How Ugly Tiles and an Old Kitchen Helped Photographer Georgina Blackman Start Her Business

They say inspiration can strike from anywhere at any time, and for Georgina Blackman, her eureka moment came from ugly tiles and an old kitchen

Georgina is the founder of our new favourite business, The Drop Studio, which specialises in making backdrops for all your photo needs. The idea seems simple enough, right? Well, after a need to take stylish pics in lockdown resulted in her playing around with paper, Georgina knew she was onto something.

So whether you’re trying to crack onto the social scene as a culinary expert, looking for a way to make your products look professional, or just need a new profile picture update without cropping out the cracked tile, overgrown ficus, and laundry basket you promised you’d put away two weeks ago, Georgina has you covered.

The Latch sat down with Georgina to ask her about her business journey, what has been the most exciting aspect of starting a business, and how her advice on how you too can be set for life.

TL: Tell us about yourself and your business.

GB: I’m a 25-year-old creative designer and product photographer living in Brisbane. I grew up in a very creative family and always loved the idea of owning a business so I knew I would combine these two things someday!

The Drop Studio (TDS) is a small online business revolutionising the way we create content. Our vinyl photography backdrops instantly turn any space into a ‘pop-up’ photography studio, allowing you to easily create professional-looking product photos from the comfort of your home.

Our backdrops are simple to set up, waterproof, made from a durable, high-quality white vinyl material and are available in a range of colours and designs. We also offer custom designs (so you can print your exact brand colour, or even your own image or logo), double-sided backdrops and a large-size option.

Our backdrops are perfect for small business owners wanting to create their own content and product photos, as well as product photographers shooting for their clients, and also all content creators and creatives in general.

TL: What inspired you to start The Drop Studio?

GB: It’s actually a funny story, it was by accident! I’m also a freelance graphic designer and was creating websites for my clients when I noticed a few of them had very outdated product photos.

I offered to help them out with their imagery, however, this was in 2020, so I needed to take the images myself from home. When I started taking the product photos, I couldn’t find any ‘aesthetic’ spaces, nice white walls or tiles in my house. My kitchen was old, my bathroom had ugly brown benchtops and cracked marble tiles and my walls were dirty.

It was so difficult to get a nice shot and I quickly became frustrated. I played around with small bits of coloured paper I had lying around and realised how useful it was in hiding these spaces and acting as a mini ‘backdrop’. Here I spotted a gap in the market and began researching and developing my backdrops and TDS.

TL: What were you doing before you started The Drop Studio?

GB: Before TDS, I was working part-time at a gym while also doing my freelance design projects on the side. TDS fitted in as another online passion project or side hustle that I would work on in my spare time — but it ended up being the most time-consuming out of all three of my ‘jobs’.

It’s pretty hectic trying to manage two online businesses and a part-time job, but when you are passionate about what you’re creating it makes it a lot easier. At the start of this year, I moved up to Brisbane and decided to just go all in on my online businesses, which has been really great and I’ve seen a lot of growth.

However, I recently decided to get a part-time job again because I’ve felt a little lonely working from home by myself, solo ‘entrepreneur’ life means you don’t have workmates to bounce off daily which I really enjoy. I’m a very multi-passionate person and I like doing a few things so I don’t think I would ever have TDS as my full-time and only job, but I’ll never say never.

TL: How has having this business improved your life?

GB: TDS is like my little baby, watching it grow and seeing all my hard work pay off is the most rewarding thing. Every day I look forward to chatting with my beautiful customers, seeing their amazing feedback and how much we’ve helped them in their journey. It’s a constant reminder to be proud of myself and reflect on what I’ve created.

I also really enjoy being able to express creative freedom and make my own choices. When I first started looking into creating an online business, there was a lot of information about selling other people’s products from overseas (dropshipping), however, this never sat well with me. I much prefer that I’ve created a brand built upon products I can genuinely get behind and know that I’ve put a lot of work into it. It feels much safer and this factor makes your business so much more valuable and also means that potentially one day in the future you could sell it if you wanted to!

I’m so excited for the future with TDS, I know that wherever I go, I’ve got this incredible little business behind me that’s just going to keep growing and help more people, it’s a great feeling.

TL: What has been the most exciting moment, since starting The Drop Studio?

GB: Oh, there have been a few! We’ve had some really cool brands use our backdrops in some of their big campaign shoots (such as Marley Spoon, Sunee App, and Chefgood), they gave such great feedback and loved our backdrops so that was very exciting.

I’ve also recently transitioned into automating some of our processes which have been a huge achievement as I’ve been working on this for a long time. It’s freed up so much time as I no longer have to make boxes or pack orders myself and can focus on the bigger and better things in the business — yay!

TL: What’s your best advice for being ‘Set For Life’? 

GB: Do what you love! Life’s too short not to pursue your ideas and passions. The worst thing that can happen is that it doesn’t work out the way you planned, but chances are it will lead you down another path, or teach you lots of valuable lessons that will inevitably lead to your success.

My top tip for starting a business would be to make sure it’s something you are passionate about and not just a trend. This passion is the only thing that gets you through the hard times when it feels like you want to give up, if your business is based on something that’s not 100% aligned with you, it will be very hard to commit long-term.

You also have to stay really grounded in yourself throughout the whole process, people might react strangely or not fully support your idea, but if you stay true to yourself then this will shine through your business and attract the right people and customers.

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