Franchise Beast recently sat down with Mag-nificent Instant Photo Experiences founder Andrew Levison to talk event photography franchises.
Franchise Beast: All great franchises have a beginning, what is Mag-nificent’s?
Andrew Levison: Yeah, we started this company, we really got it started in 2011. We were looking for something that was truly unique, that hadn’t been done before at events, and something that people weren’t just gonna throw away right when they got home. And so, we saw there’s this concept, particularly in Israel, but in other parts of the world that was very popular. And we looked but we couldn’t find anyone really doing it here, especially, particularly on the scale that we wanted to do it. And so, that’s how we started the business. Since then, we’ve taken it from that single concept and added a whole suite of what we call “instant photo experiences” all tied together with a proprietary mobile app to create a series of options that’s really unique and that has a solution for any type of event.
FB: What makes the Mag-nificent event photography franchise business model so unique?
Andrew: The business model is that we work in all types of events from smaller weddings, birthday parties, family reunions, all the way up to huge concerts, NBA playoff games. We work with pretty much every major sports league in America including NASCAR and MLS. So we do all types of events, but the business model is our clients pay us by the hour to come out and provide free giveaways in the form of unique photo promotions for their attendees. So we never charge by the magnet or photo. We’ve never ever once sold a photo individually at an event and we never will. But yeah, so it’s an hourly rate for us to come to provide free unlimited giveaways for the attendees.
FB: As the Founder and President of Mag-nificent, can you tell us a little bit about your experience in the event photography franchise industry?
Andrew: I went to the University of Maryland and I got my MBA from Georgia State University. I’ve pretty much been working on Mag-nificent since I graduated college, with a short break where I got my license to work as an investment advisor. I found that when I worked in the financial sector, I just really wanted to be back to do what I love, and I realized just how much I missed being my own boss and owning my own business. So I came back to this full time and haven’t looked back.
FB: What made you feel there would be a strong market out there for and event photography franchise?
Andrew: Good question. Well, first of all, we knew that there’s nationwide demand for event photography because we get booked all the time for events all over the country and when that happens, we have to pack up the equipment, book plane tickets, fly out across the country, stay in hotels and do the events. And so, we knew there’s nationwide demand for this. We also think that this is a model that works best when the person running it is completely invested. And so, that’s why we decided to do the franchise route as opposed to company-owned locations. We think we have a great model for somebody who’s looking to start their own business, isn’t quite sure they want to do, who wants to be in a fun industry but doesn’t want to spend that much to get started. We think we have a great model. It’s a proven event photography franchise model and we have something that our competition just can’t offer.
FB: What are you looking for in a Mag-nificent Instant Photo Experiences franchisee?
Andrew: We’re looking for somebody who’s teachable, somebody who is willing to be open to doing things our way, a way that we’ve proven to be successful. We are always looking for feedback and suggestions on ways to improve so that’s not at all to say that we don’t want somebody who’s going to challenge our way of thinking because we do want that person–but a healthy balance. So somebody who wants to challenge our way of thinking, always looking to improve but also who understands that we’ve been doing this a while and there are certain practices that have worked for us, that can be adapted to any market in the country.
FB: What are some of the benefits of owning a Mag-nificent event photography franchise?
Andrew: First of all, it’s a business that you don’t have to jump in right away full time. It’s a business that you can certainly start part-time and once you see how well it’s working, you can jump in full-time. It’s a work-from-home business. So you don’t need to spend money on building out a storefront or retail location. In fact, you don’t even need to have an office. It’s a great work-from-home business. So it keeps your overhead low–it’s a very low overhead business. It’s also a very high-margin business. We see profit margins anywhere from 80 to 85 percent range, depending on a few factors, but it’s a very high profit margin business especially because we found that we’re able to charge a premium for our product compared to similar services in the industry.
FB: What does the future for Mag-nificent look like? A year from now, 5 years from now, 10 years from now.
Andrew: By the end of 2018, we have 3 locations up and running including here in Atlanta. We’d like to see 10 franchisees by the end of 2019. Our goal is to have several dozen in the next few years, and over a hundred within the next five years. Because there is a constantly growing demand for unique giveaways at events, unique ways for an event to stand out. Event planners are tired of seeing the same old things over and over again and event planners are always looking for ways to bring an event to the next level. So I don’t think it’s an industry that’s going anywhere. The event photography industry will to continue to grow. And so, that’s where I see us in terms of franchisees. But the products that we offer now are not necessarily the same product that we’re going to be offering six months from now or a year from now or certainly not five years from now. This is an industry that’s constantly evolving. The trends are constantly shifting. And so it’s important that as the franchisors, we look at it as our responsibility to stay on top of the trends of the industry. That’s why next week we’re flying out to Las Vegas for the International Photo Expo where people in the photo booth industry, vendors, photo booth company owners are going to be there, and we could see the latest trends that are going on like what’s in, what’s out, things like that.
FB: You and a potential franchisee just stepped into an elevator together, what’s the Mag-nificent elevator pitch?
Andrew: We are a low startup cost event photography franchise. We provide unique event services at all types of events from small birthdays to huge professional sporting events. We’re a great low-cost/high-margin business and we get to work in a fun industry.
FB: Thank you so much for joining us today to talk franchising. It’s clear there’s a giant, untapped market for an event photography franchise. We wish you continued success.