Growing Companies

The best ideas often come at the most unexpected times. For local business owner, David DeWitt, 24, a business idea came during a house party.

"I was having a party, and I made a makeshift photo booth upstairs," DeWitt says. "It was right around the time Facebook started doing photo tagging. It was instantly very popular, and people loved it."

From the ashes of one night of empty beer cans and hungover co-eds sprung a business model that would eventually become Framester, a Cincinnati-based event planning service.

Framester merges event photography, social networking and just plain fun into one package. Framester sets up mobile photobooths at events and parties. The booths are not physical so much as creatively tailored to their settings, with backdrops or constructed scene behind them.

"It's essentially a photobooth experience outside the box," DeWitt says.

DeWitt describes Framester as the evolution of the photobooth. Rather than manning the camera the entire night, DeWitt allows attendees to take their own photos as they choose, as many as they choose and then tag themselves later on Facebook once they are published. Owners and event planners hire him because the booth adds to the party's fun.

DeWitt started small, doing event photography at local bars such as FB's and Grammers. He learned quickly that each venue's clientele determined the tone of the photographs, from classy and dignified to fun and creative.

"FBs was very glamorous, and it became really popular there," DeWitt says. It was there that he met his business partner, Adam Kleshinski, who helped DeWitt morph the method of photography into a business.

Framester has since expanded to a two-person operation with an intern. A marketing consultant assists with branding. On average, they are hired for three or four events per week.

Beyond parties and wedding receptions, Framester has started tapping into the retail world in creative ways. They recently finished an in-store project with Yagoot, letting people photograph themselves eating yogurt. Corporate clients also are beginning to take notice.

The company plans to rent a storefront in Over-the-Rhine and expand offerings to include videobooths in the coming year. They also have applied for a grant to support their growth.

By Ryan McLendon

Cincinnati, Ohio 45202