We recently connected with Christa Ellis and have shared our conversation below.
Christa, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. Getting that first client is always an exciting milestone. Can you talk to us about how you got your first customer who wasn’t a friend, family, or acquaintance?
I started Luxe Photos KC, KC’s Premier Photobooth Rental & Backdrops in May 2021. The Knot Worldwide had contacted me to advertise on their platforms (The Knot & WeddingWire) in June and I setup my business pages and my first client had contacted me on there. They had gotten married in 2020 during Covid and wanted to have a reception for their family and friends. We had set up a Zoom meeting to discuss what we did and how we customize everything to match the aesthetics of their day (i.e tap to start screen, overlays, and print template). I had sent over our brochure for her to look at in more details and she booked with us! I was excited and nervous at the same time.
Before the event, I had ordered custom silver sequin backdrop and wedding props for their day. Tested the equipment to make sure everything was working properly.
The day of the event, I got to the venue early to setup the backdrop and do some testing on the equipment. It was a lot of fun interacting with the guests and couple. It really made me feel special once she gave me a 5 star rating on The Knot. That’s when I knew I love what I started.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
I was born and raised in Oklahoma City, OK and moved to Kansas City, MO in 2008. I had been in sales for over 20 years working with people and companies to work better together so companies can grow and adapt to the future of work. We sum it up in three words: Collaborate. Mobilize. Accelerate.
I had engaged in the sale of wireless phone solutions, mobility, GPS/Fleet management, paperless forms and other strategic initiatives for small, medium and large businesses in Kansas City & surrounding areas. Major focus on providing solutions that enhance customers businesses on a day to day basis to improve productivity and efficiency, reduce costs and enhance security.
After finishing my Masters in Organizational Leadership, in 2019 I moved into HR under Learning & Development. I led the strategy and deployment of learning technology solutions that provides platform oversight and ensures that updates on progress for each platform is provided including how the platform is meeting goals, gaps are closed and success measured. I worked closely with Business Partners, Curators, and Technology and Digital Strategy Manager to determine future technology needs. I then worked with our technology team to match requirements to potential technology vendors to meet those technology needs.
While in that role as a Sr. Project Manager, I was able to work on an enterprise project called “Day of Learning” where we would bring in outside speakers like a Ted Talk. I managed the logistics, swag and watch parties for the past 3 years where we would have 2 events a year.
While working in sales and then being a project manager, it allowed me to start my small business, Luxe Photos KC. It’s all about taking care of your clients, being detailed oriented, paying attention to details that have made me a success, thus far. I pride myself on giving my clients the white glove treatment for their special day. They are spending money on this day and I want to add value wherever I can.
How did you put together the initial capital you needed to start your business?
When I first got started, I had gone to my credit union where I personally bank. Based on my personal credit, I was able to set up a business checking and savings account as well as obtain a business credit card. My first purchase was my photobooth with Photobooth Supply Co and I was able to pay that off within 3 months of being in business from the bookings I was able to get from clients.
We’d love to hear a story of resilience from your journey.
I knew I wanted to scale quickly, by January 2022 I had bought another booth and then in March I had bought my 3rd. Bookings kept coming in, but I need help and fast. I was able to reach out to my other photobooth besties all over the country for advice on how they hired booth attendants. They were very helpful in tips, what payroll software to use as well as the contract we both had to sign. Since May, I have 8 wonderful ladies who help me with our events. We have made some amazing connections with event planners where we have done 4 Kansas City Chief players events, two have been Patrick Mahomes. Sometimes, I find myself overbooking on days where I don’t know if we’re going to be staffed to take care of all of them.
- Website: www.luxephotoskc.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/luxephotoskc/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/luxephotoskc
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christaeellis/
- Other: Google MyBusiness: https://goo.gl/maps/9UixcUJpQBgVf4es5 Booking Site: luxe-photos-kc.checkcherry.com