During her senior year of high school, Mandy Samson took what was supposed to be “just a summer job” with a photo company. She wound up working there for 17 years learning everything from printing and developing to shooting. Now, over 20 years later, Mandy is still in the business. Unlike a lot of small business owners and entrepreneurs, Mandy never planned on having her own studio. She liked the security and stability of working for someone else. But, a few years after leaving her former employer, the calls kept coming asking Mandy if she could do one more shoot. So, in 2012 Mandy opened her own photography business, and by 2016 she had her own studio, On 3 Studios.
Mandy’s business is built on variety, and that’s how she likes it. She might do a wedding one day, a fashion shoot the next, and senior portraits the next. In the winter she adds in some “Santa mini-sessions,” and every 3-4 months she works with a park district doing all the photos for their sports leagues. Working with the park district, Mandy shoots hundreds of kids between the ages of 3-14 every year.
More Time, More Money
What most attracted Mandy to PhotoDay was the promise of no order forms, and less paperwork. Mandy believes that with order forms she was averaging about 40 hours worth of paperwork for every team shoot. She was also paying up to 8 people to assist per shoot. Now, she pays 3 people per shoot and spends about an hour finishing up her work after the shoot. The huge savings in time and money has made her consider adding additional leagues to her sports schedule.
More Shots on Goal
Mandy loves kids and can almost always get a great reaction out of them. Especially with some of her younger athletes, Mandy felt that there were tons of cute photos wasted. She had to choose the photo she thought parents wanted for the package. Sometimes, a photo of a silly kid would be so cute that Mandy would make a print and include it in the package at no charge, just because she couldn’t stand for the parent to never see it. Now, with PhotoDay, parents can choose all of the poses and expressions they like, helping Mandy earn more money from her ability to capture a child’s personality.
More Photos Delivered
Prior to PhotoDay Mandy hand delivered all the photos to the park district office. The district then called coaches who were supposed to collect and deliver packages to parents. Oftentimes though, the photos would sit uncollected in the park district office. The next season, parents would complain to Mandy that they hadn’t gotten their photos from the previous season. This meant parents were wasting money on unseen photos. It also reflected badly on Mandy even though this part was out of her control.
Mandy knew that PhotoDay’s direct shipping to parents would solve the problem, but some parents were reluctant to pay the new shipping costs. Mandy decided to use AdvancePay with a free shipping credit for the first 200 people who purchased. Mandy loves it when parents choose AdvancePay since it gives her a better sense of how many kids will be participating in the shoot.
Mandy believes that as parents get used to paying for shipping and actually receiving their photos, the resistance to paying for shipping will lessen.
Mandy shared results with us from a spring 2019 youth soccer shoot – one in which she required a minimum of a $10 AdvancePay fee but with no special offers. She used Miller’s Professional Imaging for fulfillment. She also offered AdvancePay credits in denominations of $10, $20, $30, and $40. Here were the results:
|Average Order Value
*AdvancePay sales are sales made with AdvancePay credits applied.
Mandy recommends that you, “talk to the league directors and coaches and explain PhotoDay ahead of time. If possible, get them to go on the site and try it out as a parent. It takes people 3-5 times of hearing or doing something before they really understand. Coaches can be a big help in the process, if they know what’s going on.”
She also recommends going BIG when it comes to signage and information. “Making sure PhotoDay is super visible will help increase orders,” she tells us from her experience.
So far Mandy has generated $25,000 of sales through PhotoDay. She is excited about the potential opportunities of bringing PhotoDay into more of her jobs. Prior to PhotoDay, Mandy was hesitant to take on any additional leagues. She felt like the time commitment required to do a job to her standards was too high. Now though, the possibilities are endless.
“Photos of kids are precious milestones. I want parents to be able to pick their favorite expressions and poses – and now they can with PhotoDay!”
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