Growing up in a small town with only four television channels (and long before smartphones, tablets or the Internet even existed), playing "dress up" with my friends was one of my most favourite things to do. I remember transforming four dining chairs and a bed sheet into a secret world where we could be anyone and do anything imaginable. Luckily, being the youngest of four sisters, colourful fashions, glittery accessories and an endless supply of pink lipstick and eyeliner were always within reach.
As I got older, and dressing up was no longer cool, I still looked forward to Halloween. Having one day a year to put on a costume and pretend to be someone (or something) else was always entertaining and memorable. Now that I'm an adult, and have to take life seriously, I sometimes miss the days of costumes and dress up ... and am envious when I see young girls in tiaras and tutus giggling in their own little worlds.
Well ... that was until I came across the Hip Image Mobile Photo Booth!
Jo, Monique and "Buttercup"
What do you get when you combine the experience and talents of a marketing and public relations specialist with the expertise of a photographer and creative artist? You get the unexpected fun of taking photos with custom designed backdrops and props ... on four wheels! In a nutshell, Hip Image is a mobile entertainment company that produces memories in the form of printed photos and off the wall "selfies".
Jo Williams (the master of marketing) and Monique de St. Croix (the seasoned photographer) knew they were onto something when they stumbled across an Instagram photo of a California event company bringing their VW bus to local events. Although our city is 2500 kilometers away from the laid-back lifestyle of the California coast, these entrepreneurial women wanted to bring a "hip, fun, and totally cool" experience to Calgarians looking for something different!
Trust me ... it's hard to miss the fully restored, blue and white 1972 Volkswagen Photobus driving down the road. Lovingly named "Buttercup", this vintage automobile was carefully restored and converted into a mobile photo booth with a DSLR camera, enhanced lighting, touchscreen computer, and totally cool vibe. What Jo and Monique didn't expect, as they soft launched in May of 2015, was how much fun it would be to create these experiences for total strangers ... and how (with every interaction) they could be the best part of someone's day!
Ditch the Necktie and Kick Off the Heels!
Hip Image is not your typical photo booth. The vintage VW bus, high definition DSLR camera and touchscreen console are not what make this business successful ... it's the people, the human interactions, and the care and preparation that go into the custom designed backdrops and unique props that dress up each event.
A camera in a booth can't get people to let their hair down or loosen up. The props alone can't bring people together or create the fun environment that surrounds the vintage VW bus. It's the magic of Jo, Monique and the Hip Image team that makes that happen! For example, I visited Hip Image at a recent Telus Spark Adults Only Night where the theme was "It Came From Outer Space". The bus was outfitted with astronaut helmets, pig masks (i.e., "pigs in space"), feather boas, disco balls, various eyewear and props and three Chris Hadfield cutouts! I got to witness the madness as people walked into the bus with hesitation and (after just a few minutes) walked out with smiles, laughter and uncontrollable giggles!
Astronauts and farm animals are just the beginning. The "funky" photo booth on wheels has already been showcased at events with the following themes:
- Oh Canada Day
- Stampede Hoedown
- Like Totally 80s
- Red Velvet
- White Wedding
- Classic Canadiana
- It’s My Birthday
- Beach Party
And, with only a few months under their belt, they are just getting started! The unique needs of their clients certainly gets their creative juices flowing as they work with local vendors and artists to make each event unique. Their goal is to see everybody smile from ear-to-ear, meet new and interesting people, and know (without a doubt) that they did their best to be remembered for their dedication to customer service and care. For them it's all about the HUMAN EXPERIENCE!
Future's So Bright ...
These two, super fun and totally funky, ladies are moving full steam ahead as the Hip Image Mobile Photo Booth is showing up all over Calgary (and beyond)! You can find them at various indoor and outdoor events throughout the city (including Adults Only Night at the Telus Spark, Beakerhead, the Bridal Expo, and more). They are also popping up in neighbourhoods around the city for private events, weddings, and anniversaries. You never know ... you just might see the vintage blue and white VW bus at your next corporate event or parked in front of your neighbour's house! Just listen for the giggles and look for the pink feather boa!
So ... if you have a couple minutes you can check out some of the fun images from the Telus Spark Adults Only Night on social media using the icons at the top of the page.
(This post was originally published on www.sixfootcanasian.com on August 20, 2015)