Apr 1, 2012

Ray Kanani – Business Diploma, 2007

Creative Director and Founder of SMART Pics Media

Ray Kanani


When Ray Kanani started SMART Pics Media he had no idea it would evolve into the company it is today and  he says it has been a     “cool ride.” Working to promote a hair salon, Ray blogged to educate customers and recruit new ones. The challenge was finding new material when it occurred to him that setting up a photo booth in the salon would allow them to take before and after photos. It was a perfect fit for social media – “genuine, authentic and not mass produced.” They installed the booth but discovered that customers were shy to have their photos posted online.

At UBC, Ray re-connected with another Langara College alumnus, Nathan Ganapathi, which was fortuitous as they began discussing the product and how they could reach a broader audience. Soon they were negotiating with the Donnelly Hospitality Group and launched just prior to the opening of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics in a number of Vancouver nightclubs.

Creating a “purely digital application allowing users to instantly share their high quality photo to Facebook or Twitter” was simple and has become a huge success. SMART Pics has not only been used at the Oscars, Super Bowl, and the Sundance Film Festival, but is contracted as a long-term social media solution by the Vancouver Canucks.

Ray attributes much of his success to luck and perseverance, but says, “If I had not been enrolled in the Langara Business Diploma Program, I never would have founded SMART Pics.” Ray remembers faculty member Gordon MacFarlane, who provided inspiration and an understanding of marketing principals that resonated with him.

Ray has returned to Langara College on several occasions to share his story with current Langara students. Ray has a strong desire to provide inspiration to young people and his advice is to "take the leap."

Ray shared with us that many exciting projects were completed by SMART Pics over the winter. Here is a link to their winter update.

Check out Ray on twitter.