Candice Diddle and Jennifer Hopkins believe in the power of networking. The two Johnson County women met at a networking event a few years ago and hit it off so well that they went into business together.
Diddle and Hopkins own Candid KC Photobooth, using a portable photo booth to capture images of guests at weddings, parties, reunions and corporate events.
Q: Why did you go into business together?
The women started the business a year ago, operating out of Hopkins’ printing business, Big Mouth Prints in Lenexa.
“That’s where we store all of our equipment,” she said.
Hopkins also owns Mail & Copy Plus in southern Overland Park.
Diddle is a sports photographer whose business, Capture KC Sports Photography, kept her plenty busy. When the two met and talked about their business endeavors, a light bulb went on.
“Candice and I decided with me having a print background and her photography background, we would be a great fit to start a business together,” Hopkins said.
Diddle had researched the idea of photo booths and, after talking, the twosome decided to pursue the idea of a joint business. The two women created a limited liability corporation when they formed Candid KC; now they are working on a formal agreement.
“We have a verbal agreement and everything is going fine,” Hopkins said.
They decided to buy one photo booth from a California company to begin operations as Candid KC. The booth includes a computer and photo software. The women created some of the backdrops and chose the props used for each event. It wasn’t long before Candid KC was looking to grow.
“We started to get so busy that within six months we bought our second booth,” Diddle said. “Folks who never did any business with my photography business have used us for a photo booth. We offer a lot of value.”
The women have relied on word of mouth and social media to promote Candid KC. Business has been good enough that the women have been able to pay off the purchase of the two photo machines — priced at $15,000 each.
Q: How do customers book events?
Bookings come through Candid KC’s website or by calling the office. Customers receive a contract spelling out the details for the event, what props they want to have and the information they want imprinted on the photo strips. Candid KC requires a 50 percent retainer upon booking with the rest of the fee paid 30 days before the event.
Candid KC has several photo packages from which to choose with additional options; pricing varies depending on the options selected. Photos can be done in black and white or color for the same price.
Q: What sets your photo booth company apart from the others out there?
Diddle said Candid KC goes beyond its competition in what the company offers to its customers.
“We do unlimited strips (of photos) for everyone,” Diddle said. “Most other companies charge you extra after so many strips. … And we can have up to 18 people in the booth at one time because it’s an open air booth.”
The women attend each event and remain on site to operate it and help people create their photos. Candid KC offers a wide variety of props to use with the photo booth.
“We don’t want your event to be like the one before you,” Diddle said. “We try to customize each event.”
Q: What has been the most challenging aspect about running Candid KC?
Hopkins said convincing people to book the photo booth for an event can be a hard sell.
“Once people use us, they’re hooked,” Hopkins said. “We do get a lot of repeat business after the initial booking.”
Diddle calls Candid KC a “fun changer.”
“We bring instant smiles and insta-fun,” Diddle said. “It changes the whole atmosphere of an event … and it’s fun to watch.”
“It’s a great marketing tool for any business,” Hopkins added. “We’ve done a couple of grand openings, and it has been a hit.”
IN A NUTSHELL
COMPANY: Candid KC Photobooth
ADDRESS: 13356 College Blvd., Lenexa, KS (appointment only)