James Ambler introduces Paparazzi Proposals, a pre-engagement photography service, in Shark Tank episode 508. His service let's guys photograph and capture the moment they propose to their bride-to-be. Paparazzi Proposals photographers act like real paparazzi: they follow the couple and snap pictures of their special day, culminating with photos of the moment he gets on his knees to ask for her hand in marriage.
Paparazzi Proposals offers a consultation with every photo package, including area maps with suggestions for romantic places to pop the question. They'll even help with some romantic details like leaving flowers in a special spot or laying out a picnic blanket. Then they follow the couple throughout the day, capturing the build up to the big moment. Finally, they'll be sure to capture the look on her face the instant he asks for her hand.
Paparazzi Proposals Shark Tank Recap
James enters the Shark Tank offering 20% of his company in return for a $250,000 investment. He has a background in photography as a professional paparazzi, and after proposing to his own wife, hatched the idea of creating a service for proposals. The package includes not only photography but planning as well, helping prospective grooms choose a romantic location and setting for popping the question. He gives a brief overview of the business before getting down on one knee, offering the Sharks a proposal including a dollar bill in an origami shaped like a diamond ring.
“Get up off your knees, and let's talk about money,” says Kevin O'Leary in typical, blunt, Mr. Wonderful fashion. He wants to know what James needs the money for. James explains that he wants to expand into other cities, and needs to market his business. He's been advertising through jewelers, getting them to talk up the service to their customers through a kick-back program.
Robert Herjavec is skeptical. He wants to know why James is focusing on jewelers. James believes the social marketing and networking are key to his success. He's trying to get into Kay's Jewelry and Jarrod's. Mark Cuban believes that move would be a “huge mistake,” because the potential business expansion would happen very fast, potentially overwhelming his ability to meet the demand.
The question creates a flurry of conversation between the Sharks. Lori Greiner believes the business could be scaled quickly to meet the increased demand, but Kevin O'Leary takes exception to the $2.25 million valuation. He doesn't believe James is unique enough, and he goes out.
Mark Cuban believes that James should remain focused upon growing his business in New York, and not try to expand into other cities yet. He goes out. Barbara Corcoran agrees, saying “I can't imagine making money on this business as an outsider coming in.” She goes out as well.
Lori Greiner loves the idea, but she doesn't believe he needs the investment, and that he doesn't need to spread to other cities. She wishes he hadn't set his valuation so high. She makes an offer. She'll give him the $250,000, in return for 50% of the company.
Kevin O'Leary speaks up, offering to go in with Lori Greiner. They'll offer an investment of $50,000 for 1/3 of the company, with the option to loan him $200,000 as needed.
Robert Herjavec offers the same deal but raises the investment to $100,000, with the option to lend him the additional $150,000. James waffles, and Herjavec quickly withdraws his offer, going out.
In the end, James accepts Greiner and O'Leary's offer for 30% in return for $50,000, with the option for the loan.
Paparazzi Proposals Shark Tank Update
In the end, James' hesitation turned into doubt, and he did not sign the deal with the two Sharks. His business, however, is booming, and he has taken Lori's advice to heart, growing his business slowly and on his own. He's expanded into three cities, and finds himself hiring other photographers to handle his overflow during his busiest months, typically November and December, and again around Valentine's Day.
With starting rates that are 1/4 of the price of his nearest competition, but go up into the tens of thousands with the addition of features like multiple GoPro cameras, a team of photographers, and even drones for remote shots. Extravagant packages may include a live band, flowers, and other perks that customers with deeper pockets are happy to pay for. Even without a Shark deal, this photographer is smiling for the camera, all the way to the bank.