Hi folks! Today we have the huge privilege of interviewing Jeshua, one of the partners at J Rental Centre and Startup Media SG. He generously shares with us about what he does and how SMEs can make use of social media to make an impact. Enjoy! 🙂
IKIGUIDE: Hi Jeshua! Can you tell us more about J Rental Centre and Startup Media SG?
Jeshua: J Rental Centre (JRC) is a collaborative rental service that aims to connect people and gear. We started a year ago with just three partners- Kevin, Jia Jun and myself, all freelance photographers and videographers who owned our own gear, but were not using them when we had no shoots.
Just yesterday at 8pm, we launched jrc.sg, a website that allows anyone to find the closest, cheapest gear for rent!
Here are some of our partners:
We also saw that the conventional rental model of going to a huge store would work for production companies but may be less than ideal for smaller productions, especially students.
JRC was pretty much started to solve these two problems:
- Under-utilised gear that freelancers own and over-priced rentals that students and small productions pay. By not having a physical store and hiring staff to serve customers everyday, we pass on the savings to our customers with prices about 30-40% less than prevailing market rates.
- At the same time, equipment owners are able to provide practical tips and useful advice to the renters because of their first hand experience using the gear.
As of now, we have over 12 partners all over the country and our customers also have more options to choose their rental location!
As the founders (Kevin, Jia Jun and myself) have shot the largest national events, companies and personalities, we thoroughly enjoy the world of corporate media production, but feel that working with startups presents many new interesting opportunities.
We strongly believe in helping the start-ups in Singapore gain visibility and raise their game in terms of marketing in this digital age. Adopting a different perspective, we are also ‘investing’ in the success of every startup that we work with. As each of them grows and spreads its branches, we do hope to be their first choice when it comes to any media needs!
IKIGUIDE: It’s is so interesting that you are an entrepreneur yourself, with a will and vision to help other SMEs/ startups grow. What do you think are some of the challenges faced by entrepreneurs like yourself or your clients?
Jeshua: The greatest obstacle is always doubt. People often question the viability of methods or products that deviate from the norm, especially in Singapore, where almost everything fits nicely into rows and columns.
Sometimes, entrepreneurs themselves have doubts about their own ideas and plans, or the potential of their business. However, people need to recognise that doubt is no more than a stepping stone for faith- faith that there is a better way of doing the same thing or faith that the outlier just might be right.
IKIGUIDE: Can you share with us one high and one low point in your career?
Jeshua: A high point would definitely be our recent Davinci Resolve Workshop held in January. This workshop was actually requested by a few polytechnic teams working on their Final Year Projects and having their post production phase around this period. A traditional grading class in a specialised studio might cost $2000 for a two day workshop, but we decided to make it affordable and accessible. We had 10 people from all sorts of backgrounds- students, teachers & working professionals come together to learn colour grading. It was so well received that we are already planning the next one!
I wouldn’t say there is one specific low point, but its probably a common thread in any service industry where we feel that customers take us for granted sometimes. It isn’t uncommon for us to receive calls in the wee hours of the morning for last minute requests/cancellations, or collecting back equipment that has been poorly taken care of. That being said, our team continually tries to improve and serve our customers better, to show them that we are truly there to support them and win their trust & loyalty, one person at a time.
IKIGUIDE: What is the one tip you would give to SMEs in SIngapore, when it comes to doing publicity for their own companies?
Jeshua: Three words: Return on Investment (ROI).
Startups and SME’s often need to get their name out and there is a limit to the effectiveness and reach of attending networking events and pitching sessions. These companies should ask themselves, if I were to create a video that will be viewed 10,000 times across my social media, youtube and at live events, how much is each view worth.
This figure will vary, but often people just look at the costs, without seeing the potential of marketing to grow their customer base or strengthen their customer relations through better product understanding and support.
IKIGUIDE: Do you think SMEs, being cash and time strapped, should allocate budget for social media marketing? Why or why not?
Jeshua: The question should not be if, but how.
I would approach this question with a negative example, where a small startup or SME has no social media presence. It would just take one sly competitor or an angry customer creating a fake page or false identity for the company. The amount of effort and time required to manage such a situation would far exceed the basic cost of creating the official platform. However, investing in quality content and strategy would be dependent on each company’s needs and back to the question of how much ROI the company seeks from its social media marketing.
IKIGUIDE: Can you share with us three of your favorite videos that your company did?
Jeshua: Sure! The first would be for Startup Career Day. We not only provided the equipment for the event, but created this highlight video for Alphacamp SG:
Another video would be for Hyper Island Master Class:
Lastly, a promotional video for AIA’s FA Convention in Coopenhagen:
IKIGUIDE: On a sidetone, we see that you do bridal videography as well. Can you tell us more about the experience?
Jeshua: I love shooting for couples and find that such shoots are full of joy and immensely personal. Instead of viewing it as a job or a checklist of shots that need to be done, I prefer to approach couple shoots and weddings with the goal of telling the couple’s story. After all, for most people, their wedding will be the first and only time that they will have a video made for themselves. It’s a long process as well, from the initial meet up and conversations over the phone, to shooting pre-wedding photos/videos, the couple’s actual day and handing over the finished products. I am proud to have shot over 50 weddings to date and in the process, got to know at least 100 new friends.
IKIGUIDE: On a parting note, what is one tip you would like to give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Jeshua: Don’t forget why you started.
If you ask me whether making profits is one of our goals, the answer would be a no. Despite having over 300 rentals done to date, and significantly less overhead costs compared to the traditional rental houses, we still ought to take into account the thousands of man-hours put into setting up this platform, doing bookings, invoices and meet ups as well as sending gear for servicing.
As we continue to grow our partner base, we are actually ‘giving away’ market share to another person who may serve the client better due to his/her locality or gear offerings. We cannot be confident that our client base will grow in tandem, but will never forget that our mission is to connect gear and people.
As for working with startups, whether it is a SME’s first corporate video or doing a creative startup’s photoshoot, we know that our work will be capturing the formative years of great companies to be! It is in the first few years of every company, when innovations and new ideas are being brought to the table on a daily basis and the first few employees put in the hardest work to set the company up and get it moving. It is in these formative years where passion burns the brightest, and we believe in capturing a glimpse of that for the world to see.
We hope you have enjoyed today’s interview! Be sure to like J Rental Centre and Startup Media SG at their Facebook page. ^^
All photos courtesy of Jeshua Soh. 🙂