Local company focuses on preserving memories outside the “digital stream”

Parabo Press makes Madison memories tangible
Local company focuses on preserving memories outside the “digital stream”
Photo by Nikki Hansen
Parabo Press turns your photos into gifts like this calendar.

When Instagram began testing the removal of the visibility of likes earlier this year, brands and individuals alike panicked. It spoke to a need for social proof and the validation that comes when someone likes a photo you posted.

But it also spotlighted the focus that social media puts on that validation from others, making content itself less of a priority. When someone shares a post from a close friend’s wedding, a nice or nephew’s birthday party or an otherwise special moment, those memories often get lost in a “digital stream,” as Parabo Press calls it.

The Madison-based photo printing company strives to preserve memories in a lasting way, allowing customers to display prints in a range of sizes in their homes.

“It’s really about making those memories tangible, so you have them and can cherish them even further than just on your screen,” says Meg Golz, director of marketing for Parabo Press.

The company grew out of a San Francisco-based photography blog, Photojojo, but was born out of the observation that photographers and customers wanted a more individualized way to print their photos rather than sending them to a large-scale commercial printer.

The name stems from the word “parable,” meaning “simple story,” which reflects Parabo Press’s mission to celebrate stories through thoughtfully-designed photo prints. The prints capture this element of simplicity, showcasing moments in a clean, modern format.Local company focuses on preserving memories outside the “digital stream”

Even though Parabo Press operates online, similar to larger photo-printing competitors like Shutterfly or Snapfish, the company’s respect for Madison comes through.

“It’s really cool to be able to sit here and work in a daily environment and see our customers’ photos printing right outside our office doors,” Janelle Schwartz, Parabo Press’s public relations and marketing manager, says.

The space on East Washington Avenue serves as a hub for the company’s internal office affairs and the actual printing of photos. As the company sends products directly to consumers who make orders online, it does not have a brick-and-mortar storefront. Local company focuses on preserving memories outside the “digital stream”

Seven individuals make up the Madison Parabo Press team, in addition to four remote customer service representatives. Nonetheless, the small, passionate team takes a lot of pride in being a Madison-based company.

“We love the city, and we love the environment,” Golz says. “There’s a lot of great startup energy here, a lot of vibrant, creative-minded people.”

And that dedication to the Madison community comes in many forms. Roughly 90% of the photos on the company’s Instagram feed, which is managed by Golz, come from customers who have printed their memories through Parabo Press.

Golz says one of the most rewarding parts of working at Parabo Press is “seeing everyone share their photos from an everyday walk in the park on a Saturday to a really special wedding or vacation to Europe.”

View this post on Instagram

Some of our most favorite presents to find under the tree are ones that are personal and meaningful. Give the people you love a special photo gift this year. Our $10 off sale ends tonight at midnight. Save on anything in our shop with code YIPEE. Photo and beautiful DIY print ornaments by @handmadesanctuary �

A post shared by Parabo Press (@parabopress) on Dec 3, 2019 at 2:05pm PST

Parabo Press has also contributed to the annual Wintersong benefit for Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin for the past three years. Golz is part of local indie pop band Seasaw, which will perform as part of the fundraiser, taking place Saturday, Dec. 7 at the Barrymore Theatre.

Although Parabo Press primarily services individual customers, the company also works regularly with local artists. Golz says photographers will sometimes utilize the company’s smaller square prints as thank-you gifts for clients.

The sentiment embedded in prints by Parabo Press make them great for, you guessed it, holiday gifts to loved ones, and customers have already picked up on that.

“I’ve never seen our printers so busy,” Golz says. “It feels like Christmas in here.”