Power Pitch

Start-up calling on 2-year-old authors

Start-up calling on 2-year-old authors

One mom says she has the solution to that growing pile of kiddie art.

"The average child brings home 800 pieces of artwork by the end of the elementary school years. What do you do with it all?" asked Carolyn Lanzetta.

The answer avoids storage and overcrowded fridge doors. Instead Lanzetta co-founded Plum Print, a start-up transforming artwork into custom coffee table books. And she told CNBC she's been profitable from Day One.

The founder had 60 seconds to paint her big picture to a panel with Rothenberg Ventures Partner Fran Hauser, Mommy Blogger Kristin Quinn and Pipeline Fellowship founder and CEO, Natalia Oberti Noguera. Will she draw the panel in? Click the video below to find out.

Trader turned art entrepreneur

Lanzetta spent the early days of her career trading on Wall Street, but told CNBC she always dreamed of running her own business.

"Although I loved trading, there is very little flexibility to raise a family while keeping those hours," she said. And when Lanzetta was home, she faced mounting piles of her daughter's artwork in her small Manhattan apartment. To manage the clutter, she photographed her daughter's artwork, and turned images into books.

Although Lanzetta said it took her roughly 40 hours of work to make just one book, the idea was a big hit among friends.

Artwork comes alive on the pages of a Plum Print book.
Source: John Walder | Plum Print

"It was clear that we had hit a significant pain point," she said.

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In turn, Lanzetta traded her days on Wall Street for the drawing board, where she and her cousin, Meg Ragland, created Plum Print. Lanzetta emphasized that while leading photo printing services like Snapfish create products from existing digital images, Plum Print's business actually converts customers' originals into digital images.

So here's how it works: Customers pay a deposit of $39.99 for a "Plum Parcel" shipping kit to mail in the artwork. Then at Plum Print's headquarters in North Carolina, the start-up digitizes the artwork it receives, including photography, scanning and photo editing.

Next, a graphic design team creates an online book layout. Once the customer approves, a final book is shipped out within four to six weeks. Lanzetta plans to speed up the turnaround time to just two weeks by the end of this year.

The start-up prices its books between $45 to upward of $90, with softcover and hardcover options.

And the start-up digitizes all kinds of art—toilet paper castles, and jewelry like macaroni necklaces.

Have fun picking out the pieces to send to Plum Print!
Source: John Walder | Plum Print

During the "Power Pitch" segment, Hauser asked about possible patents for Plum Print's technology to protect against potential competitors.

"We've got our proprietary workstations, but also the proprietary technology behind it, that deals with the photo editing and the graphic design of everything. So our scalable workstations are available not only in our studio, but also in any location, including schools," Lanzetta responded.

The founder expects to partner with schools across the U.S., targeting parents at a place they're in and out of every day.

One child’s very own Plum Print book
Source: John Walder | Plum Print

Since the start-up launched in 2012, Plum Print has sold about 2,000 books, and is on target this year to have a return rate of 70 percent, year over year. The co-founder would not disclose any revenue specifics.

Lanzetta and Ragland bootstrapped the business, but are currently raising a seed round of $1 million.

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