We had the good fortune of connecting with Tim Osbourn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tim, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
My business really started by accident. The story is actually quite funny. It all started back in the spring of 2016 and I told my wife I wanted to buy a drone to take photos. Turns out the nice ones were really expensive and being a teacher made it really tough to justify buying a $1500 “toy”. I had settled on buying a less expensive drone with my tax return to ‘follow my daughter around with”. Then came March Madness, my favorite sporting event of the year. This year was different as I decided to place a few bets on some games. Turns out luck was in my favor and I won over $1000. So obviously I was going to buy the nicer drone and $1500 later I was following my daughter around. A few days later, my wife messaged me and said, “Hey! I saw a friend of mine using your exact drone to take photos for a real estate”. I immediately messaged my realtor friend and asked him if there was a market for it. He had me flying that night! Anyway, turns out I was a decent photographer so I took some amazing photos around Colorado, CU campus, Coors Field, Breckinridge, etc. People were interested in my prints, but they looked so much better in large panoramas. So I contacted my buddy who works for HP and he was printing me photos to sell. Things were good, but I wanted to cut out the middle man. I contacted him again and was able to purchase a large scale printer to do the prints at home. The artistic photography ran its course and I figured out I could do a lot more with my printer. Now, back to March Madness… many kids in the stands at basketball games would do just about anything to distract the opponents while shooting free throws. My favorite, of course, was the enormous cut outs of peoples faces bouncing around distracting me from watching the game. I told my wife, “Hey! I think I could make those!” I immediately messaged my friends who were basketball coaches (I used to do that too) and offered up my attempt at my first “Fat Heads”. They were a hit! So I decided to create a trade name for this product. I couldn’t use Fat Head as that was already a pretty popular company, so I settled on “Game Face”. Game Face Photography and Printing, as I had to leave my self open to do other things. I taught myself photoshop to do school banners and team photos, and eventually began using illustrator to create things using a laser cutter. I try to add products to my shop monthly, but my best seller remains a face cut out. A smaller version, easily handheld, and creatively named the “baby face”. Nowadays, people contact me regularly asking if can make this and that. I’ve proudly become the “I know a guy” guy.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My career is a teacher, but my passion is creating things that make people smile. That’s the business I’m in, the business of smiles and laughter. Why else would you need a 4 foot foam cut out of your wife’s head? I think my business is different from others because I do everything myself from start to finish. There are huge companies that make heads like mine, but they are run in print shops with machine cutters doing the hard work. Each one of my cutouts is printed individually, adhered to foam by hand, and cut out with a hobby knife. Of course, I’ve had challenges along the way but with the support of family and perseverance, I’ve been able to pivot and make things work out. The biggest lesson along the way was figuring out how to make sales in my sleep. My wife told me once, “if your business isn’t making money while you sleep, then its not going to work out.” I had to find multiple platforms to sell on, including Etsy, a handmade online marketplace. I currently have a top 2% store on all of Etsy and hope to cross into the top 1% shortly. I’m pretty close. I want the world to know that I was just an average guy with a wild hare of an idea and ran with it. I burned the midnight oil and built a pretty successful brand.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
As much as I love living in the suburbs of Denver, my favorite places to go are in the mountains. I love traveling to Vail. Breck, and even Idaho Springs. One of my favorite mountain towns is Ouray where I have fond memories of spending time with my Wife and capturing some pretty amazing photographs. Any brewery is where you could find my wife and me. We love trying new beer and going to breweries in and around the city.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would really like to recognize my family and friends. First and foremost, my family. My father indirectly taught me about business growing up. He was always involved in some sort of deal and I paid attention. My mom was always so braggadocios about me that her friends often found out what I was doing through her. My sister always had my back in whatever new adventure I was willing to try. Lastly, my wife and kids make me feel like I can do anything. They support me 100% even if there are risks, and without my wife, I couldn’t do what I do. While I’m in the basement working on creations and new ideas, she’s often taking care of the kids or doing other important things around the house. My friends deserve a shout out because they buy my products. Without their support, I wouldn’t have nearly as much exposure.