Silverlake Colorsmacks

TJ:
Travis,
Thanks for taking the time for the interview. I know you guys are busy there. I was first introduced to Silverlake at a Power of Passion Tour, and I’ll have to say I was very impressed. I also saw that you guys showed up in an article in this month’s Professional Photographer magazine, which is awesome!

Travis:
Thanks TJ. We are happy to have been able to meet you on tour. Yes, things have been crazy around here lately and this new line of Colorsmack Backdrops has been keeping us hopping

TJ:
Probably the first thing that caught my attention looking at your backdrops was that they’re wrinkle free, but not like the wrinkle free stuff I’ve seen from other companies. Could you tell me a litle bit about what makes your wrinkle free backdrops different than everyone else’s?

Travis:
We sourced many different types of materials before we found one that we felt comfortable with. It is a heavier weight than most and has a nice, quality feel to it. We commonly hear clients approach the booth and comment on how much they like the fabric that we use. Many companies are using a polyester blended fabric that is thinner and elastic. We choose to utilize a fleece backed product that maintains an intense color saturation.

TJ:
From what I can tell, you’ve got 2 different lines of backdrops – muslins and your Colorsmack line. Is the main difference just the additional color in the Colorsmack line?

Travis:
Yes. We have manufactured the muslin backdrops for 12 years and they are a hand painted product on 100% cotton muslin. Our hand painted muslin line is a heavy weight product that is the closest thing to a canvas look in a portable, muslin style backdrop. Silverlake’s hand painted muslin backdrops are available in sizes ranging from 6×9 to 20×20.

The Colorsmacks are a computer painted product on a wrinkle free and washable fabric and were designed to be a quick change product. We currently offer the Colorsmacks in a 5×7 size and a 8×8 size, which both feature our quick mount Velcro hanging system.

TJ:
From what I’ve heard, your backdrops are washable, and can even be usd in a swimming pool. CRAZY! How hard is it to wash the backdrops? Are there special cleaners that you need to use to clean the backdrop?

Travis:
Not at all. Because of the size, material and process, Colorsmacks can be washed in any standard washing machine and dryer. They can be cleaned with the same process and precautions that standard clothing requires.

TJ:
I also got a chance to see a couple of your roll out floors. Again – I’ve seen roll out floors, but never anything quite like this. What makes your roll out floors a good choice for photographers?

Travis:
Again, we chose a road less traveled with our roll up, Faux Floors. Most companies are offering a product that is on a neoprene substrate, similar to a standard mouse pad. In small sizes, these work fairly well, but are excessively heavy in the larger sizes. We shopped around to find a product that was still rubber backed for a non-slip usage, but were lighter for maneuvering and storing and were constructed in a way that high heels would not be able to rip or puncture. As a result, these floors lay flat, are easy to move, will last for years, and possess the same vibrant color saturation that we are known for.

TJ:
Normally your Colorsmack’s retail for $389, but you’ve got an intro price listed at $349. Does “intro price” mean photographers should stock up on backdrop’s on their initial purchase so they get the discount, or is this a special price because you’re just now introducing the Colorsmack line?

Travis:
The Colorsmack line was introduced within the last 10 months. The intro price is in effect in order to get these products into the marketplace. Typically, our clients will purchase one or two to try them out, then call back with an order for 6-12 different designs. We are confident that photographers will fall in love with this effortless and effective way of using and changing backdrops once they try it for themselves. Each month, Silverlake releases about a dozen new designs and those are available for $169 for the first week of the release. After that, they are available for the $199 intro price. The new releases are an excellent value and the best way to stock up on designs.

TJ:
After checking out your website, it looks like you do a lot more than just backdrops and roll out floors. What other products and services are you trying to promote now?

Travis:
We do carry a variety of professional studio products such as lighting and educational products. Our goal as a company is to help our clients master the skills necessary to succeed as a professional photographer. In this effort, we have a photography forum for photographers to seek advice from other working professionals as well as learn interactively by posting images and comments on all things related to photography. We also host monthly photo contests to keep things lively and give our members a chance to win some great prizes. The Silverlake forum is an excellent source for information and features monthly webinars by top photographers from around the world.

TJ:
Photographers are really going to have to see (and touch) for themselves to really understand how different Silverlake’s products are. Where can people get their hands on this stuff? Any local distributors? Any roadshows or conventions coming up where people can visit your booth?

Travis:
We have a few distributors and are currently negotiating additional distribution centers. At least for this year, the best chance to see the products in person is to attend one of the Sandy Puc tours. We have three more tours scheduled with Sandy for 2011 and will likely be in a city near you soon. Additionally, we have some demo videos that are available on the Silverlake website. Any of the Colorsmacks will have some youtube videos embedded that can give you a glimpse of our vision for the future of studio photography.

TJ:
Thanks again for taking the time to talk with me. Any other information about Silverlake that you feel might interest photographers?

Travis:
Thanks for keeping us in mind TJ. Keep your eyes on the Silverlake Forum or sign up for our newsletter at http://www.silverlakephoto.com/ for new product announcements and design releases. We have some exciting things planned for later in the year, some of which will include a larger sized Computer painted product, foreground shooting elements and several other ideas designed to keep shooting in the studio fun and give our clients a competitive edge over the photographer down the street.


For more information on Silverlake Photo Accessories, visit www.silverlakephoto.com

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