Tuesday, November 13, 2012
SMU alum revolutionizes the photo booth with Photomadic
Tyler Williams realizes the value of connecting pictures to social media.
DALLAS At a recent event, the wait staff at the NYLO SouthSide hotel temporarily abandoned their duties of passing out cocktails and appetizers and gathered in front of a camera inside of the photo booth to make some silly faces. After snapping the photos, the staff could instantly upload them to their choice of social media.
Tyler Williams, creator of the photo booth, stood back and watched.
“It’s an amazing feeling to see a whole party going crazy over something that you created. I get so jazzed up when I hear people raving about it. I also really like that Photomadic causes people to let loose and act goofy with their friends in public,” Williams said.
Photomadic is not your typical photo booth. It is completely hand-crafted and implements immediate social media. When Williams was searching for a way to make some extra money, he stumbled into the photo booth industry.
“I thought photo booths were a really cool concept, but I also thought they were poorly designed and way outdated. After quite a bit of research and thought, I committed myself to innovating the photo booth,” Williams said.
As recent graduates, many students worry about their future and finding a good job and succeeding in it. Failure, however, wasn’t really a concern when Photomadic began.
Graduating with a major in marketing and a minor in photography, Williams said it took a lot of confidence and determination to make Photomadic work no matter what. It took Williams about two months to finalize the design and concept. In February, he started building the photo booth in his parents’ garage in Missouri with his father.
Before he even had it built he had already booked a couple events in which he worked for free to test out his business.
After some exposure, Williams had several people advise that he get a patent on his product. Unsure how to do that, he got in contact with a few SMU law professors. Williams said that he literally went through the law school directory online and picked some that had profiles mentioning patent law. Every professor he contacted immediately got back with him and were helpful.
Patent attorney and SMU law professor Walter Robinson said, “The process that Tyler probably had to go through in order to get a patent was an expensive one. I think he was probably one of the luckier ones who just slide right through the system, but normally it could take anywhere from two to five years to be approved.”
In order to grow his business, it was imperative that he presented the product at strategic events where there would be a lot of event planners present. That way, several event planners at once got to actually use the product.
Once he began to get exposure he slowly increased the price. After he began gaining credibility, he started charging full price. Now people pay between $800 to $1,000 to have Photomadic at their event.
D Magazine has hired him for several of its events.
“Every event that Photomadic attends is a fun one. The guests love getting in front of the camera and having access to instantly upload to Facebook, Twitter, or their email,” Marketing Coordinator Blair Sullivan said.
Those are the features that help separate Photomadic from the usual photo booth.
“At our recent event for Dallas’ best doctors, Photomadic came and had a layout where guests could take a photo and have it look like they were actually on the cover of the magazine. The doctors and guests loved getting to upload it,” D Magazine’s Allie Steele said.
It wasn’t just being able to use his parents’ garage or the extra help from his father that Williams’ family gave him, it was also their support.
“I’m so thankful for how supportive both my parents are. They are definitely proud of me, but they would be proud of me if I was still scooping ice cream too. In fact my mom might prefer it, that way I could come home more often,” Williams said.
Williams is continuing to expand and has taken on some additional help to keep things in order. He has recently completed his second machine and hopes to make more in the future. Photomadic has so far been a great success and Williams is thankful that it has worked out. His goal is to have Photomadic operate in several cities across the country. Taking a business from creation to full scale would be an incredible journey that he said he is “looking forward to no matter the outcome.”
To learn more about Photomadic or book it for your next event, visit www.photomadic.com.
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