Having been a successful wedding photographer for a number of years, Izhar Qureshi took the decision to purchase the Venture Studios franchise in Palmers Green in June 2018.
What attracted you to the Venture Business?
I’d massively enjoyed my time as a wedding photographer, but was looking to take the next step in my career, and knew that my long term future was n’t in wedding photography.
I’d obviously heard of Venture, and knew that they were known for a distinct style and quality of photography, coupled with high end portrait products. When I saw the studio for sale in North London, and started to look at the business and franchise model in detail I recognised that this was a great opportunity, that would let me use the skills and experience that I had learned as a wedding photographer.
Describe the training that you received from Venture?
“The most valuable part of the training that I received was the time that I spent at the Venture studio in Eton, which is one of the most successful and profitable Venture studios in the UK. The time that I spent there was designed to allow me to understand how to manage and implement each part of the Venture model, and customer experience.
I learnt a huge amount whilst I was there, which I was able to take back to my studio in Palmers Green.
The business plan that I put together with Venture, shows a clear road map for my business, which at it’s most simple is based on a realistic number of clients per week, the average order that I should be achieving per client, and what marketing activity the studio needs to undertake to generate customers, in conjunction with key costs and overheads.
How would you describe your first 6 months running Venture Palmers Green
It’s really been about learning and following the Venture model. But the results really speak for themselves. In Q4 2018 and Q1 2019, the studio has achieved just under £300K of sales, with one of the highest average order values per customer of any studio in the country at £940. A specific highlight was a past client who spent nearly £12K!
I’ve really enjoyed working with the team at the studio, and there are actually a lot of similarities in the Venture model to my wedding business, in that you have to understand what the client is looking for, deliver a great customer experience and market the business to find the right type of client.
It was great to be recognised at the Venture Annual Awards ceremony that took place recently, the studio team received a Special Award for increasing sales in 2018 by 60%.
What would you say to any other photographers about the Venture model?
In terms of the photography, the level of creativity and innovation in Venture is something that I haven’t seen anywhere else, a big part of this comes from the willingness from all studios and photographers to share ideas, something that working on your own you just don’t get.
This sense of community and co-operation extends into sales and marketing, with studio owners sharing best practice and marketing initiatives that are working at their studio. I’ve collaborated with the other Venture studios in London on some large scale promotion such as the Ideal Home Show, again something that I couldn’t have contemplated as an independent photographer.
What are your future plans?
I’ve got my sights set firmly on the Venture Award for the Studio of the Year in 2019, so there is a lot of work left to do for the rest of this year!
I’ve had some early conversations with Venture head office about a second studio in Kent, and would love to start planning this within the next 12-18 months.