July 26, 2013 // Franchising.com // Nashville – Capturing the ideal image on camera wasn’t the only goal for former photojournalist and wedding photographer, Will Smith. The father of two also hoped to realize the “picture perfect” life for his young family. After being on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week for a small newspaper in Mississippi and supplementing his income with the occasional weekend wedding, Smith and his wife yearned for a positive change. A recent move to the Nashville suburb of Franklin and a chance encounter with an up-and-coming entrepreneur served as the sparks to ignite that change for the Smith family. Earlier this month, Will Smith signed a franchise agreement with Spoiled Rotten® Photography – making him the school portrait company’s first official franchisee.
“I attended a photography conference a couple of years ago and sat next to Melissa Tash – the founder of Spoiled Rotten Photography,” recalled Smith. “Her phone would buzz regularly throughout the conference, and when I made a comment with regard to her obvious popularity, she explained that her phone was alerting her to orders that were coming through on her website. She described her unique concept to me and I was immediately intrigued, but she was just beginning to consider the possibility of franchising her company at the time. I’ve always had a strong entrepreneurial spirit, but had never found the right concept to pursue or mentor to guide me. I had a really great feeling about Melissa and Spoiled Rotten.”
Launched in Huntsville, Alabama in 2003 by professional photographer and mother of two, Melissa Tash, Spoiled Rotten Photography specializes in portraits of exceptional quality for preschool age children. In the years since she left her former careers as an Industrial Engineer for Nike® and a Payload Crew Trainer for NASA’s International Space Station program to pursue her true passion for photography, Tash has worked tirelessly to streamline her company’s systems, develop proprietary software, create effective marketing materials, and write a guidebook to “kid wrangling” in anticipation of the day she might begin franchising her one-of-a-kind concept to other entrepreneurs who shared her love of children and photography. In 2012, she partnered with Tra Williams of Eastbourne Brands – a Florida-based multi-brand conglomerate – to make the transition from one highly successful location to a viable national franchise concept.
“Tra and I began looking for someone who had lots of energy and was willing to take a leap of faith on a concept that was unproven beyond the borders of Alabama,” said Tash. “Will has that, plus a major motivation to succeed. Nashville is an area we had been considering for some time – feeling that local families and preschools would be extremely receptive to our concept. It was perfect timing that Will had just moved his family there from Mississippi and reached out to me to see if I was ready to move forward. We’ve spent the past year ‘proving’ the concept in Franklin. Will took it and ran with it from a management standpoint – quickly establishing Spoiled Rotten with a number of highly respected preschools in the area for fall portraits. He doubled the number of schools on his client list by the time spring portraits rolled around. With 10 years of success in Huntsville, Alabama and a very promising year in Franklin, Tennessee – I felt confident that we were finally ready to franchise the concept. I’m so happy that Will is our first franchisee and hope that Spoiled Rotten Photography proves as much a blessing to his family as it has mine. He is going to be a fabulous business owner – he is terrific at building relationships with local schools, putting young children at ease, and, most importantly, capturing incredible images.”
For the first time since their children – 2-year-old Amelia and 6-year-old Carter – were born, Mary Ann and Will Smith are able to enjoy the freedom that a brick-and-mortar-free, school-based, family-owned business like Spoiled Rotten Photography provides. Regular trips to the pool, visits to the zoo and a couple of vacations to the beach would have been unheard of had Will remained on his prior career path. Still, Will spends a good bit of his summer months meeting directors of local preschools in and around the Metro Nashville area as he introduces them to a new school portrait company that provides gorgeous sets, professionally captured and edited images, and an online system where parents and grandparents can view their little one’s proofs and place their orders. Preschool staff members never have to contend with turning in orders and handling money on behalf of the parents they serve. Will finds that directors also like the idea of using the school portraits as an opportunity to host a fundraiser to which families will respond favorably.
“The reaction has been wonderful from schools and parents alike as we completely break the mold of those stale school pictures of yesteryear,” said Smith. “I’m looking forward to the new school year, the opportunity to show even more local schools what we can do, and the part that I really love – taking pictures of the kids.”
Preschool directors and owners in the Nashville area who wish to learn more about Spoiled Rotten Photography are invited to call Will Smith at 615-472-8560 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a meeting.
“In addition to Will, we’ve just signed another new franchisee in Atlanta, Georgia and hope to add three more before the end of the year,” said Tash. “We are also launching a terrific new administrative workflow and sales software system and will be taking part in a very special advocacy program in the coming weeks. Spoiled Rotten will travel to underserved areas of Alabama and train new franchisees by creating portraits of children in preschools where portraits are rarely, if ever taken. We look forward to giving those photos free-of-charge to families who might not otherwise be able to afford them, but would love to have their child’s smile captured so skillfully. I’m truly excited that so many good things are happening. Spoiled Rotten has been such a blessing to me and my family that I wanted to bless others with this concept. It fills my heart with joy to see it coming full-circle for Will and his family.”
To learn more about Spoiled Rotten® Photography, prospective franchisees are invited to visit the company’s website at www.spoiledrottenphotography.com. Those who wish to inquire about opening a Spoiled Rotten Photography franchise in their own hometown are encouraged to reach out to Tra Williams of Eastbourne Brands at email@example.com.
SOURCE: Spoiled Rotten® Photography
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