Anna: Welcome everyone to podcast 19. We’ve had 19 beautiful special guests through our whole journey of our podcasting. Today is number 19. What we’ve created here for our podcast with me as Anna Wang we’re pretty much just getting to really know the people that we are podcasting with. And just being a bit more personal about who they are what they do, why they do it. Not just anyone and everyone to come and get invited to do a podcast. These are people that are friends of ours or people that we’ve worked with or people that we actually feel are really great at what they do. We want everyone to be exposed to them.
Today we have, I probably would say there’s a lot of different categories that Julie or Fred can actually sit in. They’re friends, they’re pretty much family. They’re also in the industry. There’s so much categories we can put you guys through.
Thank you for joining us today Julie and Fred.
Fred: Thanks for having us.
Anna: What Julie and Fred does is multiple different things in terms of working for themselves and also working full time. Do you want to tell a little bit about what you guys do in terms of U Got Snapped? What is U Got Snapped?
Fred: Well, U Got Snapped is a photo booth service that we provide in Sydney to all special events.
Julie: We do weddings, but we do birthdays, corporate events. What else have you done? Baby showers. The recent one [inaudible]
Fred: All different types. Any special events.
Anna: Beautiful. How did you come up with the name you got snapped?
Fred: We were living at Elizabeth Hills at that time. And we actually went for a walk to a park because that’s where we feel the most creative. We’re just coming up with a whole list of names. Then we came up with 10 names and U Got Snapped stood out to us the most.
Anna: Who came up with that?
Julie: I can’t remember. We kind of just brainstormed these names. And then one that we both kind of connected with and we thought Oh, you know, it’s got a quirky, made us smile. Maybe U Got Snapped.
Fred: It pretty much made us smile.
Julie: The more we said it, the more [inaudible] to it. We’re like, okay this is it.
Anna: People will remember it because U Got Snapped is so catchy, people will remember. How long have you been doing this photo booth business?
Fred: Since 2015.
Anna: That’s been a little while. A good five years.
Fred: Almost five years, just under five years.
Anna: Beautiful. And what made you get into photo booths?
Julie: I think growing up, I remember going to the movies with my girlfriends and going to those little photobooth pods where you take those photographs with girls. The quality was really small and then you’d cut them out and trade them with your girlfriends. Through the years they kind of developed into passport booth and stuff.
One of our date nights, I think it was in Darling Harbour [crosstalk] something after dinner. We went into one of those passport booths. We sat down and it was one of these sitting in passport booths. We had a lot of fun….
Fred: It could only fit two people.
Julie: Yeah. It was very limited. It was just one of those black and white photos. It just kind of fit our heads. We took that home, stuck it on the fridge and looked at it and thought, you know what? It’s quite a cool idea. Why not kind of have some fun with it and think of something that we can do to make it kind of a little business. It became a business idea.
And so Fred sort of researched a bit more.
Fred: On how to fit more people. It was fun with both of us but how can we fit cousins in the photo, friends in the photos, or family in the photos.
Julie: And not just head shots body shots.
Fred: Not just head shots. Body shots as well. Our first photo booth we could fit up to about six people, but then as the years went on, we can fit about 16 to 20 people now in each shot.
Fred: That was the goal and we pretty much achieved it.
Anna: Amazing. At the time, did your research there was other people doing photo booths at the time already?
Fred: There were, yeah.
Julie: Yeah. It was quite new in Australia. There weren’t that many. So, I think leading at the time would be the States Japan. We were researching their booths and what they were doing what they were offering.
Fred: We didn’t know how many there were in Sydney, but we just wanted to know what they were offering overseas; in America and in Japan. We thought we’d try and bring that over to here.
Anna: Okay. So, the difference back then was those…
Fred: Seated ones.
Anna: Those seated ones and it’s hard, covered, and it was a box and you just sit inside. And then, you guys brought in more of the open photo booth?
Julie: More interactive, more fun, fits more people. But we still got the curtain ones as well. So, if people do want sort of that more intimate, they want privacy, then you still got that as well.
Anna: Okay amazing. So that’s kind of the story of why you did that. Can you tell us a bit about the struggles or any challenges or anything in growing the business over the last five years? Because I know you’ve actually expanded your range to some other types of photobooths. Can you tell the audience about what else you’re offering and why you’re different or why they should choose you over 50 other photo booth companies out there? Because I know there’s so many.
Fred: One of the challenges, Julie does all the driving. Due to my vision impairment, I’m legally blind. So, I don’t actually drive. That was one of the challenges that we had to get. I wish I could drive to an actual venue, set up myself, and do everything. But we’ve actually got a team now that can actually… because Julie got her laser surgery done over the weekend. So, I actually had to get one of the team members in to actually give me a hand. They were willing to do that which is great. But challenges in other ways, programming. I need the team to help me with that as well because I’m not able to see the actual screen to perform that.
But everything is all… Julie does that on the backend. So, Julie sets up everything, make sure everything’s nice and clear. So, we’ve produced the sharpest images as well.
Julie: I think from how we split our roles off as a team, Fred does more of the setting up in terms of the muscle work, carrying the booth to the car, stacking up everything in the back. I’ll drive and do more of the technical stuff that needs vision. Even though Fred’s legally blind, he still finds ways to work through that. He uses quite a number of things to help him draft emails, reply to clients. So, he does a lot of that…
Fred: I’m the sales, she’s the marketing.
Anna: Isn’t that interesting. Just explain to people. Is this something that’s happened through your life, because I know since I’ve known you little boy you didn’t have a lot of this problem.
Fred: Yeah. So, I had 2020 vision until I was 14. I could see perfectly fine until… I used to play footy. So, when I looked onto the field, I couldn’t see my teammates faces. I realized something was wrong. I needed glasses or something. I knew my mum was always blind since I was a little kid, but I didn’t know how my mum became blind. But then, when I realized I was losing my vision, I put things together and I realized mum became blind because of genetics. It was all about… So, my mum passed the… It’s a female gene that she passed down to her kids. So, when I have kids in the future, I don’t actually pass it down to my kids.
Anna: Wow. Interesting.
Fred: It’s a female gene. So, my nerves just started slowly dying. Then my left eye was affected. And then after I realized my right eye was affected. Within one month my eye became my left eye.
Anna: Oh wow. So, it was very quick process.
Fred: Happened when I was in year nine, pretty much.
Anna: How did you adapt?
Fred: School was really really good. I thought I had to go to a normal, a different school like to a blind school or disabled school. But school was really adaptive. They taught me voiceover on my laptop. Instead of reading things online like on the board, they put it on to my laptop. So, my laptop was reading everything to me.
Anna: Oh wow. Beautiful.
Fred: So, I’m still able to have… even an Apple watch as well. So, it reads and everything.
Anna: Yeah. Amazing.
Fred: It’s just voice.
Anna: So, it’s pretty much… because I know a lot of people that kind of don’t really know you personally, actually, don’t even realize that you are blind.
Fred: It’s happened so many times. So, if you walked past with me on the street, I wouldn’t know it’s you until you say “Hey, Fred, how are you going?” And then if I’m with you all the time, I’ll know your voice.
Fred: I’m not able to recognize faces, because it’s my central vision.
Anna: Wow. Isn’t that interesting. And for you to actually do your own business it’s such a… there’s such challenges. A lot of people in your situation probably wouldn’t even get into business or wouldn’t even challenge themselves to do it, because they’ll just feel like; oh, because I’ve got this disability. I can’t do things.
Anna: But I seriously have my hat off to you, because what you guys do, you don’t use your vision impairment to say “Hey. Feel sorry for me. Book my photo booth because I’ve got this disability.”
Fred: I don’t think any of our previous clients has any idea that I’m legally blind.
Fred: I don’t think any of our previous clients…
Anna: But now they know they’re probably going to go “Oh my God are you serious? Fred from U Got Snapped? Are you serious he’s legally blind?”
It’s one of those really strong personalities that you have. That’s why you spend so successful for five years in photo booth and you’re growing. Because I noticed when we had a bit of a launch, you had a mirror photobooth that you’ve introduced. Can you just tell everyone about the mirror photo booth? Because there’s not that many around at the moment.
Julie: Our mirror booth, we launched late last year.
Fred: Yeah. We launched last year.
Julie: It’s pretty much a booth, but it’s got a mirror on it which makes it more interactive because the screen’s got some games on it. It’s got some things that you can kind of pick and choose and put emojis on.
Anna: Oh wow.
Julie: What else can you do with it?
Fred: It’s all customized. Others takes photos we’ll customize whatever you wanted to see.
Julie: So, it will give you [crosstalk]
Fred: Compliments you as well.
Anna: Oh wow. So, it’s a lot of talking, interacting.
Julie: Yes. It’s a talking, interacting mirror that takes photos. It’s a different experience compared to other booths.
Anna: In terms of actual price point, is there much of a difference between a normal booth and a mirror booth?
Fred: Yeah. Price point is about 100-200 difference per hour with a normal classic photo booth.
Anna: Why would people choose the mirrored? Is there something different?
Fred: Yeah, there is because our normal photobooths, our classic photobooth produced a photo strip size which typical photobooth produce. But our mirror photo booth is a postcard size. So, it’s a lot bigger. It’s two times the size of the strip.
Anna: Oh, beautiful. So, you get bigger photos.
Fred: Bigger photos. And we had that for our wedding.
Anna: Ah, amazing.
Fred: Yeah. We had bigger photos for our wedding as well. It’s different.
Anna: Yeah. It’s something different. Yeah. Okay. That’s pretty much the photo booth business. So, anyone that kind of is in the audience or anyone that knows someone that needs a photo booth whether it’s a wedding or a corporate event or any type of event, definitely have a look at U Got Snapped. It’s U, the letter U Got snapped. You can actually see online on the website, the Facebook, the Instagram. You see everything and all the testimonials like people that has actually used you guys as well.
Fred: Yeah. We’re five stars.
Anna: You got all five stars. Wow. There you go. And you’re proud of it. It’s because of how you treat your customers.
In terms of how you actually do the sales and do that process, why should a customer actually come and book you?
Julie: I think for us, every everyone has their idea of a photo booth and they’re all going to think it’s all the same. But it’s who you’re dealing with at the end of the day. For us, we really do. I mean, we’ve been there for five years and we know how hard it was starting up the business. Our aim was really to make it seamless. Make it really user-friendly.
We also have unattended booths. That just kind of also says that we trust our equipment and our booths to leave it there unintended as well. If you are after sort of the more budget-friendly and user-friendly booth. For a more, I guess, more interactive experiences where you’re not so comfortable, you might have old grandparents and other people who are using the booth for the first time, we’ve got attendants there. They’ll help you navigate and use it. It’s really easy. It’s just one button. Take three photos or four photos. Print out. Then you’ve got your guestbook where it’s your little keepsake where guests stick in their photos and write a message. All our attendants and our sales were all trained to be there and help them through the process.
Anna: Amazing. It’s all about customer service, isn’t it?
Julie: Yeah, it is.
Anna: There’s not a lot of it out there these days. Even when you’re dining at a restaurant, there’s not a lot of it.
You get to see a lot of the photos because you download it. Before you give it to your clients, you’ve got the book, you’ve got to make sure everything’s stacked down. What’s the funniest photos you’ve actually seen in these photobooths?
Fred: The funniest photo that I’ve seen was right at the beginning when we first started. There was a groom and his groomsmen in our photo booth. There was three photos. The first photo was them with their shoes next to their face. Second photo was them pouring their beer into their shoes, and the foot but it was the drinking the beer from their actual shoes. So, it was pretty disgusting, but pretty funny at the same time.
Anna: Oh, my goodness.
Julie: That just kind of sticks to us when we think back.
Anna: My goodness. That’s probably one of the craziest.
Fred: That’s the craziest.
Julie: I think so.
Fred: Yeah. That would be the craziest.
Anna: What’s the next steps for your business? What’s the next steps for Julie and Fred?
Fred: Next steps.
Julie: We really want to focus on expanding our team. So, we have stepped aside quite a lot because we have a small dedicated team who, like I said, when I was doing laser eye surgery, Fred can’t drive. We had Fred’s cousin help us and drive and set up with him. And then, we had people stay to attend the booth. So, for us, I think it’s growing the team again. The mirror booth is obviously launched. We want to see how successful that is and perhaps get a few more of those. We really want to just look at what the State’s doing and Japan’s doing. What other exciting things that they’ve got there and try and bring it to Australia.
Fred: Because they do have expos there as well. So, we’re hoping to travel overseas to one of their expos and bring what they’re offering over there to Sydney.
Anna: Because a lot of people when I plan their weddings or when we’re doing the styling, they’re like, oh, you know we always ask the question of would you a photo booth or something entertaining? And then they’re, “Oh, a booth is great but I just want something different. Is there anything different that you can offer?” And there really isn’t anything else different that I can actually present to them offer them, because there really isn’t anything else other than something new in the photo booth industry like a mirrored one. Or they might say, “Is there something else that I can do rather than a photo booth?” And there really isn’t.
So, it’d be great if you can actually present my clients something different and something that’s out of the norm. That could be a new trend that you guys can set.
Fred: Yeah, 100%.
Anna: And then watch everyone follow.
Julie: Yeah. Stay tuned. Maybe we’ll go to the expo and bring something back home.
Fred: We’re looking into that now.
Anna: Bring something back.
Any tips for people that are actually wanting to start their own business whether it’s photobooth or whether it’s anything else? Any tips that you can advise anyone out there?
Fred: Yeah. My only advice was when we first started was we did our research. So, we knew what we were getting into, but not to the fullest as well. There is the challenges, but anything is possible. It can be done. If I can do it, you can do it as well.
Julie: Yeah. I think for us we were quite lucky in that we knew some people. Anna, you helped us quite a bit knowing you as well. When we first started, you helped us push out the booth. We tried to build up your brand while you were doing that. We tried to network with people.
Starting up is always hard because you never know where you kind of sit in the market and how many people there are out there. But we always try our best. Just stick to your goals, your vision. So, our plan was to stick to it or at least try to stick to it and develop as you go. Things just start taking off and getting a bit better.
I mean, being together like husband and wife and starting out the booth, we had so many arguments like I wouldn’t want it this way. Fred want it way.
Fred: Yes, we’re perfectionists. But we have our own…
Julie: We want the best for the business. It means so much to us that we kind of want our way. But over the years, we know kind of where each other’s responsibility sits. We try not to kind of step on each other’s toes.
Anna: This is a business you do on the side. It’s a casual business that you’re doing the side. What do you guys do full time? What’s your mainstream?
Fred: I’m a PT part time.
Julie: Yeah. And I work in HR. So, I think for us it’s dealing with people is something that we both are passionate about. But the creativity of the photo booth on the weekends.
Fred: It’s fun.
Julie: Seeing people have fun is what kind of drives us to move the business forward.
Anna: Beautiful. So, being a PT, Fred, that’s also something that you would have grown to challenges to getting your PT because you would have had to do studies for it.
Fred: Yeah, I did. I did a traineeship.
Anna: I want to know a little bit more about how you grew yourself into a PT and why you chose that and how you do it now.
Fred: So, in high school I was always into fitness. Losing my sight at 14, I was not able to play a whole bunch of sports anymore like normal kids did. The only thing I could do was pretty much still go to the gym, lift some weights, do some cardio, just have the heart rate pumping. So, then when I left school in year 10, because I always struggled with school. I didn’t know what to do with my life. But then, I was going to a gym and the trainer there was very very supportive. I told him I wanted to get into the fitness industry. Everyone told me you’re blind. You’re not able to do it, but this person told me, “If you want to do it, I’ll help you.” He goes, “I’ll try my best. He actually got me into a traineeship there.”
Fred: So, I was able to study and work at the same time. And then within 15, 16 months, I was able to get my qualifications.
Anna: Okay. And then pretty much, you can do your own PT-ing on the side or people can do one on one PT sessions with you as well?
Fred: 100%. Yeah. That’s what I do.
Anna: Oh wow. So, anyone that’s actually is looking for a PT, you can actually call Fred for a PT. If you actually look at Fred… I don’t know if there’s… Do you have any photos or anything online? You can actually see how Fred is. Because I know when Bailey first met Fred, and it was because me and your sister are actually really good friends growing up. Our family friends [inaudible] cousins. And then, kind of missed quite a few years of you growing up because we’re kind of distanced by my parents passed away and then parents kind of didn’t hang out as much anymore because we did our own business. But then, I missed quite a few years of your life where you actually grew up.
Fred: That’s right.
Anna: And when I saw him I was like, “Oh my God. Is this Fred? Shit, he’s grown up.” And then when Bailey met him he’s like, “Whoa,” like shit who’s that guy? I was like, my cousin Fred. He’s doing the photo booth business. We want to try and see how we can kick start him. And he was like, “Oh, okay.” He didn’t realize you were blind as well.
Anna: I think he’s, oh, your fitness. You can train me. Get your arms and this and that. You guys talked. And I was like, “Bailey. Fred’s legally blind.” When he’s walking or talking to you because he’s like… You said to us the story that you walked past a few people and they all thought you were the biggest snob or …
Fred: Yes. That happens all the time. It happens right now. It happens right now. But as I’m getting older, when I was younger, I didn’t accept it. So, it was very very hard for me to tell someone that I was actually blind. Because when you’re younger, you’re immature. You don’t understand that everyone’s going through their own issues.
But as you mature, the past couple of years, I’ve realized that it’s okay to tell people because it’s actually a benefit for them to know than not know. So, as I’m aging, I’m starting to realize, tell everyone. It doesn’t matter. It’s my life and it’s a part of it. Yeah.
Anna: How are you coping together as husband and wife in terms of family, business? Because you’re relatively young and you haven’t got children yet. How are you kind of balancing family life, business life, social life and all of that because you’re doing pretty much seven days.
Fred: We do have a dog son.
Julie: Yeah, we do have a dog son.
I think for me, because I still work five days a week, therefore… We’ve got a CRM system set up. So, any inquiries that go through or when people inquire about quotes et cetera, the system will pick that up. Fred will look at it in sort of adhoc emails. So, that’s what he does on his days off work while I’m working throughout the week.
Fred: Yeah, I’m sales.
Julie: Yeah. I think on weekends, we… I mean, we’re pretty organized in terms of our events. We have workers assigned to those jobs for the days. When we do have say birthdays or weddings or whatever it is, we make sure that we’ve got them coverage. So, whether it be someone driving to help us set up the booth or attend the booth so that we’ve got that time back to spend with family and friends and make time for our social activities.
Anna: That’s good. That’s good that you’ve learned to balance the social activities and everything.
Fred: It just takes time, practice.
Julie: I think when we first started, we would be like…
Anna: Do everything yourself?
Julie: We do everything ourselves [inaudible]. And we block out social events because we just couldn’t find time to balance them with work. But over the years now, I think we’ve come to a place where we can attend and feel confident because we’ve got a good team, good equipment, and we feel… We just trusted in everyone.
Anna: How many booths do you have? How many events can you actually service on any given day?
Fred: We can do four events on one day.
Anna: That’s great.
Fred: Yeah, four.
Anna: That’s really good. Eventually, you’re hoping that it’ll take over a full-time role as a business?
Julie: Yeah, we’ll see. I think so.
Julie: I think depending on how we grow the business and where things lead and what other booths we introduce and how successful that is. Hopefully, we’ll be able to…
Fred: We’ll introduce some more person to the family.
Anna: Yeah. Great. And then, try and get more corporates during the week.
Fred: Corporates are perfect.
Anna: Yeah. Beautiful. Well, for anyone that’s actually literally… I mean, there’s a lot of people out there that would actually be able to use your services and maybe they can consider to actually look up you guys and see your profile and get to know you guys more, meet you maybe see a potential of a partnership. I hope more and more venues or even just planners or other events specialist actually contact you guys and actually chat to you. They’ll understand why we support you so much as well.
Fred: Thanks, Anna.
Anna: Anything else you would to add in terms of… we can talk all day. We can talk about your wedding and how you planned it and all of that stuff. Not just being family, friends, clients and all of that stuff. There’s so much to talk about, but there’s only so much we can fit into this segment. But really, I just wanted people to really know who you guys are, what you guys do, and why they should use you for their photobooth.
Is there anything you would to actually say in terms of anything to the audience or anyone that’s listening? Is there any message you want to send out?
Julie: Is there anything you want to say?
Fred: Not really.
Julie: I think we just wouldn’t be where we are without the support of a lot of people. I think for us, family has been always there for us. When we first started the booth, we stayed with mom and dad. So, Fred’s parents. We pretty much took over mom and dad’s living room and they were so open to us. We pretty much store everything there.
Fred: We still store there.
Julie: Nothing was ever too hard for them. They support us fully and be there for us. I mean, Fred’s brother would jump in. Fred’s sister would jump in and offer us help. You know, brother-in-law, everything. We just had so much help from family and friends. Even my sisters have been there to help and support us. So, thank you guys if you are listening.
I think that’s one other thing. If you are a startup and you’ve got family and friends around you, surround yourself with those people. Getting the help that you need really helps you get to where you want to be. I just don’t think we would have been able to…
Anna: I think it was [inaudible] that actually…
Julie: Reached out to you.
Fred: I remember that day, actually.
Anna: We’re at a birthday party, the one year old actually… quite funny because we’re sitting down and they were doing all the [inaudible] schools and everything. It was actually at Nina’s son’s birthday. And then, we’re just chatting because we haven’t seen each other for ages. And then, chatting, chatting, chatting. [Inaudible] my brother Fred is starting up a little photo booth business. Could you help? And we always get people calling us and messaging us. And we’re a photo booth, we’re A photo booth, we’re a photo booth.
We’re just like, Oh there’s just so many photos with people out there. Who do we support? And then I just said, just get him to call me and let’s see, let’s see where it goes. And then when we spoke we’re like, okay. Give me your prices. Give me what it is that you’re doing. And then, yeah. And then the rest is history.
Fred: Yeah, 100%.
Julie: We’re so grateful for that, because I think having you there as a network and knowing you through friends and families…
Fred: Just trusting us as well.
Julie: Yeah, trusting us and getting our brand out there. That really helped us as well. So, thanks, Anna.
Anna: No problems. But it’s just your personality. When the clients meet you or talk to you, they fall in love with.
Well, thank you for coming today. I know you’ve taken some time off work Julie and a bit of muscle work over here. But yeah, are you going back to work today, Jules?
Anna: So, you’re going back to work. But really, thank you for coming. Let’s hope we get the new products coming soon. Let’s set that where I can actually promote what we’re doing, but let’s push this mirror out a bit more and let people understand. Hey this mirror booth is fantastic. You can actually see the whole of yourself and all the fun attributes and bits and pieces. We’ll do an open day, another open day. Let people experience that a little bit more, because I think it was quite fun the last time we had. People are just going, “Oh wow.” And have you both talking to them what is this photo booth.
So, thank you so much, guys.
Julie: Thanks, Anna.
Anna: Guys that are listening, thanks you. But please keep in touch because we really want to have U Got Snapped to be the next really big thing and people just follow, people just continue. Please everyone, just log on to their Instagram, their Facebook and just like their posts, like everything that they do. Let’s just get them really moving forward in this industry. Thanks, guys.
Fred: Thanks, Anna. Appreciate it.
Julie: Thanks, Anna.