lady startup

Been meaning to digitise your photos since 2009? Don't fret. Kim has a solution for that.

If you still remember the days of VHS, then it’s safe to say you probably also have piles of old photos and tapes that need a little bit of TLC.

Whether you want to digitise your precious memories, or insure them against loss, Kim Purdy of Finesse Image Studio wants to help you do just that.

After working in various photographic mini labs around Sydney, Kim decided to go her own way.

“Before I started this business I was working 40 hours a week for someone else with hardly any time for my family or myself,” she said.

“My kids were growing up almost by themselves it seemed as I was only home to cook, clean, sleep and nag at the kids to do their homework then I was off to work again.”

So she started Finesse Image Studio and has never looked back.

From her best business advice to what made her realise that she needs to stop doubting herself, Kim took took a few minutes to chat to Mamamia about her Lady Startup.

Tell us about Finesse Image Studio. What is it?

Many people worry about the safe preservation of family photos and videos which can lose quality over time or easily become damaged accidentally and lost forever.

We all have at least one box, if not more, of precious memories hidden away, taking up valuable space in a garage or cupboard, rarely taken out and appreciated. This is why we, at Finesse Image Studio, take great pride in providing the very necessary service of scanning to digital format these unique family heirlooms which helps to both preserve precious memories and free up storage in your home or office creating a practical and sentimental solution.

My service is photographic and video archiving so I guess I’m selling peace of mind!

I take all those bags and boxes of old photos and albums and preserve them in digital format so if anything ever happened to them (think catastrophic events like fire or flood but also accidentally misplacing them) then you know all is not lost if you have all the images and documents backed up on external hard drive!

I also offer creative projects like photobooks, slideshows and image editing/ restoration. Add to that the option to have old videos (VHS and mini DV etc ) converted to USB for watching on computer or TV and that’s my business!!

What were you doing before you went into business for yourself?

I spent the last 30 years working in various photographic mini labs around Sydney and have gained enormous insight into the wants and needs of my customers. In a retail situation it is hard to give customers that little bit of extra attention that is so appreciated when making decisions about the types of services available for each individual.

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I purchased some scanning equipment and proceeded to do some work from home for family and friends who needed specific jobs done for personal reasons. For example, one friend lost her life partner under tragic circumstances and wanted a memorial slideshow created for the funeral service so I took a large number of photo albums home, selected the best ones, scanned them to digital format, then produced an emotional slideshow with music that was copied many times and sent to relatives overseas. She trusted me with this and I’m sure she would not have walked into a retail situation and given this job to a stranger. And so my business idea was born.

There are a number of different services I offer including photo/negative/slide scanning, videos converted to DVD or USB, photobooks, memorial slideshows and I have access to photographers, videographers and camera repair specialists so I’m very versatile. I call it Photo and Video Archives when I try to explain to people what I do.

Before I started this business I was working 40 hours a week for someone else with hardly any time for my family or myself. My kids were growing up almost by themselves it seemed as I was only home to cook, clean, sleep and nag at the kids to do their homework then I was off to work again.

I am 52 years old and have two teenagers, Josh 17 and Angela 15 who I have been raising as a single mum for the last six years. I recently met a wonderful and supportive man who encouraged me to follow my business idea about a year ago. He believes in me which gave me the push I needed to start believing in myself. Now there is no stopping me!

photo book Australia Finesse Image Studio
Kim with her two children. Image: Supplied.
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How did you come up with the name?

My amazing and totally supportive boyfriend (makes me sound a lot younger than I am, LOL) came up with the first part of the name ‘Finesse’ which I love because it describes how I feel about how I am helping people to just add the finishing touches to their photographic and video collections. They are the ones who went to all the effort to either capture the images or collect from family members so why not complete the experience and create a permanent keepsake with them? Add some finesse. The Image Studio part I came up with because I didn’t want to limit myself to photos only so ‘images’ includes video too.

What's the single best piece of advice you got?

Probably the best piece of advice I received was from a business adviser who explained to me the importance of having clear goals in the form of a business plan.

What's the one bit of advice you would give yourself if you were starting again?

If I was to start again with the knowledge I now have I would advise myself to stop doubting and follow my intuition more.

At Mamamia we have an expression "flearning" - failing and learning. What have been your biggest flearnings since you have started your business?

I have lots of ‘flearning' going on! The main one is still happening every now and then, which is pricing myself too low. I am so worried about the customer not giving me the job that I will sometimes use lower prices as an incentive. I’m trying to STOP THAT!

What do you do when you're feeling like you're in a hole emotionally (or financially)?

When I fall into an emotional or financial hole (which happens every week!) I usually have to simplify things and go back to basics. I’m sometimes so far ahead of myself that I start to feel overwhelmed and begin to seriously freak out (what on earth do I think I am doing?!) but when I calm down and remember why I started in the first place it becomes a whole lot easier to cope and go back to one step at a time. It also helps to prioritise and only give my time to the most important step first.

Vicki Condon turned her midlife crisis into her life purpose and founded the Raise Foundation. She tells Mamamia's Rachel Corbett why she's so passionate about improving the mental health of young people on our Lady Startup podcast. Listen below:

What's the biggest misconception you had about starting your business?

Thinking that I could just work set hours (like ‘normal' people!). The first time I caught myself finishing Sunday night dinner with the family and then heading back to my desk to continue working I realised with a shock that this is my life now. But I’ve come to terms with it the same way I usually do, with the knowledge that this too shall pass. One day I will work less hours, not more!

Tell us about your proudest moment.

I have had a few proud moments so far. Every time I hand out my business cards and tell people I own my own business I feel a sense of pride. But I guess the biggest moment so far would be when I was invited to take a helicopter ride over Mount Panorama in Bathurst during the Liqui-Moly 12HR to take photos for their marketing material and I thought, "wow, this was only made possible because of Finesse Image Studio”. It was an exciting experience that I almost said ’no’ to because I was scared but I did it and I’m proud that I did. It was fun too.

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What can you recommend to women who might want to get their own hustle going?

To all the women who are thinking about starting their own side hustle that may turn out to be their full time gig, DO IT! Follow your intuition and let that be your guide. If you feel you would love some amazing support, like a human sports bra perhaps, then Mia Freedman and the wonderful team at Lady Startup are a fantastic inspiration and a fully supportive group who genuinely care about your business aspirations. The speed in which I got my business up and running can be directly attributed to this all inclusive course with a bunch of amazing women who all help and encourage each other. I totally recommend this course to anyone looking for an advantage for their Start Up journey.

For more information on Finesse Image Studio, you can go to Kim's website, Facebook or Instagram. Happy snapping.

Been thinking about taking control of your life and becoming your own boss? Interested in becoming a Lady Startup yourself or know someone ready to chase their own bus? You’re invited to join Mia Freedman for this online course where she will personally take you through every step and give you every resource to go from idea to launch. Enrolments are open for a very limited time starting now. Find out all about the Lady Startup Activation Plan here.

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