Dutch Company Opens U.S. HQ in Richardson
With amateur shutterbugs turning increasingly to digital cameras, a fast-growing Netherlands-based digital photo printer is expanding into the United States with a U.S. subsidiary, Photofun Inc.
It will locate in Richardson.
At the low price of 5 cents a picture, Photofun expects to rapidly outgrow the initial 15,000-square-foot plant it plans to have leased, equipped and operating by early June, said Terry Rayner, president of Photofun Inc.
The company is searching for a site near Glenville Drive and Collins Boulevard in East Richardson's Telecom Corridor
Photofun will hire about 15 employees starting in late April, including a plant manager; information technology professionals; equipment operators at $20 to $30 an hour; and final assembly and packaging employees at $12 to $18 an hour, Rayner said. Employees will be trained at an existing plant owned by Photofun's four-year-old parent company in The Netherlands, Webprint C.V., he said.
It's expected Photofun will grow faster than Webprint, which is at $10 million annual revenue and profitable, Rayner said.
Photofun's technology cuts production time and labor costs, giving it an edge over other online digital printers, he said. Driving growth is fast-growing sales of digital cameras and camera phones in the United States.
Photofun customers use an Internet site, www.photofun.com
, to upload digital photos and place orders. The files move in real-time directly from the Web engine to its photo processing equipment, so that files are created, built and sent without any human contact. The company says its exclusive software reduces print time, cost and labor over that of competitors.
Customers can order various sized prints, as well as personalized photo products, like business cards, wall calendars, planners, greeting cards and photo albums. Most products are under $25, and the average sale per customer is $25, Rayner said. Photofun has no minimum order or membership fee.
Orders print and ship in two to three days, he said, except for photo albums, which take five days. The U.S. site went live March 15. For now, orders print in The Netherlands and ship via air cargo. Once the U.S. plant is operating, it will handle U.S. printing.
In 2007, about 23% of total U.S. prints were ordered online and mailed, says Dimitrios Delis, director of marketing research at Michigan-based PMA, the international trade group for the imaging industry. For 2008, the projection is 26%. A 2007 survey of U.S. households found 46% have camera phones, a meteoric increase over 3% in 2003, he said.
U.S. spending on digital photos purchased from retailers or online stores grew 28% in 2007, accounting for 9.2 billion digital prints, Delis said. The price per print has fallen from 40 cents a print in 2002 to less than 10 cents now.