Some of us want to become pilots, some want to travel the world, and some want to be famous. Shefalii Dadabhoy wanted to become an entrepreneur. After spending 10 years in the banking industry, she took the initial step by establishing Purple Frog Photography, catering to family and baby portraits using natural light. But then last year, the idea of becoming a part of the digital revolution that is sweeping the country took shape. And so was born PhotoConcierge, a digital platform which allows buyers access to a large media library of photos and videos. Shefalii chats with Ria Das about her entrepreneurial dream and how digital media is an enabling power for women today.
Realising the entrepreneurial dream, digitally
I have always known that one day, I would be an entrepreneur. There is nothing like following your own dreams and going all out to make it work. I’ve had a great corporate career but being an entrepreneur has always been my vision. I was always drawn to visual arts and my passion led to my forayed into photography long time ago. What better way to combine my vision and passion together than to be part of PhotoConcierge.
PhotoConcierge is a collaborative digital marketplace for photographers to show and price their own work as well as enjoy higher earnings on their sales. It is also a cohesive space for brands to access large variety of good content in the form of photos, videos and vectors. I think digital entrepreneurship came as a natural process. In a world that is changing rapidly with technology and turning eco-friendly, the only way forward is to sail along with technology and be online. Digital medium is the future.
I draw inspiration from within, people around me and I like to push my own boundaries and keep challenging myself to move out of my comfort zone
PhotoConcierge: The idea and the implementation
The concept of PhotoConcierge came about in early 2015, quite fortuitous in and around the time. I was already exploring possibilities of how to make photography accessible and profitable. As a photographer myself, I have always been aware of good imagery sitting in one’s hard disk and wondering how to monetize one’s works. PhotoConcierge is the actualization of this thought. The initial funding came from private investors who support our idea and vision.
PhotoConcierge is a collaborative marketplace where, as of now, 85% content (100,000 media and growing) is owned, uploaded and tagged by close to 700 contributors across 3 verticals- photos, videos and vectors. Of this, 90% contributors are based in India and the rest across US, UK, Ireland, Israel, Russian, Germany, Canada, Poland, Malaysia, and Singapore to name a few. Our overseas contributors have been growing organically.
While we can’t compete with Getty, Shutterstock or Fotolia on the size of their library today, we aim to deliver customized content via a feature called ‘Request’. Through this feature, brands and agencies can define their image request, budget and timeline within which they require their media and, based on this, our contributors create content. Buyers can then pick the asset they like best. We’ve already run requests across all 3 verticals. This feature has been accepted very well with brands with whom we have interacted with so far, which include Caratlane, Higginbotham, and Paragon Publishing.
Our vision for PhotoConcierge is eventually to be able to provide a buyer with any media he requires from any part of the world. If we don’t have it, one of our contributors should be able to create it.
Inspiration comes from within
Nobody in particular and everybody. I draw inspiration from within, people around me and I like to push my own boundaries and keep challenging myself to move out of my comfort zone. Also, it wasn’t so much as who but what, having already forayed into photography, the next step was making photography a viable business. My inspiration was thereby the market opportunity available in digital media.
Empowerment and opportunity run hand in hand. While opportunity leads to empowerment, being empowered enables us to find and create new opportunities
The Entrepreneur essentials
It always starts with an idea! And then an ability to convert that idea into a viable business.
How digital empowers women
There is accessibility and opportunity at the global, local and glocal level. Digital India is empowered, irrespective of gender and genre. Having said that, it does provide vast opportunity and access to all age groups, young and old, genders, men and women, and genres irrespective of background and stereotypes. In that, digital media empowers all, and thereby women alike.
The strength of the woman as an entrepreneur
Being a successful entrepreneur depends from person to person, it is determined by motivation, available opportunities, skillsets, good ideas, ability to follow through and the environment. Given the above, women are great at multi-tasking, have higher levels of patience and the ability to follow through. These qualities are highly desirable in successful entrepreneurs.
A country of a million women entrepreneurs
It’s about time! Having said that, a country like India with such an enormous population, even one million seems less.
Advice for young entrepreneurs
“Entrepreneurship – It’s fun, exciting and comes with challenges and expectations. It needs a lot of perseverance and patience… put your head down, focus and follow through”