Pikarski notes a recent uptick in market demand for high-end photography equipment. To that end, C&A Marketing has started a new business, CalumetRentals, to rent high-end photography and videography equipment online and via retail stores. “There is a much higher interest in photography and videography on the higher end from the professional photographer to the serious enthusiast,” Pikarski says. “With the advent of easy shipping and mobile applications, the business of renting equipment at affordable rates is increasing steadily.”
In the past, renting high-end equipment was largely confined to movie and commercial shoots, and to professional photographers. Today, however, photography buffs are becoming a bigger slice of the pie, Pikarski says. For instance, a regular photo buff can rent $4,000 in high-end camera equipment for the weekend, enjoy it and return it on Monday.
Founded in 2003, C&A Marketing is a leading retailer of high-quality photography, imaging, video and audio equipment. It developed the private brands Ivation, Jumbl, Lil Jumbl, Ritz Gear and LyxPro that manufacture and distribute a wide variety of consumer products.
Its extensive and diverse inventory of products includes high-end photography equipment, lighting, accessories, and many other photography related products. In addition to its own online stores, it also partners with online retailers such Amazon and eBay. Headquartered in New Jersey, C&A Marketing has offices in London and China.
Product Development Expertise
Marketing and product development are chief strengths of C&A Marketing, Pikarski says. In addition to audiovisual equipment, the company also markets products in many different categories, such as baby products, home furnishings and travel accessories.
“We excel at designing and engineering products from scratch,” Pikarski explains. “We have become experts at it over the last few years.” C&A Marketing hires engineering and design firms and also works with manufacturers in Taiwan and China that possess good in-house engineering departments, he says. It markets products with clear and consistent messages to build their brand names’ popularity.
C&A Marketing develops families of products and positions those products in the marketplace with the understanding that “the customer experience is more than just functional,” Pikarski says. With successful brand marketing, consumers are more comfortable with products and might even be willing to pay a premium price. “A brand is a promise,” he explains. “When someone buys a brand they are trusting the promise of that brand. It is a promise not only for a particular experience, but also for a certain experience and a certain status.” C&A Marketing makes certain its marketing messages are consistent across all media, whether its product packaging, point of sale or salesperson training collateral.
With the advent of digital communication such as bloggers, online reviewers and social media, marketing has become a faster-paced business. “If a product is inferior and doesn’t have value, that comes back very quickly,” Pikarski explains. “That is the way people respond to marketing and communications” in today’s marketplace.
As an authorized licensee of Polaroid Action, Instant and IP Security Cameras, C&A Marketing plans to launch several new Polaroid products, although those plans are flexible. That is necessary because “no one knows what the future will hold,” Pikarski says. Twenty years ago, no one knew what the Internet would be like and ten years ago, it was impossible to predict how mobile devices would operate.
That is why Pikarski says the business is flexible, leaving space to innovate as the economy changes and new trends arise. “The photo business has changed,” he says. “Point and shoot is dead, but there is a stable interest in high-end equipment, lenses and video product, so we are putting that equipment into enthusiasts’ hands.”