This month we had the opportunity to interview Magdalene (a.k.a Mandy) Okine, founder of Snaprints.
What’s the name of your business and what do you do?
My company, Snaprints, is a photography and retail business. We started out taking graduation pictures at schools then later on ventured into wedding and special event photography. In addition to taking great pictures, we also sell photo accessories such as picture frames, graduation bears etc. Our approach has been to closely follow what our customers demand hence the range of products and services that we provide.
Why photography and what was the biggest challenge you faced getting your business off the ground?
I’ve always had a passion for taking great pictures, but hadn’t really thought much about turning it into a profession. When I was getting ready to graduate from Legon however, I realized that I wanted to have really great quality photos to help me commemorate the occasion. However, there seemed to be a lack of photographers out there who took professional quality graduation pictures so I decided to do it myself.
When I started Snaprints, finding a need and figuring out how I wanted to make an impact was the easiest part. The most difficult though was convincing those around me and accumulating the funding that I needed to get started. I spent the first few years trying to communicate my vision to my friends, family and the general public and also reinvesting every penny that I made to grow the business.
Why is photography important in Africa or why should it be?
Africa has always held two things very dear, art and a good story and what better way to express these things than through photography? Though more and more African are beginning to appreciate photography as an art and really demand high quality photos, there is still much to be done especially in the realm of graduation photography. Graduating from university is a huge achievement and I believe that it is important to capture and share your achievements with those around you as well as future generations.
What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?
It’s important to really figure out what people want and gain a clear understanding of the needs of your target market. If people don’t want it or it’s not presented in a way that works for them then you will not be successful. I’d also advise aspiring entrepreneurs to be persistent and not be discouraged. Success doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a process and you need to be in it for the long-haul.
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