Smiles are the stock in trade at The SnapBar, a growing photo booth business based in Seattle. The company was founded in 2012 by Sam and Joe Eitzen as a side business to a photography business. In 2015, it had grown enough for both to quit their full-time jobs in 2015. In 2016, Rachael Lowery came on as event director and their sixth full-time employee.
Things were on an upwards trajectory, and then …
In March of 2020, the company had 18 full-time employees and 45 part time people to manage events in the company’s locations of San Francisco, Portland, Los Angeles and Seattle. Everyone was just getting ready to launch the Austin location as well as produced eight events for South by Southwest when the city cancelled the 10-day multi-faceted conference for the first time ever. That sent shock waves through the nation, the live event and conference industry, and of course, the team at SnapBar.
“When we realized the writing was on the wall as far as events,” Rachael says. “We began to think of what else we could do. We needed something that would incorporate the talents of all our team members. Our leadership team of five people stayed up until 2 in the morning until we had 50 ideas.”
The winning idea was a series of curated gift boxes filled with creative items from small local businesses with no way to move inventory.
“To come up with this idea,” Rachael recalls, “We looked at our assets – a nimble, multi-faceted team with people experienced in web developing, managing projects, and even distribution. On March 16 we went for it. Our web site developers began and our marketing team started creating content for the site and emails, our distribution team began sourcing everything and figuring out shipping. On March 19 we launched Keep Your City Smiling.”
Our client’s needs have changed.
It’s now about finding new solutions.
Each city box is filled with an assortment of local items from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle. There are also national and wellness boxes and several seasonal offerings such as a box for graduates and Mother’s Day.
“A lot of our corporate partners from The SnapBar such as Google, Apple and Microsoft are ordering boxes with custom branding to support their remote teams,” Rachael says. “And just recently, we were contacted to create a multiple custom boxes for hospitals and healthcare workers in New York and Seattle.”
While it may be a while before the photo booth business is back, the company is committed to Keep Your City Smiling and recommitted to one of its core values — care. “We always believe that serving others is more important than serving self.”
The Keep Your City Smiling boxes are a great example of this and are keeping the team’s multi-faceted skills sharp, focused and — most important — powered by smiles.
Takeways from The SnapBar
- As our customers’ challenges change, so do our solutions for them.
- Look within your own talent bank for other directions and pivot points.
- Collaborate with many partners to not only widen your circle of influence but to take your business purpose to a higher level.