Friday, April 19, 2013

[Entrepreneurial Mama Series] Get To Know Evelyn Tan-Rogers

I'm so pleased to have Evelyn Tan-Rogers featured and interviewed over at my blog today, for my Entrepreneurial Mamas series that is an ongoing feature.

When I first met Evelyn, she strikes me as a very soft spoken and lady like person. But behind that petite frame lies a pretty dynamic personality with a zeal for life! She is also, probably the most retrolicious looking mother I know!

I've also been admiring the inner creative streak Evelyn possesses - the little nifty craft work and her abstract photography - which I hope to see more of.

Thank you Evelyn, for gracing my blog with this interview so that we can all get to know you a little bit more and what you do. I sincerely wish you the best in your future business undertaking!

p.s. Now now people, you know who to go to for photo booths when you have an event!


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Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm a blogging mom of two and you'll find me at thebottomsupblog.com. I'm also a freelance writer and editor, and once in a while you'll catch me at an event manning a printer (or printers) to deliver photos to guests quickly!


When and how did The Party Paparazzi came about? 

We did our first official shoot as The Party Paparazzi in late 2009--it was for a secondary school's graduation event. Before that, my sister-in-law Jac ran a mobile portraits service where she'd go to people's homes, set up a backdrop and shoot them but it stopped being fulfilling for her and she was looking to do something different. I think the fake mustache photo prop trend took off in that year, and that led us to have a conversation about getting people to goof off in front of the camera and printing those pictures as keepsakes for them to bring home. We tested the idea on our cousins and they seemed to like it, so we bought a few printers, set up a website, and we were ready to roll!

Did you face any challenges while setting up The Party Paparazzi? 

Our biggest challenge was (and still is) marketing: Apart from putting up a website and posting in a few forums, neither of us knew how to go about getting the word out to as many people as possible. And we were a bit late in getting on Facebook. Back then I wasn't as active on it as I am now and I didn't realise its value as a relationship-building and publicity tool. We were one of the first few budget-friendly photobooth providers around but we didn’t capitalise on that and now photobooth services are really common (and getting more cost friendly by the day) and it probably won’t be long before the DIY trend takes over! Also our party booth business wasn’t the only thing we were preoccupied with because I had regular freelance editorial projects to manage while my sis-in-law was exploring other photography business channels at the same time.

What themes do you offer at your photo booth? 

When we started out, The Party Paparazzi stood out as a budget-friendly service and our clients so far have preferred to use a standard set of props--mustaches, glasses, wigs, hats and headgear--because customisation would result in extra costs. We do put in additional props according to the seasons, e.g. Halloween and Christmas. We also replace props when they get worn out or (in our minds) lose their appeal, and we look in thrift stores, flea markets, bargain bins, the party shops, and Daiso for new items that we think would be fun to pose with.

What events do you usually cover?
 
We’ve done D&Ds, weddings, school graduations, and small home parties for kids and grown-ups. This year, my sister-in-law and business partner has announced that she's relocating to another country, and until she moves in June, we'll be focusing only on small home parties. I’m currently making plans to continue in this direction after she leaves, with a new partner, as well as to offer a printing-only service.

List one thing you wish you had done sooner in your business and why.

We neglected to think ahead to a time where everyone would be offering a similar service, and possibly at a lower cost. We could've done with a lot more discussions on how to differentiate ourselves and revamp our pricing structure! The other important thing we didn't do was to move ourselves into managerial and trainer roles and hire junior staff members so we could accept more assignments and cover more ground. I've been home minding baby #2 and my photographer sister-in-law returned to full-time work last year. We've had to turn down a number of assignments as a result.


How do you manage your time with family and work demands?

My mom-in-law looks after the kids whenever I have shoots or any sort of work--she's a godsend! Our shoots don't happen every weekend; before we scaled down our service we had about two shoots a month, so it didn't take away a significant amount of time from the family. I also decided to say no to most freelance writing work offers when I had baby #2 in '11, but I should probably start making some work calls soon! Before, with just one kid who wasn't in school, my schedule was flexible and I spent the mornings with my daughter, with my mom-in-law taking over in the afternoon so I could head out to get my work done in peace. That routine worked well for me for several years!

Could you share two of your favourite photos from your shoots?




These photos are from the first party that we shot, for a birthday girl named Kateryna. We're still very grateful to her mother for taking a chance on us although we didn't have a party portfolio or much of a client list at the time! She liked what she saw on our website and hired us with no questions asked, and it was the confidence booster that we needed to keep going. Till this day, we have great memories of the party and we're still in love with the pictures.


Like this interview? 
Support Evelyn with what she does by sharing this post or her website for  more information on what Party Paparazzi can offer and staying in touch via her FB page.  



 
 
Till the next post, have a blessed week!

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