It seems that daily I realize how many business owners I am friends with and how many of those friendships go back (many) years – as far back as high school and before. Geoff of Photobooth Planet is one of those people. And, since we are sneaking up on our 25th high school reunion (shhh…don’t tell anyone) it really makes me think of a lot of things. Where did we think we would be at this stage in life? Did we plan a different life for ourselves? What stories will we have to tell everyone at this impending reunion. Well, Geoff’s story is definitely a little different than he envisioned; but it’s a story that brings amazing memories to people almost every Saturday night!
This is Geoff’s story of Photobooth Planet in his own words.
I started my photo booth rental business, Photobooth Planet, in the fall of 2008. I was in a career transition and had been planning on getting a responsible person’s job in the corporate world and just trying to rent photo booths on the side. However, if you remember the fall of 2008 there were no new corporate jobs to be had then so I decided to plunge full-time with the photo booth gig. In some ways it felt like a risk but in other ways it felt like I had no choice. The nice thing about the wedding industry is that people send a $500 deposit with their contract so before I’d even purchased my photo booth I had a $5000 down payment on it from the 10 weddings I’d booked. I did my first wedding in January of 2009 and before I did my second one, I’d already ordered my second photo booth because I was getting inquiries into dates I’d already booked. That first wedding season I worked 52 weddings and was off and running. Today I have three photo booths and a mobile flipbook studio and am grateful to have grown every year I’ve been in business.
People sometimes ask if I get sick of going to weddings. I tell them “No. I love it.” Honestly it’s not a bad way to spend a Saturday night. Not only am I well-compensated, but I am at a party with happy people, gourmet food, and great music. And guests love the photo booth. Our photo booths are traditional, hard-sided photo booths like your grandparents would have seen on the Boardwalk. They print out duplicate, high-resolution photo strips. The guests take one as a party favor – the other goes into a photo guest book that we assemble right there on-site for the Bride and Groom. Creating the guest book is what really makes the work meaningful for me. I tell clients that we are in the business of creating AND capturing memories. I have had past clients tell me that when their friends come over, the photo guest book from the photo booth is the wedding album they want to see.
One of my favorite moments at a wedding came when the father of the bride wheeled his 90 year-old mother over to the booth in her wheel chair. We were able to remove the bench from the booth and push the wheel chair right in. For the next 20 minutes I watched as every son, daughter, grand-child, cousin, niece, and nephew got into the photo booth with her. She obviously meant a lot to the whole family and was not in great health. It was meaningful to be able to provide an opportunity for everyone that loved her to take pictures with her and the rest of their family and then take home a stack of photo strips from the wedding.
Growing my business has involved constant and consistent attention to marketing. Most of my clients find me on Google. Having a high search ranking is key. I am fortunate to be on page one Google, but it doesn’t happen easily or overnight. Blogging, cross-linking, and attending to all the details associated with search engine optimization is a never-ending task but well worth the effort. Even though Google is free, I still spend a lot of advertising dollars on Bridal Shows, bridal magazines, and ads on wedding websites. Networking within the community of wedding vendors has also been critical to growing my business. Ultimately there is no magic bullet to marketing. I have found that it takes a comprehensive effort with no one thing being significantly more important than another. I have to do some of everything and can’t expect there to be a one-to-one correlation between what I put into marketing and what I get out.
Since I started Photobooth Planet 5 years ago, the photo booth rental industry has grown exponentially. Now every DJ, wedding photographer, and even some venues have their own photo booths. Many of them charge half what we do. Fortunately for us, we’ve carved out a niche in the premium photo booth category. Most of the other booths that are out there are not traditional booths like ours that need to be hauled around in a trailer. They are often made out of curtains and pipes and don’t have the aesthetic appeal that our booths carry. Our booths also produce significantly higher quality images than any other company which set us apart. Still to stay competitive and differentiate we have to continue to create value for our clients. We offer an array of custom curtains, prop packages, and photo-strip customization options to satisfy our discerning brides and grooms. Hopefully we will continue to grow despite the proliferation of competitors. I really do love what I do and feel blessed to own my own business. I tell my kids: “Daddy delight’s people for a living.”
How amazing would it be to tell your children that you delight people for a living! I hope you will consider Geoff’s business if you are looking for a way to create memories at an upcoming event (wedding, graduation, company party or more). Remember – small businesses are supporting families, building communities, and creating memories!
Find out more about Photobooth Planet by following them. Geoff provides this service in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and currently has licensees operating in Vermont, Oregon and Missouri.
Facebook: Photobooth Planet New England
Link to Fox News Providence featuring Geoff of Photobooth Planet
Check out this beautiful gallery of what they have to offer!
To check out previous Sunday Spotlights you may have missed:
March 3, 2013 – Jennifer’s Jewels
February 10, 2013 – GeminiRed Creations
And, if you want your business to be in the Spotlight, please complete the Sunday Spotlight Form, which can be found on the Advertising & Sponsorship page.