Adelaidians - if you are like me and love getting snapped at events to preserve what will undoubtedly take shape to become some incredible memories, then meet your new best friend Snap/Snap.
Founded by South Australian local Danny van der Nguyen in 2013, the vision was clear: to offer their customers with a product that would boast of nothing but top quality prints of photos against a clean and aesthetically pleasing backdrop and minimal use of props. With a background in engineering, Nguyen kicked off his business at the tender age of 22, where he built his first-ever prototype of a photo booth for his birthday, without expecting an escalated demand for it. Noticing a gap in the market for ways to add a level of extra finesse to subsequent special events for himself and his friends, Danny recognized his potential in offering events with a unique way to inject a level of excitement and joy through Snap/Snap and aims to cement itself into the growing wedding scene as a prime option for celebrating a special milestone in people's lives.
Having met Danny at recent events and seeing the booming popularity of his photo booth at events, I was fortunate enough to conduct an interview with Danny to learn about the story of Snap Snap and his goal of seeing it become an integral part of the wedding scene in Adelaide and South Australia - have a read of our exchange below:
Tema: Can you please tell us a bit about yourself, Danny? Danny: I studied Engineering at Adelaide University and after my graduation, I started working full-time for a Defense company over a period of 3 years, but Snap/Snap was already in-formation beforehand. However, we weren't financially stable at the time to pursue Snap/Snap for the first year or two and we didn't have a team as well, so juggling that alongside full-time work was a bit challenging initially. When the time came to pursue Snap/Snap full-time and let go of my career in engineering, it was more because I wanted to focus all my energy towards something that would be sustainable, that would have my full dedication towards it, and where I'd have the full freedom to create something that would surpass everyone's expectations (including my own). If I was to continue progressing in this career, I would want to make sure that it is something that I will enjoy doing every single day, that will not only make me happy, but also my customers happy, in addition to perfecting my skills in this field over the next 15-20 years. I want to be remembered for what I'm good at and Snap/Snap felt like my calling.
Tema: Can you please tell us a bit about Snap/Snap? Danny: We are a photo booth company with a strong focus on content creation. The business has about 3 different wings - we've got 3 different machines. Our first offering can be seen as a budget-friendly option - OpenBooth - which is a classic photo booth machine that offers a more traditional format that can cater nicely to most events, with their regular strip prints. The next one up is the corporate-focused machine - GIFBooth - which has a very strong focus on content, in providing a pretty diverse range of content to choose from. So, it offers gifs, still images, and branding opportunities, which is ideal for our corporate clients. Going further, we have the most high-end product - GLAMBOOTH - which is more targeted towards the wedding market as well as high-end fashion events.
Tema: How did you go about acquiring these machines? Danny: All our machines have been built here in Australia. I personally built my first-ever machine when I was 22, when I was still at university (in my final year) and I really wanted a photobooth for my birthday. However, when I looked around for options, I found most of them being really pricey, so I thought I'd just build one myself!
Tema: That's impressive! How long did it take you to build the machine? Danny: I think I set aside about 2 months to put it together and build it from scratch. It cost me around $1800, so I only wanted to rent it out a couple of times to make that money back. But, when I put it out for hire (mostly to people who came to my birthday as they were interested), it went crazy and suddenly, there was a demand for it! While it's not an operational machine anymore, it helped pave the way for our current machines to take form, which are designed to be prime quality and add to the essence of Snap/Snap to be what it is today.
Tema: What are some businesses that you'd like to highlight as ones where your photo booths have made an appearance so far, since starting the business? Danny: So, we used to work with Morphettville Racecourse exclusively. Eventually, we also got involved with the Royal Croquet Club, Waymouth Street Party, Adelaide Fringe (particularly the Garden of Unearthly Delights), Vogue Festival most recently, and we also regularly work with Hit 107 (we are currently their only photo booth supplier), along with Channel 9 and all three major universities in South Australia (University of South Australia, University of Adelaide, and Flinders University).
Tema: That's amazing - it sounds like you've been able to take your business around Adelaide! Are there any recent events (over the last 6 months) where Snap/Snap has made an appearance, which you'd like to shed light on? Danny: We just attended the Love Island Party and we recently made an appearance at Vogue Festival in Rundle Mall last weekend. We also helped with the Puff and Pop launch last month, in addition to the City to Bay with Channel 9 as well, which was pretty big for our business! We were also at the Channel 9 NEON Party, the H&M launch in Rundle Mall, and the BRKLYN balcony bar launch.
Photo by Snap Snap GLAMBOOTH at the Puff and Pop launch
Tema: You mentioned maintaining a high focus on the photo quality - what do you think helps your photo quality stand out from the rest in the industry? Why is the quality such a big factor towards success for your business? Danny: I think the main thing that sets us apart - even compared to the larger photo booth companies - is that we take the time to ensure that our staff have the right training to operate our machines. We've taken the time to construct training manuals and processes for our staff to go through and we take steps to make sure that they are qualified to go out in the field and operate the machines independently. One of the biggest things we try to bring out through our photos is that the lighting is on point, the focus is sharp, and the machine is ready to take on a massive influx of photos being taken with ease. Everyone is always connected and communicating with us about how their set up is going and how the test shots look, before the guests are allowed to use the machine. That way, we can be rest assured to be delivering a more homogenous product, where the white balance is correct, the exposure is well-adjusted to accentuate your best features and not make you look whitewashed in any sense.
Tema: What do you think helps your guests get a unique photo booth experience through Snap/Snap? Danny: So, our photobooth experience is about eliminating the need for any silly props and instead, focusing more on creating something that is simple, minimalistic, timeless, and aesthetically pleasing for our audience.
Tema: How have you found social media to aid your business? Danny: I think what we're hoping to achieve through our Facebook and Instagram is that we offer our customers with two solid points of contact and a specific purpose for each platform. So, Instagram is the biggest teaser for our followers, where they can get a visual sense and an aesthetically-pleasing feed of our content creation. This can tingle people's curiosity and draw them to our website for a deeper understanding of our business. Facebook, on the other hand, is primarily used for updating our followers with any information around our business or any upcoming event announcements on where they might see us pop up.
Tema: Would you like to delve a bit deeper into your GLAMBOOTH option and its involvement in the wedding scene? Danny: The reason why we introduced the option of GLAMBOOTH experience was because we noticed that the photo booth industry at the time appeared to be a bit stale. It felt like most photo booth companies were looking to start up their business on the side and add to their weekly income, but there wasn't anything that was setting the competition apart, as most of them offered similar packages that can be seen as a bit dated. This model would usually work if you're in a big city and are more spread out over a large area. However, in a small city like Adelaide, you need to introduce something new and technologically advanced in order to stay ahead of the competition and appeal to the crowd that is going to have the most fun with the photo booth experience. So, bringing in a concept from the US, we wanted to bring in an innovative idea that would revolutionize the way people used our service, through our open booth experience. While we initially had a competitive price point and offered a unique experience, it didn't seem to cater to the more glamorous or high-end events. Sometimes, people want to splurge and go all out. So, the way it came about is that we had a client ask us to build something specific and customized for her open booth experience, which is what inspired the current day GLAMBOOTH experience to come into existence. So, 4 photos - all in black and white - with a tiny logo on top and working out the perfect lighting for that glamorous and glossy finish. At the time, it seemed like a random request, until I started researching into it and ended up going to a photo booth conference in Melbourne, where they discussed the industry in Los Angeles. It's a really popular concept there and bringing it to Adelaide, we thought it would appeal to individuals who don't want to compromise on the quality of their event. So, if you're an all-out, extra person who loves indulging in the luxuries of - say, your wedding - and are spending big bucks on the flowers and the catering and the location, then every single piece of detail will be well-accounted for and you won't want to skimp out on anything (like a cheap photo booth) that may dampen the glamorous and high-end experience that your heart desires. That's where the GLAMBOOTH pops in - it's classy, it's high quality, it's aesthetically pleasing, the timing can be easily adjusted to suit your needs, and it offers their users with something that will last a really long time thanks to the prime quality of the print.
Tema: What do you think helps Snap/Snap stand out from the rest in the industry? Danny: I would like to believe that our point of difference would be that we offer high-quality products, an above-standard level of reliability, and an exceptional form of customer service.
Tema: How do you see Snap/Snap flourishing in the Adelaide market over the next 5 years? Danny: I think, in the next 6 months, we really want to focus even more on our photo quality, because that's always a top priority for us. However, I don't think we've properly had a chance to perfect that part of our business till recently. We're also hoping to cement more stable and steady partnerships with other businesses around the city and the state. We've been quite fortunate with attracting an organic traffic, from web searches and social media platforms such as Facebook and we've relied on these options to further spread the word about our business. However, to continue growing, we need to work on building relationships with other businesses to create a state of stability and steadiness for our business to grow and flourish.