Just a Minute with with Jim Kohlhardt President, Saturn Lounge

Company Address: 16622 W. Rogers Drive, New Berlin, WI 53151
Company Web site: www.saturnlounge.com
Industry: Commercial/advertising photography
Number of employees: 10
Education: UW-Whitewater, BBA in marketing
Family: Wife, Amy Kohlhardt (studio manager), and children Bennett, Ray J. and Maggie Rose.

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?

“I believe hiring Tim Evans and Kendra Finco was the smartest thing we did this past year. They’ve had a tremendous impact on our business. Tim is an award-winning photographer with amazing experience and a true philosophy of teamwork. Kendra, our sales rep, brought us more than 20 years of experience from both on the agency side and through representing photography artists. It’s the people that make our business successful.”

What’s new at your company?

“We’ve just implemented The Saturn Orbit, our web-based group collaboration and file sharing software. The Orbit allows us to remotely share high resolution images with clients without the hassle of uploading files to an FTP site or e-mailing them and having the color quality be jeopardized.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

“We always have our eyes and ears open for talented photographers and re-touch professionals to join the Saturn Lounge team. We are always ready to talk with potential new talent. In fact, with our current growth, we are looking to add a studio tabletop photographer to our talent base.” 

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?

“Acquiring new clients is always a challenge. Competition in our industry is fierce. We are competing with other studios, as well as freelance photographers. As a commercial photography studio, we also find ourselves competing with stock photography houses that provide royalty free images for a cost. We make it a point to explain to potential clients the benefits of commercial-grade photography, including quality and longevity.”

Do you have a business mantra?

“I would say, ‘Find something you like about everyone you meet.’ You know, if you look for the good in people and be kind, you’ll be ahead in the game. I’ve been fortunate in that respect. I have a tendency to like everyone – it just comes naturally to me. People can tell if you like them or not – you can’t hide it. If they see you are genuinely interested in them, they will know it. This philosophy has helped me develop great relationships – professionally and personally.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?

“Actually, I really looked up to my father. He ran the family business – a paint store – that my grandfather started in the early 1900s. My father had a consistent manner about him, and he was a man of few words. But when he did speak, you listened because you knew that he meant what he said. I think that his business approach has really impacted how I function in business on a daily basis.”

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?

“On numerous occasions I’ve been asked to fill in as a model on photo shoots. Usually, only my hands, feet, or back are shown.  I remember one time a client asked me to dress in a business shirt and dress pants and photographed my whole body, only to remove my head and hair during the retouching process and replace them with the head and hair of a different person. At least I had the right ‘build’ for the image!”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“I really enjoy spending time with my family and participating in my kid’s activities. We also have a lake home in central Wisconsin. We enjoy going there in the summer and riding the wave runners, the pontoon boat, and biking and hiking. We love the Wisconsin summers.”

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