Lord Mayor's Award ~ RMIT Business Competition

After mentioning this during my recent interview with the Herald Sun, I figure it's finally time to do some bragging *blush*. I have some wonderful news to share with you all - Ragamuffin Pet Photography was awarded the City of Melbourne Lord Mayor's (3rd Place) Prize in RMIT's amazing Business Plan Competition at the end of 2011.

The competition involved three (very intense) stages, the final stage being a 30 minute business presentation in front of an impressive panel of judges. It's a fantastic opportunity for young entrepreneurs. RMIT's Business Plan Competition is one of the largest programs in Australia/Vietnam, which received a record number of entries in 2011. I initially entered just to take advantage of the free knowledge, workshops and resources, but as we moved through each stage everything became very real! It involved a huge amount of work, but was so worth every sleepless night. Not only did we walk away with $5000 (in awesome giant-novelty-cheque size, no less) but I wrapped up my year with a fantastic business plan for Ragamuffin Pet Photography.

Click here to see the article about the competition winning teams.

Our Official Profile

RAGAMUFFIN PET PHOTOGRAPHY Team members: Caitlin McColl (team leader) and John Maloney

Ragamuffin Pet Photography is a boutique photography business run by award-winning photographer, Caitlin McColl with her experienced assistant, John Maloney. We specialise in artistic, custom photographic portraiture of pets. Our clients invest in high quality, environmentally friendly prints with Ragamuffin’s signature style of post-production. Our Patience Policy creates a stress free shooting environment, allowing us to naturally capture the life and true personality of each pet. As a high-end, premium service, Ragamuffin will be beaten by price by many of our competitors. However, we are convinced that we will not be beaten on quality.

Our average client spends around $1000 in session fees and prints. As a lifestyle business, the financial objective of Ragamuffin is to book 200 sessions a year with a revenue of $200,000, a Net Profit of $22,000 and allowing Caitlin, the owner, to draw $80,000 annually.

As a nation, we are passionate about our pets. They are an integral part of the Australian family. Two thirds of Australian households share their homes with a furry companion. As a result, pet care is a booming $7 billion industry.

A significant proportion of Australians’ are investing in healthcare, grooming, training sessions, doggy daycare and boutique pet accessories. Approximately 250,000 pet owning Melbourne households classify their pet as their own baby or child. They are rewarded with an incredible bond with their animal, and memories that they will cherish forever. Yet there is a hole in the Melbourne market for a high end, creative pet photographer. Rarely is there a consumer need so powerful, yet so untapped. Ragamuffin Pet Photography is determined to fill this hole.

Awards Night

Special thanks to my wonderful partner Johnny, my mentor Sarah Beaumont from Pronoia, the brilliant Marcus Powe and the wonderful competition team (especially Elizabeth Burke and Leanne Vosper).

This was such a great opportunity, and as a 21-year-old business owner it was invaluable! Whilst I have always been confident in my ability to provide pet owners with fantastic photography, I was struggling with my lack of business skills. I couldn't pass up on the chance to be taught and mentored by experienced professionals. Having my ideas constantly challenged and refined has been amazing. The whole process has transformed my dreams into concrete plans, and thanks to the competition I have faced into 2012 well prepared and motivated. I learnt and grew so much over the year, and I'm so grateful to RMIT, the sponsors and the organisers. Thanks!

Click here to read more about Ragamuffin Pet Photography media and awards