Over the course of a couple years, Smith accumulated enough equipment and expertise to become a place where anyone could bring "their stuff" and have it converted to digital format.
From that humble beginning, Familyography has grown, with a store in Cleveland opening in 2013. Though still a small business by any measure, the company employs a group of great individuals with a passion for the work of helping people preserve their history, their "familyography".
“Familyography is wonderful” say customer Rebecca Ballard of Granville, Ohio, "They have done quite a few projects for me.”
Those projects include scanning thousands of slides, videotapes, and a special project involving severely damaged 16mm film from the 1920s and 1930s.
“If it was anyone else, I probably wouldn’t have had that much trust,” Ballard said.
Dave Powell of the Northwest Side is another satisfied Familyography customer. He had Familyography transfer “boxes and boxes and boxes” of family videos onto DVDs.
“It was 30 years’ worth of family movies in various formats” Powell said. “I guess what I really, really appreciated about how they did it was the packaging and labeling. They just seemed to have a great knack for pulling out a certain picture from that particular era and putting it on the label. It was a great investment, and it was my wife’s Christmas gift. She just loved it!”
Today, Familyography is busy around the clock. They continues to invest in the most advanced equipment and software to deliver the best results for their customers. Plans are in the works to potentially grow the business further and expand to other locations.
Almost a decade later Dan is still very involved in the business on a day to day basis. "If you love it, its not really work," he says.
Familyography was started in 2009 by Dan Smith, it was a humble beginning. With little cash in the bank and a lot of love and support from his wife, Smith rented and rehabbed a small storefront in the Clintonville neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio. He envisioned it as studio space where he could interview people and create "life stories" on DVD.
The first week the store was open someone came in and asked if Dan could transfer videotape to DVD, “Sure.” he said. Shortly thereafter, another person dropped in to inquire if he could scan their old slides. “Sure can,” was the reply, not realizing the impact of these inquires would change his business trajectory going forward.
By now, Familyography has helped thousands of customers: families, businesses, colleges, universities, libraries and other institutions that all have "stuff" that needs to be digitized. We have customers from Australia to the United Kingdom, Canada to Belize. Over 80% of Familyography's customers come back with more work to do. The rest, they like to say, just haven't gotten around to it yet.