...TrueTeenBabes is Closed...
Photographer's Final News, Notes, Facts & Fictions...
It has been a fun, exciting and profitable twelve years... but its time to move along to something new.
TrueTeenBabes was originally dreamed-up and planned in the fall of 2000 by myself and a high school student named Alia Shari that was working part-time in my photo studio. Never did we think it would be anything other than a fun side project squeezed in among the other things we had going on at the time. What a huge mistake in thinking and planning that was!
The incentive for TrueTeenBabes came down to two very simple things... fun working with her cute friends with some extra income on the side.
It took us almost a year to hire models, shoot photos, and try to figure out how to build a website. We had absolutely zero experience with the website part and much of what we did to create the first version was done with the book "Websites for Dummies" being held open by a ruler jammed in the pages while laying next to the keyboard. Funny to think about now... but maybe a foolish way to do it at the time.
Just a few weeks before opening day her and I started a tradition that continues to this day - dressing up silly for, and taking models to, crazy Jimmy Buffett concerts. Late that evening her and I, still dressed in the party garb, sat in a Denny's all night diner and scratched out in the margins of a coffee stained newspaper the basic math of running a subscription website. Our goal that early morning of June 1st, 2001 was to open July 1st and try to make it to 500 subscribers by the end of the year.
We opened on July 4th and made it past the 500 subscriber mark on July 9th. We had no idea what to do. The response, the emails, the media attention and more sort of overwhelmed us. In some ways I'm still playing catch-up to this day 12 years later.
Those 12 years have flown by and in many ways they have worn me out. This site went from being a fun side project to a 7 day a week, 14-16 hour a day job so fast I felt I couldn't take time out to eat or breathe!
I thank all the fans for that because being busy meant that the site was a huge success. I've listed some of the fun statistics below. One truth is that at age 54 I'm tired and ready for something else. Trop-Rock singer-songwriter Scott Kirby may have said it best.
"My Doctors, My Lawyers, Say You're No Tom Sawyer, Ya Can't Keep Up Keepin This Pace"
Its now time to breathe and enjoy life a bit more. Its time to spend some of the money fans have been so generous to send me all these years before I'm too old to enjoy it.
The plan is simple. Over the next few months I'll be wrapping up a bunch of business related things around town. By spring 2014 I expect to be living, at least part-time, in the United States Virgin Islands and simply relaxing with friends, maybe learning to sail a boat and working on a little book of short stories from around TrueTeenBabes.
Back home in Colorado one helper will stay on through 2014 to run TeenGlamourGirls.com as well as the archives at TrueTeenBabes.net and TrueTeenBabes.tv.
There really isn't much more I can say... Its been one hell of a ride. More work than I ever expected, more models than I ever expected, more travel than I ever expected, more silly hassles than I ever expected and way the hell more money than I ever expected.
- July 4th, 2001 - Opening day with the first 15 models. Delayed from July 1st because I didn't know how to install the damn billing software and the company didn't have a tech available to help.
- August 4th, 2013 - Closing day. Delayed a month simply because I had a few photo sets and videos that had never been seen.
- 4376 - Most subscribers at one time on August 1st, 2011. This number is a tiny bit misleading because a few weeks previous I ran a heavily discounted subscription price while celebrating the site's 10th anniversary.
- 826 - Number of subscribers that took advantage of the 10th Anniversary subscription sale in July 2011 and continued to subscribe at the discounted rate right up to closing day. (like this guy).
- 4118 - Most subscribers at one time without a discount being offered. This was acheived shortly after a major copyright infringing website was taken offline in 2009 and was a 28% increase over the previous month - clearly showing how much copyright pirates can harm a small business. (read about it here).
- 103 - Months of the longest running continuous subscriber (8 years, 7 months). I gathered this stat by looking at email addresses in the billing system. There could be others that subscribed over a longer period if they changed email address during that time frame.
- 87,451 - Total number of different email addresses that subscribed at least once since March 2004 when I started saving the addresses. Many fans may have used more than one email address over that time frame.
- 199 - Total number of teenage models that appeared here. The official number is 198 but there was actually two models with the number 10042 (meaning 42nd model). The first was named "Natarsha" and I didn't really find her to be photogenic. Her sister was super cutie "Shequesha" and mom felt it would cause issues at home if I hired just the younger sister. To solve that dilemma I shot "Natarsha" and posted her as model 10042, then worked with "Shequesha" two weeks later. Shortly thereafter I replaced the "Natarsha" photos with a new model 10042 named "Dustie".
- 21,976 - Total number of DVD or Blu-Ray discs shipped out to customers. This includes items ordered through the DVD store and the DVDs sent free as part of the "TrueTeenBabes Complete" subscription offer.
- 95,400 - Approximate miles traveled from my Colorado homebase to shoot models on locations outside the studio. This would include Laguna Beach, California (1), Miami, Florida (8), St. Pete Beach, Florida (6), Oahu, Hawaii (3) and the United States Virgin Islands (3). This doesn't include normal travel between Colorado and Florida when I had studios in both states (July 2004 through December 2010).
- 16 - Total number of different computers used over the years in the office for running the business, editing photos, editing videos, billing and other tasks. 3 Windows 98 systems in the early years, followed by 6 using Windows XP, 1 using Windows Vista, 2 MACs and now 4 using Windows 7. The original Windows 98 machine Alia used in 2001 is still collecting dust under a desk in my office. That AMD Athlon processor seemed like a rocketship at the time but these days a common smart phone has about the same amount of power.
- 0 - Total amount of debt. I used my American Express card for traveling to photo shoots before the site opened but since that time TrueTeenBabes, and the entire company, have been 100% debt free. Not a single credit card or bank loan has been used in the past 11 years. Every expensive trip was paid for in advance. Every model has been paid her full amount due the day of the shoot. In the case of models with solo sites their earnings are based on sales and they have always been paid on a set day each and every month. Every camera, strobe light, model outfit or high heel was paid for in advance.
- 0 - Zero is also the number of hairs I have left on my 54 year old head after the past 12 years of this crazy TrueTeenBabes adventure.