The Business Model: Kelly Angood
24th November 2013
The Pop Up Pinhole Company’s founder Kelly Angood developed her first DIY camera as a cash-strapped undergraduate. Juggling a career as an advertising specialist and set designer, she created the Videre camera in her free time, launching it as a Kickstarter project earlier
this year with phenomenal success, aiming for £15,000 Kelly attracted double that. Here, she explains the origins of her fascination with pinhole cameras and why crowd-funding proved an unorthodox, but highly successful way to fund her fledgling business.
How did you come up with the Videre design, and the idea of selling pop up pinhole cameras?
When I was in my third year of Illustration at Brighton University, I really wanted Hasselbad, but I knew I could never afford one, so I went and made one. It took medium format film, and worked as near to the real thing as I could make it. I didn’t think more on it until I left university and moved home to Lincolnshire. There, I made a version that people could download at home, because people had started getting in touch with me, asking if ti was for sale or if they could get the plans for it. I was really intrigued by the sharing it, and how an inward looking personal project could turn into a community project.
After that, I made the 35mm version and contacted everyone who’d asked about the medium format being for sale. It did well on the Internet with downloads and Vimeo views. That’s when I started thinking that maybe there was a market for this sort of thing…[In the meantime] I moved to London, and started working in set designed and advertising strategy, and in my spare time, I started developing the Videre, using everything I’d learned from the original model.
Why did you decide to launch your business through Kickstarter?
Initially, I didn’t think of it as a business. It was a creative project, and I had a couple of friends who had some success using Kickstarter that meant they were able to go ahead and complete their own projects, so I thought why not?
If I’d have gone to a bank, I don’t think they would have given me the money. There’s a real belief in your product from the Kickstarter community. I’ve pledged money to a few projects myself, and the whole process means that as a creator, you have to be really transparent – there’s nothing you can hide. That’s quite unique and demonstrates people really want to know what’s going on.
As a storyteller, you have to hook your audience with a strong narrative – as a business, it seems Kickstarter do this better than anyone else.
I think so – people are interested in the story behind a project. You could have a really great idea, but not know how to open it up properly. It’s a massive deal. I met with one of the women behind Kickstarter in London recently, and she explained that they often see projects on there where they think ‘If this had a great video or blurb, or even just some good pictures, it would do really well’. Because the people behind the projects are artists, rather than marketeers or business people, it can be difficult to translate. But the projects that do it well, do very well, and utilise these means.
You have a background in advertising – did this give you a head-start?
It definitely gave me an idea of which direction I should be putting my project in. I reached the initial £15,000 target within the first couple of weeks of the 45-day period.
I’ve been thinking about why the Videre has been so popular… My audience are largely American – Kickstarter is more in the American vernacular than it is here. The maker movement is also lot stronger there. I’m speculating, but in the US, I think people look at the Videre and see an opportunity to get away from their computers and iPhones and do something physical, go out and take real photos. It’s a digital detox for them, and that’s definitely part of the appeal. They want to use the Videre as a tool for education too, an activity to do with their kids, maybe take it into school environments.
Was your demographic surprising?
When I started, I thought my audience would be the ‘Urban Outfitters’ age bracket, but actually looking at the demographic of backers it’s between 25 and 45 years old, which I didn’t anticipate. But it makes sense – the younger age group are completely digital natives.
It’ll be stocked in a few shops in time for Xmas – I’m not worried about finding stockists, more if they say, ask for 10’000! The cameras are all screen-printed and dye cut in Leeds, using recycled materials. It’s all done by hand and is very DIY!
Beyond that, the next stage is to build a community space online where people can share their photos and tips. I’m interested in the community aspect of the camera. And I’d like to take it into schools and do workshops. When you’ve been involved in this process of working where people believe in you enough to go ahead and give you money, it’s really nice to be able to give back to the community in that way.
We feature Kelly in our ideas section of Riposte Issue #1, to pre-order click here.
The Pop-up Pinhole Project launches at Beach London on Thursday 28th November.