When most people move to a new city, they want to meet new people and get plugged into the local community. They'll join the chamber, social and professional networking groups and get involved in various events around town. That's exactly what Cathy Housh Wild, founder of New Smyrna Beach Photo Booth, did when she and her husband moved from Melbourne to New Smyrna Beach in September of 2018. Unlike most people, however, Wild took it a step further. She started a business that, by nature of the services she provides, jump-started her immersion into the quaint beach town in Southeast Volusia County. Wild shared the story of how she ended up in New Smyrna Beach, why she started a photo booth business and what she hopes to accomplish in this new chapter of her life.
"My son is a pilot for Frontier Airlines based out of Orlando," she said. "He and his wife always enjoyed coming over to New Smyrna Beach. When they moved to Denver, they still came back to New Smyrna Beach for vacations. We'd come up to see them and just fell in love with the small town feel."
For Wild, the move to New Smyrna Beach signified much more than just a change of scenery. It was an opportunity to start fresh and pursue something she could grow and have fun with. After two years of doing marketing and business development for a software firm, she was ready for a change.
The photo booth idea originated with her son. He and his wife used to own a photo booth business when they lived in Orlando. When he wasn't flying planes, he was taking pictures at weddings and making people laugh. Wild saw the enjoyment it brought him and his wife and recognized an opportunity to bring some of that fun beach-side.
"It's also something that when my husband is home, he and I can do together," Wild said. "We've taken advantage of my son and daughter-in-law's experience and guidance every step of the way. We've been working on getting high-end open air photo booths and top end printers. We're still working on a few things, including a custom travel kit, the final logo, website and social media accounts, but everything is coming together nicely."
Once completely operational, New Smyrna Beach Photo Booth will offer photo booth fun for corporations, families, churches and more. Wild has been out and about in the community promoting the business and advertising her services as, not only a fun addition to weddings, graduations, birthday parties and more, but also for businesses and government entities to use to promote their brands at special events.
"I think what excites me the most about this business is the chance to get out in the community and get more involved," she said. "There's a lot of opportunity in New Smyrna Beach and throughout Volusia County. Repeat business is good, but I'm also excited about finding new locations, festivals and events."
Looking ahead, Wild is focused on the short-term and getting her business fully operational. Her long-term goals have yet to be ironed out. Options include growing the business well beyond Volusia County and adding a fully customized trailer or simply maintaining the business on a part-time basis. Regardless of the chosen path, Wild is excited to have fun, make people laugh and enrich their lives with wacky photos and hilarious props.
Wild is also passionate about volunteering for the elderly, spending time with her grand kids and suicide awareness and prevention among today's youth. Regarding the latter, Wild is leading a push to pass a bill, H. R. 3552, through The House of Representatives to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to require that teachers, principals, counselors, and other school leaders receive youth suicide awareness and prevention training.
Wild has some excellent advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. "I've been in sales and marketing, but we also owned several businesses when we lived in Kansas City," she said. "We had four furniture stores for 20 years. I can honestly say that where there's a will, there's a way. Find your passion and what you're good at. I've tried to instill in my kids to do what they love. One followed his passion for flying and the other followed his passion for soccer. If you do that, it's not really considered work. Think about something you would do even if you didn't get paid. Also, don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions. Lastly, in the business world, a 'no' is not always a 'no' and more often than not, a 'yes' is right around the corner."