Can’t handle the cold. Spent my entire life in the Northeast and winter only gets more difficult each passing year. For those of us who attended PMA this year, the Vegas weather provided a taste of the sun-baked days that lie ahead. However, the foot of snow on the ground when I returned was like an arrogant tap on the shoulder from the calendar that reminded me Old Man Winter hasn’t quite finished his business yet.
Ahh, but Spring is most certainly in the air today and that’s a big deal around these parts. For my family and I it is a time when we literally fly out the door and head down to the shore, daily – an activity during which I rarely leave my camera at home. The best pictures I have are taken on days like these as the sun and surf are discovered again, as though for the first time. Joy can be a difficult emotion to bottle but it’s in full bloom this time of year and my lens will be zeroing in on it for the next several months.
Little League is in full swing. Local parks are bursting with activity – toss in a few holidays, graduations and backyard get-togethers and you truly have the perfect picture-taking storm. (I know, I know, May is National Photo Month.)
It was at the InfoTrends event at PMA where I heard talk of how, in a rough economic climate, people look to things that bring them comfort. I think that’s an important notion for retailers to cling to, not just over the course of the next few months, but as a reminder of what this business is about over the long haul.
This industry is very comforting to people. It makes them feel good. Getting prints or buying a digital camera is not an agonizing decision, it’s an exciting decision, one people usually can’t wait to dive into. That’s always been a great thing about this industry, but it’s taken on a whole new meaning these days. Feeling good seems to be in short supply lately.
Add to this the fact that the product and services in this industry aren’t really an expensive play. We’re not talking about a $10,000 home theatre installation or even a $1,500 flat-panel purchase. It can be a $99 camera and prints at $.20 a piece. Folks might be scaling back in their lives these days but what are they going to cut first – the $5,000 vacation or the $19.99 photo book?
Yeah, Spring has sprung and there’s a great stretch of beach five minutes from the house that’s free and a $20 photo book is hiding somewhere in the dunes. No coat, no shoes…let me loose.