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Couple's Photo Editing App Generates $2.2 Million Monthly Revenue

Tezza raked in an impressive $26.5 million in sales last year, averaging $2.2 million per month.
Cover Image Source: Linkedin | @Cole Herrmann | @Tessa barton
Cover Image Source: Linkedin | @Cole Herrmann | @Tessa barton

In 2017, amidst the struggle to afford their New York City rent, Tessa Barton and Cole Herrmann embarked on a journey that transformed their lives. The couple, facing financial challenges in their 250-square-foot studio apartment, launched a series of side hustles to make ends meet. However, it was their venture into the world of photo editing apps that would ultimately lead to their remarkable success.

Linkedin | @Cole Herrmann
Image Source: Linkedin | @Cole Herrmann and @Tessa barton

Their entrepreneurial journey began with Barton's passion for photography and Herrmann's expertise in software development. Combining their skills, they ventured into the creation and sale of photo filters for Adobe Lightroom. The positive response to their filters inspired them to take a leap of faith and develop their photo-editing app, Tezza, in 2018.

What started as a means to supplement their income quickly evolved into a thriving business venture. The app, named after Barton's college nickname, expanded into a comprehensive lifestyle brand encompassing various products and services, including collage kits, apparel, and a recently launched magazine.

According to documents reviewed by CNBC Make It, Tezza raked in an impressive $26.5 million in sales last year, averaging $2.2 million per month.

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A post shared by Tezza (@tezza)


Barton's journey into photography began at a young age, capturing images around her home state of Utah and sharing them on Instagram. Her talent garnered attention from brands like Urban Outfitters and Free People, leading to paid opportunities for photo shoots. Despite the outward appearance of success, the couple faced numerous challenges behind the scenes.

The two worked tirelessly, often late into the night, to develop and refine their app while juggling other responsibilities. Barton recalls the grueling process of trial and error, stating, "We were building it, probably, from the hours of 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. It was a struggle."

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A post shared by Tezza (@tezza)


To set Tezza apart from competitors, the couple focused on accessibility and authenticity. "Every other app was catering to this kind of professional look," Herrmann says. Understanding the desires of Barton's Instagram followers, they crafted an app that simplified the photo editing process and resonated with millennials.

Tezza's vibrant aesthetic and user-friendly interface garnered widespread acclaim, earning it a coveted spot on Apple's "Essential Photo & Video Apps" list.

Despite their rapid growth, Barton and Herrmann maintain a small team of 12 employees to preserve their brand's creative vision. Tezza operates on a freemium model, offering users a range of subscription options for access to premium features.

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A post shared by Tezza (@tezza.barton)


Barton and Herrmann jointly hold the position of co-CEOs within their company, dedicating their time to developing innovative photo and video editing features for their app. While their overarching objective is to extend the brand into physical venues through hosting in-person events, their immediate focus remains on continuous experimentation and exploration of novel creative avenues.

She emphasizes that the most daunting aspect is often the initial step of initiating a project. "Maybe [your first idea] won't be your product, but you'll learn everything you need to know for the next. We really realized ... you got to just be consistent and keep [creating]," she says.