Sonic Editions is an online-only business which sells limited edition, hand framed iconic images of actors and musicians online.
We’ve been asking the team about the business model, and their goals for the future.
In one sentence, what is Sonic Editions?
We aim to democratize art by offering high quality photographic prints of iconic figures at an affordable price point.
What problems does Sonic Editions solve?
Sonic Editions helps bring quality photography to the masses. We do that by delivering gallery quality without gallery over-heads.
Each print is reasonably priced (prices start from £45 upwards) but the quality is much better than you would buy from the high street – everything is hand printed and framed to order.
Another thing we aim to do is simplify what can be a pretty intimidating process, as gallery experiences can often be quite daunting. So we offer fixed sizes and fixed prices. The aim is to demystify the photography buying process.
We’re opening up the market so as many people as possible can have quality photography on their walls.
Who is your target audience?
Anybody can purchase a Sonic Editions print. It’s the perfect gift (we’ve just launched gift vouchers due to demand) so Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Christmas are obviously key moments in our calendar.
Plus new homeowners looking for an alternative to the ubiquitous ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ posters. With the rise of ‘Art of Walls’ we are finding more and more people using prints as part of their home/living interiors in general.
What are your immediate goals?
The biggest priority is to continue to get the word out there about the brand and ensure that everybody knows about it and our philosophy.
We’re also working hard to continue building relationships with photography archives and photographers that have millions of unseen negatives stashed under their bed. We’ll go to any length to find an image.
We were recently given access to the famed Getty Archives in LA, a pretty inspiring trip and we’re excited about sharing those finds very soon.
We work with some fantastic media partners including Uncut Magazine, NME, The Impossible Cool and Classic Rock. We’re looking to bring in a couple more right now including some of the most respected music brands on the planet – watch this space.
How will the company make money?
Each print is hand framed and printed on demand for consumers. Our customers like this as a story – something is being hand made for them. As a result we hold little or no stock meaning we keep our cashflow tight.
Using our website as a gallery and a store means we don’t carry expensive overheads in terms of expensive retail space.
As a website we’re by definition global. After originally fulfilling only from the UK last year we expanded our fulfillment operations to the USA resulting in huge growth – it’s our single biggest market in less than 12 months.
We’ve sold to over 30 countries now. We’re looking to fulfill out of Asia/Pacific and that will only grow the business further.
If we can offer great content and a great product in key markets with credible partners we’ll keep growing strongly.
Who is in the team and what does it look like?
The team is made up of Russell Blackmore, who comes from a publishing background including The Economist and Getty Images and Shane Murray, who comes from the music (Universal Music Group / Ibiza Rocks) and branded entertainment sectors.
We met at university in Manchester in 1993, this is our first business together after many years of talking about doing something together.
Where would you like to be in one, three and five year’s times?
Still growing, still here, and still enjoying it. In a start up you think of contingencies but it’s impossible to have detailed plans for things you can’t foresee.
Whilst it’s important to have goals and milestones, spending vast amounts of time plucking numbers from the air to predict the future is a waste of everyone’s time.
Better to be continuing to be creative, reacting to market and technology developments, spotting opportunities and improving systems to keep the growth coming in.