Sacramento, California – As this year’s COVID-19 emergency has led to countless live events being canceled, businesses that depend on live events for their livelihood have been challenged to rethink and retool in order to survive. “The event industry was the first to be hit and it will be among the last to come back,” says Josh Daniels. Daniels and his partner Caroline Winata own and operate Sacramento-based Giggle and Riot Funbooths. “A lot of companies in the event industry are closing,” Winata says.“So we’re doing all we can to adjust to that.”Winata and Daniels have taken this challenge as an opportunity. The partners have expanded their business deeper into the virtual realm, creating virtual photo booths to go with the virtual events now being held by families, universities, corporations and non-profits. “We’re still doing weddings, and people still want to remember their weddings,” says Winata.
“We had a wedding recently that was held simultaneously in California and India, so we set up several cameras and a web gallery so that all the guests and family members could participate in the festivities.”
Other events Giggle and Riot Funbooths are working with include “back to school” events, online conferences, fundraisers, even a formal gala, complete with a virtual red carpet.
“Organizations are getting creative, and we’re a part of that,” says Daniels. “We worked the San Francisco AIDS Foundation when they held their gala. They even had meals that people could order and have delivered. This time is challenging, but it is an excellent time to be creative.”
These virtual events may not be the same as an in-person gathering, but they have certain advantages, and Giggle and Riot Funbooths are aiming to make the most of these unexpected advantages.
“For instance, these are not always synchronous events, so they are not so limited to one moment in time,” says Daniels. “We’re offering more go-at-your-own-pace options now. These ‘events’ can live longer online than they would in person.”
Giggle and Riot Funbooths is well-positioned to deal with the current situation; they have long combined high technology with their warehouse of creative props and outlandish costumes to enliven their photo booths. But with props and costumes not possible at this time, they have delved deeper into virtual possibilities, aiming to make their fun booths as much fun as they were before – but virtually. Virtual props are just part of their custom offerings.
“Each event we do in all these cases has been custom-designed to meet the event design and brand design,” says Daniels.
“We’re also looking at backgrounds, so that people who are getting married, say, and wanted to go to Asia for their honeymoon, can play with that.”
Part of Giggle and Riot’s way of adjusting to this “new normal” is in showing their clients how to use the photos and videos that are created to maximum effect beyond the momentary event.
“A big part of what we’re working on is making sure it’s an effective tool for our clients, so it’s engaging with them and showing them how they can promote it on their social media,” says Daniels. “It’s a way of getting people engaged, and capturing people’s moments, and giving them something from the event to remember.
“In some ways, it’s exactly the same as it’s always been,” adds Winata. “It’s about fun and engagement and participation.”
Winata and Daniels have also continued to expand their adjacent business of teaching other photo booth owners around the United States how to adjust their businesses in this difficult time. Ever-creative, the duo says that they have long aimed to help other business owners to up their game: “We all operate in different areas, with different clients,” says Daniels. “We aren’t competitors, we are all part of the same community. We want to keep our industry healthy.”
But one thing is for sure, says Daniels: “Things aren’t going to be the same even after they go back to normal. Even once we can do weddings live again, there will still be a virtual element. The virtual tools we’re creating are going to be great for events forever because organizations are always looking to get people more involved.”
“The goal is always to connect people,” adds Winata. “Whether it’s in-person or virtual, the goal is to help create and capture good memories of the event, whether it’s a wedding or a graduation or a gathering of like-minded people.
“The ways we do that are changing, by necessity,” she adds. “But the goals remain the same: to connect, to engage, to allow people to be together, however possible. And we’re going to keep doing that, by whatever means we can.”
About Giggle and Riot Funbooth:
Giggle and Riot Funbooths was created by the top notch wedding photographers at Milou and Olin Photography so that guests can have a non-lame photo booth experience at events. We believe the world needs a little more woohoo and a little less snoresville. Amazing fun for drunk people (and their designated drivers), birthday parties, corporate events, weddings, engagements, and just about anything else you can think of! We arrive early to roll out the red carpet as you shimmy, shake and mug for the camera in our innovative, open air photo booth. Giggle and Riot Funbooths specializes in custom photo activations.
Giggle and Riot Funbooth
1515 N C Street,
Sacramento, CA 95811
caroline ( @ ) giggleandriot dot com