Thursday, April 18, 2024

Harvard Business School graduates Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Carter Fleiss are wrapping up the test phase for, The New York Times reports today in a lengthy piece describing the fashion-rental service.

It obliquely reminds me of a business idea I feel could and should be exploited here. While the two ideas have virtually nothing to do with each other, I feel it’s time to get mine out there — especially in a recession that may be awash in unemployed or struggling beauticians or fashion experts.

The idea: People good with makeup and hair styling should bring kits to Registry of Motor Vehicles sites and sell their services to people about to get drivers license photos taken. Most people cringe over these photos (although there’s a perverse pleasure in sharing bad ones, which usually look like photos of criminals and/or drug abusers) and might well pay between $5 and $20, depending on their vanity, to ensure a good one is taken.

There are about 5,000 such photos taken each business day at registries throughout the state, agency spokeswoman Anne Dufresne said today, and many are used for up to a decade.

Dufresne wasn’t sure of the official reaction to beauty consultants haunting registries, but was clear that “we don’t allow businesses that would make for a longer line.”

On the other hand, her agency is already making the effort to ensure people are happy with their digital license photos. While no one at the registry will be tweaking the images in Photoshop, “we ask applicants if they are happy with their photos and give them up to two more tries if they’re not,” she said. “When people groan and say, ‘I hate it,’ we encourage them to retake it, and we encourage them to style themselves before” a shot is taken.

“This is your main ID and you’re going to carry it around for five to 10 years,” she said. “We want you to be happy with it.”

In the meantime, here’s a look at what people do and can do to make their license photos as good as possible.