Chit Chat with Mom-preneur Marissa Mitchell of VW Picture Busblog

Photo Credit: Kate Leigh Photography
As gals in the party biz, nothing excites us more than learning about cool, niche new businesses–especially those where another mom-preneur is involved!  We were recently introduced to Marissa Mitchell, the co-creator of VW Picture Bus, a whimsy, novelty, powder blue 1972 VW bus equipped with a photo booth available for styled shoots, family photo sessions, private events and more! 

After a few career turns-from television production (where she met her husband and co-founder!) followed by getting her Master’s in Elementary and Special Education and teaching digital photography, video editing, and computer animation at a public school in Brooklyn, Marissa settled in Westchester County with her husband and son and started her new venture, VW Picture Bus!

We spoke to Marissa to learn more. 

What was your inspiration behind launching VW Picture Bus?

My love for Volkswagens goes back to my first car…an old VW Jetta…and the VW bus my dad owned during my high school and college years.  I had seen the VW bus photo booth concept done in California and the Jersey Shore, so between that and my love for all things vintage, I was inspired to purchase a 1972 VW bus and go for it!  Fortunately, my hubby Mike is equally spontaneous and supportive.  We figured, “if not now, when?”  We love that VW Picture Bus combines the vintage nostalgia of the bus with a trendy modern day photo booth. 

Our bus, named Skye for her sky blue paint, was born in 1972 and cruised the open roads of New Mexico until we made her part of our Westchester family in April 2018.  We spent the summer of 2018 restoring her and creating our business plan.  Believe it or not, she was a rusty red tin can when we got her!  Now, Skye is a sunny, wanderlust seeking, bespoke beauty that makes heads turn and onlookers smile.  Since our first wedding in the Adirondacks in early September, we hit the ground running and booked every weekend through November.  Inquiries are coming in daily for events in 2019.

Photo Credit: Michelle Frederick Photography

Tell us a little more about your background and how you got your start.

My and my husband’s backgrounds in television production has been very helpful in running a photo booth business. We used our expertise to customize our booth with professional-level equipment including our DSLR Canon camera,  flattering lighting system, laptop, software, and printer.  It has also helped us run our social media pages.  From the many television shoots we’ve been on, we are attuned to the importance of an event timeline and the necessity to arrive and be set up on time.  Teaching and television production are also very collaborative fields and we enjoy applying those skills to our new business.  Our strengths are in working with the entire event team including event planners, photographers, floral designers, and of course engaged couples, to ensure a super unique and well-executed experience.

What can clients expect when renting VW Picture Bus?

Skye is perfect for weddings, private parties, kids parties, bridal and baby showers, graduations, family reunions, fundraisers, and corporate events – any kind of shindig you can dream up!

The VW Picture Bus experience includes grabbing a prop, stepping in, and smiling!  With an ever-evolving collection of unique props and decor, the photo booth is sure to be the life of the party.  There is a touch screen inside for easy navigation.  A total of 3-4 photos are taken in the session and then a 2×6 photo strip is printed out (unlimited printing so each person gets one!).  Guests can also step over to the social media kiosk to email, text, or share the photos via Facebook or Instagram.

What’s your favorite moment since launching VW Picture Bus?

I gotta tell ya, driving a vintage VW bus around town and to parties is exhilarating!  We get so many thumbs up, peace signs, waves, and smiles.  The venues are gorgeous and the people are happy – what more could one ask for in a job?!  It’s wonderful to be in the business of being silly and memory-making. We have met so many interesting people and have heard many VW bus stories from “back in the day.”  Also, you wouldn’t believe how many people ask us if the bus is for sale!  (Sorry, Skye is part of the family!)

How do you balance running a business and mommy-hood?

Beginning VW Picture Bus while also being a stay-at-home mom to a toddler (and one on the way!) has made me super proud.  Creating this business with my husband, working collaboratively to make this dream happen, has been an awesome and rewarding experience.  We are learning new things about each other every day.  Receiving positive reviews from our clients and all the 2019 events we have booked already, makes me confident we made the right choice in taking on this challenge.  We are also so grateful for the help of both sets of our parents for all the babysitting and support they give us and for all the clients who gave us a chance so early on in our business!  THANK YOU!

Skye can be rented in the afternoon for $500 for 2 hours.  Evening packages begin at $1,100 + tax for 3 hour rentals.  To request a quote/ book Skye for your next event please email hello@vwpicturebus.com!  Skye brings smiles and laughter to party people all over NY, CT, and beyond.   A travel fee applies to venues beyond 20 miles of our headquarters in Somers, NY 10589. 

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