Over the past two months, with your help, Style has been looking for Brisbane’s next big idea. We're thrilled to introduce you to our winner: Sarah Pearce, founder of online photography booking platform, Travelshoot. We sat down with her to find out what the journey has been like so far – and what’s coming next, now that she has $10,000 to spend on her business!
It all started in New York City a few years ago, when Sarah’s photographer friend was trying to build his portfolio. Together with her husband, Sarah posed in some iconic NYC destinations as her friend snapped away. "The outcome of that 'friendly photo shoot' was much more than we anticipated; the images we got back blew our minds! To this day they remain framed on our wall as the best memento of that holiday."
Such was the lightbulb moment behind Travelshoot, an online booking platform that connects travellers with photographers around the world. Doing away (hopefully forever) with selfie sticks, the budding start-up makes it easy and affordable to have some lasting memories captured beautifully in your chosen city.
Despite working for more than two years to build her network of photographers and her online platform, Sarah has only recently made the transition to working on Travelshoot full-time. Because as any entrepreneur worth their salt knows, a lightbulb moment isn’t enough. "Things were put into perspective for me a little while ago when I lost some really important people in my life. I realised that life is too short to not be doing something you love, and something that adds value.
"Then in March I won Channel 10’s Shark Tank People's Choice Award for best new business idea. Winning the public vote gave me the boost in confidence I needed for the concept."
The Style + Substance kick-start funding of $10,000 will help bring Sarah’s five-year vision to life: thousands of Travelshoot customers sharing their beautiful travel images all over social media. "This prize money will assist with current and urgent development costs that will support the Travelshoot service to be more scalable," says Sarah. "I’ve just found my technical soulmate, and we're planning for massive growth, so together we will invest in some savvy back-end technology processes that will help us cater for large volume bookings and a great customer experience.
‘The $10,000 is going to really allow us to scale our business, and I’m really grateful for this amazing financial assistance," says Sarah. "It’s interesting though – the reason I actually entered the competition was for the feature article in Style. I’ve always been a big fan of Style Magazine, and I think the readers will really understand our product. The opportunity to connect with Style’s readers is money-can’t-buy stuff!"
The sudden injection of both funding and PR also puts Travelshoot’s future in perspective. "Seven million Aussies travel every year – our goal now is to take over the destination photography market."
Congratulations Sarah! Style wishes you all the best for Travelshoot and looks forward to playing a part in your future success.