Exhibits Corporate Culture in Photography and Merges the Creative and Corporate Track of it.
About the founders:
MANJIMA MUKHERJEE, Inspiration for the young girls – at our middle class society we still find many girl-child remain uneducated because of age-old gender discrimination system. In the same society we can see Manjima as a successful entrepreneur. MANJIMA MUKHERJEE, owner of FLASHBACK started her Photographic journey with taking admission at YOUTH TRAINING CENTRE, WEST BENGAL on 2011 and completed DIPLOMA IN STILL PHOTOGRAPHY , when she was a student of graduation and after Graduation she started her higher studies (Advance Diploma In Commercial Photography) from INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF PHOTOGRAPHY on the year 2013. Photography was her childhood passion and she wanted to shift her childhood passion into her profession.
That inner thirst made her more eligible in this field of photography. Primarily she started her work under the name of ‘Manjima Mukherjee Photography’ from 2013 . After that she converted the name to FLASHBACK and registered it on 22nd June, 2015 at her age of 23. Manjima is basically a combination of an ordinary emotional Bengali girl and a hardcore business woman, who can cook and click in a parallel way.
Give us a brief background of what founders were doing before starting the venture.
It is true that I have founded FLASHBACK but there was a person (Payal Basu) who always support me in all situations not technically and economically but mentally. Gradually she became an important part of FLASHBACK.
Here we present a basic combination of lens and literature. We do not only shoot but we create a photo-story. So, I, MANJIMA MUKHERJEE directs my employees how to enliven the ordinary frames and PAYAL BASU makes story out of those frames. Payal has done masters in English Literature and Language. I basically worked as event photographer under many renowned print media and event management companies.
List all the names of the core team members, along with their skill-sets, specific domain expertise & designated roles.
- Founder – Manjima Mukherjee – Diploma in Still Photography and Advance Diploma in Commercial Photography.
- Chief Administrative Officer – Payal Basu – Masters in English Literature and Language.
- Departmental Head, Videography and Video-editing – Bapan Mondal- 15 Years of Experience in Both Still Photography, Videography and Video-editing.
- Departmental Head, Still Photography – Pushpendu Paul – Afip (Artist of Federation of Indian Photography), Winner of 43 Awards From All Over the World and 400 Acceptance From All Over the World.
Apart from these guys we have so many talented employees in photography, videography, photo and video-editing, light-controlling department.
What is the problem you are trying to solve? Can you share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem?
- Many photographic companies do not maintain any legal agreement with their clients so that they are facing legal problems regarding photo-realize, delivery, payment and some other issues. Where as from the very first day FLASHBACK runs photography business through all mandatory legal steps.
- We do not think that photography or videography is only about creativity. We want to exhibit corporate culture in photography and want to merge the creative and corporate track of it.
What challenges did you face when you were starting out?
- At the starting point of my business I did not have huge fund to startup. There was a little bit amount of my internship which I had to invest for my primary advertisement in CANVERA. At that time I had to face some hurdles to establish FLASHBACK along with such well flourished companies in Kolkata.
- I was basically from photography and art background and I did not have so much knowledge about business skill, marketing and account management. So, I had to face some problems related to those issues also.
- There is still a tough competition between the event photography companies in Kolkata. It is a challenge for me to establish FLASHBACK right beside those renowned companies.
How did you get the initial capital?
There was not any investor behind my initial capital. I had started my business on the basis of internship amount.
Please tell us about the Product / Solution. Explain how you went about the Product-Market Fit Process.
We provide HD Cinematic Video, Coffee Table Book, Online Album, Customized Posters, Replica Photo-book, Online Link of Complimentary Couple Shots before wedding just because of making a good relationship with the clients. As we want to get habituated with our clients at their ultimate gorgeous day.
What were your assumptions when you entered the market, learning that you have?
When we started FLASHBACK, we found many successful companies in front of us. It took us around six to eight months to convince our clients that we can provide better quality than other service providers in reasonable budget. Our strategy is slowly but surely improving our client base. Here I want to mention a quote of my ideal entrepreneur Mr. Avelo Roy: “Steadily… Slowly … BUT FOR SURE…”
What is the insight that you have about this market, which no one else has?
- ONLINE MODE – Due to obsolete of paper modes of album we want to run FLASHBACK through online mode. We prefer client-dealing through online and deliver e-photobook link, e-video link, customized online album, short film link instead of age old offline method. Because today people are more accustomed with digital social media rather than printed communication system.
- HAPPY TO SERVE AT JUST RUPEES ONLY 2,999 – Within this amount we provide a eight hours’ slot and deliver the project within the same day and same spot, and save times of both parties in this speedy life.
- FREEMIUM – We want to do our first work as free of cost just because to give our clients a trial version of future premium projects.
WE ARE READY TO RESTORE PAST … CAPTURE PRESENT … DESIGN FUTURE …
What is the strength of the startup and the scale of operations? Who do You Perceive as Your Competition?
- TALENT- Our photographers/videographers are extremely talented and experienced.
- SKILL- Our team members have enough proficiency to work with various genre of works.
- KNOWLEDGE- Our team members are qualified and they have appropriate knowledge in photography.
- CLIENTS’ REVIEWS- The main source of our strength is our clients’ feedback and support.
I, personally, take the word ‘competition’ in a positive way. Because in our world there are many competitors and just because of their existence we find the urge to upgrade our services, upgrade our values, upgrade our visions, upgrade our products and all. In this context I want to highlight my favorite quote by Richard St. John: “Competition is all about keeping you on your toes and doing your best. So instead of hating your competitors, see them as a pushing force that helps you to get the most out of yourself. Go find some competitors and thank them for helping you. Then push yourself so far ahead of them you will leave them in a trail of dust.”
What is the revenue model?
We provide best things in reasonable budget. We want to expand our contact lists rather than to make huge profit out of one big budget project. Our selling prices are varying according to the contents of project.
Revenue models are:
- Freemium – We try to convert our free customers to our paying premium customers.
- Service Revenue/ Recurring Revenue – Customer pays to a service or product in installment basis.
- Advertisements – We sell ad space.
Who are the consumers that you are targeting?
We basically shoot all kinds of events but we prefer events like wedding, birthday, family functions and corporate events. We want consumers who do not believe in freeze the moment but want to enlighten the moment because we believe in quote of Aaron Siskind “Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.”
How did you get your first customer?
Our first customer was Ananya Majumdar who was Manjima’s professor during her under-graduation period. We covered her age-old traditional ‘SARASWATI PUJA’ at her place and delivered our final products for the first time under the name of FLASHBACK.
What is the big picture of your startup?
We want to see the name of FLASHBACK in the list of top five photographic companies. We want to extend our services in all over India. In coming years we want to extend its offerings across the country and preferred to be the most recognizable company in India.
Since inception, give us a sense of the value of business done by your venture?
I have done my first photography assignment as free of cost because at that time I did not have any demo Photo-book or DVDs to show our level of work to our clients. So I have taken a signed copy of N.O.C from my client Ananya Majumdar and made a replica copy of that particular album of ‘SARASWATI PUJA’ to showcase our work.
I concentrate on to build up a solid relationship with my clients and by doing so I want to spread our business.
After giving salaries to my employees I invest the remain amount to promote my company in this large field of event photography. I usually expect double or triple amount of profit from my invested amount.
What would be your goal to accomplish in the next six months?
Our main goal is to be one of the most successful photography companies in Kolkata as well as in India.
What message do you want to convey to fellow entrepreneurs?
It is said, entrepreneurship is the activity of setting up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of a good profit. Basically an entrepreneur is an inventor, who ready to markets his or her innovation with a chance of good profit. I don’t want to convey any messages or suggestions to the fellow entrepreneurs because I’m still learning about it. I am going to share some basic points which I follow regularly.
- You have to be creative about your work. Creativity is not about drawing or painting. Creativity is all about your ideas, rather creative ideas. Crossey Engineering President Wallace Eley says “ We’re always looking for bright ideas to solve problems and do things. It is just that artists are normally seen as creative and engineers frequently are not. It is a matter of pushing a lot of engineers to be creative”.
- You need to be passionate about your work. Passion helps us to stay focused. CEO of Apple Steve Jobs said “ The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” And I personally believe that if you love your job, energy will automatically comes from within. Great entrepreneur Avelo Roy said “ Keep a to-do list. Everyday have small victories, that lead to milestones and lead to the dream you have”.
- Hard work is a key of your success. It is true that every good things come from hard work. Martha Stewart mentioned “I’m a real hard worker. I work and work and work all the time. Never believe that others will do your work for you”.
- It is very important to remove shyness from your attitude. Push yourself in front of people. Always speak to others freely and obviously with a sweet smile. Great author Steven Aitchison said “smiles are contagious”. Smiling makes people feel good and positive. And always thinks that you can smile spontaneously, do not think that you have to. Smiling face is the best reaction in all situations.
- Be punctual. I think Punctuality is not limited to arriving at right time, it is also about taking actions at right time.
- Be updated. Entrepreneurs are their own boss. They are their own decision makers. An entrepreneur is basically a combination of owner, mentor and manager. So you need to be updated all the times with new and innovative ideas, innovative business plans, client’s choice and so on.
- At my last point I am going to quote Richard St. john again. “EYE-Q CAN BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN IQ. If you want to get ideas, simply look around and be observant. Even MARILYN VOS SAVANT, who has the highest IQ ever recorded, once said, ‘To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.”
Any other information you would like to share: Here are some important things about FLASHBACK we want to share:
Flashback takes a vow to bring everybody more vibrant, creative and innovative field of photography for their purpose. Flashback, a team of highly talented and devoted photographers and videographers who capture client’s most precious moments with artistic touches. It has crossed several milestones, made friends and eventually became a happy and huge family.
It is offering a platform to showcase client’s commercial interest as well as their valuable family events through our work with a personal touch and artistic flavor.
In the meantime FLASHBACK has made a huge family. The team members of FLASHBACK are extremely talented and they give their best to all their works. Recently FLASHBACK has got an another feather with its name- it sanctioned as a TRADE MARKED company. FLASHBACK has got the lifetime membership in ALL INDIA PHOTOGRAPHIC TRADE AND INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION, Mumbai.
We shoot Candid Pre and Post Wedding , Destination Pre and Post Wedding , Candid Creative Wedding , Traditional and Documentary Wedding , Family Events and Family Portraits , Child and Pet Photography , Product and Commercial , Interior and Exterior , Food and Fashion , Live Events, Stage Shows, Seminars and Conference , Travel and Tourism , Conceptual and Thematic Model Portfolios , HD Cinematography , Artistic and Abstract Photography.
Let the pictures tell you a story and preserve as an unforgettable memory.
Thanks. Best of luck!