Nifty250 is that rad Instagram printing company that brings your digital montage to life. We chat to founders Lucas Adams and Talya Goldberg, who set out to revive photographic print culture in South Africa.
What instigated the start of Nifty250?
Nifty250 was original called 250gram and had been quietly going for a couple of months. We bought the idea, built a completely new website, photographic formats, branding, packaging and rebranded as Nifty250.
We loved the idea of people being able to get their photographs ‘developed’ as they’re super-sentimental and yet today everyone has thousands of photos saved to their camera roll or uploaded to Instagram/Facebook but nobody has any tangible ones; we wanted to change that. Photographs will never go out of style.
Did you expect it to grow as much as it has (in such a short span of time)?
To be totally honest, kinda – we knew we had a really cool product, packaging and easy to use website. We also know a lot of the online influencers and bloggers, so we sent gift vouchers to some of our favourite people and waited. The response has been absolutely incredible.
We’re also very active on social media – Instagram is where we have the most fun – we’re about to hit 10 000 followers in just over a year which is incredible, we’ve built a super-cool community around our business who love photography and getting their Nifty250 fix.
What is your vision for the brand?
At the moment Nifty250 is very niche in terms of the fact that we only print Instagrams, and only have two formats – polaroids and strips. We’re going to be adding some cool new formats, a whole lot of photographic accessories in collaboration with young South African designers, as well as adding functionality to be able to upload photographs. We would also like to start shipping internationally. Our main focus will always be customer-centric, trying to give the absolute best customer service from an e-commerce store as humanly possible.
How has social media played a role in your expansion?
Social media has played a major role in our expansion; we’re a small start-up with no marketing budget, so we try to create great content that people want to follow and engage with. We did the Nifty Colour Project last year on Instagram which was super successful, we’re finishing up a My Nifty Summer campaign which we kicked off in November with Piz Buin.
One of our favourite things is the Nifty Weekend Takeover when we let someone whose Instagram we’re obsessed with share nine photographs on our account over the weekend – it’s great because it gives us a little bit of a break from creating content, we get to showcase some phenomenal photographers and they generally get a whole lot of new followers.
What exactly is social printing?
At every branded event you go to these days there is a hashtag which allows the brand to track the online engagement. We took it a step further and live-print the photographs that people upload to Instagram and Twitter that include the hashtag at the event.
We did over 70 events last year in Joburg, Cape Town and Durban. It was crazy the amount of flying we were doing. We’ve since stopped offering the service because we wanted to focus on our main customer business, but we’re going to be launching something soon for brands – watch this space!
What inspires and drives you?
What really drives and inspires us is the amazing feedback we get on a daily basis from customers who’ve used our service and love their prints. We have people order batches of photographs of their cat, wedding photographs and party photographs. We also love seeing the creative things people do with their prints, it’s just a really fun business to work in!
Photography Gareth Nelson/HSMimages.co.za