Artkive, an app designed to eliminate the overwhelming guilt you get tossing your children’s brilliant artwork into the garbage, now has another purpose, too: you can order printed out books of their creations. Instead of just hiding the child’s crumpled up drawings and precious finger-paint covered handprints that school sends home – what is now, like every day? – under cereal boxes and empty bags of chips, you can assure yourself that you’ve found a more efficient means of saving these items instead. You snapped a photo of them.
The sense of relief is overwhelming, I tell you.
OK, I kid…a little.
But as any parent will tell you, kids’ art output is overwhelming, forcing you to curate with a heavy hand. That’s why so many moms (and some dads, too) have begun snapping photos of the art before it hits the trash.
Explains CEO Jedd Gold, who has extensive experience working in kids’ entertainment, including with the relaunch of nostalgic 80’s brands like Strawberry Shortcake and Trolls, he was inspired to build Artkive after witnessing this very behavior at home.
“I was watching my wife take pictures of our kids’ artwork on her camera, that she would upload to her computer, and then she would upload from her computer to one of these photo sites. But by then she wouldn’t remember who created what piece, or when they were created, and they’d be out of order,” he says. “I thought, ‘there’s gotta be an app for that.’ But there really wasn’t.”
So he launched one.
The Kive Company raised $500,000 late last year for its mobile application that helps you to not just take the photos, but also annotate them with things like the child’s name, date of creation, and other comments.
Although the original goal was to make the art archiving process easier – as you can tell by the name – the app’s small but growing customer base of 105,000 (almost all moms) have already found other uses for it. They’re documenting everything that you would save for a kids’ scrapbook, including report cards, photos, other items from events and school activities, and more. One woman even used the app to document the last seven months of her pregnancy.
With this expanded focus, the printed book option begins to make more sense. Because as much as I love my own daughter’s art, I’m not sure how often I’d really revisit it in hardcover book format. But a scrapbook of her pre-kindergarten years? That I could get on board with.
Gold initially tested the concept with an alpha product launched in December. He added a “print” button to the app, without offering an explanation or any details as to what the final product would be. Despite this lack of information, a couple hundred Artkive users ordered books.
With the app’s recent update, the book purchasing feature has been overhauled. Users can now review and edit their books, changing things like the title, text on the page, the pictures it includes, and more. Books can either be 8×8″ or 8×11″, and start at $25 for 20 pages. Each additional page is $1.00 more. Before the holidays, the plan is to expand into gifts, like calendars and mugs, for example.
Also new in the recent update is social sharing – something Gold had originally limited, thinking that the last thing anyone would want to see on Facebook was other people’s kids’ drawings. But Artkive’s user base disagreed.
In addition, Artkive has also recently come to Android, however it’s not yet feature-complete with the iOS version due to the company’s limited resources.
I love the idea behind Artkive, but the app itself needs to streamline things a bit. There are too many manual steps involved on almost all screens, from sign-up to upload. These are mainly minor inconveniences, but anything that takes more time that it should – or could – is something that will eventually find itself dropped in favor of quicker, smoother alternatives…like Shutterfly’s automatic upload on its mobile app, perhaps.