November 17, 2008 --- Cape Sessions, a business run by UK born Liz Metcalfe, sells digital photographs of windsurfers from a website. The business recently expanded its business model by adding a location alert service using text messaging. This service is helping drive sales as clients are kept informed of which beach Metcalfe is taking photographs at on a particular day.
"Many of our clients are international visitors who come to Cape Town, South Africa to windsurf during the summer months. The text messaging service is ideal for notifying windsurfers of a photographic opportunity that they can then share after a session with their friends back home," said Metcalfe.
The secret to Metcalfe's success is coupling photographic talent, a web presence, and a text message location alert service to drive sales. Yet this did not happen overnight. The business started when windsurfers asked Metcalfe for photographs she had taken of them during a session.
"I used to take pictures of windsurfers on the beach for pleasure, as a hobby. Lots of guys used to ask if I could take one of them and a website seemed like the easiest way to view and sell the photographs. From there the idea of taking photographs of anyone sailing at the beach took off and Cape Sessions was born," said Metcalfe.
Cape Sessions grew as it regularly uploaded photographs of the airs, off-the-tops, and other adrenal antics of windsurfers revelling in the waters off Cape Town's windswept beaches. Digital camera in hand, Metcalfe would seek out windsurfers as they travelled from beach to beach in their search for the best windsurfing conditions.
In late 2007, Cape Sessions partnered with BulkSMS.com, a global brand in the mobile messaging market, and expanded its business model to include a text message location alert service. This service captures the names and cellphone numbers of windsurfers' to a web form and stores these contact details in a phonebook database. When the wind and surf conditions look promising on a particular day, windsurfers who are subscribed to this location alert service receive a text message broadcasting Metcalfe's location for the windsurfing photo shoot.
According to Metcalfe, "Although many windsurfers go where they think the conditions are good, the text message location alert service has enabled me to take photographs of windsurfers who want their picture taken on a certain day. Cape Sessions is now able to convert more image views on the website into actual purchases from windsurfers who were sailing during a session I shot at a beach I had selected."
Turning a passion for windsurfing photography into a business is no easy feat. Metcalfe has managed to grow Cape Sessions using a business model that focuses on the use of new technologies and by adding an innovative new text message service to better target customers for her digital photographs.
Liz Metcalfe grew up in Bedfordshire in the United Kingdom and completed studies in environmental science at the University of Leeds in 2002. She then moved to Cape Town, South Africa were she took up the sport of windsurfing and returned to her keen interest in photography. To view Metcalfe's photography visit Cape Sessions at www.capesessions.com.