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Double quick photo restoration

NZ Business Magazine, July 2004

Photopages will soon be North America’s biggest photo restorer Its 60 graphic design graduates work in shifts to restore up to 1000 photographs in a 24-hour period - and they do this with sophisticated computer software in a big office on Auckland’s North Shore.

In I992 Ian Handricks, Photopages’ chief executive, began restoring old and damaged photos, and writing the software to do it. He then set-up a photo restoration service for New Zealanders.

Handricks moved into the Australian market in 2000, and in 2002 made the big break into the American market. Handricks had met San Francisco-based entrepreneur Ed Bernstein (with the assistance of NZTE) and today Bernstein`s company PhotoTLC handles the American marketing and distribution of Photopages through an ever-growing retail network. It now has 6500 retail representatives.

How does it work? People take a picture that needs restoring into a retail outlet and the image and restoration instructions are transferred to PhotoTLC in San Francisco. PhotoTLC transmits the photos electronically to Photopages in Auckland where the team of computer-based graphic artists go to work on the images.

Each employee can process up to 20 images a day, depending on the complexity of the job. Then the restored picture takes the reverse path back to San Francisco, where it is printed and packaged and delivered to the retailer. Customers are naturally delighted with the quality of the restoration.

Handricks says a number of factors differentiate Photopages from the competition. “We take on seemingly impossible restoration tasks because of our sophisticated and specialised photo restoration software. Unique management and work-flow software tracks each job right through the system and this management process ensures consistency of quality.

“Speed of the turnaround helps too," says Handricks. "Most of the jobs are done within 24 hours of our receiving them. And New Zealand’s graphic design schools produce talented and skilled graduates who make great employees.

"Because of the software, the speed with which it operates, and the skill of our people we can price our service way below others in the US, effectively putting them out of the market."

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