The Superb Talya & Lucas

Bringing photo printing to the 21st Century

Going into business with your best friend isn't something that works out for everyone, but it is working out quite nicely for Nifty 250's Lucas Adams and Talya Goldberg. Already successful in their personal ventures - Talya's fashion blog Shades of Gold and Lucas' product design brand Kraftisan - they paired up to pioneer digital boutique Instagram printing in SA. The response was nothing but love - so much of it that they had to remove the "gram" from their name and rebrand their offering. Now about to launch a host of new formats - including the option to print your photos as stickers - the pair answered a few questions for The Way of Us.

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not working?

T: Chilling out!

L: It’s hard to completely separate my “work” from my life, because “working” is very enjoyable for me. When I’m not at work I take immense pleasure in exhaustive amounts of running (road and dominantly trail), and road biking and some paddling as a relaxing additive. On any given week I spent around 6-9 hours running, with a large amount being in our local national mountain reserves. Other the aerobic activities I enjoy reading on the beach and spending time with close friends.

What’s the next thing you’d like to tick off your bucket list?

T: A trip to the city of my dreams, Tokyo.

L: Work wise we’re only just starting to see the real potential for Nifty250, so there’s a long road ahead in terms of business bucket lists, but outside of Nifty I have a strong desire to start something new that's completely centred around design as a service for hire. Outside of work, I am silently planning a trip into Africa towards the end of this year – probably Kenya – as a kind of athletic adventure quest that involves bagging the highest peaks of my life so far.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

T: 100% morning person.

L: I was always a late sleeper, getting most of my productivity out past midnight, but that has changed dramatically in the last year as I have applied a substantially more disciplined work ethic to my aerobic conditioning, which of course then dictates that I acquire a proper sleep regimen. I’m not a full-blown early junkie like others, but I’m working on that.

What’s the last thing you bought?

T: An almond milk cappuccino.

L: An industrial digital scale for our print studio, partly because we want to assess quantity variables more accurately, but also because I like demonstrating the weight of objects under 5g to my colleagues.

What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs wanting to start a business?

T: Nike says it best ‘just do it!’ – I think people spend far too much time doubting themselves and their abilities if you’re super passionate about something pour everything you have into it. What’s the worst thing that could possibly happen? You fail? Then pick yourself up and start again.

L: Forget the magazines, the articles, the hype, even the term. Cut out the noise, sit in silence, and without thinking, you should already know what you’re good at, and thus what you enjoy doing – make sure the nature of your business is in some way part of that concept otherwise you’re wasting your time in the long run. If you’re talking a standard run of the mill business to make a buck, then fine, go ahead and just start trading, but if you’re following your gut, your head and your heart, don’t expect to be successful if your business idea isn’t something you truly give a shit about. Core advice: just start, ask questions along the way, fall, get up, learn some more.

What would you do with a R100 000 investment?

L: We would put it all into the business. Web development is expensive, and we’re currently in the final stages of launching a brand new platform and offering for our business, so R100k would ensure that we could line up additional functionality for the next few months. We don’t have investors, so everything is still largely bootstrapped, but I love it that way, and I think we’ve done well to manage and utilise every cent that has come in to ensure our survival.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

T: I wish I was less black-and-white in my thinking.   

L: I’d like to be able to run faster, and have had an even higher naturel V02 Max.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

T: Having thus far avoided the 9-5 trap.

L: Just getting here (any given day) is an achievement, but honestly this “achievement” is still being nurtured and built, it’s too early to nail it down.

What is your most treasured possession?

T: My iPhone, urgh I’m a terrible person, but I literally couldn’t live/survive without it.

L: My body (e.g. all the incredible things we’re able to do with it).

What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve had to face in doing what you do?

L: By and large it’s having decided to take a more loner approach to starting your own business, and just figuring it out by trial and error for the sake of learning.

What is your most marked characteristic?

T: Stubbornness.

L: An abundance of energy.

Which historical figure do you identify with the most?

T: Kanye West, at least I’m trying to be more like Kanye, I think in general we should all give fewer fu**s.

When and where were you happiest?

T: I’m pretty damn happy now.

L: It’s a battle between being an Emerging Creative (yeah yeah, I know) at Design Indaba years ago, hustling the product design scene with my wares, in the heat of sales with tons of awesome customers surrounding my stand, wanting my stuff – I am forever fixated and driven to regain that sense of adrenaline. And running up mountains, catching sunset while having pushed by body to its current limit, and knowing that I’ve don’t so through large amounts of lactic acid – this happens regularly. Mostly though, I am super happy every damn day.

What causes you to lie?

T: When it’s a much nicer thing to say than the truth, and I think I won’t get caught.

L: Moments of weakness.

What is your idea of complete happiness?

T: Sun, sand, coconuts, a good book, no wifi signal and no responsibilities.

L: Winning the Superbalist 100 Competition.