Student, 21, uses $250 to launch a clever business that turns over $100,000 A MONTH (and it’s not a pyramid scheme)
- Madi Stefanis, 21, sold a vintage film camera on Facebook for $250 in 2019
- Seeing the demand, she used the money to buy more – and sold 10 within a week
- The business student spent a year reselling old models on her website, 35mmco
- Over 10 months, she developed a reusable film camera that launched in August
- The $99 Reloader has sold out twice since then, raking in six figures a month
- Ms Stefanis told Daily Mail Australia her best advice is ‘stop talking and go for it’
A savvy young business student has revealed how she used $250 to create a sustainable film camera that rakes in up to $100,000 a month.
When Madi Stefanis, 21, tried to flog a vintage camera for $50 on Facebook Marketplace in 2019, she was inundated with offers before setting on a bid of $250.
Astounded by the demand, she invested the money into more and sold 10 within a week.
The budding entrepreneur spent a year sourcing and reselling discontinued models on her website, 35mmco, but in the background she was hard at work developing her invention: Australia’s first-ever reusable film camera.
The $99 Reloader has sold out twice since launching on August 15, shifting 5,000 units and earning Ms Stefanis a six-figure monthly turnover – all while doing its bit for the planet by creating an alternative to single-use disposable cameras.
Melbourne student Madi Stefanis (right) created Australia’s first-ever reusable film camera
The $99 Reloader (left and right) is a clever alternative to to single-use disposable cameras, notorious for creating huge amounts of plastic waste that wind up in oceans and landfill
Reflecting on her extraordinary success, the businesswoman described the interest in the first camera she sold on Facebook as a ‘lightbulb moment’ that illuminated her path to success.
‘It’s been incredible, I literally can’t keep up with the demand,’ she told Daily Mail Australia. ‘I’ve outgrown my manufacturing space in two months.’
Made in China from ABS plastic, the palm-sized camera has a 31mm lens and a focus of up to one metre, with a shutter speed of 1/120S and a built-in flash powered by a triple A battery which is brighter than what is used in traditional disposables.
Ten months in the making, the camera has a vegan leather strap and can be refilled with $14.95 Kodak Gold 200 film, which is also stocked on Ms Stefanis’ website.
Disposable cameras are cheap, retailing from $19 to $29.95 at the likes of Amazon and Officeworks, but their single-use nature creates a huge amount of plastic waste that winds up in oceans, rivers, and landfill.
Ms Stefanis says the Reloader – which has been designed to suit beginners with zero experience in photography – is also better value for money in the long run.
‘A roll of film only costs $14.95 so it ends up being less expensive than buying single-use cameras again and again,’ she said.
The camera is currently sold out but is available for pre-order, with shipping resuming from November 15.
TikTok has been the biggest source of sales for the business, according to Ms Stefanis, who says the website saw ‘huge’ traffic after a video about the camera went viral with more than 1 million views.
Ms Stefanis is struggling to keep up with demand for her invention, which has sold out twice – to the tune of 5,000 units – since launching in August
The camera (pictured) has a vegan leather strap and can be refilled with $14.95 Kodak Gold 200 film, which is also stocked on Ms Stefanis’ website
Her best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs thinking about starting a business is simple: ‘Just do it.’
‘I’m surrounded by so many people who say they want to do it, but they’re paralysed by fear. The worst thing you can do is fail,’ she said.
Ms Stefanis plans to wholesale the Reloader and have it stocked in major Australian stores, but she needs to find a bigger factory.
‘At the moment we don’t have enough for stock our own customers – it’s a good problem to have!’ she said.