Popular Photo Accessory Company Photoflex Just Went Out Of Business Without Warning

Popular Photo Accessory Company Photoflex Just Went Out Of Business Without Warning

After 30 years in business, the popular photography and video lighting accessory company Photoflex has suddenly and without warning closed its doors. To this day, I still use and enjoy my Photoflex extra large softboxes, and I am shocked by the news considering they were just at Photokina earlier in March. Read below to learn more.

According to Photoflex's website prior to their closing:

For a quarter century Photoflex® has produced lighting products that are driven by: Innovation, Quality, Versatility and Durability. We’re proud to present our products to the photo, film and video industries worldwide. 

We base our products around three simple, but crucial rules.

  1. Quality. Produce the finest, most versatile product at a fair price and back it up with the best warranty possible. We take personal pride in putting the Photoflex® name on a product that you pay money for. That pride is reflected and backed up by giving you a warranty that is at least two to five times longer than almost all other manufacturers in the industry. We will not sacrifice the credibility of our products simply to cut prices. 
     
  2. No Gimmicks. We won’t build something that we wouldn’t use ourselves.  We have two photo/video studios where we test the prototypes and shoot all of our product photos, instruction sheets, and product demonstration lessons for PhotoflexLightingSchool™. If the products don’t pass the test there, they don’t go to market.

    Other “manufacturers” shop the trade shows and buy products off the shelf from factories that they then put their labels on. Not Photoflex®. We design and build our products from scratch. We produce our own fabric, build our own molds, and create our own designs into prototypes to be tested in our own studios, sometimes taking over a year to get the finished product.

    This is why products such as the LiteDome®, LiteDisc®, and LitePanel have been in production for over 20 years virtually unchanged. They were designed correctly the first time, and all have five or six year warranties because of it.

     
  3. Customer Service. We don’t make the customer pay for our mistakes. We believe that you, the customer, signs our paycheck. Therefore, our goal is to provide the finest customer service in the business. We have always had real people answer the phone to help you with your issues and questions and we will continue to pursue our goal of being there for you in the future.

The top professionals in the world have been using Photoflex® products for 30 years and continue to do so because Photoflex® is driven by these three rules.

 

When you email the GMAIL address listed in the announcment on the top of this post, you are met with this autoresponse: "Photoflex Operations have ceased on March 27, 2015.  Please contact our Attorney Michael Malter or Nan Corber..."

The curious part of this story is the fact that Photoflex announced a partnership earlier this March with Flaghead Photographic to expand their operations.

Photoflex also was active on their social media right up until they announced that they were going out of business. It's a sad state of affairs when iconic award-winning photographic companies are closing their doors like this. I reached out to some folks that I knew worked for Photoflex right until the final days. I will update this article if and when I receive a statement.

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40 Comments

I will put money this is an April fools joke....

Kendra Paige's picture

Oh, please, let it be so!

Douglas Sonders's picture

i fear that is unlikely. google the lawyer's names in the email auto response and it leads to a reputable bankruptcy law firm

Scott Stebner's picture

True, but the email address listed on the picture is GMAIL, and their website shows the following email addresses
sales@photoflex.com
marketing@photoflex.com
accounting@photoflex.com
techsupport@photoflex.com

Chris Adval's picture

it'd be great PR stunt, bad or good PR is good PR, free advertising... April Fool's joke this elaborate is perfect for that.

Scott Stebner's picture

Advertising is good, but with modern social media relationships built upon trust and mutual exchange are better. With today's Web 2.0 world, things work much differently than good or bad PR. Companies no longer control their message and therefore must approach everything with caution, especially on stunts like this. Hopefully it works for them. it got all of us talking. However, there are many communication professionals who might believe this wasn't in the best long-term interest of the company. Time will only tell. What a bold stunt though.

Roman Kazmierczak's picture

I wonder why the website wasn't taken down...

Matt Kozovski's picture

I work for the Canadian Distributor of Photoflex, I can confirm.

Chris Adval's picture

still don't believe you.

Antonio Carrasco's picture

Jeez, seems like they are dropping like flies. Last year Calumet and now this

Lee Christiansen's picture

Everyone wants more for less £££ The margins in photography are becoming tiny and the competition is expanding. It's no wonder reputable companies are finding difficulties.

Alas I read often on forums that people are buying knock-off copies of established products to save a few ££ or want the quality of name brands but are unwilling to spend with those same brands.

If the photographic community can't support the brands that maintain the quality, then we're left with what we deserve.

I've never bought Photoflex, (I'm a Profoto user), but I've heard good things about the company. It seems a terrible shame that they would disappear so suddenly and without warning.

I can only feel for the employees who must have suffered the same short notice. Having been told "not to come in tomorrow" by a previous employer who closed the doors the same day, I have a sense of what they are experiencing. Perhaps they will be resurrected like a few places in the UK which suffered a similar fate recently.

Yes, all the damn hobbyist buy knock offs because the "big guys" charge way to much (they don't, it's their business model). This is why every time I see a article reviewing a full fledge knockoff I am truly saddened. All the hobby photographers are so cheap they will justify it no matter what and are beyond reproach.

rafael maduro's picture

i can say i respectfully disagree with you, i work for a boutique facility for the last 12 years, and during this time I've seen several trend changes, like we used to have jvc and sony camcorders, then we did move to dslr, is not that the camcorders were too expensive (well in a way we all know they are for the specs they offer) but we had to adapt with the economy, and with what seems at the time a wise investment, so we can keep our self competitive in the market as well, for personal use i don't like to just go with fan boys and buy expensive gear if i can't justify it, for me is more what can get me there without over investing and then filing for bankruptcy since i didn't invest well in first place. some company models are ridiculous, they don't listen to their costumers base, they don't improve their products or services, neither they think about the different tears of the market, they just want to keep doing business their way, without actually giving better options, i'm not saying lower your gear cost till it makes no sense to be in business, what i'm saying is taking in consideration the different markets out there, and how they affect your business core in a whole, then try to aim for a different market or incorporate and educate them into yours. sure if company helps me grow my business to the point i can afford the hi end line, ill do it more than gladly, since i know already they care and help their costumers, we are not just another hobbyist trying to get into the big guys segment, we are start up, entry level professionals more of the time, we didn't start in the golden era and so we have to be wiser on what we do invest in.

Chet Meyerson's picture

Maybe it's just this?

Matt Kozovski's picture

Sadly it's not an April Fools Day joke, I work for the Canadian distributor and can confirm.

looks like I'll be stocking up on a bunch of white umbrellas today, they make the best low cost umbrella.

Michael Comeau's picture

This sucks, but it's not a shocker.

Camera sales are falling and there is intense competition in lighting.

Reginald Walton's picture

Appears to be more credible than the Canon buying Yongnuo story.
https://fstoplounge.com/2015/04/canon-buy-knock-off-brand-yongnuo/

Scott Stebner's picture

Did anyone else catch that it says when you email the GMAIL address? I wonder if this marketing scheme will play out for them tomorrow :)

The Image shows a GMAIL address

Yet their website lists the following
sales@photoflex.com
marketing@photoflex.com
accounting@photoflex.com
techsupport@photoflex.com

I emailed the marketing department a test email. Seems to be working.

Eric Lefebvre's picture

If it's a marketing scheme they'll find that it will backfire on them.

Here are some scenarios.

1- They pretend to have managed to avoid closure somehow.
Who will buy their equipment if the company is on the brink of closure? The uncertainty of the companies viability makes their warranties completely useless and so people will go shop elsewhere.

2- They admit it's a publicity stunt.
They've just pissed off their costumers ... those who had orders waiting, those who had gear in for repairs ...

If it is a publicity stunt their comms and marketing people need to be fired ... preferably out of a cannon.

I think this is probably the real thing.

It's also illegal to advertise in the form of business closing, close out sales, etc.

Eric Lefebvre's picture

Might be for when their hosting shuts down and/or domain name expires?

Scott Stebner's picture

Maybe. but I sent test emails out and they pinged just fine. I couldn't imagine a marketing department or communications department would ever let this be a publicity stunt, but the GMAIL thing does post an interesting question. And yes, I do have too much time on my hands to do that...even though I defend my thesis tomorrow. Ugh, F-Stoppers, stop being a productivity vacuum.

Scott Stebner's picture

Sent out an email this morning that just said "test" with no subject ;line. Received an email back from accounting. Looks like more than just GMAIL is operational?

Accounting@photoflex.com>;
You replied on 4/1/2015 8:33 PM.

Received this email, are you testing something specific?

Thank you
Sharon

cmon guys, i bet it's a joke, extended to "canadian distributors" as well...

Reginald Walton's picture

I guess we'll see tomorrow. However, their website does state that it's under construction. So I doubt they would do this during regular business hours, even if it is a joke.

This is what happens when you buy Youngnao.

Except that Photoflex's StarFire flash appears to be a re-badged Yongnuo YN-460 II flash.

Eric Lefebvre's picture

Yeah ... that REALLY looks like the YN-460.

Used to own a bunch of them. they were great for risky shots where the flash risked getting damaged (falling in water, off a cliff ...). 30$ vs 600$ for a 580EXII.

Had a client break one on a shoot, they were super apologetic, I just shrugged it off and grabbed another from the bag.

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