Iris Booth: Mastering picture-perfect innovation
Sunday, September 1, 2019
Iris Booth has undergone dramatic growth and change in its target customer since starting in 2015 as a retail business that offered headshots for $20 in professional photobooths.
Today, the company builds its photobooths to order and sells them to large corporations, who in turn install them in their offices and license the software from Iris Booth. “We’re full steam ahead with the corporate market,” says creator Sue Siri.
About 95% of Iris Booth’s revenue now comes from outside Nova Scotia, with about 90% from outside Canada. Just this year, the company added another revenue stream – a short-term rental market for conferences and trade shows. A new, portable booth was launched at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, and Iris Booth has already taken it to several shows around North America.
Innovation is the company’s competitive advantage, Siri explains. “If you have a product that’s unique and cutting edge, people will find you whether you’re sitting in New York City or Halifax, Nova Scotia.”
“If you have a product that’s unique and cutting edge, people will find you whether you’re sitting in New York City or Halifax, Nova Scotia.”
Since her earliest discussions with NSBI in 2016, Siri has tapped into different programs to help her business expand. “NSBI has been wonderful to work with,” she says. “When you’re an entrepreneur, having that support is really important. because you can feel isolated. The NSBI team makes you feel connected to something bigger.”
The Export Growth Program has been vital, she adds. “It’s critical to get in front of people, not just once or twice. To be able to follow up and sit down and develop relationships is the only way to grow the business. Having the financial support to do that kind of travel has allowed us to grow stronger, faster and further than we could have without NSBI.”
New markets present new challenges, but NSBI was always there to put Siri in touch with someone who could help, she says. “Through the ConnectNS Program, NSBI connected me with a lawyer in Dallas who helped me register in different states, get paperwork through and find insurance.”
With only four on staff, Iris Booth works with many partners, including lawyers, accountants, engineers, and manufacturers. “And all of them, every one, is right here in Nova Scotia,” Siri says with pride. “We make every single piece of this in Nova Scotia.”