21-Year-Old Student Uses $250 to Start a Smart Business That Makes $100,000 A MONTH (And It’s Not a Pyramid Scheme)
- Madi Stefanis, 21, sold a vintage camera on Facebook for $250 in 2019
- Seeing the demand, she used the money to buy more – and sold 10 in a week
- The business student spent a year reselling old models on her website, 35mmco
- In 10 months, she developed a reusable film camera which was launched in August
- The $99 Reloader has sold twice since then, grossing six figures a month
- Ms Stefanis told Daily Mail Australia her best advice was ‘to stop talking and go for it’
A savvy young business student has revealed how she used $250 to create a durable camera that earns up to $100,000 a month.
When 21-year-old Madi Stefanis tried to whip up a vintage camera for $50 on Facebook Marketplace in 2019, she was inundated with offers before settling for $250.
Stunned by the demand, she invested the money in more and sold 10 in the space of a week.
The budding entrepreneur spent a year researching and reselling discontinued models on her website, 35mmco, but behind the scenes she was hard at work developing her invention: Australia’s first-ever reusable film camera.
The $99 Reloader has sold twice since its August 15 launch, moving 5,000 units and earning Ms. Stefanis six-figure monthly sales – all while doing her part for the planet by creating an alternative to single-use disposable cameras.
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Melbourne student Madi Stefanis (right) has created Australia’s first-ever reusable film camera
The $99 Reloader (left and right) is a smart alternative to single-use disposable cameras, which are notorious for creating massive amounts of plastic waste that ends up in oceans and landfills.
Reflecting on her extraordinary success, the businesswoman described the interest in the first camera she sold on Facebook as a “lightbulb moment” that lit her path to success.
“It was unbelievable, I literally can’t keep up with the demand,” she told Daily Mail Australia. “I outgrew my manufacturing space in two months.”
Made in China from ABS plastic, the palm-sized camera has a 31mm lens and focus range up to one meter, with 1/120S shutter speed and flash integrated 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 Kodak Gold 200 film for $14.95, which is also stocked on Ms. Stefanis’ website.
Disposable cameras are cheap, selling for $19 to $29.95 at Amazon and Officeworks, but their single-use nature creates a huge amount of plastic waste that ends up in oceans, rivers and landfills.
Ms Stefanis says the Reloader – which has been designed to suit beginners with no photography experience – is also better value for money in the long run.
“A roll of film is only $14.95, which is cheaper than buying single-use cameras over and over again,” she said.
The camera is currently sold out but is available for pre-order, with shipments resuming from November 15.
TikTok has been the biggest source of sales for the company, according to Ms Stefanis, who says the website saw ‘huge’ traffic after a cam video went viral with more than a million views .
Ms Stefanis is struggling to keep up with demand for her invention, which has sold twice – to the tune of 5,000 units – since its launch in August
The camera (photo) has a vegan leather strap and can be refilled with Kodak Gold 200 film for $14.95, which is also stocked on Ms. Stefanis’ website.
His best advice for budding entrepreneurs considering starting a business is simple: “Do it.”
“I’m surrounded by so many people who say they want to do it, but they’re paralyzed with fear. The worst thing you can do is fail,” she said.
Ms Stefanis plans to wholesale the Reloader and stock it in major Australian stores, but needs to find a bigger factory.
“At the moment we don’t have enough stock for our own customers – that’s a good problem to have!” she said.