Fusion helps make the memories last
INTERNATIONAL industry groups have commended a Duncraig-based publishing firm's efforts to simplify the production of high school yearbooks.
Fusion Books, run by partners Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht, was recognised last month for its innovation in information technology as a finalist in the 2009 Small to Medium Business Excellence Awards, presented by international computer giant Dell, EXCOM Education and the Small Enterprise Association of Australia and New Zealand.
Ms Perkins said the recognition had provided a launching pad for the 12-month-old company to grow.
"It's great that people are out there recognising small business and it's also excellent exposure for us throughout Australia, because it's a nationwide competition," she said.
The company has quickly established itself in the yearbook production market, servicing about 100 schools nationwide.
Ms Perkins said the company's next step would be to establish itself in wider markets.
"We should be launching in New Zealand next year, and we have our eyes further abroad as well," she said.
Fusion has streamlined the yearbook creation process into a simple, easy-to-use system offering customisable internet-based design guidelines and templates for schools and community groups looking for an easy and efficient way to collate their photographs and annual events.
"We recognised the fact that so many schools were having difficulty creating their yearbooks and graduation books, it was just taking them so much time to put them together," Ms Perkins said.
"So we developed a system to make it much quicker and more competitively priced."
The system allows for multiple users to access and upload photographs and information anywhere an internet connection is available.
To promote its services, Fusion has launched a web-based marketing strategy, while also targeting individual schools with information packs.
Ms Perkins said Fusion's service filled a previously untouched niche in the marketplace.
"We're very unique in the market, we're the only ones offering what we offer throughout Australia," she said.
"That's why we've been getting so many new schools on board that are just really excited to have a product like ours being offered to them.
"We imagine that every high school throughout Australia could use it for their graduation and their yearbooks, and then all the sports clubs could use it as well. It's quite unlimited; it's an amazing market potential."
Ms Perkins said the company relished the challenge of establishing a business in a previously untapped market.
"Starting something new from scratch is always a challenge because you have to put everything together from all sorts of different places and we hadn't had any prior business experience," she said.
"It was a big learning curve to get everything together and to be able to offer our customers such a competitive and quality product.
"We've been working with some fantastic people who have a lot of experience in software development and we've got great designers as well.
"We've been able to pull everyone together."