Founder Stories: Sunny Choudhary On Building PortraitFlip

In today’s Founder Story, we feature Sunny Choudhary, Founder/CEO of PortraitFlip!

Read on for lessons he has learned from launching and marketing his business.

1. Please introduce your business and share your role.

I am Sunny Choudhary, the Founder and CEO of PortraitFlip. PortraitFlip was born in 2018 as a bridge between our talented artists and a world that wanted handmade paintings.  While an entire generation was moving towards using digital art, we decided to uplift the traditional method of painting. 

Our initial mission was to preserve handmade painting but unknowingly we have helped 250+ artists to earn a standard living. As of today, 2023, we are in the process of revolutionizing the gifting industry by introducing Handmade and Custom art as a thoughtful alternative to regular gifts. 

Since our target audience majorly remains the United States of America, most of our marketing is digital. As the CEO, I am responsible for Strategizing, Executing, and Managing my team. And like any other CEO, my vision remains for PortraitFlip to become a synonym for Custom Painting. 

2. How did you prepare for, and go about your launch? 

We hardly had any specific marketing strategy pre-launch. In fact, so happened that we did not receive any orders for the first 3 months of the launch. It was only after we started investing in Facebook Ads post-launch that we received our first order. 

However, the design that we used for our first Facebook was simple and to the point. We made sure that we showed our product clearly and created relatability with the help of images of our customers. To our surprise, the image ad brought us 23 sales in the first 1 week. 

3. Since launching, what types of marketing campaigns and designs have worked best to attract and retain customers?

Mostly our Video and Image ads through Facebook Marketing and Google Ads work the best. When it comes to image ads, we make sure that the design is such that our product is shown clearly. It is important for the potential customers to understand what the actual product is and a simple yet impactful design can only help us achieve that clarity. 

Our video ads on the other hand are designed in such a way that it creates a sense of relatability and impacts the viewers emotionally. The only way to create a relationship with an ad is to show people like them using the product. Emotional customer reactions are also a great way to bring about clicks. 

4. What have been the most influential brands for your business? Whose branding and marketing do you aspire to and why?

If you are talking about a competitor that we look up to, then that would be Paint Your Life because they are doing great in our niche. But, overall, Zomato would be my favorite brand when it comes to Marketing and Branding. 

Have you seen their social media? Have you seen their Notifications? Each and every design, each and every content will push you to place an order. They have found a sweet space for their designs and cracked the trigger point for their audience. 

5. What are your favorite marketing platforms/tools?
  • We have been loyal to Klaviyo for Email Marketing. 
  • Instagram, Facebook, and Google remain number one for Paid Advertisements. 
  • We also receive a large amount of organic traffic which is mainly because of our Content Marketing Strategies. We don’t really use any particular tool for it apart from Ahrefs to do the basic Keyword research. 
  • We also use Upfluence for Influencer Marketing. 
6. Looking ahead, what are you most excited about?

Quite frankly, generating a bigger customer base. We are hoping to bring every customer’s custom vision to life with our flawless designs and realistic handpainted portraits. 

7. Who or what inspires and motivates you?

If Zomato is our favorite brand when it comes to Marketing, Deepinder Goyal definitely has to be the person who inspires me. It is not because he pulled off a brand like Zomato, but because of all the things that he did when Zomato was almost falling. 

It is not easy to pull a company from it dark age and make it the ruling Brand of the industry. 

8. What are some lessons you’ve learned along the way that you would share with entrepreneurs hoping to launch or who have just launched? 
  1. Outsource, always – You, as an entrepreneur, cannot do everything. The best and most efficient way to earn your first profit is by outsourcing things you don’t know to an expert. They will do it for you!
  2. Hiring is not a piece of cake – You cannot just hire people because you need manpower. You need to hire the right people. If you have a bunch of smart people who can collaborate with you and each other and work toward the benefit of the company, you can achieve anything. 
  3. Visual Marketing is very important – Nothing sells more than a visually appealing product, graphic design, or advertisement. Make sure you bring experts on your team who understand visual marketing and help you earn that revenue. 
  4. Don’t be secretive about your startup. Food apps started with Food Panda, Uber, Zomato, Swiggy and whatnot, but who’s ruling? Don’t be afraid of competition, learn from it and keep pushing your original ideas to conquer. 
9. What do you believe are the qualities of a good entrepreneur? And what makes a team successful?
  1. Freedom to decide. Let your team decide the how, when, and what to do. They are experts that you have hired, and they know what they are doing. 
  2. Don’t micro-manage. Micro-managing takes more than it gives. Let there be a breathing space, let there be conversations, discussions, and conflicts, the team will handle it. This brings me to the biggest factor – 
  3. Trust your team! If you have hired the right people, they will think about the company’s benefit. It is important to trust your team because it is your team that will help the company grow. 
10. Let us know where we can go to learn more!