Alum’s photo booth business a picture of growth
Photo booths weren’t on Brendon Mullen’s radar when he received a degree in business management from Clemson University in 2011. Today, as partner of a burgeoning startup business, they are the focal point of his workday.
Lets Booth It was founded in 2012 by Adam Malone, a graduate of Ole Miss. Today, business partners Malone and Mullen are projecting seven-figure revenue in 2016 for their Nashville–based business that provides private and corporate event photography in 12 cities around the country.
“We have 40 booths in operation today, and are looking to expand into 13 more cities this year,” said Mullen, who hails from Columbia, S.C. “We saw a niche to build a national brand in the event photography business that is built on a sharing economy business model. We’re able to centrally manage a large number of events across the country utilizing contracted workers.”
Lets Booth It has five fulltime employees and works with roughly 80 contractors in their various locations. The photo booths are foldable, “open-air” style that can be disassembled and transported in a compact, four-door sedan.
“Because we are able to manage and operate from multiple locations, we contract experienced photographers to manage a local team with the support of our home office and a detailed training program to assure accountability and quality control,” said Mullen.
At first, weddings and private events had comprised 80 percent of the Lets Booth It business. But the fledgling company is now capturing more corporate events which include the likes of Bonnaroo Music Festival, the NHL, Austin City Limits, the PGA tour, Delta Airlines, Apple, and many others.
“Our business has grown rapidly in all areas including the trade show, convention and VIP- experience sectors. In 2016, our focus is to continue growing and expanding into small to midsize cities that are event friendly and have lots of foot traffic. Our background in internet marketing is our conduit to obtaining and converting that business.”
Mullen’s life after college started in Washington, D.C., selling enterprise security software to large government agencies. From there, he moved to Nashville to become the director of sales for P.O.G., an internet marketing company also started by Malone. Mullen’s experience and entrepreneurial drive helped lay the groundwork for the accelerated growth of Lets Booth It.
“Internet marketing has been a powerful tool in the growth of the photography event business. Because there is no national brand or defined industry, companies and individuals look for the service by going online. A strong internet presence enables us to generate and convert rental inquiries into tangible business.”
Corporate America and today’s social culture have embraced event photography as a branding opportunity, whether it be for company functions, concerts, sporting events or trade shows. Lets Booth It enables clients to expand their marketing message through making memories and posting through social media channels.
“In addition to providing a great time and a lasting memory for an organization’s customers and guests, we supply them with tangible prints and digital copies of their images for social sharing. Corporate clients see it as another way to grow their brands and create a viral awareness from the booth experience.”
Mullen said in a typical four– day corporate event, a rental will generate roughly $1,000 daily, based on 5 to 6 hours of operation each day.
In addition to learning how to harness the power of the internet and the sharing economy business model, Mullen said one of the company’s top priorities is effectively communicating to convert inquiries into business. “We insist on communicating clearly and respectfully to everyone on every call as if they are your neighbor or the owner of a Fortune 500 company, because they just might be.”
Mullen said Lets Booth It has considered providing additional event services beyond photography as the company extends its reach in 2016. But the focus will be on its customer service differentiator and reaching new markets.
“We see a great opportunity to expand our footprint into some, if not all, of the nation’s largest convention cities and the groundwork is being laid for that now. But above all, our focus this year will be on providing a superior customer experience at an affordable price.”
# # #