Terry Ziemba is the owner of Flash Shack Photobooth. Her passion is working with kids at all kinds of events — weddings, proms, school dances, Sweet 16 parties, team building and non-profits in the fundraising arena.
How does she keep the fun alive and grow her business at the same time? Let’s take a peek inside her business success.
What is your superpower?
That’s a tough one, because one of the things I am NOT good at is tooting my own horn.
I am good at speaking to MY client.
I tend to be a bit of a dork, so I don’t try to be more formal than I am. I convey my business in a way that showcases my adorkable side, but also emphasizes my booth’s elegance and my professionalism.
I don’t talk formally to my clients. I send them pictures and talk to them like a professional friend. This lets them know they can come to me with any concerns or issues they’re having.
Having a good relationship with your client is way more important than making money because not only do you make the money, you earn future referrals that let you make more.
For example, I was sending out follow up emails to clients and one bride private messaged me about a problem she had. She wouldn’t have done that if we didn’t have that one on one relationship. Then I messaged my other clients about the issue and asked them if they’d experienced the same issue.
What the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?
There are two. One is organization.
Great tools are essential for keeping organized.
Zen Payroll does my payroll and emails everything to my account. All I have to do is click, “Pay employees.” I love it!
17 Hats is a CRM (customer relationship management) that has a great work flow program. It’s customizable, I can send follow up questionnaires after the event, and set up payment plans with it.
The other challenge is standing out from the sea of photo booths that has engulfed the industry.
In order to stand out, I designed the covers for our photo booths myself out of heavy duty material to look more sumptuous. I hate those tacky ass photo booths. Do you really want velcro at your wedding?
We have a custom design the start screen. Each is designed to the client and I want them to be happy. I send a leather bonded scrap book and a flash drive after the event.
The little touches make a big difference; a hundred little things make me stand out.
After the wedding, I send them an Animoto slideshow on their six month or one year anniversary with a handwritten thank you note.
What strategy has been most successful for you?
There isn’t one magic strategy. I work hard.
Getting out there and meeting people in person seems to work the best for me.
I meet people at tradeshows, bridal shows, street fairs. I don’t volunteer the booth but I will sell it to community organizations for low cost. Then I get out and meet with the organization leads.
Getting out lets me know who my clients are and more importantly who they aren’t.
Engage with the community. Network not just with wedding groups, but women’s meetings, BNI. Getting to know the leaders in the community gets referrals and you’ll learn how to change your tone to market to different people.
One example of how giving to the community is good for my business: there was a local camp for high functioning kids with autism. They couldn’t find anyone to work with them.
Four other companies turned them down because they were different!
They had a limited budget, but they were ¼ mile from my house, so I did it for $400 on a Tuesday night. I probably booked at least 8 bar and bat mitzvahs off it! The parents were so happy that I took the time to work with their kids.
What was the biggest mistake you made?
Throwing money at different forms of advertising when I first started.
Do your research. That’s what I didn’t do.
I did print ads that were a waste of money. Don’t do your own print advertising unless you’re a really good graphic artist or hire someone to make sure it’s designed well. I did my own and it was terrible!
I kept buying things to make my business better without building my business. I could have bought any one of those things later when I had better cash flow.
If you could teach wedding pros one thing, it would be…?
Don’t follow the crowd. If you are following what everyone else is doing, you are already behind.
One example of doing things differently, I designed postcards that show my snarky wit. If people get it, great. If not, they aren’t my client. I get a lot of business from it.
Which charity did you choose to receive the $100 donation and why?
Pike County Humane Society, our local animal shelter.
Over the past several years, they have taken in and cared for thousands of pets, but the expenses are outpacing their donations. They may have to close their doors.
Terry Ziemba is the gregarious, “adorkable” owner of Flash Shack Photobooth serving the tri-state area. Her dedication to charitable giving and passion for having fun delights friends and clients alike.