Thomas Jumper is a senior at Lewiston High School with ambition to spare.

He’s an athlete (varsity lacrosse and indoor track). A business owner (PhoBoCo, a photo booth rental company he started earlier this year).

And he’s got some solid advice on how to balance it all.

Name: Thomas Jumper

Age: 17

Lives: Lewiston

How was PhoBoCo born? When I started my junior year in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, we were told that we needed to come up with a business idea, either a product or a service. So when I was at home and listening to my brother talk about his wedding photography company, Better Half Productions, he would always mention how every wedding had a photo booth. My brother said he wanted to offer one but couldn’t do the photography and run the booth at the same time, so that was where I got the idea for PhoBoCo and started the company.

Moment you knew PhoBoCo would work? When I went to the Maine School Management Association’s fall conference with Superintendent Bill Webster. The conference had hired a photo booth so I took the time to talk to the attendant working it who happened to be the owner. He gave me some wonderful advice and told me he had done over 2,000 events in the past year, had multiple employees and had multiple booths. That was the moment I knew that the photo booth market was much larger than just weddings.

Three most popular things people like to pose with in their pics: The emoji cut outs that we have, especially the poop emoji, the horse head and the superhero masks. People love to be personal with the props and like to make everything go together, and I have a lot of options of props to make that possible.

How much bigger or busy would you like the company to get and how are you trying to grow it? My goal is to be booked every week — at least one event would be fantastic. I am currently trying to partner with a couple different local companies that could really help push me closer to that goal.

How to balance sports, school and work and still fit in a little fun? I have had times where I might have missed an event that I would have liked to go to or missed out on a couple of nights of hanging out with friends, but that is just something that comes with being an athlete, student and a small business owner, but it’s definitely worth it. I still have fun when I am free and it just shows me that every moment is precious and should not be wasted.

Post high-school plans? College has been a pretty scary thought lately. Entering my senior year of high school really makes me miss the days of being a terrified freshman. Change is scary, but good at the same time. I am looking at some different schools, some near and some far, but I have narrowed my search to find some schools that offer great business courses. Brown University, Anna Maria College and Plymouth State are just some of the choices I have narrowed my search down to. Playing lacrosse in college is also something that has been a possibility for me as I have some schools offering me spots on the team, so it just adds something else to think about to my search.

Your attitude seems amazing and you didn’t even look rattled when Patrick Dempsey unexpectedly pulled you up beside him and gave you a shout-out during his chamber visit this summer. Any keys to keeping calm and staying positive? Talking to people has been a gift and a curse for me my entire life. I really enjoy stopping and having conversations whenever I see someone I know. I say a gift and a curse because I think it’s extremely important to be able to carry yourself well and have conversations like that, but it has also made me stop and have conversations that may have been too long.

For example, I have been caught out past my curfew more than once because I ran into a friend’s parent and had an hourlong chat, but my parents are forgiving because they know I acquired this certain trait from them. Anyone who has gone to the Vac Shak knows my father is the type of guy that will catch up with you and has no problem talking your ear off. Patrick was so kind to ask me to join him on stage, and while I didn’t have anything prepared, I felt just as comfortable talking in front of everyone as if I had something written beforehand.

Advice to other high-schoolers looking to start their own business? My advice to any other young person trying to start their own business is to not be afraid to ask for help. Lewiston-Auburn is just an absolutely amazing community that is full of generous people that love to help out as much as they can. I learned how important community is this past summer because I received help from dozens of business owners in the community and also other members of the community. The most important thing I learned is that you need to pay it forward, meaning that once you have received all this support, you need to give back as well.

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: