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Almost two years ago, Linda Last decided to follow her passion and launch her own business.
She wanted to do something creative – something that combined her love for photography and graphic design. But at the time, she didn’t know exactly what that would look like.
“I’ve always been really good at making Christmas cards, invitations and birthday cards,” Last says. “I also carry my camera everywhere – my big, fancy SLR camera.”
She remembered organizing a photo booth for a friend’s bridal shower, which involved buying props at the dollar store, taping a tablecloth to the wall, and using her own camera gear.
“I thought, ‘I can do this for a living,’” she says.
The Little Lighthouse Photo Booth was born in 2015 and Last made getting her business up and running her full-time job. She decided to leave her position at CIBC, where she had worked as a senior customer service representative for a decade. She then bought a printer and had her husband, a metal fabricator, build her a photo booth.
While she started out by bringing her booth to friends’ events, Last’s business really took off after attending ThriveNorth’s 2015 Entrepreneur Marketplace – an annual tradeshow that celebrates local businesses.
“I was able to book an event for a very important Chamber of Commerce gala two days later,” Last says, adding that she didn’t even have business cards before being invited to attend the marketplace. “This event led to five Christmas parties.”
Last designs her own props and can customize them for any occasion. She once created a Star Wars theme for a wellness and mental health event called “May the Fourth Be with You.”
“Living in such a small town, I see a lot of familiar faces at events and I never want people to say, ‘Those are the same props that were at the last event I went to,’” she says.
Last will bring The Little Lighthouse Photo Booth back to this year’s ThriveNorth’s Entrepreneur Marketplace.
Everyone who attends will be able to try out the booth, use props and go home with a photo.
Last believes the Marketplace is an important opportunity for new businesses in northwest British Columbia.
“A lot of people don’t use social media to advertise their businesses and some can’t afford business cards and websites, or they don’t have the knowledge to design and build them,” Last says. “This event gives local entrepreneurs the chance to network without paying any money.”
Last looks forward to meeting more entrepreneurs and members of the community at the 2016 event.
“I’d like to make a lot more connections this year with more entrepreneurs in town, so I can get out there – not just for weddings and Christmas parties, but for business functions, fundraisers, and local, public events too,” she says. “I don’t want to limit myself. I want to expand my market.”
The Entrepreneur Marketplace is happening on Oct. 6 at the Crest Hotel in Prince Rupert from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Click here for more information and to reserve your free tickets.
ThriveNorth is a joint initiative between Futurpreneur Canada and Prince Rupert LNG that helps young, entrepreneurs in B.C.’s northwest start and grow their own businesses.