Repixl: James Bradley
Bradley talks about the breakthrough for his budget photo retouch and restore service and advises entrepreneurs not to lose sight of the end goal
Name: James Bradley
Staff numbers: 2
Date launched: 04/03/2013
Tell us what your business does:
Repixl provides the cheapest and most straightforward way to restore and retouch digital photographs. It puts the power of the professionals in your hands – you can completely restore an old and torn photo, change your hair colour, or remove an annoying tourist from a holiday photo, all without any technical knowledge whatsoever.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
Whilst at University, I founded a student magazine. As part of the publishing team, I spent a lot of time retouching and editing photographs ready for print. At the same time, I would have lots of requests from family and friends to do small photo editing jobs for them. It became apparent to me that a service to allow anyone and everyone to have their photos professionally edited cheaply was something that there was a demand for, but no supply.
How did you know there was a market for it?
As well as my own experience with the magazine, I was already receiving a good amount of work on my own – from photographers that were too busy to process their images, e-commerce retailers that needed images ready for online use, and parents’ friends that had old images in need of restoration.
What were you doing before starting up?
I was at Bristol University studying mechanical engineering. Two years before, I’d started a student magazine and events company. I found the higher education system really quite dull and stuffy and the magazine business gave me a drive to change things. After I left university I was fortunate to be able to found Repixl, and pursue its success.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Not at all. I’d been led to believe throughout my educational career that a degree was the only route to success, a route that I’d followed until I was already part way through a degree. It wasn’t until a chain of events led me to start the student magazine and events company that the appeal of business became irresistible.
How did you raise the money?
We were lucky enough to find private equity to fund the development and launch of Repixl.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
The requirements laid out for the site in the business plan needed someone with considerable experience in web development. On a limited budget I needed to ascertain the optimal method for development and engage them with the funds available. I was able to find someone who had all the necessary skills, and was conveniently pursuing a change in career direction. The fit was perfect, and so a few months later we began working together on Repixl.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
A Repixl account is completely free. We store all your photos and albums and you can upload as many as you like without any charge. The edits range from 28p to £8, all depending on complexity. We keep a close eye on the historic complexity of each edit type, and adjust the prices accordingly in order to offer the best price possible to our users.
What was your first big breakthrough?
Our public launch has been the first really big breakthrough. Creating an end-to-end product that realises the goals we set out to achieve by building Repixl – to make professional photo editing quick, easy, cheap and available to everyone.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Keep the big picture in mind. You’ll spend a lot of your time working on the details and you may lose sight of the end goal. Failure of these little tasks can be really demoralising if you can’t remind yourself of what you initially set out to achieve.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
I’d love to be involved in as big a way as I can with the UK’s growing tech industry. To offer opportunities to those that show real promise. To be able to continue to show Silicon Valley that we can do it just as well over here!