Luc Chanren stands out in a crowd. When he walks into the cafe at the Whitman School of Management, he happily greeted by many people before he even has a chance to sit down. He’s a popular guy. Everyone wants to be his friend. And odds are, he probably wants to be yours too.
Luc, a sophomore iSchool student, founded CameraMe, a venture that is the perfect example of how to turn a passion into a business. CameraMe is a multimedia ski company that takes pictures and videos of tourists skiing at resorts. The company is based out of Niseko, Japan, which is where Luc’s favorite ski resort is located. He works one-on-one with families to create high quality footage that will serve as a reminder of their vacation experiences. In the seasonal ski season in Niseko this winter, he found that CameraMe was more than fun. It was very profitable.
CameraMe’s co-founder is Nicholas Connors, a sophomore at Northeastern and his best friend from boarding school in New Hampshire, where they would go skiing any free chance they had. Both of them are highly advanced skiers. Luc has been skiing for 15 years, has raced competitively, and is a Level 1 instructor. While skiing, Luc and Nicholas took pictures of each other and their friends. They soon were in high demand to take “sick” and “rad” action shots of people they skied with, and realized they had the potential to make a business out of what they love. The two coordinated with a ski resort in Niseko, where they planned to ski that winter. Luc decided to name it “CameraMe” because when he was a little kid skiing bunny hills, he would yell to his parents “Camera me! Camera me!” take pictures of him.
For now, Luc runs CameraMe informally because it is a seasonal business, and he is full time college student. He charges by the hour for high definition photos, GoPro video, and drone footage, and then provides the photos and footage to clients. It is a simple service business model. The company is completely self-funded by the founders, without support from family, friends or investors.
When asked about personality traits that make him an accomplished entrepreneur, Luc blushed, and said he didn’t know, indicative of how genuine and humble he is. He stressed the importance of communication in running a successful business, especially since his co-founder goes to school at Northeastern University in Boston and they rarely see each other. Relying on Skype calls, texts, and phone calls can be effective in the short term, but building a business is a challenge in the virtual world. Luc also stressed the importance of good communication with clients, and how essential it is to understand a customer’s desires and demands.
Luc has complete dedication to the quality of his products. What keeps him awake at night is worrying about how to take the best photos possible. He aspires to be like his role model, Chris Benchetler, an avid skier who produces amazing footage. Above all that, Luc is incredibly proud of how far he has come. He wanted to start a business and he did. He looks forward to growing it after graduation. In five years’ time, Luc hopes that CameraMe will have more clients and that he will be able to fully sustain himself with the company.
Growing his business will allow him to do the two things he loves: skiing and photography. “That’s what’s important at the end of the day,” says Luc. “Do what you love.”
Story by Emilie Yousem ’20, Newhouse School