Welcome to our latest ongoing project!
Over the coming months, we’ll be featuring “portrait interviews” with local businesses in the Glasgow & Aberdeen areas.
“What on earth is a portrait interview?!” we hear you cry! Well, essentially we photograph and interview local business owners to learn about their livelihood and background, and share all of the juicy details with you.
You’ll get to learn behind-the-scenes stories of cool local traders, gain professional (and sometimes life) advice from people who have been there and done it, and you’ll also get to know a group of local creative entrepreneurs.
Next up we have Steph & Joe, the masterminds behind The Bygone Photobooth Company
It all began when an East End boy met a West End girl. In Bloc. And it was heart shaped eyes at first sight… At least for Joe anyway. His persistence when it came to wooing Steph soon paid off and he whisked her out on an amazing first date. It even featured, at Steph’s request, a homemade mask; a sign of things to come perhaps?
When I asked who inspired them to set up their own business Joe is quick to answer, “Steph, 100% she is the brains behind it all”.
“It was a team effort”, says Steph.
“Bollocks,” says Joe, “Steph is always pushing to be better, and up her game, always pushing us to be better people.” Steph is getting a bit misty eyed at this, it’s all too cute.
They didn’t know what kind of business they wanted to run, they just knew they wanted to make it on their own and be self-employed. In Steph’s own words to Joe, “I want to start something, are you with me?”
Joe naturally said “Yes!”
After completing a black and white film class at Glasgow School of Art and having fallen in love with vintage film techniques; the ball had begun rolling on their photo booth idea.
To make their dream a reality, they decided to start saving hard. To finance ‘Bygone’ they worked 5 jobs between them and stayed in Joe’s parent’s conservatory on a mattress. Dedication level: maximum! They started sourcing all the equipment they would need, one piece at a time. Despite large boxes being delivered every week and then piled high in the conservatory (for what would become The Bygone Photobooth Company), they somehow managed to keep everything a secret from their friends and family initially.
The planning stage lasted for a year and everything was meticulously organised. And still, nobody knew what they were up to. How they kept it a secret for so long, I do not know. Behind the scenes, they had all their social media and website waiting to be launched and a grand unveiling was planned at ‘Blitzed’, a 1940’s themed club night at The Old Hairdressers. It was the perfect accompaniment to the vintage themed affair. Their photobooth was a runaway success and on the 28th of February 2014, ‘The Bygone Photobooth’ was born!
Steph and Joe are nothing if not perfectionists and their vintage branding is amazing. It runs through every part of the business including your interactions with them. Who wouldn’t love to get a hand typed, wax sealed telegram in the mail to confirm your booking? The aesthetics of ‘The Bygone Photobooth’ and the attention to detail have clearly contributed to their success; everything just looks gorgeous. Their attention to detail even extends to the outfits that Mr & Mrs Bygone and their staff wear. The ‘Bygone Photobooth Company’ stands for more than simply having your picture taken; it’s an experience.
After 2 months in business, Steph was able to quit her two jobs and go self-employed full time. Joe joined her after 3 months, which is amazing for a new business and testament to the hard work and dedication they both put in. At the 6-month mark, they had to get a second booth to keep up with demand. Since then, the business has continued to grow and flourish and they are now running up to 4 booths in one night with 2 additional members of staff. I am seriously awed by their talents and achievements but it is very well deserved. It doesn’t hurt that they are also freaking lovely! Just take a look at their reviews on facebook or the testimonials on their site, they are awesome – always smiling and always having fun. It’s business owners like Steph & Joe that inspire others to find their own path and follow their dreams.
Rarely taking a day off, they are always thinking ‘what can we do next?’ To serve their clients to the absolute best of their ability, they have introduced a range of additional services. This includes their line of wedding stationery and their lovely new matchstick box of memories USB. They are always adding new styles to their printouts so that each wedding can have it’s own unique twist which can be personalised to you and your theme. Steph also spoke about how she is taking classes to learn sewing and upholstery which will allow her to make and repair props. They are also learning calligraphy so that they can make their chalk backgrounds look even more amazing than they already do – all for their clients’ benefit. Joe even learned to drive in 3 months so that they could get a van to transport all the booths and equipment, which is yet another example of the hard work and dedication that they pour into their business. Steph mentioned that she always wanted to be her own boss and make something that she was proud of – mission accomplished I would say!
Their advice for anyone starting a new business is, “work hard, stick it out, do your research and don’t rush into things.” As you can see it clearly worked in their favour as they were able to build their business very successfully. They also recommend Business Gateway as a valuable resource, as they provide advice and seminars.
‘Bygone’ have some surprises up their sleeves which are too top secret for them to even let me in on! I am very intrigued and can’t wait to see what they have in store. So let’s all keep our eyes on the Bygone Photobooth team to see what it is they are doing next – whatever it is, you can guarantee it will be splendid!
Many thanks to Steph & Joe for taking time out of their unbelievably busy schedules to have a natter with me about their amazing business. I’m sure you’ll agree they are the coolest photobooth in town. So what are you waiting for? Get the telegram sent off pronto and get them booked in for your next soiree!
What is your favourite wedding venue?
(They legit could not narrow this down because they love so many!)
Any vendors you love and would recommend?
Any of the Glasgow Wedding Collective vendors (Seconded – they are all amazing!)
What is your favourite photobooth prop?
Steph – The press camera (old journalist’s camera with the big flash bulb at the side)
Joe – Something simple but classic, like an eyepatch
What is your favourite part of the wedding?
The Bygone Kiss! See #bygonekiss on Instagram. The happy couple’s first smooch in the booth.
Any local small businesses you love?
Here are all the Bygone Photobooth details…
Where can I find more info? Visit their website – http://www.bygonephotobooth.co.uk/
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Come back soon for another Shop Local portrait interview!