Unexpected business operates out of this friendly pink truck
These days, everyone wants to run a business out of a van. First came the food truck, then rolling retailers followed suit -- but what about a mobile photography studio?
In today's society, accessibility to resources is key. From the internet to home delivery services, the market thrives off easy access.
Enter The Headshot Truck which provides high-quality headshots for actors and performers, as well as corporate workers looking for a great LinkedIn photo. Since the project's inception in LA, CEO William Harper has brought his innovative business to Atlanta and NYC -- and have even added event packages to their service offerings as a mobile photobooth of sorts.
We had the chance to speak with Harper and director of sales Brian Confer to chat about their unique business, how it got started, where they plan to go with it next -- and what it was like shooting the cast of "Hamilton."
AOL Finance: How did you guys come up with idea for the truck to begin with?
William Harper: "We started the truck in early 2014, and it came as an idea when one of our other partners was helping a friend ... kind of looking around the inside of the truck and was thinking "Oh! This might actually be a cool place to do photos. He contacted me because he had no idea how to bring the idea to fruition, so I worked with him on transforming the product -- and we brought on Brian about a year later who helped us expand from just the world of actor headshots into opening the truck to other uses."
AOL: What were your professional backgrounds before you began with the truck?
WH: "Most of my professional background has been in creating startups, developing them, spinning them off and selling them...I'm familiar with the process with identifying a need in the market and developing a product to fit that."
BC: "Will and I both have art-type backgrounds as well...we're both entrepreneurs who understand the artistic side as well. This is my second startup...I was originally an actor, but always loved sort of the business side of anything, so this was really exciting."
AOL: Would you say more clients use the truck for acting headshots or corporate headshots?
BC: "It's really half and half right now, certainly because LA and New York are our primary two markets, and there's such a huge actor community in both of those markets. And we're really excited about the corporate side of our business, that's certainly increased over the last couple of years, going from virtually no corporate clients to half corporate at this point, it's been great."
AOL: What's been the biggest challenge with operating out of a truck?
WH: "The biggest challenge has been validating this new industry...How do you change the status quo? How do you get people who have been using brick and mortar photo studios for the last 85 years, and getting them to believe in the integrity and experience that we've developed inside this truck? How do your provide legitimacy to a business that can be in new york city on Monday and then Hoboken on Tuesday and Atlantic City on Wednesday – how can you maintain that quality?"
BC: "Honestly, the biggest challenge I think that we have, and any business has, is just exposure.
Check out the inside of the truck in the slideshow below:
AOL: What made you choose Atlanta as your next and newest city?
WH: We want to develop a full-body business, and we want to be able to confidently say that our business can exist in any city – We want to prove that, no, it doesn't have to be a city that's primarily dominated by actors.
BC: "We did a lot of research on what our next city would be and we got an overwhelming response in Atlanta...based on that level of response and all the other statistical data that we were pulling, it really made sense for us to go to Atlanta next."
AOL: Being a mobile business, do you operate out of a central office somewhere or do you have people set up in all three of the areas you work in?
WH: "Our corporate office is based in Los Angeles, that's where most of everything gets done. Within each city, there's a mini operations team that we hire on the ground in that city, because they know that city better than we do, and they'll coordinate the specifics...they'll coordinate parking, schedules directly with clients in that particular city.
AOL: Any memorable or notable clients?
Will: "We shot some of the cast of Hamilton, we did headshots and a little bit of editorial work for them too because, you know, when you've been on Broadway playing Aaron Burr, you may not need headshots so much anymore but you need other types of photos so we just did that for them."
The Headshot Truck has also shot countless other celebrities and businesspeople, all while maintaining the same level of quality, integrity and professionalism that any top-rated photo studio would offer in a brick and mortar setting.
The only difference? Well, aside from the level of flexibility the truck offers, we can guarantee that you'll be the only person you know who can say that they had their professional shots taken inside a hot pink truck – and what adds more character than that!
See examples of their work:
By: Tatiana Pile and Emily Rella