SB EP 72 - Do You Sell Luxury?


Ismail: [00:00:00] Coming up on Super Boothers what goes into creating a luxury experience. How can you tell if your service is truly luxurious? Find out next on Super Boothers

Ryan: [00:00:12] Come see me live at the photo booth show Europe October 15th and 16th 2018 in Leicester United Kingdom. Learn from industry experts, shop a range of high quality global providers, and get to meet other photo boothers just like you. Visit PhotoBoothShow.Eu for more information. 

Ryan: [00:00:45] Hello and welcome to Super Boothers. My name is Ryan 

Ismail: [00:00:48] and I'm Ismail thank you so much for joining us. 

Ryan: [00:00:50] If you're new to the show what took you so long? 

Ismail: [00:00:53] Where have you been? 

Ryan: [00:00:54] If you're binge listening right now stop what you're doing. Take a shower. Your family misses you. 

Ismail: [00:01:00] Don't forget to go pee. 

Ryan: [00:01:03] So this week we're talking about luxury one of the... I am North America's foremost authority on all things luxurious. 

Ismail: [00:01:12] I am a witness to that. And it's very true, very true. 

Ryan: [00:01:16] So this....funny enough, I guess the reason why I guess I'm kind of bringing this up. There was a post that I saw. I don't know where it was exactly however that gist of it was someone commented they want the best of this product the best of this equipment the best of this equipment but they don't have the budget for it or they're not willing to pay it or they're not putting together. I think the quote was a high end booth and that was like making me think like okay so you want the best of everything but you're not a high end booth. But you don't want to pay them much like do you see what I'm saying 

Ismail: [00:01:52] sounds like sounds like a lot of people

Ryan: [00:01:55] I'm sure you know what. I have no problem with this. I get I almost believe that is human nature for everyone to want something and get like a discount for it or they want just to get a good value out of something or feel like they got a deal. 

Ismail: [00:02:10] Yeah I think you and I have probably offline talked about this a lot where I don't blame people for trying to maximize what they get for their dollar. I mean I would do the same thing. There's nothing wrong with that but there also has to be an understanding that you can't get a Mercedes for the price of a Honda. It's just not going to happen. 

Ryan: [00:02:29] So...I...This is what I have an issue with. There are people that will post on Facebook. Oh I only take a blah blah blah blah blah blah blah events. I'm like OK whatever. Like that I just don't buy it. But the thing here is it is a consumer's right to ask for a discount. It is not your obligation as the vendor to give that discount. 

Ismail: [00:02:54] Totally agree. They have the right to ask. You have the right to deny. 

Ryan: [00:02:57] Yeah. I mean this happens literally on a daily basis. Very... I take it back. It happens all that rarely now. I mean just this morning it happened. I'm like ummmm...No I mean it was just this person wanted something like a three hour photo booth for 250 dollars. He's like sorry. Like so expect or sorry he looks sorry you're too expensive. OK. I've been called worse things. 

Ismail: [00:03:19] But you know what I have the same experience pretty often and I don't have a problem with it. I mean you have to just like the customers trying to find the vendor that's for them as a vendor you're looking for the customers that are right for you than that and not everyone will fall into your wheelhouse. 

Ryan: [00:03:35] Something that's very much overlooked. I don't believe that people they think that they just need like apply to the masses. And you know everyone's your client. That's just not the case. 

Ismail: [00:03:44] Yes. Did this come up because of a customer of yours or you just saw someone else posting. 

Ryan: [00:03:50] I think it's just something that's in the air. I don't know if it's something that was like a recurring thing. There was someone that posted or an ad that it came across or something where it was just like oh the luxurious photo booth. And there was an inflatable. I'm so sorry. I don't assume an inflatable enclosure as to be something that is or represents luxury. I just don't I just don't I just don't see it. 

Ismail: [00:04:15] So this goes back to something we've talked about before which is the words that you use right. So when you use the word luxury I can see why a photo boother would want to use that word on their website to describe their service to try to position themselves as a more premium vendor maybe charge more. 

Ryan: [00:04:34] It's a buzz word. It's a buzzword. 

Ismail: [00:04:35] Is there any downside to using it inappropriately. 

Ryan: [00:04:38] Yeah. You're not going to book the client because whenever you get someone that is looking for something that is luxury they're going to look at it and be like ummmm... no try again. 

Ismail: [00:04:47] So you're saying if you're not truly luxurious don't bother posing or using the term because it'll actually turn people off. 

Ryan: [00:04:54] You know even if you advertise on the knot or something like you will see that there is dollar sign for the same thing goes with restaurants like there are people that say that there 4 Dollar Sign vendors but in reality you're not a four dollar sign vendor you're a two dollar sign vendor. 

Ismail: [00:05:11] So it sounds like one aspect of this is self awareness right. 

Ryan: [00:05:14] Yeah very much so. 

Ismail: [00:05:14] You know we all we all aspire to be better. But you have to be aware of what you like. Be honest with yourself. How do you determine whether you are 2 dollar or 4 dollar sign vendor. I'm wondering how do you know where you stand? 

Ryan: [00:05:27] "I ain't a two-dolla venda" 

Ryan: [00:05:30] No. I just think that you just need looking your average ticket. Compare your average ticket to you know if you've done 100 photo booths take the amount of all those photos rentals average them out because 100 is a good number. You know 50 is a good number that is kind of representatively think. I don't think I'd go so far as 100. You know I think what you should do is take you know 100 rentals or however many photo booths you've done you know divide it out by whatever and come up with your average ticket. I think your average ticket is a good representative of you know what I guess value vendor you are. 

Ismail: [00:06:05] That's a great strategy actually because the market never lies right. So if you look over a large enough scale like a hundred events you might be able to fool one person here or there to pay you more than what the market will tell you what you're worth right over. 100 events whatever we're being able you're able to charge is what you're worth. And if you think you're supposed to be worth a thousand dollars an event. But you're only getting 700 you're not a $1,000 event company. Not yet. So I think the self-awareness here is critical. And you actually get to trouble by trying to be something you're not. Because you turn people off that can smell that inauthenticity

Ryan: [00:06:43] That's me that smells that stench. 

Ismail: [00:06:45] At least my stench is authentic. 

Ryan: [00:06:49] You're from Long's New York joke. 

Ryan: [00:06:54] So this is the thing that I think that we all really need to consider is really what is luxury. What does luxury mean what does luxury come across as a photo booth. 

Ryan: [00:07:04] To me it represents minimalism as far as what I'm actually seeing. Like again I don't do props. I rarely do backdrops. I really focus more on the content. I don't necessarily focus on the equipment used to accomplish that because truthfully that's not really their business all they should care about is the end product because that's what you're deliverable is that's what's left over after the fact. 

Ismail: [00:07:24] That's really interesting. I think I kind of agree with that. And I would say that Apple probably really pushed everything in that direction of where and how much can you take away. 

Ismail: [00:07:36] How much minimalistic how much more minimalistic can you get that for some reason equates to luxury and I speculate that it might be because you don't need like when you see a booth that's just the booth with no props no nothing. There's a certain confidence that that vendor has that I don't need all the fancy stuff my stuff is good. Right? So it's not it's kind of weird that less equates to luxurious. And I think it's really hard for people wrap their head around that. 

Ryan: [00:08:04] I think it's really has most to do with service because you know I know that I'm completely comfortable with my product. I know that I can go into an event I won't have any anxiety as to oh my gosh is my equipment gonna work or not. You know I go in there. I've already discussed what the deliverable is going to be with the client meaning the end result meaning the layout or the design or whatever. You know I'm I'm comfortable with I'm confident with that. Funny enough a little sidebar story time music. I have a story. Story time. God I love that music. So I was working with a client. It is a rather large Taco Company Mexican food company. 

Ryan: [00:08:47] It is not Chipotle. If it was Chipotle I would just have negotiated free Chipotle for life but that's clearly not the case anyways so the client asked me if I would design a specific background for them. I was like sure no big deal. 

Ryan: [00:09:02] She sent me like the inspiration she sent me what she wanted what she wanted to do. This was at 5p.m. yesterday so 5:00p.m. yesterday she said the meeting I was like I don't have time to do this. It would take me a couple hours to do this. I was not going to mess with it. 

Ryan: [00:09:17] I went on fiver found someone apparently on the other side of the world I had no clue where they are apparently there's computers there. So I sent it off to them the next morning so it was 9:00a.m. over there whenever it was I guess evening here send it off. He had it for me within the like. I don't know six or seven hours. I sent it to her first thing in the morning. Complete complete genius. She was like How did you do this so quick? 

Ismail: [00:09:45] What did you say? 

Ryan: [00:09:48] I said, you're welcome. I'm not going to tell her what I did. Oh hey I went to a fiver and had someone else do it. 

Ismail: [00:09:54] I would have said a magician of a secrets. 

Ryan: [00:09:56] That's a little too much...calm it down Mr. Luxury. 

Ryan: [00:09:59] And so anyways back to the story. Back to the main point so this is what I think represents luxury is really minimalism as that would that would just be kind of my thing. I would focus more on service and making sure that the guest has a good experience. That's another thing that I think we really have another problem with our industry is people use the word experience incorrectly. 

Ismail: [00:10:26] That also seems to be a new buzzword. Actually everyone's creating a photo booth experience but really are they doing anything different or just using that term. 

Ryan: [00:10:33] No I mean just that other episode that we just had a couple weeks ago where it was the two photo booths at the same event. And I look and they see someone struggling to put up these props struggling to put up this tent struggling to up this photo booth putting up the printer going through the hat rack and this and that. And you know in retrospect I saw a picture of it and I'm like those props just look absolutely disgusting. I wonder how much pinkeye is like rolling around those glasses and those boas. It's just like you know I think the one exception to this is like the PVC signs because I'm all for that. I think that that works. I think that that's great. That comes across as can come across as luxurious because it's still simple and you still get your point across and it's something tangible. But I just don't see how you know props lifeless on a table equates to luxury. 

Ismail: [00:11:29] That's you know, I think I agree with that. I think there's nothing wrong with having those props if that's the company you want to be. But when you think of a luxurious photo booth vendor I don't really see, those cheap plastic props littered across the table. I'm think I'm taking to the extreme worst case scenario. 

Ryan: [00:11:48] Yes absolutely. So if you're going to tout yourself with you know luxurious or deluxe props or whatever. First of all whenever I did props I said standard props literally standard like a bottom of the barrel party city. This is what you're getting props like. It was just not my thing. And there were times where I would just there's actually like a Pharaoh hat or a Pharaoh Tutankhamun la la la thing that you can get and it's like 60 bucks if you buy good quality stuff like that. That like is going to hold up... I'm completely fine with it. You know that's another thing. Whenever I did I need to find a photo of this but I did a wedding that the girls but it was a lesbian wedding. I loved it. They begged me for the one of the Brides was a trainer and she probably could have beat me up. So that's why I listened. She she was desperate for props. I was like I just don't want to do it. Finally we settled on a big inflatable like 4 foot diamond ring. And I loved that prop. Everybody loved it and it still came across as luxury. 

Ismail: [00:12:53] You settled on one prop. 

Ryan: [00:12:55] Well I mean we had some other stuff but that was like the main focal one that pretty much everyone used now. 

Ismail: [00:13:00] Now Ryan do you use the word luxury or luxurious on your website your copy

Ryan: [00:13:05] No

Ismail: [00:13:05] I don't think i'd use that word, honestly. 

Ryan: [00:13:08] No I don't I don't use premiere I don't use deluxe. I don't use one-of-a-kind. I don't use only. I use the word custom. 

Ismail: [00:13:17] And do you feel that luxury can be applied to a product or service or both. 

Ryan: [00:13:24] It can be most definitely applied to both because there's like candles that can be really luxurious and you know hotels that can be luxurious that's still service. 

Ismail: [00:13:34] Because before you were kind of saying to focus more on the service aspect and have a more minimalistic product. Right. So it seems like you're saying in the photo booth world to be will luxurious you'd focus more on the service. 

Ryan: [00:13:47] For sure. I wouldn't I wouldn't necessarily focus on you know the equipment or whatever don't get me wrong. If someone shows up with like a 70 inch screen that is like a confidence monitor or that like shows like whatever output is after the fact. Yeah I can see that is absolutely high end luxury. Like I get it. I'm not I'm not. 

Ismail: [00:14:06] Let me let me ask you this because there's probably nobody better to ask this question. You have gone to luxurious hotels all over the world. You've got luxurious restaurants. 

Ryan: [00:14:06] Weekly. 

Ismail: [00:14:06] Weekly all the time. I can't keep up. So you've been to these things you've seen this you've seen what they do and you have all these experiences. What do you think really makes a service luxurious? 

Ryan: [00:14:06] The details. I mean the reason why there's like absolutely no hesitation with that is it is the details that people remember. It is the details that you know people people will associate with you. So for example you know what. Again it's stuff that doesn't have to cost you anything. I think we talk about the St. Regis in Mexico one time how they set out to get me pears or whatever and that is that I will go to the St. Regis every time I'm in Mexico City specifically because of that instance. It's just like it's that association that you have with someone taking care of you the way how. If you are truly going to be something that is high end you have it. It's called anticipation. It is anticipating what your client needs. You have to know what they need before they know what they need before they want it. So for example you know gosh I really wish I had. OK here it is. Wow. You're good because you know what they're expecting you. Something that is represents a luxury you shouldn't have to want for anything. That's the whole purpose of it as everyone else do it for you to make someone else feel taken care of. 

Ismail: [00:15:45] You know I had a few friends over recently that there were females. They're all talking about how they all want to buy this Louboutin shoes. Oh I forgot these brands but there's all these luxury brands and bags and

Ryan: [00:15:59] You're scaring me, Ismail 

Ismail: [00:16:00] Yes. And there there was one word it was like a "melkin" bag or something bought so hard to

Ryan: [00:16:08] A Birkin. It's an Hermes bag. 

Ismail: [00:16:10] Yeah. There you go. 

Ryan: [00:16:11] You have to be on a wait list. 

Ismail: [00:16:12] Yeah, on a wait list forever and I don't know much about this stuff Ryan. You probably know that's why I'm bringing it up but

Ryan: [00:16:17] What you want to know? 

Ismail: [00:16:20] Seems like the girls that were talking to me about this weren't really. It wasn't about the product. It was the experience of going to Louboutin

Ryan: [00:16:29] Sure and the associations. Yeah and the Association of whatever status goes with that. 

Ismail: [00:16:34] And you know how they treat you when you walk in there like someone actually made a comment I forgot which store was but they. If they're not going in that about like if you're funny walking by or. Going in their to browse because it doesn't feel right like you have to have a. 

Ryan: [00:16:46] You feel like you shouldn't be there. 

Ismail: [00:16:48] Exactly. So can you tell me a little bit about that stuff and why it's there. 

Ryan: [00:16:52] Absolutely. Absolutely. So there are times where funny enough I like I don't stay at like crazy hotels often don't get me wrong I probably stay more than most. I mean whatever 

Ismail: [00:17:07] Side Note: We were at the Wynn it was like a one of the best suites I've ever been in my life and Ryan was like Ryan called the front desk and complained because something I don't know something was not up to his standards. 

Ryan: [00:17:21] I wanted the room changed. I'm so sorry. I looked at your wife and I was like this is abysmal. Picked up the phone

Ismail: [00:17:31] You were totally serious 

Ryan: [00:17:31] It's funny because whenever you're in a hotel like at my house I'll use of the same towel for like three weeks on end but whenever I'm in a hotel. This towel I used an hour ago. I need a new towel. I'm mean you just become a different person. I completely get it but that's fine because you're allowed to do those things whenever you're paying that much money. You know I think it's almost expected. I'm not saying just be like you know a mean person about it but still. What were we talking about? 

Ismail: [00:18:01] What can we learn from these luxury stores because before you get into it I was reading this article about what was that again? The Birkin Bag? 

Ryan: [00:18:08] Yeah Hermes

Ismail: [00:18:08] yeah it will. It's like a whole thing to get it. You have to prove your worthiness. 

Ryan: [00:18:16] And no one can just buy it. You can't just go in and buy it. 

Ismail: [00:18:19] And but. But think about what that does to the brand and the experience. 

Ryan: [00:18:23] Yeah. It's exclusivity. So so that's it. That's the thing is whenever I was a wedding planner I would only take 15 weddings a year. And so whenever someone would send in an inquiry it was like oh well you know blah blah blah here's what we're doing I'm like Okay well here's what you can do. Let's see if it's a fit. I only take this many a year. I'm so sorry if I can't accommodate yours. And that was like then it then it really changed because I mean back then forever ago. I mean it was a significant amount of time that you did for these weddings. So it was not you know your average you know $20,000 wedding. I mean these things were you know quarter of a million and up

Ismail: [00:19:00] but now Ryan when you talk about doing a certain number of weddings I feel like you're creating exclusivity and scarcity. Becuase you're forcing yourself to only take 15 you put more effort into those 15. Yeah you make it you make it better when you compare the to this Hermes bag or whatever they're not making the bag better. It is what it is. These Louboutin shoes they are what they are but they're still that aura around them. So I haven't really shopped at these places I'm just trying What can we take from them to apply to our businesses. 

Ryan: [00:19:32] Well so this is the thing I think we have to realize is we need to stop focusing so much on the equipment or whatever it is we think is quality. Because I'm pretty sure that you can get away with a pretty decent quality. That's that's another thing that whenever you go to a restaurant people can forgive bad food. They cannot forgive bad service. So if you go to a restaurant your food comes back it's cold it's the cow is still mooing. One of my favorite one of my mentors. She she always had the best raw food jokes and that was the thing we would always do. Going back and forth it's just like tell like her favorite raw food jokes and the one she came up with was she went to the steak would come out and she would be like a skilled vet probably could have saved it. But it was just too funny. I got a kick out of it anyways. This is what I think is really should be. You really should be focused on is really the service that goes in to creating whatever it is you're creating. So again this is me. I just focus on the content I create. So I make sure that everything else is taken care of up to that point. Like whenever they're in like the booking process do you need anything. Do you have any questions. Hit reply let me know how I can help. Like I want to know the theme I want to know because then whenever you ask for just a little more information that can spark an idea. Whenever I sent I sent one of my it's a corporate client. It's with an agency I said listen do you want me to take care of this or do you want me to send you the specs so your people can take care of this. She sent an email back and she's like I love the creative things that you guys do you take it. Thank you so much. 

Ismail: [00:21:32] If I'm thinking about the various few luxurious experiences I've had in my life. They tend to be

Ryan: [00:21:41] Excuse me. Excuse me. I call B.S. because you've been to Fiji Calm it down

Ismail: [00:21:44] Bora Bora as well. Don't forget

Ryan: [00:21:48] But who's counting

Ismail: [00:21:49] but they tend to be more... 

Ryan: [00:21:52] Wait, hold on! You stayed it in a nicer hotel than I did whenever we were in Sydney. Oh yeah that's true. There was a reason there was a reason for it that we don't have to get into right now but there was a reason. 

Ryan: [00:22:03] Points about all of the points

Ismail: [00:22:06] Anyways. I think if I'm thinking back to all those experiences it really tends to be more on the service side like for example I went to this fancy barbershop hair salon for men in the city one time for a special occasion and it was great. It's a very expensive haircut but the hair wasn't that much different than it would have been at my local barber shop. It was you know the experience there they massaged me, the towel all that stuff and you know it's the crazy things anybody can do. Anybody can do that. So the question is why don't more people do it. 

Ryan: [00:22:45] I think it's is because the time that it takes I can get a lot of people had this especially barber shops they had this little thirty minute business model you know getting it out get out you're done i'm like it's it's just a different mindset. That's another thing is I had a really hard time with people that try and sell luxury but they themselves don't experience

Ismail: [00:23:06] OOoooOoO Fantastic point, please continue. 

Ryan: [00:23:10] You should the time to experience luxury if you're going to offer it. 

Ismail: [00:23:14] I could not agree. Oh man what a great point. That's the mind set that you if you are a business owner and you want to put forth a luxurious premium business yet you are too cheap to go experience them. Yeah. You have no right saying it. Well it won't happen. It just won't happen it's like people that I know that it and this is a different topic but it's the same idea that I talk to some close friends of mine and you get the idea that they think being rich is bad oh you've become a bad person. You have to do shady things. 

Ryan: [00:23:48] I hope so. I cannot wait. 

Ismail: [00:23:51] But to me if that's what you think about rich people you will never become rich. It does not compute. And the same thing with what you just said how can we create a luxurious company if you never splurge and go on these experiences yourself. I think it's a fantastic point. 

Ryan: [00:24:08] Well that's another thing is I've always learned that whenever I like either I'm travelling or in different places or just watching a TV show or whatever there are little things that you can pick out that you can apply to your own business. So there was one time where whenever I don't remember where I was I mean probably some like retail shop and you're buying little like leather good or whatever. So you the receipt was given to me and like it's all I'm like little like Pamphlett I absolutely loved that. I remember whenever we played that was our thing is whenever we used to do USB's I would have the USB's and actually home to about this in Australia. So I think and thought about it now. So for example I had a client that was spending about forty thousand dollars in photography and that particular photographer had these little crystal USB's made. And I love it. It was so gorgeous. It was like it was like a little like rectangle and her logo engraved in it and it just beautiful beautiful stuff. She went to Tiffany and she got this like little box that she put the USB in. And that's how she delivered her wedding photos. If someone is spending 40 if I'm spending forty thousand dollars on wedding photos you better believe those photos be delivered in a flippin Tiffany box. 

Ismail: [00:25:29] I'm. You blew my mind with that comment. I'm sticking with it. I have nothing else to really had because it's so true. And that was you hit the nail on the head with. You can't really put forward a luxurious company with great service. If that's not what you experience and what you pay for if you don't think it's worth paying for yourself it just like psychologically won't allow you to create that and ask other people for it because you know deep inside it's not worth it for you. You would never be a customer of this. So how can you be successful business owner if what you're selling isn't authentic to you. Not only that you don't think it's worth it you wouldn't pay for it if you were not willing to pay a thousand dollars for a photo booth for one of your events. I don't think you can sell it to a lot of people. You may be able to do a little bit but you can't really. Be a successful company that way. 

Ryan: [00:26:33] Next week on Super Boothers 

Ismail: [00:26:33] That is so true. You should tell your story because nobod else can be you. And something that I've been hearing. So it's a very common theme I've noticed these comedians that I've been listening to the interviews of these comedians about how they became big. One thing that I've noticed most of them say is that their breakthrough you know the moment they catapulted that they really trace it back to when they started to feel comfortable being themselves when they stop. Acting like a different persona and just went out there and was themselves. And there's a big lesson there that we can take as business owners as well. 


Ryan Salinas