Former director of Camberley, Surrey-based wide-format printer DPZ, Alistair Buckman and business partner and web developer Chris Hope are due to launch websitewww.WeddingVideoAlbums.co.uk tomorrow.
The site will sell hardback wedding video books direct to consumers, wedding photographers and videographers and others involved in the wedding industry, at launch price of £95 each, with an initial '10% off' promotion. The partners plan to offer trade discounts and said they have had positive feedback from photographers and videographers who can use the books in their wedding packages.
Unlike with photobooks, the new website does not need customers to upload videos. Instead it sends a hardback book with an internal screen and six function buttons plus a USB lead, which charges the product.
When connected to a computer the owner is given two folders – one for photo slide and another for video. They drop in the files, up to a 2GB internal memory, and they then play on the 150x85mm screen as soon as the book is opened.
Buckman told PrintWeek: “The software has been designed to take 95% of video file formats and to be very easy to chuck a file in and make it play. It’s the same technology you’d have in your tablet.”
Customers can choose from 30 different designs, three of which have 14 different colour options. Font and colour changes mean there are thousands of different options. The company has also teamed up with designer stationery brand Lilly Pea, a former DPZ client whose work is sold in John Lewis and the Not On The Highstreet e-commerce site, on a commission basis on some designs, with more to come. The two businesses will benefit from cross-promotion.
The print work – just two sheets of laminated paper and a piece of 350gsm silk board per album – will be outsourced to digital printers. Buckman said he may buy a small Océ or Ricoh digital printer to complete work in-house if business goes well.
“We think the albums will have the wow factor. The wedding market seems to be the craziest one that people get into,” said Buckman. “A dress that might cost £200 on the high street will cost £2,000 if it’s a wedding dress – everything is far more expensive. A wedding album from a wedding photographer can cost up to £5,000.
“If we were doing it for any other market I don’t think it would work. But this is a one-off; people are prepared to spend lots of money and worry about it later.”
Both partners, who have known each other since school, are getting married themselves within the next month and will be best man at each other’s events.
The books will have their first test at Hope’s wedding next week as table entertainment telling the story of the couple's relationship. Buckman and Hope will also sell the albums as a memory of stag and hen parties, anniversaries, or as wedding invitations.