Photo Booth Owner Spotlight
Chris Kyttle of TCK Photobooth
Catalina Bloch, PBSCO Brand Ambassador, took some time to sit down with Chris Kyttle of TCK Photobooth. If you haven't heard of TCK, you must not be living in paradise. As a photo booth rental company from Anna Maria Island off the coast of Florida, TCK has the opportunity to make magic happen in some truly beautiful places.
Why did you start TCK?
There’s hundreds of reasons why I started TCK Photobooth but I’d say the thing that most attracted me to the business was being freed from the 9-5, the simplicity of the business, and most importantly, something my wife and I could do together. Prior to the Booth life my wife was a social worker and I managed a multi million dollar basement waterproofing business.
How did you know you'd chosen the right booth to chase that dream?
Choosing the right booth Haha! Is that a serious question? Have you seen the other booths, it was an absolute no brainer, although I did tons of research on those other booths. It all made sense, the compact ability, reliability, the support, and let’s not forget how sexy the booth looks compared to those bulky and box style booths.
What are some of your entrepreneurial achievements?
My biggest achievement has been the life I have been able to truly live because of the freedom the booth has given me. I was married to my last job. Over seeing projects and managing employees, we were very successful right out of the gate but we kept the company small. Instead of hiring more cheap labor we just worked harder and longer and paid our employees more. It was about quality over quantity. We did a million dollars our first year and continued to grow every year after that. You have no idea the amount of stress mentally and physically the job took. We jack hammered concrete, dug trenches by hand and removes the debris in and out off homes and businesses by 5 gallon buckets. We broke and installed an average of 50 miles per year. On average employees would last 1-3 months so what does that tell you? Believe me is wasn’t about the company pay, you were given health insurance, matching 401k, company vehicle and cell phone, vacation time and better pay than most college degree graduates, the Benny’s were amazing. But it was literally hell... So leaving all of that stress and starting fresh and doing something that left me around drunk happy people, I liked the idea of that. Plus it gave my wife and I more time together and more free time for ourselves. We have always lived the less is more style of life. Small house, modest vehicles, never the wine and dine type. So life never became about money, it became about exploring together and enjoying our hobbies, something neither of us had been really able to do being tied to the rat race.
What were your biggest challenges?
The biggest challenge for us was over coming the fear of leaving the comfort and stability of the 9-5. Like I said before we live a pretty frugal life and had very little bills, no mortgage, no car payments, college debt, so living that way helped lined us up for success. Our life style isn’t for everybody but we like where it’s taken us.
*insert roadtrip photo here*
So here we are December of 2016 leaving the cold and snow covered state of Connecticut on our way to our favorite pace on earth, the beautiful island of St John in the USVI. We had just quit our jobs and purchased our booth and couldn’t wait until it came in. If I was going to be behind a computer for a couple weeks it might as well been at the beach, right? So clear minded and reset we’re ready to tackle this new business. There were many challenges but I’ve never been one to sit back and worry about them. I just dive right in and see where I end up.
I'm sure other owners would like to hear your advice on how they can be successful. Any tips?
The best advice I’d give is be positive, be nice, and never give up no matter what. I dropped out of college to pursue a career as a professional skateboarder in my early twenties. My “job”sometimes entitled throwing myself down flights of stairs, slamming into the concrete and getting back up and doing it again, and again, and again, until I finally landed the trick I had been attempting. Hilarious how just now while writing this I realized I spent the next ten years breaking concrete for a living.... haha what sweet revenge for all the times it broke me. My point is, you can literally accomplish anything, even if it breaks you in the process, if you just never give up you’ll eventually get there.
Let's end with something fun. What's your favorite part of owning a photo booth?
My favorite part about being a booth owner is the FREEDOM. Work as much or as little as you’d like. I didn’t get into this to get rich or build and empire business. Fact of the matter, after our wedding in June we put our house on the market, sold all of our belongings, and were going to move to St Thomas and pursue the booth there. Ready for days filled with yacht parties and destination weddings we were eager to get down to our home away from home. We’ve been visiting for over 10 years and always new we’d call it home one day. Now 1 week prior to moving down thinking what an amazing life we’re about to have there we watched our future get erased by the hurricanes. Through text messages, Facebook, and the news we watched our island friends lose everything they had. Some went 90+ days without power and most of them lost the roof off their house from the first hurricane, just to have the 2nd hurricane, which came one week later flood and destroy whatever they had left. So here we are, no house, no jobs, and a booth business which was put on hold for the move. So what would you do? Buy another house, continue running the business in crappy CT, maybe get jobs again? Hell no! We started running ads and had a friend run the booth while we set off for the road trip of a lifetime. We saw 40 states, dozens of National parks, drove 15,000 miles, and were gone 2 months. It was truly the greatest achievement we have ever done. On the tail end of our journey after considering a few other places throughout the country we found a very special place called Anna Maria Island on the gulf side of Florida. It’s not the Caribbean but we loved it and out of the thousands of towns we drove through in the road trip it felt most at home. There’s no way I’d be here without PBSCO and the support from the community. We are so lucky to have each other for help, whether it be the PBSCO support team, the Facebook page, or helping each other locally, it’s a pretty rare thing and I hope the rest of you are as honored as I am to be apart of this group. I appreciate your time to hear my story and if you’re ever in the area please give me a shout. I’d love to hit the beach bar, grab a beach chair, and share life stories.