Instaquadros: An E-Commerce Platform that Turns Digital Images into Real Life Art

Instaquadros provides Brazil’s photographers the opportunity to market and sell their work online. Geared towards amateurs and professionals alike, it allows users to turn their digital images into custom-made products and decorations to use themselves or sell in the global marketplace.

Through the Instaquadros platform, photographers upload images from their computers or accounts on Facebook, Flickr or Instagram, among others. They themselves or other users may then choose to purchase items featuring the image – canvases, stationary and even phone cases. Items arrive within an estimated 11 business days.

Artists utilize Instaquadros free of charge. What’s more, when a product is sold featuring his or her design, the individual receives a 15% commission (via PayPal).

To date, Instaquadros has registered 2,000 artists and published more than 96,000 photos. Nearly 500 products have been sold through the platform, generating over US$25,000 (R$50,000) in revenues. The company is growing at a 50% monthly rate.

Instaquadros joins a number of relatively new platforms in Brazil in combining design, e-commerce and the crowd. ClickARQ (architecture), Logovia (graphic design), TodaBossa (art) and Vitrinepix (t-shirts) have taken similar approaches.

The Instaquadros team.

Allan Campos, CEO of Instaquadros, told us more about Instaquadros’ trajectory and strategy.

Emily Stewart: What’s the back story of Instaquadros?

Allan Campos: In 2005, shortly after graduating from the College of Fine Arts of UFRJ, I wanted to build an art gallery online to sell my own photos. But at the time, I had no know-how or sufficient tools to accomplish this. Years later, when I mentioned the issue to friend and publicist Felipe Grossi, we decided to embark on the Instaquadros project.

For that to happen, we joined forces with top IT professionals João Marques and Felipe Barbosa, who brought knowledge on the industry and production. After much study, testing and dedication, Instaquadros was born in August 2012. Since that time, we have grown consistently, our sales improving by an average of 50% per month.

ES: There seem to be several “on-demand” design platforms on the market right now. Why go this route, and what makes you stand out?

AC: People want to be unique and have the ability to choose exactly what they want, how they want. We created a crowdsourcing platform that turns an increasingly common practice – taking pictures – into a way to create art pieces and decorations. The big difference between our company and others is that while most are working to sell products, Instaquadros has evolved and is focused on art. 

ES: What is your dynamic with social media? What about mobile devices?

AC: We use social media to give prominence to our talented artists and also for our customers to publish their art (a practice that has been going well organically). We are developing an app to be another channel for our customers.

ES: Since any photographer or artist can upload and sell designs on your platform, where does quality fall?

AC: The crowd indicates who has more quality. We have developed metrics to measure quality and, with that, created a ranking of artists. You want quality pictures? Check the ranking!

Instaquadros is currently being accelerated by 21212 Digital Accelerator in Rio de Janeiro. It will leverage the accelerator’s know-how and support to grow the business and take the next step – going international.