Marketplace: TapSnap provides 21st century photo booth experience
With a background in event planning and photography and a desire to own a business, Kim Deimling took a leap of faith when she became one of the first franchisees of the photo company TapSnap, which markets itself as a photo booth for the social-media era.
Now, 18 months later, Deimling is glad she did, as her Park City-based TapSnap franchise is flourishing. TapSnap provides a photo kiosk at events ranging from weddings to concerts to corporate gatherings. The kiosk prints pictures instantly and allows people to post them on Facebook or Twitter or send them to an e-mail address.
"This just seemed like a perfect fit for my personality and what I wanted to do," Deimling said. "It was a little scary because we were literally the first group of franchisees to buy into it. So I sent my check off to Vancouver without having seen the unit, without having been able to talk to anyone who was already in business. And it’s been the greatest move we’ve ever made, I think."
What makes TapSnap unique, Deimling said, is the ability to instantly add special effects to photos. The touchscreen kiosk allows users to drag and place digital props, such as animals or even the faces of celebrities, into photos. And a green screen that provides an endless array of digital backdrops is always an attention-grabber.
"You can set up anything with the green screen," said Phil Deimling, Kim’s husband, who joked that he is the company’s roadie. "You can be in the Swiss Alps, or in a meadow with cows or on the beach. I think that’s the coolest thing for events."
Getting a picture taken is free for users, as TapSnap is paid for by the host of the events at which it appears (at a cost of $645 for two hours). Phil Deimling said people flock to the kiosk, out of both curiosity and a desire to make a memory with friends or loved ones.
"When you see it at an event, everybody is drawn to it," Phil Deimling said. "Whether there’s a band playing and people are dancing or whatever, this always ends up being the center of attention for the event."
TapSnap has entertained at several recent local events, including the Tour of Utah, the Huntsman Cancer Institute’s Championship for Cancer Research golf tournament and a Motley Crue concert. Kim Deimling had hoped when she began the company to work at least one event every weekend, but the demand for TapSnap is greater than she’d anticipated. In fact, the Deimlings are considering buying additional kiosks to service more events.
"This week, we had five events in seven days," Kim Deimling said. "That’s more than I expected when I was forecasting. I thought, ‘If I can do one event every weekend, I’ll be thrilled.’ But we’re finding we’re doing events every day of the week, not just Friday or Saturday nights."
The Deimlings attribute some of TapSnap’s success to being in the right industry at the right time. They’re capitalizing on a zeitgeist that has people incessantly taking and sharing photos through social media.
"In fact, the easiest way for me to describe it is it’s a giant iPhone," Kim Deimling said of the TapSnap kiosk. "So you’re getting your selfie with two or three, or even 30, people in there. And with the social media aspect of it, people are posting it on Facebook and Twitter."
One aspect of TapSnap’s success the Deimlings did not anticipate is the ability to use it as a corporate advertising tool. When TapSnap works corporate events, it puts a company logo on the photos, meaning clients get valuable advertising every time a photo is shared through social media.
"Every time someone puts the photo on Facebook, everyone who sees that picture is seeing that corporate logo," Phil Deimling said. "The potential for marketing is something we didn’t realize when we bought into TapSnap."
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