Social Startups

How simple conversation between 2 teenagers, leads to a successful unique art-platform.

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3 years ago, my friend started a Facebook page to publish his artworks in it and it eventually turned into a unique art-platform where people can download personalized HD wallpapers for free. This story is all about the journey we went through from my friend’s break up, the first wallpaper we released to how it turned into this successful art-platform.

TL;DR

  • My friend had a big breakup, he wanted to divert his thoughts from it.
  • He started picking up little designing skills from me and started to create custom phone wallpapers to share with his Facebook friends.
  • His Facebook friends appreciated the phone wallpaper but not many used his wallpaper.
  • He was disappointed and talked to me about it and asked me why I didn’t want to set my phone’s wallpaper to his artwork
  • I told him, I liked the wallpaper but didn’t want to use it because I felt that I don’t own it.
  • We brainstormed and came up with an idea that will provide wallpapers with a placeholder text on it that our Facebook friends can choose to change.
  • He designed a unique wallpaper with a placeholder in it. It becomes an instant hit with more than 500 people asking for it.
  • He released several wallpapers after that which had a back-to-back hit, one of the wallpaper was demanded by 2000 people.
  • We realized the load to provide wallpapers on Facebook is huge that we needed to create a website for people to download the wallpapers themselves.
  • We created a unique website where people can choose their favorite wallpaper and enter a personalized name to download it.
  • The website was a HIT with currently having more than 3,000 users and almost 30,000 wallpaper downloads.

Diversion of thoughts

It all started back in mid-2016 when my friend had a breakup with his girlfriend. He was losing his mind so much that he told me, he would like to do anything to make himself busy so that he can divert his thoughts from this breakup. Back then, I was really into doing artworks and UI/UX designs in Photoshop. My friend got inspired by this and he started picking up the designing skills from me and some other tutorials. He started his own Facebook page and posted the artworks he designed on it.

Hard work was overtaken by passion

In just about 3 months, he improved in his designing skills so much that he managed to get his first freelancing project. While doing the freelancing project, he got strike with a unique idea.

He designed an Iron Man (his favorite superhero) phone wallpaper and posted on his FB page mentioning that if anyone interested, personal message him and he’ll provide the wallpaper in HD. He received several messages appreciating the design of the wallpaper but only a few asked for it.

The Iron Man wallpaper post on Facebook

The simple conversation

My friend was disappointed as he thought that he would receive more messages asking for the wallpaper instead of just appreciation. That same week he released the wallpaper, we met at a local cafe for a chat.

In between the chat, I appreciated his latest artwork, the phone wallpaper. He opened up saying the wallpaper doesn’t go well as he expected. He asked me back, why wasn’t I interested in the wallpaper as I’m an Iron Man fan too.

I told him, it’s been a long time since I used external wallpapers, I usually just design my wallpaper with my quotes in it. It just feels like I owned the wallpaper by doing that. That’s where the sparks come in, we thought about this and we decided, why not we try giving a shot by providing a wallpaper with a placeholder in it where people can choose their favorite text to replace in the wallpaper.

Realization of the secret recipe

The next week, he designed a new wallpaper with a placeholder in it. He posted the wallpaper on his FB page with certain rules to obtain the wallpaper. The rules were simple, LIKE & SHARE the post plus COMMENT on your name in the comment section to obtain your personalized wallpaper.

That’s it, believe it or not, the post went VIRAL. He had more than 500 people followed the rules and waiting for him to provide them with the personalized wallpaper. He had to re-edit the wallpaper for every comment he received using Photoshop and share it back it in the comment section, takes him around est an hour for 50 comments, now imagine that for more than 500 comments for one post.

The hassle was real, but it was worth it as he believed the idea worked. I still doubted it though, was it the PERSONALIZATION of text the secret recipe of wallpaper demands? I told him to retry the recipe.

He posted several new wallpapers with the same rules. It all got HIT back-to-back. We were convinced that we found the recipe when the PUBG wallpaper had more than 1,500 comments. The demand for personalized wallpapers was real.

Powerful recipe, but weak steps

The demand was real, but the supply was impossible. My friend at a point in time needs to provide around 1,000 personalized wallpaper by re-editing the design in Photoshop, saving it, and posting it in the comment section accordingly.

We talked once again in the local cafe. He told me, it’s working, I’m happy, but the load is too high. He asked, is there any way we can reduce these steps to create personalized wallpapers. He asked using the technical skills I have, is it possible to create a website where he can obtain the personalized wallpaper and share it back to the people on FB.

Honestly, I had very minimal technical skills in building a website at that time. I told him, look, we know this is working, let’s build a website, but in the right way. We shall build a community-driven platform like a website, where people come to our site, choose their favorite wallpaper, type in their personalized text, and download.

Zero work for us right? An actual working system. He asked is it possible? I told, seriously I have no idea, but let’s do it. Let’s try to take 2 months, level up in technical skills like how we leveled up in designing skills. Let’s build this, once and for all.

The fusion of designing and technical skills

This is the beginning of building the platform, there were many things to consider but we finished our comfortable part first, designing. We designed the entire User Interface of the website.

After reviewing the flow and User Experience of the website, we were convinced that if we can build the site as it is in the design, this would be a killer platform. We learned most of technical skills in these 3 months than in our entire life.

From a simple login system to an image processing system to render personalized wallpaper, not forgetting the need for good SEO and newsletter system in the platform.

There was only one thing we had in mind when developing, no matter what, never compromise the quality of the platform. We took all the free time we had in these 3 months, only slept around 4–5 hours every day on the weekdays. The recovering day was Friday night, after work we would sleep around 12 to 14 hours to gear up energy for the following week.

Birth of the platform

It took us exactly 3 and a half months to complete the platform, we named it Flpapers. At the closing end of the development, we could see the birth of the platform, exactly how we predicted in our design. That’s the little proud moment we got looking back at how well the system worked.

Now, all it left was introducing this platform on the FB page. We introduced the website and slowly started to bridge the users from our FB page to our website. We also had a survey form to ask our users for feedback on what they felt about the website.

Mostly given us positive reviews as they mentioned, now they don’t have to wait in the comment section and they can download unlimited wallpapers they want. Clearly, our users had no idea what was going on when they were waiting in the comment section, LOL.

Platform open to the public (Product Launch)

Fast forward today, Flappers is matured enough for a product launch. We have more than 3,000 users and almost 30,000 wallpapers downloads count. Imagine how many hours my friend would need to spend if we didn’t have the platform right now. We have more than 50+ personalized HD wallpapers ready to be downloaded for free and unlimited times.

We also have polls (one of the community-driven features we have in the road-plan) on our platform so that our users can vote for their next favorite wallpapers. We are also working on exciting community-driven features such as allowing artists to use our platform to create personalized wallpapers of their designs for their fans.

With all these struggles till today, I and my friend believe this would be a great time for us to do a proper product launch to the public to bring our platform to the next stage. We are releasing the platform to the public today, you can visit and download your personalized wallpapers at Flpapers.com.

Flpapers launch promo video

But wait, who were we exactly?

No one, just passionate teenage boys who started a simple conversation that leads them to a successful art-driven platform. Pro tips: Have a talk in local cafes with your friends whenever you can. Jokes apart, we had also released several other products, but this, Flpapers will always be close to our heart and we are ready to work on our road-plan to bring this platform to the next stage.

Meanwhile, my friend is, Ravin Rau. I am Sanjevi Rau.

And this is our journey.

Thank you.

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