With her husband on deployment with the Royal Navy for four and a half months, Gemma Davis-Birch is running a one woman show at her business Cheeky Pix. She truly is Wonder Woman at the moment, pulling off the entire business with the help of a few kind friends and subcontractors who help make Cheeky Pix run smoothly.
Gemma took over Cheeky Pix, a photo booth business based in Portsmouth, with her husband in 2014. At the time she was working a “dead end job” where she couldn’t imagine herself in the future. That year she visited a wedding fair and ended up talking to the owner of a photo booth company; that company was Cheeky Pix. She saw a great opportunity to re-start the photo booth business and went home to talk to her husband about the idea. Next thing she knew, they had bought the company and Cheeky Pix was up and running and expanding day by day.
I felt like I was at a dead end job with no flexibility, so I decided to leave and see what else was out there. Now Cheeky Pix is my living and my passion, and it’s really enjoyable despite the madness!
Cheeky Pix is a fun photo booth company that can capture photos at weddings, birthdays, tribute nights, proms, school dances and other events in the Portsmouth area. They provide large booths with props and filters to capture great moments from memorable events to last a life time.
Along with photos, Gemma also provides guest books, key rings, and other photo gifts as part of her packages. Cheeky Pix is usually manic from the summer months through to December as the booths get used for Christmas parties and summer wedding events in the South of England. Gemma also often attends wedding fairs throughout the year and has formed a great relationship with luxury hotel, Old Thorns, where she frequently runs booths for their parities and events.
When Gemma and her husband took over the business almost three years ago, they didn’t know exactly what to expect. There are hard times, like when Cheeky Pix’s website got hacked, but also lots of good times which make the business rewarding. Gemma initially got in touch with X-Forces to secure a Start-Up loan and get approval of her business plan. Since then, Gemma has received on and off mentoring from X-Forces to help Cheeky Pix reach its full potential.
What I quickly realized was that there is a lot more to it than just working the booth. That’s the easiest part. My husband says he wouldn’t know how to run the business without me. There are days when I think I don’t want to do this, but then I remember why I love it.
Behind the scenes, not only does Gemma work the photo booths and talk to the clients, but she also designs the photo layouts on Photoshop, manages all the admin, does the finances, and can be running up to four photo booths a night.
The workload distracts me from the fact that my husband isn’t here and it keeps me busy on the weekends.
For other people thinking about running their own business, Gemma encourages them to use their network and be honest with themselves.
In terms of running a small business, your reputation is the biggest thing. If people trust you they’ll want to use your service. You also have to be honest with yourself and be strict with what you can handle.
Find out more about Cheekypix:
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If, like Gemma, you are a Military Spouse thinking of starting your own business we’re running a Military Spouses, Female Veterans & Reservists – Self Employment Discovery workshops for any military spouses based in/near Tidworth. Find out more at http://bit.ly/2gOL2f9
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