Thank you to everyone who supported the MyLondon and MyWorld calendar campaign!
£5,000 paid directly to the photographers and vendors
We made it through the year because of your support and we also managed to pay our photographers and sheltering calendar vendors more than £5,000. Normally this would not be a huge amount - but this year we didn't sell outside* so we consider it a fantastic result!
* a couple of vendors sold calendars in early December on their own, between lockdowns
Seeing as we couldn't hold the MyLondon Photo Project in 2020 we decided to have a go at producing a 2021 MyLondon calendar and a 2021 MyWorld calendar with some of the most popular photos from previous years (after a survey last year). For the first time we also printed eight greetings cards to see how they would sell.
We knew we needed to have a strong online campaign as it was doubtful we would be selling in our usual retail outlet with our vendors because of the risk of Covid-19. This turned out to be a good guess - as London went into lockdown in November for a month and then again just after Christmas.
This year we had to pay our bills - mostly the printing of the calendar, but also the commission to our photographers - upfront.
In a normal year we raise money on Kickstarter to pay for one third of the printing cost of the MyLondon calendar. The next two thirds are paid to the printer in instalments as we sell the calendar in Spitalfields Market (and other places such as London railway stations) with the homeless vendors and recently homeless vendors. Since 2013 vendors have earned 50% of more than 35,000 calendars sold face-to-face. This was $5 per £10 calendar sold until last year when it was £5.50 per £11 calendar sold (we sold 5,000 calendars in markets last year).
By reducing the calendar size and gaining support of Fujifilm UK and a grant from the Social Enterprise Support Fund we were able to pay the printing up front.
We also paid the photographers (each was paid £50 for use of their photos which were taken between 2013 and 2019 in London, Budapest, São Paulo and New Orleans and 2020 in Sydney and Toronto).
We were also able to pay commissions on 80 photos sold (£800 to the photographers) and more than £3,000 to sheltering vendors who would have normally been selling face-to-face.
We now know we have a core group of about 700 individuals and companies who collectively have bought about 1,800 calendars plus a lot of cards and the 80 photographs mentioned, on our website this year.
Survey results: what DID everyone think?
The SurveyMonkey survey in February was completed by 169 people. The numbers concur with the numbers from our online shop, although it must be noted that we don't have email addresses for people who received the calendar from a bulk order, as a gift bought a MyWorld calendar sold in Budapest, Sydney, New Orleans and Toronto this year. It was only the customers whose email addresses we have who were asked.
Question 1: What did you buy and for whom? (You can choose more than one answer)
MyLondon wall calendar 79%
MyWorld wall calendar 32%
MyLondon desktop calendar 9.5%
MyWorld desktop calendar 10.5%
I bought it for myself 74.5%
I bought it as a gift 53%
I bought online because I couldn't buy from a vendor 24.5%
We were happy that we got even 24.5% from our usual face-to-face sales. They usually make up more than 80% of total sales and we didn't have their email addresses as they are usually walk-by sales.
We were disappointed with the desktop sales. last year they made up 45% of the 2020 calendar sales. However because of Covid-19 fewer people are working in an office so we understand the drop in demand.
Question 2: Were you aware that we are a social enterprise raising money to run the annual MyLondon Photo Project and pay the photographers and calendar vendors?
92% said yes which we think wasn't too bad!
Question 3: If you said "yes" to Question 2, did you use the Promo Code option on the online website that pledged 50% of the calendar income to the vendors affected by homelessness who were sheltering because of Covid-19?
We advertised the code as much as we could but 30% of people didn't see it or use it. Despite that, we have raised more than £3,000 for the vendor fund.
All calendar orders helped us pay the calendar photographers' commissions (£1,200) and all photo orders resulted in 50% (£10) going to photographers. Since February 1st we have been giving 50% of calendars sales to the vendor fund - whether people use the Promo Code or not. Question 4: Which city and country do you live in?
This was a fun question to check out. Here are the results:
Unsurprisingly London had the most people let us know where they live, coming in at 30%. This was followed by multiple people in the following cities: Romford, Essex, Southampton, Vancouver, Canada, Nottingham, Edinburgh, Scotland, Munich, Germany, Canterbury, Kent, Cambridge, Bristol, and Hertford.
We have individuals who support our project from: Harpenden, Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany, Exeter, Berlin, Germany, Sittingbourne, Vantaa, Finland, Austin, Texas, Northwich, Cheshire, Kansas City, Missouri, USA, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, New Orleans, USA, Birmingham, Boxmoor, Epsom, Surry, Chicago, USA, Ipswich, Ewloe, Wales, Muhen, Switzerland, St Albans, West Wickham, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, Tann, Switzerland, Indre, France, Nanterre, France, Crawley, Brighton, Matlock, Walpole, Suffolk, Akron, USA, Sudbury, Suffolk, Bishop's Stortford, Paris, France, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, RCT, South Wales, Naples Italy, Radford, Virginia, USA, Lisbon, Portugal, Dorking, Reading, Perth, Australia, Tauranga, New Zealand, Helsinki, Finland, Abingdon, Nuremburg, Germany, Falmouth, Cornwall, Frankfurt, Germany, Gelrenkirchen, Germany, Dalerveen, The Netherlands, Gembloux, Belgium, Brent, Middlesex, Horsham, Leuven, Belgium, Kennesaw, Georgia, USA, Singapore, London, Ontario, Canada, Stone, Munich, Germany, Oxford, Giessen, Germany, Penarth, Wales, Manchester, Wakefield, Derby, Wave, Welwyn Garden City, Maidenhead, Denver, Colorado, USA, Leverkusen, Germany, Frimley, Surrey, Newry, Northern Ireland, Southend-on-Sea, Trois-Pistoles, Canada, Cumberland, Scotland, and Truro. Some people simply wrote: USA, UK, Surrey, Hertfordshire, West Sussex, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire and England!
Question 5 was a test to see if people are paying attention! We announced our new MyWorld Photo Projects charity on the inside front cover of both calendars... and the question was:
"Did you know we are setting up a charity called MyWorld Photo Projects to help other projects help empower people affected by homelessness?"
Question 6: How long have you been buying one of our calendars?
For 31% it was their first calendar. This is interesting as we obviously didn't do too bad in our social media campaign to find new buyers. The rest of the answers - the previous calendars - had fewer the further back we went to the first calendar printed in 2012.
Question 7: Are you satisfied enough to consider ordering the 2022 calendar later this year?
Wow - we had a 99% YES for this question! One of the two people who said "no" complained that they didn't like the photos from previous years being repeated in the 2021 MyLondon calendar. We won't be doing another "best of" calendar and we only did it because we couldn't hold the contest last year.
Question 8: This year we reduced the size of the wall calendars from 300mm x 300mm to 240mm x 240mm because the cost of postage went up a lot. We saved money on postage by shrinking it from a (Royal Mail) "Small Parcel" size to "Large Letter" size and passed the savings on to you. What did you think of the new size?
We really needed to know what people thought here. Initially it was because of the USA Postal Service putting a new import tax on parcels that made us look into the new size. President Trump wanted to make it difficult to buy from overseas producers (mostly in China) so they introduced the new tax. It would have added £5 to a MyLondon or MyWorld calendar being shipped to the US from the UK so we thought we might lose a lot of US buyers. By reducing the size we saved £10 in the cost of shipping one calendar to the US! We discovered that we could also save UK buyers several £s in postage costs too - and we would save precious funds on the printing bill. Did people like the new size?
40.5% liked the new size 2.5% didn't like the new size 16%: I liked the old size because of the larger photographs, and I would like the 2022 calendar to revert to the larger size (300mm x 300mm) 14%: I liked the old size (300mm x 300mm) because I could write more in the larger day squares. 14%: I don't write on the calendar so didn't mind the smaller size. 13%: This was my first calendar so I can't compare 30.5%: I don't mind either way 8%: I bought the desktop calendar
Comments: "The photos looked better in the larger size, button understand the charity needs to cut down costs."
"We use a wall calendar to write things on, and this new size is too small. Do you think you could offer either sizes in the future?"
"Happy for any changes which make the money go further towards helping people."
"Happy with the smaller size as it makes sense to reduce postage costs."
"I liked the bigger one but understand why it was changed. Thats fine and makes sense."
"I would like as much profit as possible to be directed to those in need so am happy with the smaller size."
"I prefer the big one and I'd be ready to pay more for postage."
"I like it because for Covid I am using this instead of a diary and it fits in a bag."
"It's a good size for a small space."
"The 240 mm x 240 mm format is just fine."
"There IS less room to write but it takes up less room so don’t mind too much."
Question 9: We sold two sets of greetings cards. We also gave every online purchase at least one complimentary greetings card from the Dogs of the World and Portraits sets. Please answer the following questions.
We chose to sell in packs of four based on the survey we did last year when the idea was to sell packs of 12. The themes of dogs and people (portraits) was made to keep them universal but be probably could have had a London set too.
60% of the replies agreed with the following: I liked the complimentary card and I would buy a set of them if I liked the photographs
24% said: I liked the complimentary card but I don't send cards so I wouldn't buy any myself.
Only 11% of people had bought the Dogs of the World cards (and liked them) and three percent had bought the Portraits cards and liked them.
"I already used the promotional cards. Thank you."
"I don't just buy cards to send them - sometimes I keep them for myself."
"Good cards but not ones I would use sorry. Good pictures."
"Beautiful and of extremely high quality!!"
"A ranges of cards in interesting packaging would make a super gift."
"I liked the idea but am not very keen on dogs!"
"I don't send a lot of cards but I would maybe buy a small pack."
"Not interested I would have much preferred a larger calendar."
"I am interested in pictures from London only. That is my one and only favourite motive."
A couple of people didn't receive their complimentary cards - let us know who you are an we can send you one!
Question 10: Where did you first hear about this year's calendar campaign?
Now this is interesting as we did submit to advertising a little on Facebook.
Facebook 10.5% Instagram 2.4% Twitter 2.4% Email from Cafe Art 55% Cafe Art website 23% (it's unclear if this was the first place people heard about us - but it was certainly where everyone bought the calendars, cards and photos) Recommendation from a friend: 15%
"Bought first 2020 calendar at Spitalfields market. Went online for this year due to pandemic."
"I have bought from vendors last 2 years so wanted to buy again."
"Easy to find you. Despite not being able to get to the UK at least twice in 2020 (my norm), I was happy to note that I was able to order online."
"On the Robert Elms show on Radio London."
"My daughter lives in London so either I buy at a market when I’m visiting or she buys me one as part of Christmas."
"Saw a display at Spitalfields Market."
"None of the above I just looked you up from the 2019 calendar."
"My sister bought a calendar for my partner last year. I was due to buy a calendar this year and remembered seeing people selling them at tube stations and wanted to support an excellent cause especially at this difficult time with Covid."
"Have been a MyNewOrleans Photo project supporter for years, and without their calendar this year, found out about your world calendar and supported the project."
"I was looking for charity calendars."
"We had the 2020 calendar and I loved the pictures and the campaign to help the homeless."
Question 11: Where did you hang/place your calendar?
My home office desk (desktop calendar) 6.88%
Living room 10%
I haven't put it up 1.88%
I gave it as a gift 32.5%
"I placed the photos I framed in my living room (you didn't ask but I thought you'd like to know)."
"I have it up in my library/sewing room."
"Classroom. I am a teacher in an all male prison where many of the men have experienced homelessness. The calendar is perfect. They love the images and it evokes conversation. Thank you!"
"By our back door - small space that separates the kitchen from downstairs toilet and shower room."
The final question was about the left over calendars on offer. It was a 50%/50% tie as to whether people would be interested in paying postage only for the the left over calendars - we ended up selling a few more so thanks everyone!