Lindsay Rehner and Derek Cruikshanks own Four Frames Photo Booth, a boutique company based in Victoria, servicing weddings, birthdays, social events, staff parties, corporate functions, and brand activations. What started in Tofino in 2011 has grown into a fleet of photo booths and services that elevate and enhance the guest experience.
How is Four Frames Photo Booth coping right now?
We are doing pretty well overall and feel very lucky to be living in Victoria. Most days come with a rollercoaster of emotions, but we are both in good health, as are our friends and family, and for us, that is the most important thing at this time. This has been the longest stretch for us without being part of an event and we are missing hugs and interacting with our community.
How has the crisis affected your business, and how do you anticipate it will continue to affect it?
The pandemic has caused us to cease operations completely. Because we are an event-based business, as soon as the limits were put on gatherings, all our events were cancelled or postponed. With no clear date when larger gatherings will be allowed, we are at a bit of standstill and not sure how to move forward. We have a couple of ideas brewing, but until restrictions are eased, we continue to wait. While we service a lot of weddings, the bulk of our business is larger corporate events, so while we are optimistic they will happen again, it doesn’t appear that they will happen any time soon.
What advice are you giving yourself and your team for riding this out?
Breathe! Lots of deep breaths, long baths, and remembering to practice kindness to yourself. Go outside, be in nature while socially distancing of course, but be active. Whenever we’re feeling disheartened or get another email wanting to cancel, we head outdoors. We live in such an incredible place and that allows us to find solace just steps from our front door.
What is the opportunity in the challenge for you and your business?
Since we launched our business in 2011 we have grown and expanded our services yearly. It felt like we were always running, and while we love what we do, this crisis has allowed us to pause. There are not many times in your adult working life where you stop and have time to reflect. When you are growing your business and executing events, for us at least, we rarely paused and just keep doing. New photo booths, new options; and we launched another business in the middle of it all, The Bubble Bus Co. Right now, we get to reflect on what we want our future to look like and how we want to live our life. Do we keep running or do we figure out what we need to do to create more balance? We love what we do but it can be all-consuming so now we get to reset. While we are hopeful for a return to events in our community, we also acknowledge that it will be a while and they will most likely look different. We need to figure out how we’ll fit into the new normal.
What advice have you applied or are you applying from previous experiences coping through crises?
At the moment it can all feel so overwhelming, and it is: this is not normal. We never planned for a pandemic, but we do know it will pass as all things do. Having experienced loss in the past (of a parent, grandparents, and family members), we both know we can weather anything. It feels like many of us are experiencing collective grief for what was, and for what plans won’t come to fruition, and we are as well, but we know it will evolve. The plans you had will shift, and what comes to be might even better than what was.
What are your resources right now? Do you have a mentor supporting you, peer group, books you read?
The wedding industry on Vancouver Island is the best resource around. All our industry friends have either shut down their operations or shifted to still offer services: DIY video services, caterers who are now offering a take-out menu, and florists keeping busy with home delivery. We are lucky to work in an industry that is all about LOVE and right now we are leaning into that community. We regularly meet with fellow vendors via Zoom for check-ins, happy hours, and the occasional dance party. We talk about how to support our clients and each other and what weddings and events will look like in the future. If we didn’t have our fellow friendors (vendor friends), this would be difficult to navigate alone. We are eternally grateful for their support both personally and professionally.
What advice do you have for others experiencing this alongside you?
We are in the business of laughter, lightness, and of course, love, and all those things will be celebrated once again. While events may be on pause, they are not cancelled, just on hold. In the words of Dr. Bonnie Henry, “Be kind, be calm and be safe.” We look forward to seeing everyone back in the booth!