Monday, March 30, 2015

The Future of 2nd Shot

So I've been thinking a lot about this whole 2nd Shot thing lately. All good things. It's on my mind quite a bit, probably more than it should be during certain times of the day as I do have other obligations that requires focus and my full attention. It's now been over 3 years since I decided to dedicate my spare time to repairing and selling SX70 cameras. What started out as a hobby became something more and lately I've found myself at a bit of a crossroad.

Since I started this blog I've had a steady flow of repairs, sales, customs, correspondence, and even product development. I've also had the amazing pleasure of emailing, speaking with, and even meeting some of the nicest and creative people around the world that share a passion for Polaroid and instant photography including those who do this as full time employment. I consider myself very lucky to have the opportunity to do this and the more people I meet either online or in person inspires me to continue doing this at a greater level each day. To me this means devoting more time to transitioning from what was once a hobby to running 2nd Shot like a full-time business. "Growth" is a business term that always had so many meanings to me and it's becoming clear that I would like to see 2nd Shot grow into something bigger in the near future by networking with other businesses, improving product/process, and introducing 2nd Shot into a small but competitive and growing market.

So short-term, a few months ago I wrote how I was going to start a sister site that would allow people to either order cameras or repairs from menus much like a standard online store. The more thought I put into doing so the more I'm hesitant. Does not interacting with my customers on a one-on-one basis really fall into place with what the instant film community is about? It would seem to miss a bit of the socialization that often is included with owning and using an instant camera. Christopher Bonanos speaks and describes about the interaction between people when an instant picture is taken, the conversations that happen when the picture develops, and the parting gift of a photograph. Relationships and friendships are built and a memory is created. It's a vibrant and wonderful reflection. Thinking more about this and relating it to what 2nd shot stands for makes me realize that one of the most enjoyable parts of this "job" is getting to know each and every person that contacts me and I'd like to continue working this way.

I do plan on starting either a FAQ page or site that will better explain the repair process and ways that Polaroid users may better troubleshoot their camera before sending it in for repair. It seems like a lot of info on the blog gets buried and I want to make it easier to direct customers to quick info. This may happen in the next few months as right now I need to dedicate time in the shop.

So there's a few random thoughts for the evening during my "lunchbreak". I'll have pretty pics the next post. Promise. Please feel free to continue to send emails with questions, comments, or even keep me posted with how you and your camera are getting along. Back to the shop!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

C'mon Spring! - Shipping Guidelines

I see grass!!!! It's amazing! I saw my front stairs today too!!! It's a miracle! C'mon Spring! You can do it!!!


Happy Feast Day of Saint Patrick! Enjoy the celebration of the introduction of Christianity in Ireland and the lifting of Lenten restrictions on alcohol consumption for a day so people can go out and completely destroy themselves (that's what St. Patty's day is all about Charlie Brown). Might have a few myself... :)

Today is also the 11th birthday of a pretty cool kid that I absolutely adore. Happy Birthday to a member of the 2nd Shot family, my son Wes. Stop growing up dammit!

OK, back to business! The beginning of this month was FLOODED with repairs and I finally have a little time to take a breath. There were a few things I noticed that could probably make the repair submission process a bit smoother and help me get your cameras in the shop and back to you sooner and safer. So please take a second to glance over a few tips for submitting your camera:

- I have a great relationship with our local USPS Office. Our carrier, Ken, is one of the coolest, careful, and most respectful carriers I've ever met. I encourage all cameras shipped in the US to go through USPS Priority service. Tracking is provided when using this method and it's the safest and fastest method I've used. Over the past 3 years of doing this and several hundred cameras later, I've only had one incident that was an outbound shipment and it wasn't even the carrier's fault.

- Signature confirmation is not necessary. If you'd like to use it then that's fine but it does delay getting your camera to the shop as I'm held up at my full-time job in the daytime and often miss deliveries that require a signature. Our carrier knows where to drop the packages off where they're safe and dry. Trips to the PO are often limited to once a week.

- Please try to not send your camera in a case or with accessories. Often times I need to disassemble a camera and the first things to get taken off are accessories. Often times the shop gets a bit cluttered when it gets busy and your cases or accessories might not get packed up along with your camera. Doing this will help me keep things organized. I'm a full-blown slob. I don't want to forget to ship you back your extra stuff.

- Finally, bubble wrap and packing peanuts is the best protection for your camera when shipping and I love to reuse it. :)

Thanks for taking a look at some of these guidelines. I want to make sure your camera gets to me safely so there's no need for additional repair. The folks in the delivery business, all of them, busted their butts this winter to get shipments to the shop so a big 'hats off' to each and every one of them!!!

That's it for now. Next post will include some common repairs that I see on a regular basis and how you might be able to diagnose the problems before sending them to the shop. Till then, shop's closed!

Happy Birthday Wes!! Keep smiling! :)

A few cameras finished up last week... hope they treat their owners well!!