From an independent start-up to national franchise business
09 Jan 2020
Chris Goodchild is the owner of The Best Photobooths and Magic Mirrors, a premium wedding supplier in Buckinghamshire and here, he details his journey to success
How I came to take my company from a laptop in my front room to a franchise model in just four years...
How did it start?
In 2015 I attended the wedding of one of my best friends – a really special event for everyone that was there. It was also the first time I saw a photobooth, capturing some great moments for the happy couple.
As creative director of a graphic design and marketing company I was intrigued and keen to find out more as it seemed like such a strong concept. After speaking to the attendant on the night, who seemed more interested in her phone than looking after the guests, I enquired how much she was charging. Her response immediately triggered a lightbulb moment for me – why not create not just a better photobooth experience, but the best photobooth experience?
If someone could charge £600 to sit on a phone and offer a sub-standard customer experience for three hours, then what if someone offered a fun and engaging customer experience for slightly less money? Surely we would be on to a winning formula.
After researching the start-up costs and the current market, I found that my poor perception and experience of a photobooth at my friend’s wedding wasn’t uncommon and people really didn’t see a photobooth as a serious business proposition.
Over the years we have invested in the business and explored new and exciting technology to come up with the strongest proposition. From starting with just my laptop and great support from friends, I have spent four years developing, growing and refining the business into the successful model that works today. This has included adding the Magic Mirror photobooth to our booth portfolio which takes the photobooth concept a stage further.
Why did you choose to franchise the Magic Mirror photobooth part of your company?
I decided to launch The Best Magic Mirror franchise, having experienced even greater demand for this than the traditional oval photobooth offering and therefore delivering a quicker return on investment for our franchisees.
It’s really that simple. Either grow the company internally, which would have meant ultimately giving up the amazing work life balance this business continues to provide me and my family, or show others how to do it and achieve the same success together.
Is it just a fad?
Throughout this journey I have been asked this question a lot. On January 17th 1928, a gentleman and passionate photographer named Anatol M Josepho received the first US patent for a fully automatic photographic film-developing machine. This was named the Photomaton, and was found in the streets of New York at subway stations. For just 25 cents, patrons could have their photograph taken instantly.
The Photomaton would process and print eight photographs in ten minutes. Fast forward to 2020 and the instant social media selfie world we now live in with amazing tech advances leads me to say no, it’s not a fad. I am just upset I won’t be around to see the how the industry will evolve over the next 100 years.
What advice would you give other start-ups?
Other than hard work and an unwavering, determined attitude, the people you surround yourself with while building a business are the true reflection of the brand you're trying to create. I am very proud of our fun but focused team and I love coming into the office on Mondays (!) to see what fun memories have been captured over the weekend.
What’s the best part of your job?
It’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle. Being able to see the business grow as a franchise and being able to offer other people the opportunity to love what they do everyday, while providing them a business model that offers the freedom but financial security to enjoy their lives, is the biggest gift of all.
To find fun focused franchisees and continue to offer the best Magic Mirror and photobooth experience to our clients.
To find out more about The Best Photobooths or Magic Mirrors, visit thebestphotobooths.co.uk or thebestmagicmirrors.co.uk. Alternatively, if you want to find out more about Magic Mirror franchise opportunities, visit what-franchise.com/franchise-opportunities/entertainment-franchises/the-best-magic-mirrors.