What inspired you to buy a VW Kombi van and turn it into a photobooth?
Simon and I were in Bali on holiday at the end of Simon’s contract with P&O Cruises and he decided that he was ready to retire from ships after 14 years. Being that we are both photographers it was almost a given that we would work together. So after deciding we would look at expanding my wedding photography business we got to work researching the options. Photobooths popped up. Since there’s already a number of great photobooth companies we knew that if we were going to come into this market so late in the game we needed a concept which was different from anything else already available. I've always wanted a Kombi van and the two things just clicked! And next to a pool on a beautiful day in Bali, Photokombi was born.
How did you restore the Kombi van?
We wanted Florence (the van) to have the makeover of all makeovers so we set out to find someone who had experience with the notoriously difficult kombi vans and the attention to detail that was really important to us. We found Jason at Auto Colour Matrix and after selling him on the idea he agreed to do all the work for us, from completely stripping the van and starting again, to building the booth Simon and I had designed for the back. The restoration took 11 weeks and Florence went from four shades of yellow to the beauty she is today.
What makes you so unique and different?
A few people have told us it's the van itself that makes us unique, but I honestly believe it's our approach to service and the passion we have for our business which makes us special. Obviously the fact that our photobooth is built inside a restored VW Kombi van is different and a real head turner, but Simon and I pride ourselves in the way we approach every booking, the way we deal with every client, and the full experience we provide. People love the van, they love Simon's jokes, they love the props I hand make, and they love hearing that Simon affectionately polishes Florence right before every wedding and event. I think that is what makes us truly different.
How do wedding guests react when they see Florence?
It's a mixture. Anything from disbelief that it's a fully functioning photobooth, to nostalgic affection for the Kombi, to wanting to touch and eat the paint job! There's just something special about kombi vans. Seeing a 60 year old man look at Photokombi and remember his summer romance or his road trip around Europe in his own Kombi totally melts my heart. Our wedding couples especially love it and have so far all opted to keep Photokombi a surprise for their guests. It's not only entertaining but it definitely helps the bride and groom tick up 'best wedding ever' points from their guests!