At age 11, Doug Owens went to work with his police officer father and found himself in the dark room at the station developing crime scene film. Cool experience for any kid! This sparked Doug’s interest in photography. From that point on, photography became more and more part of his life – but always something he did on the side. In the early 2000’s, he had a series of retail management jobs, “working for the man,” he told me. He was full of creativity and ideas for these jobs, but felt frustrated and restricted even has he climbed the ranks.
“I never thought you could make a living doing photography unless you were a big name. It took me forever to dive head first and make a decision that this is what I wanted to do.” In 2008, he made the leap, starting out with landscape photography, then family portraits, and newborn sessions. “It was one of the best decisions I made in my life. It wasn’t a question of whether I make it, I had to make it. I had a family to support.”
A few years into the business, he decided to start doing T&I (teams and individuals). It started out with a friend who was a teacher and coach at a nearby school. “I grew to love it and got more and more teams until eventually an athletic director wanted me to do the whole school.”
Flash forward, Doug Owens Photography & Design is booked year-round. He photographed 12,000+ athletes in 2018 across school sports and intramural youth leagues. He refers to his photography style as “edgy T&I.” He wants to give parents something they’ve never seen before. “I want the kids to feel and look like pro players, like superstars – something that mom can’t do with her cell phone.” He continues, “Let’s face it. Less than 1% of high school athletes make it into college sports. Youth sports is the shining moment and I want to help parents preserve their child’s love of sports.”
LONELY AT THE TOP
“I do it all. Me, myself and I. Travel, setup, shoot, collect order forms, answer 1001 questions regarding the ordering and products, collect monies, run credit cards on-site, breakdown, load up, travel. Of course there’s the accounting and P&L sheets and all of the office work.” Despite the size of his business, Doug works alone to this day. He attributes his work ethic to his 4 years in the Marine Corps. He doesn’t have a partner or any staff. “There was always a mushroom cloud of things I didn’t want to do,” he shared. The stress of the business started to take a toll on his marriage, his relationships with his kids, and his whole life.
When he learned about PhotoDay and its promise to eliminate all the backend stuff he disliked, he knew had to give it a try. “I wanted to give PhotoDay a run for its money. I went all in…and holy cow!”
He decided to try PhotoDay on a new hockey club account with approximately 700 players. “When the parents realized they didn’t have to fill out paper order forms, they literally hugged me.” The turnaround time from picture day to parents having pictures in hand was greatly reduced. “I’m not going to take full credit for it – PhotoDay has made my life enjoyable again!!”
For this first job, he tried AdvancePay on site. He had a big banner at the station – that he adapted from the PhotoDay Marketing Kit. He also used reminder cards to make sure that everyone knew how to text in the access code. Here are the results:
|Fall 2018 – Youth Hockey Club|
|# of Players||~700|
|Gross Sales (before discounts and credits applied)||$18,576|
|Net Order Sales||$17,846|
|Average Order Value (based on Net Order Sales)||$48.50|
The above numbers, of course, don’t show the incredible amount of time and stress that PhotoDay helped eliminate for Doug.
“I don’t know whether to yell, cry or headbutt the next person I see. Incredible guys. I’m sitting here typing this because I’m done with all of my work until the next shoot in a week. I haven’t had down time in years. My average dollars per sale is up. My turnaround time was less than 2 weeks to create composited images for 53 teams! Customers started receiving their packages in the mail days after I created them. Orders are coming in everyday, every hour. All I did was shoot, create and upload.”
Doug is lining up his jobs for Spring 2019, and when I asked him if they’ll be on PhotoDay, here’s what he said:
“I will not do another T&I without PhotoDay. Period. I haven’t been this happy and this stress-free in a long, long time!! THANK YOU PhotoDay!!! My Wife and family thank you as well!!”
Photos from Doug Owens Photography & Design
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