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If the saying that, “A picture is worth a thousand words” is true, then the Bloom Photo Booth team is ready to write a novel after SXSW 2018. It all started when we packed our gear and crossed the high desert from our home base in Tucson, Arizona to the ever-bustling Austin, Texas for a three day stretch (March 15-17th) as vendors at the SXSW 2018 Marketplace. Over 70 vendors from as far as Mexico and Italy to locally owned vendors filled the Austin Convention Center; paired with the Music, Art, and Poster Show put on by the American Poster Institute that serenaded the crowds with three days of live music from the Flatstock stage.


Bloom Photo Booth had the pleasure of partnering up with sprATX a local creative agency, who spray painted our custom SXSW Marketplace themed backdrop on canvas. With their help, we were looking better than ever. To top it off, the Digital Photo Booth was put to the ultimate test and debuted to thousands for its first trip outside Tucson. Between getting our minds melted after a long day at work by Japanese import Chai of Burger Records, a very bucket list worthy run in with Nardwuar the Human Serviette, and self-love via Superorganism; we took over 1,060+ photos of attendees who came from around the globe and met so many interesting and passionate people along the way. Perhaps most notably, frontman of Muse, Matt Bellamy, who dropped in the photo booth to snap a quick photograph and tell us about his Beatles tribute band performing at the SXSW festival that weekend.


In the SXSW Marketplace, we were immediately blown away by the other vendors. With so much to take in between all the initiatives, artists, and businesses we wanted to dedicate this blog to highlight our favorite marketplace neighbors:


1. Hearing the Homeless

Hearing the Homeless works to meet the needs of individuals in the homeless community by partnering with Austin Public Schools, art therapy programs, and individual artists who donate their time and energy into making one-of-a-kind pieces of art. The program is designed so that homeless individuals will be given the art to resell on the streets instead of having to resort to panhandling as well as promoting engagement and community in Austin. Hearing the Homeless is also creating a virtual donation system for the art that will go onto a prepaid card to help curb addiction problems. We’re interested to see how it evolves.


2. VincaUSA

Based right in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Austin, Vinca designs all their jewelry, takes huge sheets of acrylic and cuts out their designs in a laser machine in-house in a “micro-manufacturing” fashion before shipping their pieces all over the world. What really stood out to us was the quirky designs that really showed themselves as distinctively a product of Austin, Texas. Go check out what they are all about.


3. SpendIndie

An online platform for independent businesses to put their products online. They assert that often times, there is not enough time or resources for small businesses to get their products online and in front of the right customers. They hope to fill the gap as an, “Amazon of small businesses” for small, privately owned shops who want to sell online. So far, the public interest has been strong. Starting with 50 merchants as of their soft launch, SpendIndie looks forward to building out in the coming months. Here’s to moving passed an era of closed store hours in our digital age.


4. CAT Footwear

CAT Footwear partnered with Charity Water this year to promote awareness on how many people don’t have access to clean drinking water. This problem is especially burdensome in Sub-Saharan Africa, where women and children have to carry their heavy Jerry Cans (a container that they depend on to get access to clean drinking water) two to five hours a day. The CAT Footwear booth was hands down the most interactive in the Marketplace. Their “water walk” where participants carry one Jerry Can in each hand, as they do in the rest of the world, for just 40ft was impactful in spreading awareness. For every person who completes the walk, CAT Footwear donated access to clean water with Charity Water. What initially drew me to the booth was their Virtual-Reality demonstration where viewers are taken along with a little girl’s daily journey for accessing water in an 8-minute completely immersive, 360 degree documentary film. We hope to see more positive uses like what Charity Water is doing for future Virtual-Reality applications.


5. Arm the Animals Charitable Clothing Company

Simply put, Los Angeles brand Arm the Animals makes cool t-shirts and donates back to animal rescues. Through tongue-in-cheek original and parody designs, their goal is to make people laugh while raising awareness at the same time. We were greatly impressed by how well done the actual designs and brand are combined with the positive modus operandi. These guys definitely have a winning formula.


That’s our list! There was so much to see and do, we can’t wait to experience it all over again next year. Now that we are back home and the dust has settled, we look forward to working with you on your next photo booth!

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