Photography Adventures with Brett Stanley

I first met Brett Stanley in Wellington in our early days of Highly Flammable. As well as another entrepreneur he was also an event supplier and therefore we hit it off discussing the events industry, as well as the crazy world of business and entrepreneurship. We have kept in touch over the years and currently both share the dream of having the Highly Flammable Mirrorman in one of his epic underwater shoots!

- Logan Elliott, Lifetime Creative

1) WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
My name is Brett Stanley and I am currently living in Los Angeles as a commercial photographer, whilst also running one of NZ largest photobooth companies, Photo Booth Fun.

I've had a few incarnations over the years, starting as a youngster working at Target in Australia in the late '80s. I've been a pizza delivery driver (best job ever), a programmer (more fun than it sounds), and a record label owner (less fun than it sounds), until about 8 years ago when I started following my photographic calling.

Photo Booth Fun was born out of my girlfriend's request for a photobooth at her 30th birthday party, and quickly escalated in to a nationwide business. After about 4 years of running it full time I've been able to step back and just oversee the company, putting the day to day activities in the hands of my amazing team.
 


2) WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT AND WHY?
1. I'm passionate about beauty, in all aspects. I love design, which I incorporated in the photobooths, and I love the beauty of light, which I use everyday as a photographer. It's the small details that make something beautiful to me. The tiny perfections make the large beautiful.

2. I'm passionate about fairness, I'm not comfortable feeling like something is one sided or unfair. I don't mean for myself either, I like to know everyone is happy and that there's no unease. It's a hard bargain to strike in business, where everything is about the bottom line, but I feel I'd rather lose a little profit to sleep with ease.

3. I'm passionate about the oceans and waterways. I grew up as a water baby, always in our backyard pool or down the beach, so I've felt this connection with the water my whole life. I'm also an underwater photographer so this is my office a lot of the time! I'm yet to find a way to help with the fight to clean the oceans , but it's a passion none the less.


3) WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST BARRIERS TO ENTREPRENEURSHIP?
One of the biggest barriers for me was not getting in to debt. I wanted my businesses to grow organically, without the need to inject outside cash. It meant we grew slower, but the risk was almost zero. This is not always possible, sometimes you can't get off the ground without some investment or seed money, but I would say that's a big barrier.

The other big barrier is yourself. It took me along time to realise I needed to get out of my own way, and actually listen to what others were telling me. After 3 years of doing everything myself I finally let others in and once they shared the load everything changed!


4) WHAT ARE THE MOST EXCITING THINGS ABOUT STARTING A BUSINESS?
Seeing your dreams grow, and people growing with them! I started Photo Booth Fun as a one man show, dragging my booth around to events on my own, and it was fun for a while, but when I started to expand and take on staff I started to see how this one idea could change other's lives as well. Now 6 years on we have over 30 staff around the country. That's over 30 people who my business is helping to make an income for, that's over 30 people who can make our business bigger and better.

We have a conference every year with the management team, and Christmas parties for all the staff, and I love seeing how excited people are about being part of this.


5) PODCAST & BOOK ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP?
Hmmm, I'm not much of a reader of non-fiction unfortunately and podcasts put me to sleep so I can't recommend anything specific, but I would just say listen to what people tell you and filter it for what works for you. Learn from their mistakes and their successes, treat people how you'd like to be treated and NEVER talk smack about the competition.


6) ONE TOOL?
Xero totally changed my life! I'm no accountant and having an easy to use system like Xero means that I can keep track of all the ins and outs.

 

Brett Stanley
- Photo Booth Fun: 
photoboothfun.co.nz