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Lemons to lemonade feature #26: Lisa Flynn

Monday, December 29, 2008
Whippersnappers Studios is a boutique children's photography studio. Owner and founder Lisa Flynn, mom to two boys, admits the idea was born from her wanting a better way to get her children's' pictures taken.

Lisa and her husband opened their first studio in June 2006 and decided to franchise in 2007. The franchise business is still in its infancy stage, but the company was recently featured in a national magazine. And the first franchise has been sold in Fort Collins, Colorado.

This mom entrepreneur has weathered the economic storm by focusing on core strengths. Here is her story...

How has this economy affected you, your business and your family?
Oddly enough, I think it’s made our business model stronger. When things are going well, you tend to scrutinize your business model less, and therefore not be as efficient as you could be. Although our appointments in our flagship studio were down in November about 50% from last year, we actually netted more by focusing on our core strength – a quality product coupled with a fabulous experience.

On the franchising side of the business, this economy has created many more prospects as smart, talented people are being laid off. We are hearing from a lot of moms who want a creative business opportunity that is kid-friendly, and allows them a flexible schedule.

On a personal note, I think that this economy has taught many parents (myself included) about being a little more responsible in what we model for our children, and a little less excessive in what we provide for them just because we can.

How are you making lemonade from lemons?
We strive to position ourselves as a quality service that is important to parents. As such, we don’t discount our session fees for fear of giving it a “cheap” feel. However, we’ve had many clients express that they need a little break in this economy. So we offered a “Fill the Gaps” promotion to our current clients, where we sold our available sessions for 25% off our standard session fee.

Additionally, I’m very excited about a public service campaign that I’m helping spearhead to promote shopping with locally owned businesses. It is our hope that by educating the public as to the true importance of supporting “main street”, we will rebuild our own economy and save our community.

Any encouraging words you would like to offer mom entrepreneurs?
Hang in there! Many people have great ideas, fewer actually take the risk to make them a reality, but fewer still have the perseverance to stick with it – especially when times are tough. I expected to work long hours (at home and a work), and I expected to get knocked down a few times…but I don’t think I expected to get kicked (repeatedly) while down.

Of course, as a mom entrepreneur, the “kicks” can come in many forms, and with a range of force—from a bad economy, employee difficulty, or unreliable vendors to having little (if any) “me” time, a sick baby, or the death of a loved one. So, again, hang in there. When you get knocked down, pick yourself up. Repeat as needed. And never forget that you are one of the lucky ones—living your dream, pursuing your passion. Be patient, be strong, and remember that if it was easy, everyone would do it.

For more information, visit, email or call (54) 389-7627.