Next up for our Homegrown Ventures series, which is highlighting disruptive and innovative businesses in bonnie Scotland – are Pixey!
Pixey aims to take the stock photography industry to task - by providing a platform for licensing user’s Instagram photos, generic stock photography can be revolutionised and replaced by innovative, true-to-life content.
No longer will we drag down our social media posts with the same old cheesy characters – CEO of Pixey, Sarah Stenhouse, is here to talk about the way we’ll soon be sourcing content.
Q – Sarah, where did your love affair with all things digital come from and what gave you the inspiration to launch Pixey?
A – It all started back in 2014 when I applied for my first job in marketing after finishing my master's degree. Before that, I had finished my undergrad in Biology and was looking for a change in career path as I didn’t see myself in a lab or academia. I think I was a bit guilty of what many people think about tech/digital before getting into it – it's either too hard or boring. Now having worked in digital for a while, it’s exciting to see how many people can view your online campaign in comparison to more traditional channels. I think the scientist in me likes how much digital relies on data and testing.
Q – You spent four years in digital marketing before Pixey, do you feel real-world work experience is necessary before starting your own business?
A – I personally wouldn’t have come up with the concept of Pixey if I hadn’t been working in the industry... But I would have probably been doing something else entrepreneurial (online retail was in my mind at one point!)
I think having industry experience makes some things much easier, for example networking. You will have a tonne of old colleagues you can connect with and tap into their networks.
On the flip side, having not worked in the industry before, you can go at it with a fresh set of eyes and in some cases make a huge impact.
Q – You’ve benefitted from the Scottish start-up ecosystem via E-Spark, Scottish Edge and EIE, tell us about your experiences and what it’s been like to launch in Scotland?
A – I think start-ups here in Scotland are very lucky to have as much support as we have. Without the support giving to me by these organisations, I would be much further back in my journey. And very alone! Their initiatives give you access to like-minded people going through the same struggles as you. It was through SE Start Global that I first met Craig at Qpal and we became entrepreneurial buddies straight away.
Q – You made a call to rebrand quite early on in the journey – you’re clearly not shy of making big decisions. What advice would you give to other budding entrepreneurs that are unsure about pursuing a business dream or vision?
A – Rebranding was a difficult task for sure, but it has silver linings for my business. I think what other entrepreneurs can take away from that is, one decision may seem like a mountain and not worth the effort, but you’ll reap the rewards over time. I would say stop and think strategically - how will this help your business grow? Will it bring you closer to what you need to achieve faster? Making the hard decisions first will leave the easy decisions for later.
Q – Pixey plans to disrupt the global stock photography industry, is this possible by being HQ’d in Scotland, especially when there are more prominent digital hubs in the world?
A – 100%. I will always see Pixey’s HQ here in Scotland, but with offices across the globe. I think if you are considering starting a global business you need to treat every customer the same and have resources in each location to make that customer feel just as welcome as those based in Scotland.
Q – Finally, what can we expect from Pixey over the next 5 years?
A – Having touched on this in the last question.. Pixey will be a global brand with many international customers.
Not only this, but we will make shifts in attitude and mind-sets of marketers who want to make advertising and media a more relative place for the younger generation by using imagery that reflects those values.
Hopefully, we get to the point that consumers start demanding that companies start using content from Pixey!
Thanks for your time Sarah – best of luck!
Pixey defines an original start-up process – frustrated with failings related to her current industry, Sarah decided to take a risk and develop her own answer to generic imagery on the internet. You can check out Edinburgh-based Pixey here – until next time!