Warm summer weekends are a universal call to families everywhere to celebrate with their loved ones, to share traditions and history—and to create new memories for the next generation. Whether they take place in backyards, parks or exotic vacation destinations, family reunions are an important part of our domestic experience. They’re also a perfect opportunity to provide your customers with new, unique ideas for sharing their memories—whether it’s before, during or after the event.
Collage.com is an online personalization site founded by University of Michigan students Kevin Borders and Joe Golden. “We can’t think of a single photo product that doesn’t fit a family theme,” says Graham Davis, its marketing director. The site offers dozens of unusual photo products perfect for family reunions. They range from floor pillows to shower curtains. Collage.com also has more common (and popular) items like greeting cards, framed posters and fleece blankets. It also offers bulk discounts on orders of 10 or more products, making it a popular supplier for groups.
“The vast majority of Collage.com clients customize our line of 50-plus photo products with images of close family members,” says Davis. “From matching family reunion custom T-shirts to photo books to share memories and favorite photos before and after the event. We love bringing families closer together through our custom photo products.”
Collage.com also offers decorative party products for customers who love entertaining. Among the more unique offerings are photo table runners. Each runner features a series of one or more photos on polyester fabric.
“The material is capable of reproducing photos in vibrant color and detail,” says Davis. “The runners are easy to clean and machine washable.” The company also offers hardwood photo serving trays, cutting boards, coasters, aprons and many more decorative accents that can be easily designed to reflect a family’s unique character.
“We pride ourselves on the design tools we’ve created for customers,” adds Davis. “All of our products, including the table runners, can be customized with as few or as many photos as a customer wants. We provide recommended photo counts for each product, but we don’t limit our customers’ creativity by only allowing one or two photos on each product.”
Applauded for its progressive business practices, Collage.com was recently featured in a Harvard Business School case study for its innovative company culture. It was also named to the Michigan 50 Companies to Watch list for 2016.
Giving back to the community is one of its primary goals. For information on the company’s affiliate program, visit the website at collage.com/affiliate.
Flagology, a Davidson, North Carolina-based company, focuses its sales efforts on a more exclusive, but extremely popular banner product—personalized photo flags. Rather than stapling hand-printed signs to a stake or tying balloons to a mailbox, family reunion organizers can decorate their outdoor family events with pictures of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Founded two years ago by owner Susan Boaz, Flagology works with a growing number of independent artists, photographers and labs to create personalized flags for both professional and consumer clientele. The company offers dozens of drop-in designs for its 28×40-inch house flag and 12.5×18-inch yard flag. It also offers borderless photo printing for both formats.
Flags are printed on one of two high-quality, outdoor-grade polyester materials. Flagtastic is a slightly translucent fabric that picks up and amplifies the sunlight, producing the most vibrant colors. Flip-It is an opaque fabric, which makes it more suitable for photos that include text. Flagtastic lasts about 12 months in direct outdoor sun, while Flip-It lasts about three to six months. Since most people fly decorative flags for only two or three months, that translates to a longer usable lifespan.
“You will not find a better quality flag in the industry,” says Boaz. “We spent more than a year developing the exact fabric and print quality we wanted.” Each flag is printed on both sides using a dye-sublimation process.”
Digital photography and social media have both contributed to the company’s success. “Consumers are so comfortable with photography as a communication tool now,” Boaz explains. “People communicate through visual imagery on Instagram, Facebook and
Snapchat. Thisis a natural extension of the social media phenomena. I don’t think a company like ours would have existed five years ago.”
The advantage of creating photo flags for special occasions is that families can bring them home after the event to hang in their front yards.
“Outdoor photo flags make a statement,” says Boaz. “It’s a way for consumers to communicate like they do on social media platforms. Instead of a profile picture on Facebook, it’s hanging right there in front of your house. It says ‘this is the image that defines me. This is what I want you to know about my family right now.’ We think that’s pretty cool.”
The company also offers wholesale accounts. flagology.com
Minted, a design marketplace founded in 2007 by CEO Mariam Naficy, offers unique, high-quality wall art in hundreds of creative designs. Photo wall art is, of course, another excellent way to share cherished family memories. The San Francisco-based company was built on a crowdsourcing model. Minted brings together creative content from a global community of independent artists and selling it directly to consumers in the form of art, home décor and stationery.
Among the Minted offerings is the Heart Snapshot Mix. The collage features 30 overlapping images in the shape of a heart. Their Circle Snapshot Mix displays them in a circular design. Both come in six sizes, from 8×8 to 44×44 inches, providing a range of gift options for family keepsakes made up of historic family photos or snapshots from a family event.
Other creative collage prints available through the Minted marketplace include images arranged in the shape of a crescent moon, by artist Chasity Smith; a set of nostalgic-looking photo strips by artist Olivia Kanaley; and a series of State Love and Country Love collages that display two to four images in the shape of a U.S. state or country, created by artist Heather Buchma. All Minted photo collages are printed using DeluxePigment ink.
Small business owners interested in offering Minted art products to their own customers can participate in the company’s wholesale program.
“For the first time, retailers can carry thousands of independent artists backed by a state-of-the-art supply chain that ensures exceptional high-quality, consistency, and the ability to reliably scale to meet any level of demand,” Naficy told Business Wire last May. The Minted Wholesale website is still under construction, but potential business partners can apply for a wholesale account at minted.com/gifts/wholesale.
More Photo Resources for Family Reunions
Photo retailers can also turn to their regular print suppliers for family-oriented photo products suitable for family reunions. These products can include invitations, photo novelties and “Story of Us” photo books. Many families like to display a collage of prints from past reunions. These collages could be easily designed and printed by your own staff.
Off-the-beaten-path suppliers like London-based Sticky9 can also be a great source of inspiration for memorable reunion products. Use your imagination and encourage your clients to share their family reunion photos both online and off.