Taopix has announced a new partnership with a Swiss manufacturer as it completes a building purchase as part of a £1m expansion.
The supplier of photobook and photo gift software has agreed to start working with Swiss photo printing and finishing equipment manufacturer, Imaging Solutions (ISAG), on a front-end design and ordering platform and a back-end range of lay-flat bookbinding solutions.
It has also set in motion a refurbishment project that will see the building near its 1,273sqm headquarters in Newcastle upon Tyne ready by next spring.
The 30-strong business with a £2.5m turnover aims to bring on more staff to target the photo retail market, said Taopix chief executive James Gray.
“We’ve really grown quickly over the last couple of years due to the demand for our product and services across the globe,” he said.
“We are therefore getting too big for our current space. So it’s a logical next step to buy something bigger to allow us to grow without the need to relocate in the future.”
Sales director Dianne Moralee said the company had recruited 12 more staff in the past year across all areas of the business including development, sales, design and finance.
“We are working on our strategy going into 2016 and are focusing not just on expanding staff numbers but looking at new services and markets rather than delivering just a software package.”
"We’re very excited to be part of the Imaging Solutions offering. I believe we have a unique, quality proposition that will ultimately deliver the highest quality end product to the customer.”
ISAG sales and marketing director Andrzey Heeb said the two companies "perfectly complemented each other".
"Bringing together ISAG's long-term photo market experience and the robust, flexible Taopix platform will open up new possibilities to provide a complete and very competitive solution to the photo industry, including software and hardware to create premium photo products," he said.
Moralee said it was too early to be specific on other new areas of focus and there was still a lot “brain-storming” going on.
“Traditionally our customers have been photo lab people and professional photographers but technology and the internet have moved on and speeds have got much faster.
“We are moving much more into markets such as photo gifts and retail served by the likes of Funky Pigeon that target consumers with calendars and cards.”
The new building underwent a refit to give it a contemporary feel. Spaces include gym, barbeque garden, professional kitchen and chill-out areas.
Taopix, which was established in 2007, also has offices in the US, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Japan. Last October it launched the fifth edition of its photo gift software.
The HTML5-based software included a new mobile-optimised web app and an updated version of the Taopix Online photobook designer, both compatible with iOS and Android phones and tablets.
In 2013 Taopix had teamed up with self-publishing engine FastPencil to offer its digital print customers a route into the wider market of book publishing.
Silicon Valley-based FastPencil provides an online portal for authors and publishers to self-publish books, along with marketing, advertising and e-commerce for the service.