AFFILIATED COMPANY FOCUS: Hartnack & Co - Bespoke Portfolios
30 August 2018
Welcome to Hartnack & Co, our latest Affiliated Company to join the AOP, we catch up with them to find out more about them and their stunning bespoke portfolios.
Tell us about Hartnack & Co and how your business came about.
We started in 2013 because a need arose in our family for a custom certificate folder for our daughter. As Jackie couldn’t find what she wanted, she decided to make her own. She told others what she was doing and started getting requests for other items (she was always an exceptional seamstress, so did a few book binding and case-making courses and taught herself to make albums and boxes). We sold the albums and boxes on Etsy. Shortly afterwards, we had a photographer take some family portrait photographs and when she saw what Jackie made, asked if she could have a photography portfolio but made out of leather. She showed us what she wanted and having made a few prototypes, put them on Etsy along with our other items. Very quickly we started getting enquiries for photography portfolios.
What makes you different to other portfolio services?
Probably variety and customisation. We will make (within reason) what ever we are asked, our colour pallet is quite wide which means our customers get to create something a little more unique. Everything is individually hand made and we take a lot of pride in the quality of our work and craftsmanship. There are a few other exceptional custom portfolio makers in the UK and for that matter in the US, however, we tend to work in more than one material, like fabric or leather over board. We also use single piece leather and are doing more with leather in general. I’d like to think we’re all pretty good at what we do, which quite simply is providing the packaging for the professional photographers work. That packaging is very important, as the quality of it, is what makes the statement about the professional.
Being based in Devon, are most of your clients local or do you attract clients from far and wide?
Being based in Devon is pure luck! We have quite a broad market base from creatives, like photographers and designers as well as corporations, to families, newly weds and classic car restorers. A lot of our work heads to the South East, but this is not surprising. When we last looked in a vaguely quantitative way, a third of what we make is exported and that goes all over the world, but our biggest export market is the United States.
Being in Devon is a mixed blessing, it’s beautiful and the quality of life is different to that of a city. That said we keep being asked if we have a shop in London that people can visit.
What advice would you give to a photographer looking to invest in a new portfolio?
Long discussions can hang on what type of portfolio, a portfolio book or a portfolio box, as to what is the best type of portfolio.
Invest is the right word, because its a large investment and you should expect a return from it by way of great commissions. Firstly, your work looks at its best when it’s printed, it’s art, it’s that simple, get yours printed by a decent printer. Screw post portfolios and portfolio boxes allow you to change the contents of it depending upon who you are presenting to. It also allows you to include your latest work, which might have been some of your best, a printed bound book doesn’t allow for you to do either.
Portfolio books give you control of what is seen and in what order. Plastic sleeves give your work a degree of protection, however having no plastic sleeves gives a different intention to the way the work is seen. The industry Jury on which is best, is yet to emerge!
Portfolio boxes allow you to include a mix of portrait and landscape work and means you can spread it out afterwards to be seen as a body of work and if you wish you can mount it. Essentially however the answer to what is best, books or boxes is all down to your own presenting style.
Your portfolio really is part of your branding, that’s not just because it might have your name or logo on it, but like your choice of clothing, appearance and personality, it’s making a statement about you and how you want to be seen. This is even more important if your portfolio is being presented without you being present, so we advise you do a bit of ‘window shopping' first.
Lastly longevity. Buckram is acrylic coated so is easy to keep clean. Book cloth however is not, so avoid using it as an outside cover. Leather is beautiful, tactile and fragrant but we use veg tanned leather so it doesn’t take water well. Blind deboss works well on big bold logos, if you’d like your name discreetly placed in the bottom right hand corner, have it foiled on.
What’s next for Hartnack?
We’ve recently been asked by a corporate client for a portfolio made out of aluminum, for strength and rigidity and covered in calf skin leather which has been side stitched for a tactile feel and to match their corporate colours. We can’t wait to have it signed of as we think it’s a definite new product for the collection page.
Click here to see more examples of Hartnack’s photography portfolios