Yuka considers Famarry to be the happiest company in the world, and looking at who her customers are, I think she just might be right.
But behind this happy company is an aggressive plan to disrupt a cartel of photo studios that have dominated the market for decades. Changes in technology and demographics has opened up a small crack in the wall, and Famarry plans on using it to gain a foothold and then to change the entire industry for the better.
We also talk about why so many foreign startups coming into Japan fail and why sometimes a Japanese market that looks ripe for easy disruption turns out to be far more resistant to change than you would ever imagine. Even when that change would benefit almost all players in the market.
It’s a great interview and I think you’ll enjoy it.
Show Notes for Startups
Breaking into the wedding business
From weddings to lifetime customers
What was the first disruption of Japan’s photography market
Why freelancers take better photos
Why Japan’s photo-studios are going out of business
Why rapid growth takes time
Why Famarry is the happiest business in the world
What foreigners need to know about the Japanese market
Links from the Founder
Famarry’s Home Page
Friend Yuka on Facebook
Follow her at @yukafuji
Other articles about Famarry (Japanese)
DREAMER’S FILE #04YUKA FUJI
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Transcript from Japan
Welcome to Disrupting Japan, straight talk from Japan’s most successful entrepreneurs. I’m Tim Romero and thank for listening.
Today we’re going to talk about he evolution and the disruption of the photography market in Japan. Not the photography equipment market mind you. That’s already a familiar story. We’re going to talk about business of taking pictures. Yuka Fugi started Famarry in early 2015 as an online market place to match freelance photographers, with those who want to use their services. Now, at first glance this seems like one of the many me too business models we see far too often in the start up world. But there’s something uniquely Japanese in this story. You see, for the past few decades, a handful of photo studios have created a virtual cartel in portrait and studio photography. Yuka and I talk about how changes in both technology and the demographics of the market have weakened this cartel and left them rip for disruption. But, I don’t want to give too much away. So let’s get right to the interview.
Tim: Okay, so I’m sitting here with Yuka Fuji of Famarry, an e-commerce site matching photographers with customers but, actually Yuka I’m sure you can explain it much better than I can, so why don’t you tell us a bit about Famarry?
Yuka: Okay, so if I make it easier to express then it’s about the crowd sourcing of photographers.
Tim: That’s pretty broad, but you’ve gotten rather specific. You’re dealing with wedding photography right?
Yuka: Yes, now I start with a wedding.
Tim: In Japan, most weddings are sort of a package deal. You’ve got the wedding studio that arranges the food and the venue and the photographer and lock all of that up together. So how do you get around that?
Yuka: About 70,000 couples are getting married every year in Japan.
Yuka: Half of the couples, they, most of them they take the actual day wedding photography and half of them, they do the pre-wedding photography, which is like taking photos before a wedding.
Tim: So you’re focusing on this pre-wedding segment.
Yuka: Yes, mostly.
Tim: And so, where do they go, to some romantic spot with a beautiful back drop and take pictures in nice clothes.
Yuka: Yes. Exactly.
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