*Please forgive any spelling or typographical errors.  Episodes listed in the order they were recorded.

Vivien Marsh, Letterology

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington and I'm joined today by new friend of mine. Vivien Marsh of Letterology. She is a awesome a hand, a hand lettering and wedding signs, calligrapher invitations and all sorts of things out of the Portland area. And I want to thank you so much for coming on tonight. It's late on a Thursday and I appreciate you burning the midnight candle like I am and getting in time after hours and I know how that goes sometimes. So, uh, why don't you introduce yourself, tell us who you are, what you do and the services you provide.

[00:48] Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much. So often to meet you. Um, this is such a great opportunity. Uh, like my name is Vivien Marsh. I am based out of Portland, Oregon. I own Letterology, I provide a lot for weddings but for all sorts of events, signages, you name it, like invitation, seat, ab, shower, artwork, anything, all custom work. But mainly right now I am doing a lot of hand lettering services for a lot of brides to be

[01:21] and uh, that's awesome. And I think it's great and that you have quite a, I think a unique background. So we'll kind of get into that, uh, as well. Um, is this hand lettering, is that always been something you've been interested in or how did you kind of discover this passion?

[01:35] Um, not really. I think I kind of stumbled upon it on accident. I mean if the timeline of my business, it was kind of funny how it all started. It all started with Instagram, you know, back in, back in the day kind of thing in 2015 I want to say was when I started up an instagram account just to, you know, showcase off of some of my doodles, like I doodle all the time, you know, during meetings. But during college too and just, you know, like always trying to draw things, flowers, mainly writings, anything. And then I just started this account and you know, wanting to post some stuff up and then I kind of dove into a lot of things like water coloring, you know, painting canvases and then custom pieces for like friends and family. But it wasn't really until, I want to say around like a year later when I was at work and then I realized, you know, was looking at it in the break room.

[02:33] There is this lonely, empty coffee pot. People make you know, coffee and they'll throw it on the time when the coffee was made. And one day I just decided to doodle something on like a clean all sticky note. And then, you know, after a week or so I was like, okay, maybe I'll stop. When I saw that I didn't know the kind of feedback I got from my colleagues, they were just like, hey, videoing, right? Like you draw on the coffee pots, like what? Those are amazing. Like why'd you stop? And I was like, oh, okay. Well one person said it. I was like, okay, that they really liked my artwork. And then right afterwards it was like another person, then another person and it just kept going and I was like, okay, I didn't know I was supposed to do this every day, but I guess it made, you know, everyone's morning, like, you know, everyone's working at what, six, 7:00, they roll in, they grabbed a cup of coffee, they don't want to be there, but at least it put a smile to their face kind of thing.

[03:31] And I don't know, I guess it started from there. Doodles became something more of like, okay, I'm now looking at words and then, you know, after doing custom pieces of artwork for friends and family and stuff, and then for their friends and family, it just became kind of like this, maybe I'm onto something. Maybe instead of just doodling, like, you know, I'll, I'll start doing something for people. And I really do enjoy making those custom pieces because these are the pieces that they would display in homes that they would give us gifts to their friends and family. And then soon after that I was just, you know, let's, let's dive into the wedding industry. And see what happens and I don't think it was really until one of my best friends asked me like, Hey, uh, we're getting married and I really love what you do.

[04:21] And I was wondering if you would do some science or me. I ended up doing around eight science for her wedding and it was probably the most nerve racking. I guess I'm commissioned like thing I have ever done. Like I could be standing in front of people. That's fine. And talking to them and that's fine. But like for this it was going to be photographed. It was there like a lifetime memory, you know, for like forever. And so I really wanted to do her justice. So that became a thing and then pretty soon everyone started asking me, hey, what about our wedding? Or like, can you do this for our engagement party? Or yeah, I have a bachelor party coming up. Or like it's mother's Day. All sorts of events started coming in and pretty soon it was like a word by mouth thing and I just started focusing more on words. And from then on it's like, you know, perfecting my skill, so learning, looking, trying out new, like swirls and twirls and whatever with pens and paint brushes or whatnot. And then now here I am, now I do it. So it was definitely a hobby. It was a, it started out as a hobby and it just became something that I thoroughly enjoy doing. I mean, I don't, I don't think that there's ever been a time where I'm like, I don't want to do this anymore. It just became second nature to me.

[05:44] That's awesome. And I love, uh, I love the story of doodling in school. Uh, I was the kid that I have, I've, I've, I've said the podcast for, I have zero artistic skill at all except for capturing things. But I always do that, like the Stussi symbol, like the three lines in the day. I can do that. That was about the most that I could do. I commend to anybody at all. They could make anything more legible than my stick figures or whatever. And I will also say for our wedding, like a wedding vendor to try to plan our wedding and a couple of years ago, but the one thing that we did a, I would say kind of extending go outside of our comfort zone and was finding email and doing custom invitations and then signage for our wedding and then I will say that that really was like a key highlight in terms of stuff that we really put a lot of thought and planning into.

[06:38] So I think that's awesome when I find like people like you that do that and you know, give that gift to people that like I could never, that's something like I could never do for myself. But like hopefully you know, with your knowledge and skill that I could roughly give you a terrible description of something and then you can come back with something that a lot better. Anything that I could ever do I do. Have you noticed a like an uptick or are more couples kind of taken advantage? We talk a lot on the podcast about kind of really infusing a lot of creativity in the weddings nowadays. And kind of outside the box, do you find a lot of couples wanting to use signage and things like that to express creativity and kind of like put their stamp on things? How do you feel about that?

[07:20] Oh my gosh. Yeah, definitely. I mean when I first started doing this and actually, you know, doing my research and trying to see like what couples we're really looking for their wedding, it just started out with like, I don't know if you're familiar with like, you know those window panes like the six pane windows, those are like definitely a trend back in like two years ago I want to say. And now it's like all of a sudden everything becomes like a medium for writing. And it's amazing. Like I've written on like terra cotta pots I've written on tile, I've written on marvel. I mean people have asked me like, Hey, can you give mirrors? I'm like, yeah, I'd love to, but sees the hardest thing for years. It's like you see your own reflection in it and the writing reflection. So it's a little more tricky.

[08:06] Um, but I think the craziest thing that anyone has ever asked me to write on was their car. It was really cool and I was like, okay, well if this works out this will be awesome, but you know, if I damage your car or anything like that, I'm like, I'm a little nervous. But yeah, a couple. Do you get really creative? They will always ask the last like, hey can you do this? Or they'll show me pictures that they find on pinterest or something and you're like, I really liked this idea but I don't know if you can do this. I'm like, well I can't copy whoever did that but what I can do this, I can show you some rough drafts of some things. And then we talk about certain things, um, cuts I want customized someone's laptop and he bought it for his fiance and I ended up customizing the laptop for. So I think it's really creative. There's lots of opportunities. Anything that you can write on spare game I want to say.

[09:06] That's awesome. So did you, was it something that you had, you know, growing up where you wanted those kids that had the crayons on the wall, kind of, that the parents are getting mad or with he said, you know, you started do the lame when you were at work, but like did you grow up doing creative things or is this something that came along later in life?

[09:23] See, oh my gosh, like that's so funny that you mentioned that because this hadn't happened. Like I didn't remember this until he brought the question up and I do remember at my grandparents' house they had this foyer and it was hidden away from everyone else, like from the main living room or anything. And I guess I remember I wanted like, you know, every kid has like that little kitchen, the kitchen net where they can play house or whatever. We didn't have one. My parents wouldn't get me one. And so I guess I took a pencil and I decided to draw my own little kitchen like that little area. And I remember I got in so much trouble. That's so funny that, oh my gosh, I haven't even thought about that. Sorry in a while. Um, but yeah, I did that. And then one of my proudest moments, um, I guess I was seven years old.

[10:15] There was a contest and the prize was a little mermaid in vhs and I was like, whatever happens, I need to enter lists. And I remember I drew, what was it like Ariel and her friend, founder and Sebastian, like three weeks later I got it in the mail and I was like, oh my gosh. It was like the biggest thing ever. My parents are like, our kid is actually really talented, like, but we definitely need to get her more coloring books and more notebooks because we cannot have her drawing on the walls anymore. That's so funny.

[10:53] That's awesome. Uh, and so you kind of have, I was reading on your website, you know, before we got God together tonight. Yeah. You kind of have an interesting background in terms of like your career and things. Do you, do you want to talk a little bit about what you do when you're not doing your lettering? And then other things like that.

[11:09] Yeah, sure. And so the time that I actually started literology, um, I was actually working in a molecular genetics testing lab. So my background, I have a biology degree. I know it's Kinda weird, you know, like they're definitely creative people and there's definitely a logical and analytical people. Um, I, I kinda think I mentioned to both worlds, the daytime, I remember, you know, I'd be working in the labs pulling 10 hour days in the labs, know, doing all science, reading, researching, getting all science, uh, my head deep in the machine, trying to fix it, running tests and, and just, you know, being people who are very logical and very analytical, very straight to the point and definitely have fun. That's one of my passions. And let her apology I guess started off as, like I said earlier, like a hobby. It was just something to have fun with.

[12:09] I didn't think that hobby could manifest into what it is today. You right now though, uh, I actually worked for a local home staging company. So it kind of lines up more with being on the creative side of things. Um, I'm the director of operations for onstage and in Portland, Oregon and we deal a lot of pumps aging for properties that are going to be on the market. And so, I mean with literology it does still give me the opportunity to be creative on both ends of the things I'm daytime right now. I am still very analytical and logical in my position that you're not after hours like this, I get to dive into my hobby. It's kind of like a relaxing mechanism, like people, you know, their hobbies include kayaking, hiking and what not. Mine just happens to be and lettering and doodling and working with clients around the area

[13:00] as I said. What, what drew you into kind of that science field, biology and all that to begin with. What was the passion behind that?

[13:07] Um, growing up I remember always watching magic school bus that I would definitely say I pass high school science because the magic school bus, I want to say, um, no, it was just the fun part, you know, all the chemistry, being able to spine, you know, research and find the facts, like everything happens for a reason basically. Um, and I was always uncovering truths. I love that. I love that everything is factual and logical. There's always a reason and the answer to it. What also drew me into science was I was just, I just love the whole field of it growing up. Both of my parents, they're not, they're not science related at all and they don't do anything science related and it's just, you know, being, being exposed to I guess at a very young age, the importance of healthcare system for people. Um, and then trying to understand why diseases happen or why certain things fail in the human body and stuff like that. And I guess like all the growth of like blood, not tiers, bodily fluids. I never really scared me. I think it was super fascinating to learn about it and so, I don't know, I just went with it college. It was like, okay, what do you want to do? And I was like, you know what, biology, let's do it.

[14:39] That's funny. My mom is a, she's an optometrist and like does all the i's not like I couldn't thankfully I don't have to wear glasses or contacts. Like I couldn't even touch my eye alone, like do the things that know people and, and you her field or your field. I mean I know my slot for that but that is definitely outside of my comfort zone. Uh, so you went to college, you got a know your degrees and then in how long did you work in that field? Uh, I just kind of curious your general background and kind of the, the history of, to get us to this one.

[15:12] Yeah, absolutely. And I went to University of Portland, go pilots and for years there and then afterwards I worked for molecular testing labs. That lab in Vancouver for, I'm gonna say up till actually March of last year. And then after that I left for my new adventure basically, and I wanted to see, you know, what, what other possibilities there could be for me outside of the science realm. Um, I did everything that I said in that in the lab and I really did appreciate my time there. Um, but it was just, you know, that career growth and you're trying to better yourself and trying to discover who you really are. I don't think that anyone really stopped discovering who they are. And for me it's just, I love challenges. I love being exposed to different challenges and being able to figure out ways to solve them or make it better.

[16:19] Um, and I think that's, that's why hand lettering is so relevant to me. And why I love it so much is that each client, when they come to you, when they asked you to do something, not every request is the same and not everything I do can be replicated. And so there will be high. And that was like, oh, I really liked what you did to your friend's wedding like two years ago. Like, I really want that. And I'm like, well, I can't replicate that and I will never want to copy exactly that because each piece is so unique and it's customized to that couple because they ended up keeping the peace for themselves to display in their homes later. So I, I wouldn't want like a, you know, a copy of everything. If that was the case, then, you know, it was probably better to be bought at the store. But that's my hand lettering, you know, each task and each, uh, I guess request is so unique and I enjoy it thoroughly.

[17:15] Yeah. It's just where the, yeah, the biology side, it's still like exact and you know, everything's got to line up and be a, you know, so particular. And then yeah, we're then you're able to exercise like this totally opposite side of the brain and, and do that. I mean that's fascinating because like, I, I've, I, I mean I guess I'd be on both in terms of the creative with my step, but I mean that's like such a, it's rare to meet somebody that has both sides so drastically different. And then kind of melding the two together, that has been quite interesting. Do you find that with the home staging and things that, you know in terms of the ordering and laying things out that, that works similarly to how your mind works or when you think about that transition?

[17:54] I mean I worked with people who um, do that mainly my job as director of operations is to ensure that it's efficient. Like everything is running smoothly. Like you know, there's no fires and if there are there are fires, it's my responsibility to make sure that those are taken care of. I mean with three locations, Seattle, Portland and San Francisco and constantly the company is growing. I mean with more people in more places and it's definitely a challenge. But you know, being efficient, making sure that everything is running smoothly, everything is operating, you know, behind the scenes kind of thing. Like I enjoy that too. And I think that kind of I'm able to exercise that same side of the brain, you know, like I was in science and making sure that everything is thought of all everything is thought out, you know, everything that you do right now, it has impact on like tomorrow and in a year or two. So all that. I love future planning. I love making sure that policies and procedures are being followed to the tee. And that's really similar to the science realm. It's like, you know, you have these set guidelines you have to do for like, let's say an experiment. You have to follow every step. I, you don't mistake happens, right? So, um, you know, I, I get exposed to the creative side of things and that in my role it's more of being analytical and I'm making sure that everything does go smoothly for everyone else.

[19:25] Are you from Portland originally or did you just come to school here and then stick around?

[19:31] No, born and raised in Portland. So I stuck around for a very long time. I mean, I remember shit. It sounds like I'm really old school, but I remember when the freeway, like two, five and easy passage from Vancouver and Portland easy now it's like, I would say it's terrible. It's like sitting, going anywhere in Portland seven days a week now it's, it's terrifying. And not born and raised Portland.

[19:59] That's funny. Yeah. We uh, we currently have one of our major freeway shut down because we're, we're adding the tunnel system other than if you follow the car traffic at all. So it's uh, I, I'm with the uh, in the, in terms of the traffic, what do you think about Portland and about kind of the wedding community and like, do you interact with a lot of vendors? Are you mostly just interacting with your clients? How do you kind of interact in, in that environment down there?

[20:24] Yeah, that's when that, you mentioned that because this year, uh, one of my main goals is to international a lot more vendors and local vendors and especially in my local, I mean like in California and Seattle, but mainly also in Portland and they are so supportive. Everyone here really, you know, when you reach out to them for ideas or you want to collaborate with them, they're always like, oh hey, like I have this idea like I'd love to work with you, um, what kind of, what do you want to do? And everyone's really open. Everyone knows each other. So the community is very small in terms of vendor. We don't know the vendor directly, there's always another vendor knows that vendor and. But everyone so far has been very nice and very courteous and always really, really helpful as well.

[21:13] Yeah. You talked about, you know, on your website about and a lot of like doing a lot of stylized shoots in collaborations in that way. Yeah. How does that work for you and entire about kind of what you get out of that and if you enjoy that.

[21:26] I just love working with other creatives, especially in the wedding industry. Everyone brings it. Everyone brings such a positive and creative energy to the table. When you get to work with them, um, you know, there's always something. I truly believe that there's always something everyone has to offer and everyone can learn from others. It doesn't matter if you're in the same ministry. Um, I'm, I would say that I'm in the hand lettering industry, the calligraphy industry, the more creative side of the industry. But then again, you know, when I worked with a photographer and they teach me something about, you know, when we do satellite shoot, it's like they capture an angle of my piece of the work that I produce in a light that I've never seen before. Um, or I'll work with a florists and I'll see how my work in their work are able to combine and you know, treat this memorable but also beautiful like art to our clients or a service to our clients. So, you know, when you learn from each other and you get to mesh with each other, you know, by like working with other vendors, I think that it can really make you be able to provide the best service for your clients.

[22:41] I'm one of the hardest things. I think like for video, like if I shoot it, you know, if I'm with a couple of days and I shoot it and then like, you know, I'm not necessarily there, um, you know when they see the video or like a photographer may or may not be if they're doing like a showcase, but where you're kind of on the other side where like you get to present them with their, their signage or whatever kind of pre-wedding but then you're not maybe not necessarily there, you know the to see it or you kind of have to live vicariously through like the photos and several you see like how do you kind of feel about showing the clients I gained reaction kind of being a part of like the wedding process and the wedding day or kind of any, any combination of those thoughts that I've just thrown out at you

[23:27] when I can, I'd love to. Especially for a local clients. I love to always be the person to deliver the product to them and but before I deliver it to them, I always, you know, I always provide a draft. I always make it up, talk to them about their ideas, asked them to treat me a mood board on pinterest or something just to get a feel for what kind of style they want, what kind of color combinations they want, give them at least three options for them to choose from. I always want them to be satisfied when I'm working on it and I'll tweak stuff during the process of making the signs or whatever it is and then present it to them when I present it to them. I always make sure that I am there if possible. Um, and then I'll talk to them.

[24:14] I'll talk to them so that they're aware of what they're expecting. And so far it's been a positive note and they always, I mean I always ask for pictures of their events and if they like to share and when I see it they're just like, oh my gosh, like this totally added to the event that we have and I'm just like, thank you so much for letting me be a part of your day, even if it's in a small way. Um, I think that details are really important for a day, especially when they're captured on video or cam or film or photos. It, it really does make it a little bit more special.

[24:53] Did you, uh, do you have any history of kind of, you know, having your own business, anybody in your family and the entrepreneurial ship or is this something that you were kind of out on your own when you decided to kind of start this and go out? It?

[25:09] I guess my family we own and Vancouver Pizza back in the day, which is really cool. It's totally random. Uh, I guess that would explain my love for cooking Italian foods. Um, but we, we used to own banker pizza in Vancouver, in downtown Vancouver and it's still there, but we don't own it anymore. And then I guess my husband, he owns his own business and then the company that I worked for, uh, you know, it's, it's owned by my brother in law. And so the previous job that I had was a startup from four guys that got together and decided to, hey, let's, let's create a, a lab. And that pride services for our clients and stuff like that. Um, so I guess throughout my career I've always been exposed to starting a business, people who have been in startups, people who have owned businesses. Um, so it was just, it was a no brainer for me to try and do that because not only do I have the support from them, but I was also, you know, myself as a person. I'm really ambitious. So like I said, there's a challenge. You betcha. I will definitely tackle it or attempt to try and discover a, an answer for it or anything like that. Um, but yeah, I guess so,

[26:38] yes. Fascinating. Yeah. My, uh, I think once you kind of get the bug or once you of get through it or once you're exposed to it, my wife and I are currently trying to get one of her ideas off the ground and you something that neo, it seems a lot easier now than it would have, you know, six, seven years ago before I've kind of gone through all this. You might've seemed insurmountable. But now it's like, well, like you, you know, you've kind of lived that star, that kind of diy a lie for awhile now. So I think you get a little more used to it. Maybe you get a little, I don't know if it toughens your skin or the other way around, but you're certainly more prone to kind of adaptability and figuring it out. Talk about kind of what was your wedding like and how has that kind of shaped how you are as someone who interacts in the wedding field nowadays?

[27:20] My wedding was completely all day. Oh my gosh. Like we, both of our sides of family, we had such a huge family, like he came from a large immediate family. I have a large, like a number of relatives from like everywhere. Um, and so when it came to deciding on how many people were to go to our wedding, to the venue, to the menu for the reception and you know, our ceremony, it was just a lot of hands on, but I'm so thankful to have my husband. He was there every step of the way and he's very opinionated. So it really helped, it really did help, um, kind of, you know, it helped me mainly to narrow it down on the things and we work well together in that, you know, we kind of had the same styles for certain things, certain things that we found was very important for us.

[28:18] Um, and I think that with that I'm so lucky that I was able to actually accomplish the diy aspect. Um, but like we had a tea ceremony which is um, if the role, a special ceremony for the Vietnamese community, um, for, for my Vietnamese culture. And that was definitely a hands on because my husband, he's Caucasian and so, you know, it was, it was very nice to show his side of the family. Like this is what we do. In my culture it was, it meant a lot to my family as well. But during the day process, oh my gosh, there was a lot of hands on things to do, like from kicking out the, the drug. I would say the bridesmaids dresses for me was probably the easiest because I just told my girls, hey, like blush pink, like pick any color you want. I want you to be able to wear the dresses again later for any other event.

[29:26] That's totally fine. I don't mind, like, just show me a picture done deal. Like I had my girls, they got their addresses within probably two weeks. My husband very precise, very precise with his suit color. And then with having his groomsmen were certain like navy color. He was so picky. I don't remember. It was, it was kind of, he was almost like a garden Zella I want to say. Um, but down to the little details, uh, you know, what our center pieces were light down to the signs. I mean I did the science for our wedding too, in our tea ceremony and down to picking the photographer and the videographer, I would definitely say that was probably the hardest because we want it to look, we want it to be memorable in photos. Um, but we also wanted our families to experience, you know, a really good time. I mean, I understand that, you know, we, my husband and I, we were doing it for ourselves, but we also wanted it to be a fun party for both of our families to experience. You don't have a good time and everything, but I want to say we survived. You were to ask me if I were to do it again? Probably not. Probably on a smaller scale. Um, I want to say that it was fun. It was definitely fun.

[30:46] That's awesome. Uh, yeah. I would probably say I became more of a groomzilla than the other way around and more mostly just because I was kind of worried about being silently judge from all my wedding colleagues about decisions we made or didn't make. I remember there was a thing about the timeline and I, I knew that all the people that my planning friends would say, oh no, you're doing this wrong. And you know, just, I just felt like there is going to be this solid judgment the whole time. It is funny talking about kind of exposing your husband to kind of that Vietnamese side, uh, as someone who's also a, you know, a white guy. I grew up in Bellevue, Washington, never really experienced any of that and luckily our first Vietnamese wedding was a referral from one of my wife's friends and so I, I got definitely got like the fill in before the day of because when you show up, you know, it is the tea ceremony and all that. I mean it is like, it's so important than it is like crazy, just like, and now it's, it's kind of like second nature. We've done a lot of them. But yeah, that first time you kind of like what was going on here and how did he, how did he handle all that?

[31:50] Um, it was, it was good. I mean, he, he was, gosh, it was good. Um, he, he loved it. I definitely say that his parents loved it and his grandparents, they were present as well. Um, it was a packed house. I mean, it wasn't my parent's house, but to have that many people in the house that made our house feels so their house feel so small and it wasn't him that I was worried about. It was our switch and our videographer that I was worried about because it was a long day. The teeth ceremony like I want to say because our photographers were there to take pictures in here, getting ready photos and whatnot for both sides of the family. Like my party, my wedding party, like the and I, we were up at like 4:00 in the morning getting here makeup and everything, you know, all that getting all pretty or the day they were up and I was just like, you guys need coffee.

[32:49] Like I was worried about them as a team. Me Coffee, I get my girls to get you coffee. Do you need anything? Like at all? I would. I remember checking up on them throughout the day and making sure that they were okay and that they weren't going to pass out because it went really fast. It went from getting ready to the tea ceremony at my parents' house, which is in Vancouver, Washington, and then back over to Portland for the ceremony and then across the river again for our reception. So it was, my husband was okay. My husband and I were good. It was almost like we were playing host. You were making sure that our guests and our vendors, we're doing well.

[33:27] So it's very, yeah, I'd say they're doing that to you if that's like a. We used to have a 14 hour package on our side and people would always say like, why do you have that 14 hour who would take 14 hours to get married? But it is when you do those and it's like that. You started at 8:00 AM until 10:00 PM and you, you, you get all that in there? Uh, I, yeah, the first one I've filmed, I just remember like this is a foreign. Even had an assistant. I would just like, I was just pointing at everything and I just remember the whole time I was like, I have no idea how I'm ever going to edit this, but I was just like, as long as I record this, as long as it's somewhere captured on something I do you feel like kind of having gone through that process and seeing different options and doing the diy and like, does that help you now? Like when you're talking with potential clients, are brides and grooms and like walking them through like having gone through that, do you feel like that makes you more. I'm just knowledgeable and more empathetic to kind of what people are going through.

[34:25] Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean especially for multicultural weddings and that's definitely been a plus. Um, a lot of my friend's wedding that I've been to, it is so simple and I'm like, you guys are so lucky. Like this is so short, sweet and simple and then you're like off of your honeymoon same day. Like that's amazing. But for multicultural weddings, because there are so many more people involved in so many different traditions and cultures involved, I mean I am more like open minded to those and it helps me know, reach out to those clients a more for those who have customs and culture that require more hands on or um, I guess certain details like, you know, I, it was really funny because certain colors you can use certain colors you can't use because it's some cultural tradition or whatnot. So that makes me more, uh, I guess well rounded as a kin letter, like lettering, service.

[35:28] Um, it makes me understand that more. And also, you know, sometimes I give them advice when they ask for it, they'll ask me like, how, how do you go with your wedding? I'm like, well, let me tell you, it was a long day or like there are things that I did and things that you can opt out if you don't have to have everything. And just for the big pieces are the big moments that I think that. And that's what they want to hear because a lot of brides and grooms, they'll come to me in the last like, you know, I want this and this and this and this, and I'm like, okay, but you do understand that you don't need all that. Let's pick the ones that you need the most for me as a business, like you know, it's great that they want all this service, but you know, at the end of the day it's like rather than have them stress out about it or worry about every little single detail, I asked them like, what are the three things that you want to be highlighted?

[36:23] Like it, looking back at it, what do you want to remember the most? And then I help them, you know, maybe it's a welcome sign to the ceremony or maybe it's the reception sign or maybe it's the seating chart. Those are the probably the main three things that people look at the most or that it's the most photographed table numbers. You don't really need it. And I think it's a nice touch or you know, like when I talk with clients, let's, let's narrow it down to what you really want. And so that with lots of weddings, being through family weddings throughout the years, being through my own wedding, I think it definitely made me well rounded as a service.

[37:07] It's funny, I just was thinking of a story. We have a, he became, he's a buddy, he was, he became, he was a client that's kind of become a buddy, but they got married, he's Grieg and his wife is American and they got married at, you know, this big Greek shirts in Seattle. And I remember that they had, he had either seen our video or something, but basically they hired are the girl molly that did our kind of chalkboards. And he basically said like, I want reads chalkboard you, but just with our names and date on it, you know, their wedding, the. So they get married, we're getting kind of preset up shots and we're doing the first look and stuff and molly's shows up and oh hey, what's going on? And it's like this big. It's this, uh, gosh, what's the name of it?

[37:49] It says Saint Demetrius. It's in like downtown Seattle. I'm kind of off Broadway and it's like this big huge, huge buyers. Like it's just massive, like really decorated, really, you know, ornate church and then you look at it and she sets up just this one little chalkboard in front that's like, you know, welcome to Jani and Chelsea's wedding and that was it. Like that's all they hired a deal because everything else, you know, you couldn't really eat a, he didn't really need to decorate it anything else because it was so beautiful and be like, I don't know if they had certain restrictions or whatever. I just thought, man, it's so funny that they would pay her to come all the way down there for this one. There was that important to them. But it was because I think it was like them being able to like that little bit that they could control where like they couldn't decorate any, have they of the church, you know, it's been that way for, you know, hundreds of years. But like naked put their own little piece on that welcome sign out front so that, you know, like 300 people, all the people that came to the wedding all got to see that now. I thought it was interesting that they, that, that was so important to them, but they would take the time to kind of plan that out and put that there. I just thought that was kind of funny for them. That always struck with me that they would, um, you know, just take the time to make that a special part of their day.

[39:02] Yeah. I mean at least they got a sign at our wedding. We got married at a church like St Mary's Cathedral and they were so strict with flowers and bases. Like I don't even think I had a wedding. Like I don't think I even had a final ceremony of like I had, you know, those little booklets, like programs, reading programs. I had those and I was like, I'm so glad that came through because they were. That was really important to me because the wedding programs, you know, it was in Vietnam, he is, and it was an English, so you know, both sides who follow along. So when I did for like when when we did English reading, um, you know, our Vietnamese side can go along with it or when someone says something you'd be our English guests, which are English speaking guests would be able to follow along as well. So that was so important to me. The signs and the flowers, it was like a little contribution of flowers. It's great and it's just, it depends on the brand and it also depends on the restrictions of the venue.

[40:01] Yeah. Um, so, uh, are there some common misconceptions or things that you wish that people knew about in terms of what you do? And I know a lot of the time with like hand lettering and then things like that. Uh, you know, the common thing I hear is like people don't understand, you know, that the time that's involved and you know, and that's why rates are the way they are and things to me. Are there some common misconceptions that you think are things that you wish that people knew a little bit more about in terms of the specifics of what you guys do?

[40:29] Yeah, for hand lettering services, um, and for calligraphy in general or for like custom art pieces we do as a business owner but also as an artist. So we do devote a lot of time into the work that we produce. We want our clients to be happy with it. Um, you know, we, we pour our hearts and our soul into creating a memorable piece, um, that you might possibly keep for a lifetime display in your homes and your children's children. My even see it down the line kind of thing. Um, and the way we price our signs or whatnot, it's priced for a reason because of all the time and the emotion that we, you know, put into it, but also for the materials and four hour spent on revising it and making sure it's perfect. We're not doing it to, you know, kind of maximize our profits on it who are not and we're not doing it in order to take advantage of, you know, the service that we're providing for you. We're not really doing that we're doing because it's something that we enjoy.

[41:38] And I mean I remember when I started out, I made next to nothing like, I mean nothing. And I would spend like 10, 12 hours on it, sometimes longer than that I remember was like science I made for her wedding. Like I literally pulled an all nighter just to do it just to make it perfect for our clients. And you know, I've tried to next to nothing but you know, you gotta start somewhere for it. So you know, for all the science and for a lot of people who make signs like they do for their hearts and souls into it, especially with invitation suites, toe, like they are so unique, they take their time to do it for you. And it's not like we could have it, you know, mass printed or you know, sell it, you know, we are small business owners. We, we have to be able to pay for the paint brushes, the paint, the canvas is the sign, the chalk pens that we use for the science that we make you. Um, so, you know, it's priced a certain way. It is, but when it's broken down it really isn't that much in the end for us to keep. It's just to keep our business running and for us to make sure that our art totes are still packed with the paint so we can do for other clients as well.

[42:53] Yeah. No, I as someone that said, you know, works and is a creative too. I am as guilty as that. If I'm having someone, I have like my graphic designer, you know, designing logos and stuff and I'll let you know I'm as Nitpicky as anybody. And I think man, if I was, you know, if I was on his end dealing with me, I would be very upset with me for the amount of work I'm asking in there. But like when we got our, um, uh, our invitations done and she had made like a custom skyline of Seattle and it was really intricate and I remember dorothy asking like, what do you think we could have her? You know, there's actually, if you look at the real city, there's actually one more building. And do you think Dorothy, like she literally just hand drew at the entire.

[43:35] Like we're not getting to like go back and be like, well actually molly, you know, technically in the, in the blueprints of the city, you know, actually I think she's getting a, like she's going to fire us. I forget the other way around. So I, it's funny, I was just kind of scrolling through your instagram and just kind of taking a peek at some of these things and how happy you look with some of the signs and things. It's really fun to see the joy you get from what you do, a talking about, kind of, you know, as we get ready to wrap up here, just kind of like a, you know, your plan moving forward and how are you looking to continue to expand and grow. I know you said this year you want to connect with a lot more wedding vendors and and you know, do a lot more stylized shoots and things like that, but how do you want to grow and where do you see your business going then the next one to three years?

[44:20] Yeah, absolutely. I think the sky's the limit right now and especially at the beginning when you asked me have I had any requests, like strange requests from brides and grooms, like what? Like they asked me what to write on or whatever. And honestly the sky's the limit right now. Uh, a couple. Uh, or actually last year, um, I got my first published stylized shoot and with a whole bunch of vendors that I got to work with and then we republished in which venture magazine. And so to see my work in a magazine like that, being a small business owner, it's just here, you know, there are days when I'm like, I don't even know if I can compare it to a lot of these creative talents in the Portland area alone. Um, but it was such an honor and it was such a great feeling to know that my work was selected, um, with a whole bunch of working with a whole bunch of other vendors that I was so thankful that they pushed you.

[45:18] We pushed each other to kind of, you know, perfect to be, to be one to be reckoned with in the game. Um, but, you know, I, I got a taste of that and I was like, know what? Like let's, let's dive out there and let, let's get, you know, we all have that creative by going, let's work with a lot of other vendors. I'm like, I said, you know, there's a lot to learn from other people. Um, and you know, with hand lettering too. Um, I think what's really what's really interesting about it is that each person, they bring such a unique flair to hand lettering. Like the way I write is completely different from the way you write from the way you know, my husband rides and from everyone else. No one can mimic anyone. You know, you're copying someone, you're always one step behind, but even your copy is never perfected unless of course you have like that raisie handwriting that just looks like it's been printed off of a computer.

[46:18] But, you know, every hand lettering service out there is so unique that, you know, I don't see it as a competition at all. I see of it like as a, okay, you know, what, this is what you specialize in. This is what I specialize in. We can ever really copy each other anyways. So that's never really a competition feeling. You know what I mean? Like I never really get that competitive vibe. It's always like, I appreciate like, you know, what my capacity is to learn and I always challenge myself to learn it, but when I see other people hand lettering and handwriting I am in all. I'm like, how, how is it possible that you can do is this is amazing. Um, but working with other vendors and collaborating with photographers, videographers, florists, dressmakers, models' hair and makeup artist, I think that's such an amazing opportunity because together, you know, you get to finally know them as a person, know them as a business and then be able to cater to your clients better.

[47:28] Um, and in terms of literology this year, I mean, I'm always excited to see you, what each day brings. I'm hand lettering. It's definitely something that I, I don't think we'll ever something that I don't think I would ever get bored of. Weddings is just one of the industries that I, I love doing, but it's basically for all events. Um, I think diving into a lot of other events is something that I'm going to be looking forward to this year, but also possibly new business ventures and event planning. I guess because I'm so methodical and analytical, it could be something in the future to look forward to. So I am excited to see what 2000, 19 brains and I don't think it's ever going to slow down.

[48:09] That's awesome. My, my one last thought I was thinking is you must sign my wife. I make my wife right all of our cards and she's not even the professional hand, uh, a professional, a handwriting person. So you must have to fill out all those. Thank you cards and things for you guys or.

[48:26] Oh my gosh. No, it was really funny because after I got married I did not know how to sign my name, my new, my new last name. I didn't know how to do it. So my husband and I, we share the same first letter, middle initial, and then obviously same last name to this day. Like this is kind of embarrassing. I find exactly like him. I really do not for the life of me figure out how I wanted to sign my new last name. It's like, like I said, it's like, you know, I'm always constantly learning. I know I'm a perfectionist when it comes to sign, like writing and stuff like that. So my own signature, it always flexes, but right now it's literally three letters, b, d and m and it's exactly like my husband's like the d and the end is exactly like my husband's except for like the first letter. But that's so funny.

[49:26] This has been such a delightful conversation. I want to thank you so much for coming on and scheduling the time to come and chat and share a little bit about your story. If people want to learn more about you and your company and, and all the work that you do, what would you have them check out?

[49:41] Yeah, absolutely. Um, they can definitely find me on Facebook at LetterologyPDX. Um, I'm also on Instagram, LetterologyPDX and then also if you want to search for me on Pinterest, I'm also on there. I have a lot of different ideas and lots of clients share their ideas with me on there as well. Um, but those three platforms or the best way to contact me. And then obviously my email is a

[50:11] Perfect. Well thank you so much for coming on. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. And uh, I am going to say I need to start asking people to like and subscribe on your podcast of choice. Uh, so if that's iTunes or Spotify or Amazon music or any of the other platforms that we, uh, appear on, if you could like and subscribe and leave a review, that would be awesome. Vivien I want to thank you so much for being on and uh, we'll see you next time. Thanks a lot.

Dawn Boynton, Seattle Bride Hair

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington, and today I'm joined by one of my longtime friends who I'm finally meeting in person face to face for one of the first times Dawn Boynton of Seattle Bride Hair. And I want to thank you so much for coming in. I know we've kind of followed each other online for years and, and thank you for coming in today. In kind of a wet Seattle day and making the drive. So why don't you introduce yourself, tell us who you are and what you do.

[00:38] Great. Thank you Reid. Thanks for having me. And it's awesome to finally meet you in person. I've seen you around the circle and the wedding community, which I love. Um, I'm Seattle Bride Hair. I do onsite hair and makeup for all special events, not just weddings. Um, I have been licensed since I was 16, which means I've only been doing it for two years. I've actually been, this is my 29th year of being licensed and I love it. I truthfully can say I love it every single year more and more.

[01:10] And uh, yeah, I just, I, I just see you like everywhere posting and being really visible and I think that that's awesome. And it's obviously a credit. Um, uh, do you find, is that hard to keep up on? Do you enjoy doing that? How does that work?

[01:25] Um, I do enjoy doing it, you know, my days are so long. I actually do commit at least three times a week to doing social media. Um, most of my business now is referral base and I've found that social media really helps that and you know, like you, I know you, I feel like I know you really well and this is the first time meeting face to face because of social media. So I actually really, really enjoy posting. Um, one of my, one of my activities is writing and so I love to write as well.

[01:51] It's funny you said, uh, I have to get my hair cut here later on and you would actually just worked at the salon that I go to west Seattle for years, you said. So, um, so talk about kind of how do we get into this. You've been doing this a long time. Was this always like, did you grow up? Is, is kind of a passion or how did that start?

[02:08] Yeah, I have been styling my mom's hair since I was five and the living room while she did she, while she watched young and the restless, she would sit down and I would braid her hair and curl her hair. Um, my biggest stream when I was little, probably seven years old. I have a cousin that lives in LA. Her name's Trixie. And I always wanted to move to LA and do the soap operas, hair. That was when I was seven and I just always remained a passion. I just felt, I think I was, came out of the womb wanting to do hair and makeup.

[02:35] That's awesome. Why, uh, why the soap opera hair?

[02:38] Because my mom was watching the young and restless and I just thought they were so print pretty and flawless and timeless and you know, and to move to la, that's every girl's dream someday.

[02:47] Yeah, absolutely. And so then, uh, so you grow up a little bad in you, you started going to school and did that, you kind of discovered that passion to keep going or.

[02:55] Yeah. So, um, I always wanted to do hair and I wanted to go work at the best salon in Olympia. Um, so I actually slept here at cottonelle hair design, which was the best salon, uh, I can think of when I was 15. And then through the grace of God, my high school sweetheart fell. He fell into contact with somebody that worked at Gene Juarez, and I actually had never heard of Gene Juarez, and they called me up and they said you need to go to advanced training. And I was only 16, never heard of Gene Juarez. Whereas looked it up. And when I was 17 I started driving up to Gene Juarez. I was commuting with this guy. It was my friend's boyfriend who had to be at work at five in the morning, so I would sit outside Gene Juarez, whereas advanced training away for them to open up for two hours. I just really wanted to work for the best and be the best and Gene Juarez himself and his company really benefit my, my direction and in career and I really owe a lot to Gene Juarez himself.

[03:53] That is crazy. We, uh, I grew up over in Bellevue and we were adjacent to a really nice neighborhood and so we would always go through and like look at Christmas lights or whatever. And I remember that his house where I don't know if it was his or one of his houses over there, but he was like this big massive kind of on the hill. And my mom would say like, oh, that's that team. Whereas this house. And I was like, wow, that's like, this is right down the street from Bill Gates and all that. And it's crazy. Was that like nerve wracking at such a young age to do that? Or A.

[04:22] No. I remember the first time I was in Seattle and I literally traveled around, I was so excited, I just felt like a girl in a big city and I could just do anything, like I can accomplish anything and so it's just really excited and you know, my, I grew up out in Yelm, Washington, um, and uh, lacey as well and I just always wanted to get out into a bigger city. And so no, I was super excited. I just really, really, really wanted to, you know, get out and just make people beautiful and happy.

[04:53] Yeah. That had to be a big shock from coming from Yakima to Seattle. Is that nerve wracking or where you see, you said you were this excited?

[05:01] I was just excited. Yeah, I, um, I just really wanted out of yum. And so that was a good way to go and I just, I just really was so in awe of all the people working around me and all the hairdressers that we're going through advanced training as well and so much talent around me and pushed me, pushed me to be better.

[05:21] And so when you say like a dance training, so what? I don't know anything about her. Yeah. Yeah.

[05:25] So you get your licensed, um, and back in the day to work for Gene Juarez, whereas because he was the very best, he sold his company about 12 years ago, um, when he owned it, they had an advanced training is almost like a Master's program in college. You actually have to go through Jean, whereas advanced training to work for his salons and you have to graduate. I think my class starting with 60 people and seven people graduated, you basically had to learn all over again. It's the British and French way to cut hair and they were very, very strict on how you styled, how you cut, how you dressed. Everything. Um, so I just really, like I said, I just really loved the environment. I loved being in Seattle and yeah, it's crazy. And so how long did that program was for? It was, um, I think it would buy ours and it had a certain checklists of how many haircuts and how many styling and how much makeup application you had to do. And I literally started advanced training the day after I graduated high school and I finished the day before my birthday, which was in September. So I went through it really quickly. I had this goal of I wanted to work for Gene Juarez, whereas before I turned 18, so I did one day. That's crazy.

[06:33] So, uh, so you're now you're 18, now you're working for the premier salon area. So, uh, walk me through that then kind of how did we progress from there?

[06:44] Well, that actually was kind of a stumbling block for me. My very first year, you know, I thought, oh, I'm 18. I kind of had an ego, I thought, you know, I was going to make all this money and I was the best and I was working with all these older people that had such great careers. And um, I'm an introvert as well and it was really hard for me to even open up and speak to these clients that came into the Gene Juarez. Whereas I actually froze up for the first year and I almost got sent back to training because they wanted me to learn better communication skills. And because yeah, it was just super scared and intimidated, but then a couple of people, uh, I, I have to thank, really mentored me and took me under their wing and took me to lunch and I actually watched them do hair and wash their dialogue and, and so, uh, I got over that roadblock.

[07:34] Well, I know obviously it relates even to today and you know, doing the large scale events and weddings and stuff, you know what I mean? The hair and makeup people really do kind of like dictate the pace of the morning that. Yeah. Well No. And you know, and how the mood is and how everybody has. I mean if you go in and, you know, because you guys are there long before the photo and video and everybody and so it really does kind of set that tone. Yeah. Uh, so then, you know, you're cutting hair, like did you have an interest in doing weddings and events or we need to talk about like kind of how do we progress from there then?

[08:06] Yeah. At first I was specializing in ethnic hair. I have a really thick curly hair myself. You can't really tell, but I do. Um, and I was working in Tacoma and I just really wanted to branch out and do ethnic hair, which I still do a lot of. Um, and then I started putting their hair up that ethnic women for their balls that would go to the military balls and stuff because I was working in Tacoma and I just started having a passion for dues. They called them up to us or airwaves the styling. Um, and I found it fascinating that a lot of hairdressers don't like to do it to this day and I don't know, I just really loved it. And then I was looking for a makeup artist who kinda come on board with me to do makeup and I wasn't really clicking with their style versus my style. So then I taught myself makeup and I found a passion for that as well. And a lot of brides asked me, do I like here? Would you like make it better? And I honestly can't. I can't say which one I like better.

[09:04] So, uh, you're, you start kind of evolving into this full kind of dual faster than a service. Um, so then, uh, have you been doing obviously what it's for a long time, like what was that kind of like entry into that and how did that work? Was that kind of nerve wracking to go to that or did you feel experience? Like how did you start booking weddings and.

[09:22] Sure, um, I was a designer at Gene Juarez, so whereas we have to specialize, you can either cut and style or you can color. And so I knew that I didn't want to just cut hair. I also wanted to cut and style. Um, so the front desk, I asked them, I said, can you start booking movie with brides? And it was like one at a time really slowly. And then I got my confidence up and I went to a lot of classes, a lot of vans classes on brides and I remember doing my first wedding. And um, it was so exhilarating after I was done with it, you know, she cried, she was so excited about it and just spun out of control from there.

[09:58] Yeah, it's a, you always kind of get a mix set when you ask you about like their first wedding and if it was either a home rather a ground up. But. So that was, if you felt at ease with that?

[10:08] Yeah, yeah. And most of my clients were um, my clients had been cutting their hair for years. You know, I uh, actually have a client named Aaron Mcnamara. I've been doing hair since she was seven and I did her wedding about, I think it was three or four years ago. She's known an attorney, so some of these people I've been doing their hair forever and so it's kind of cool, you know, I used to kid with Erin and her assistant sister Megan about doing their hair for their prom some day and here I am doing the hair for the wedding. So it was just building a rapport with my own existing clients and then branching out and getting confidence to meet New People I've never met before.

[10:42] Yeah, I bet. Probably like 18 you kind of go into and like you've probably never thought that like here you would be seeing these women kind of go through. Um, uh, do you think that people. I don't know if that's something that even people will really appreciate. Like when they're, when they, you know, if they're selecting someone to do whatever that you will kind of be with them through the, through a good portion of their life. Talk about that.

[11:03] Yeah. So I even, so I recently did a wedding in December with kate from j square photography and we did a wedding and she introduced me to this brand name. Mandy and Mandy came to me a year ago. She's planning her wedding and I'm just her excitement and she and I grew her hair out and we had a vision for her hair and makeup and her and I are really good friends. She painted me something. She painted me this beautiful tree that's actually hanging in my salon now and she gave it to me on her wedding day. And so, um, it's not just keeping old relationships, it's also making new relationships as well. And you know, I, I'm convinced that Mandy will be my life forever.

[11:46] That's funny. Uh, first off you, kate still needs to come on the podcast we've been talking about since I launched this a year ago, a, b. it's so funny just talking about a vision for your hair and that I would never tell this to my hair person, but, uh, I had a Mohawk when Dorothy and I got engaged and so we had talked about, you know, growing it out and I had thought I would have a little hot when we got married and Dorothy said, no, you're not going to do that. So I grown out, you know, it was like 13 months and we were growing to down and Groan about and whatever and then cutting it. And then finally it was like, I think it was going to go in like the Thursday before the wedding. And she gave me like the shortest haircut I've ever. I was like, we've been talking about this for like 12 minutes. And it was fine. Like dorothy loved it. I mean, that's all I care. But I just couldn't believe. I was like, wow. Like we really been planning this for the song. And then it was like, oh. But, uh, no, it's good to have people like that in your life. Um, so then, uh, so you start booking weddings, through Gene Juarez whereas. And so then you, you, you were there with them for a long time.

[12:49] Seniors, um, I was invited to a private party with Jane, one, one spontaneous evening and I didn't know what it was about and I went and there was, I don't know, probably 60 to 100 people there from the company and he announced that he was selling and I actually, um, was getting a divorce and I was looking for maybe a change in my life. Anyway. So all in one week I quit my job at Jane, whereas after 16 years I cut off three feet of hair. I traded in my car and I moved to all in one week, so it was just full change in different seasons and that's when I worked for the salon in west Seattle and they were awesome, you know, I went to the owner and I said, hey, I want to do onsite hair and makeup, and she said, that's great. Go ahead and do it. And so I just always have been so grateful to Rachel Carlin for letting me just spread my wings and not try to shelter me into her little bubble at the salon. And so that's when I started really doing onsite man.

[13:46] Yeah, that must have been a huge change. Uh, I mean 16 years. It was like a really long time as my family. Yeah, that's crazy. Uh, and so then were you living in West Seattle? Been when you were in here? Did you enjoy, do you enjoy the neighborhoods here?

[13:59] Oh, I love west Seattle. Yeah, it's my home away from home. I moved to Tacoma three years ago, but I still come up every Wednesday to see my friends and my family and my son. I love West Seattle. Yeah, the community is amazing.

[14:11] Uh, so now you're working and you're continuing to book weddings and so then when did, because now you're, how did you transition to doing your own thing?

[14:22] Right. So I moved to Tacoma three years ago and I was doing seattle bride hair and I was working at the salon in west Seattle. Um, and I kind of jumped around about three or four times to different salons and all my clients that followed me from Tacoma. I mean from west Seattle down to Tacoma, they, they're probably getting a little frustrated because I kept moving. Thank you for staying with me. And I had a studio out back and I thought, oh my goodness, why don't I just work for myself? So last February I opened up my own studio studio a and that's where I do all my bride trials and I started working for myself and I couldn't be more than happy. I am so, so happy that I did that.

[15:00] Was that a scary. They talk about that because we've had people on here, some that you know, still work full time and some of the work part and some wide gamut across the board, like talk about that transition for you. And what was that like?

[15:13] Um, you know, it just clicked. It just really clicked. I um, had a lot of free time. My son is going to west Seattle high school. I was commuting him up to a west Seattle high school every day from Tacoma and then I would go pick him up and then he decided to stay in west Seattle. So that's freed up a lot of space and when you free up the less space, that gives me a lot more free time to think. So I was really excited about it. Um, I had um, my boyfriend and my dad helped me open up the salon, so I had a lot of good support. I don't think I was ever really nervous. So just, I always do things when it feels right and it felt right

[15:46] because. Yeah, I mean like even like if you're working at the salon, like you still, you kind of do your own thing, right? But within kind of this framework. Right. And so then to kind of like remove that.

[15:56] Yeah, exactly. You know, I had a lot of pushback from certain people about like my pricing because I do Brazilian blowouts and they're pretty inexpensive and they wanted me to raise my prices or just, you know, little things I loved working for Gene Juarez I worked for 100 with 150 women and I still love them all. They were amazing. But it's also really freeing to work all by myself too. You know, I, I can hear myself talk, I get to choose my own, make my own music and um, it does get a little lonely sometimes, but it's also really freeing just to be by myself.

[16:29] Talk about then kind of now brandy and on your own and cll, bright hair and kind of, how is that, you know, obviously for years, but now kind of expanding on your own, how has that gone and what have you learned kind of in doing that?

[16:42] Yeah. I owned the Seattle bride harrop domain name for years and years and years. It was weird. It was just sitting on it and I didn't use it when I was working at the salon in west Seattle. And um, one day I decided I'm going to start a website. My very dear best girlfriend for years and years and years. Her name is Kevin Mcnamara and she designed my website, um, and she does it pretty inexpensive. Um, she's amazing and it just all fell together. Then I had a client that does logos and she wanted to design my logo for me and um, I went on social media and I just started branching out to people like you read and other people to help me. And it just went from there. It was pretty easy and pretty flawless and I can't thank the wedding community enough.

[17:30] Yeah, it's hard because you know, and we talk a lot about like, you know, someone that is like a good photographer might not necessarily know anything about business or like you might be better at whatever, like is that something that you still struggle with or you just get people that you trust to kind of like fill in those gaps? Like how do you look at that?

[17:48] Um, I'm pretty savvy

[17:50] as far as business. I have a lot of friends that are in business so they taught me a lot. So I did trademark my name, seattle bride hair, so that is trademarked. I wanted to make sure that was protected. Um, and if I have a question I don't hesitate to ask the right people and I just have a really good group of people around me that really helped me out a lot. Yeah. Talking about, uh, the Seattle wedding community, kind of in general, I mean we had people that had been vendors and other areas that they moved here or you know, back and forth or whatever. I mean, do you find it pretty inviting here? What do you think about kind of just Seattle in general and the vendors that worked together here?

[18:27] Yeah. Um, I am just blown away with the community, you know, even being in Tacoma, I still get so much support from the Seattle community in general and now I'm Tacoma and kit sap, all of them. I, I haven't had any problems, knock on wood, I haven't had any problems with anybody. Everybody's so sweet and so inviting and just I'm, I'm baffled. I'm trying to think right now of one person I've had issues with, but everybody is so awesome.

[18:57] That's funny. I talked about Kinda the process in terms of working with you, you know, for, in the vendor a wedding and then if someone was curious about that.

[19:05] Yeah. Um, so I'm going to be doing an open house soon on holly farms. I'm on the 20th and the 17th and they located me through Stephanie Walls, photography. Uh, and then I'm doing another one at the lookout lodge. Those people are amazing. Amazing. Cricket is amazing. Um, so working with vendors, I feel like if you just are really good at communicating, it's no problem.

[19:31] Um, what are some things that you wish more people knew, you know, uh, brides that are booking, you know, kind of pitfalls, pdo things that you're kind of constantly educating people about that you wish maybe the industry people knew better?

[19:44] Yeah. Great. Great question. I think that brides, I love my brides, but I want them to know that they can put their trust in us as far as a timeline. You know, if we say that this is how much time it takes, this is what time you have to get up in the morning and get ready. Um, W, it's not our first Rodeo, you know, I know that they're excited for their day and you know, I've had so many brides say, oh really sucks am I want to sleep? And guess what, you're not going to want to sleep in on your wedding day is it's just not gonna happen. Um, and then, you know, I mean everybody stays in their lane so well with our vendors. Just really trust your vendor. Like just listen to them. No, that's what they do for living and it's going to be amazing.

[20:26] Talk about kind of the style that you kind of specialize in or prefer to do, you know, in terms of hair and makeup and kinds of, you know, if it's more natural or kind of how that works.

[20:38] Yeah, I can do natural and very glamorous. Um, the one thing that I do, I do a really good consultation. I don't book a wedding unless I do a trial. They need to come in for their hair and makeup. And so I kind of go over, uh, if somebody wants to wear their hair up, I ask them, do you ever wear your hair up? You want to look just like yourself on your wedding day and you want to feel good and your wedding photos. Um, if somebody is very natural and, you know, outdoorsy, and then they show me a picture, a very glam or Kim Kardashian, I try to kind of steer them away from that, but I'm, I'm good at. I'm to either look really. I mean it, I just want it to match their style as well.

[21:17] Uh, we talk a lot here about like, you know, being licensed and whatever you're doing. And kind of having that, I'm being held accountable and kind of talking about. Do you still see that's a pretty pervasive issue in the industry with people not having the proper education licenses and stuff or what do you think about that?

[21:34] Yeah, I try, I try to keep my nose out of stuff like that. Um, I know that you do have to have a license to do hair if the hair is wet, you know, a lot of people go around and to style their hair and, and use a curling iron. And so anybody can say that there are a hairstylist, but you probably do want to see if your hairstyles licensed. Um, and not just somebody that thinks that they can curl their friend's hair. Um, and I do see it, but, you know, I just, like I said, stay in my lane.

[22:06] Uh, do you enjoy, kind of been in a, the actual kind of like getting ready wedding, um, you know, that whole process now, does it feel kind of more like your back of the salon with people around you enjoy kind of being in that environment and talk about kind of like how you approached the wedding day and your feelings about that?

[22:22] Yeah, I love being around it. You know, I, I'm, I'm told by a lot of my friends, I'm a recovering introvert because I can talk and get along with one on one people. Um, but if it's a party I kinda shut up and let everybody take over as far as the conversation goes. Um, that being said, sometimes it gets really chaotic and I have to keep everybody focused on, okay, it's your time to do here. It's your time to do makeup. Stop drinking them. Also sat down. But I love it. I really, really enjoy all the energy. I meet so many people from so many different places. Um, I love when they do sit down and I'm one one-on-one. I love hearing about them and hearing how they know the bride and um, I always tell my brides there's always going to be one person though that one person that's going to stress you out and as soon as I can figure out who that person is, I actually helped them write out and I get to know that one person and kind of keep them away from the bright. Isn't it

[23:19] funny how there's always seen with like a bridal party or like bridesmaids and groomsmen, like there's always one person that isn't, isn't paying attention or doesn't want to do and never had their photo taken before.

[23:30] Yeah. Um, and it's funny. And, and, and I say to every bride during the trial who's the one person, and they kind of look at me baffled. They're like, oh, you're right. There is that one person. And I always thought my brides know that, hey, and it's not going to be flawless. There's actually going to be one major thing going to happen during your day too. And just know that you're going to be married the next day and it doesn't really matter.

[23:50] Um, it, it's got to take an incredible amount of trust for the brides with anybody who does their hair and makeup, but like do you then find them like you have like that much deeper connection or kind of talk about kind of taking that trust and, and kind of like either whether it's 10 months out that they book or whatever and kind of like knowing and then in terms of day off kind of delivering that and making sure they feel good.

[24:11] Yeah. I, I'm always try to keep my communication open with my brides. You know, I've had a, have had brides commit to a wedding day two years in advance and I don't want to forget about them. So I'm always like, I'm here. I try to get as many photos of them. Actually, I'm sorry, I will stalk you on social media and look you up. And then I want them to send me photos and I want to see if they correlate. Like, do you really have Kim Kardashian here when you have three hairs on your head? Um, and so I, I really, uh, gain a rapport with my clients. The one tough thing though sometimes is then getting to know the bridesmaids instantly and earning their trust right away and knowing, hey, it's going to be okay. You can listen to the brain. I'm going to take care of you.

[24:57] Yeah. Because I mean it's one thing like I'll, you know, I walk in cold a lot and then. But like I don't have to interact with them for an hour or whatever. Talking about. And this something like you said, that kind of struggles with being an introvert or not. Like is that, is that a big challenge that you kind of worked through every time or you kind of used to it now?

[25:14] I'm really used to it now. Yeah, it's no problem. Um, people are people, you know, we all put our pants on the same way and so I always think of metaphors like that and uh, I just know that that person's me. That person might be nervous to or that person wishes they were getting married and they're not, you know. So I always, if somebody has a really bad attitude, I always know that there's a good reason why and it's not about me.

[25:38] Ah, what kind of keeps you motivated now? I mean, it's been so long and you know, doing this and through a bunch of different kinds of, you know, different, same field but different kind of out posts or whatever. I'm terrible words, but what kind of keeps you motivated everyday to get up and keep kind of doing that and reaching out and growing and that sort of thing?

[25:56] Um, well, two things, you know, my, my bride, sad really have appreciated me and send me photos and um, you know, those people really confirm why I do what I do, like my bride. A couple months ago when she saw our hair and makeup, she started crying for the good. She started crying, she was so happy. Um, and that just warms my heart. I also really believe in continuing education. So I go to a lot of classes during the year, um, you know, working for Jane. Whereas he really opened my eyes to all the really big names. Um, I was in, uh, a program, uh, the sound McKnight program, which they had 5,000 applicants and only they only accepted 200 and I was one of them. And Sam mcknight does like all the covers for vogue. He's British and you know, I always, if I'm looking for an inspiration or I can't find why do what I do, I actually will look at somebody a bigger and better because there's always gonna be something bigger and better.

[26:56] Yeah, it is. It's crazy. Like, I mean, I think in terms of like technology and stuff like we always kind of need to keep up, but like there is always new continue with education and a lot of it is like you have to travel to or go different places. Like is that, is that hard to kind of keep that balance between working and learning or how do you approach that?

[27:14] Um, I believe that learning is part of working and so I'm always like the constant thinker, I think, think, think, think, think on how to do things. And so I actually love one of my pastimes is my friends come into the salon and I, I practiced doing hair and makeup, like I'm five years old again. And of course they love to do it. And so, uh, I'm always practicing. I have to Dolly heads that look out windows so intruders will think that there's people at my house but their mannequin heads and I'm always practicing on them. And um, yeah, I'm kind of a little girl in a adult body. When, when it comes to inspiration,

[27:49] uh, what is it about weddings in general that kind of attracts you besides just like having like a bride or someone that you connect with? Is it kind of being in that the story of love are kind of the greater like, do you look at that or you just focused on those personal connections you're making the another what the event is?

[28:04] Yeah. Uh, I love, love. Um, and I also am, I, I feel so honored to think that I might be the last person she sees before she sees her groom. Like, it's so exciting to me, you know, that first look photo my hair and my makeup. That's, that's that. And he has seen that and that excites me and that might sound, I don't know, egotistical, but I just love, I love that. When I, when I say first look, I actually almost start to cry every single time.

[28:33] Uh, yeah. And it's hard to, I think for like hair and makeup because you do like, it's such an integral part of the day, but then like you only really do, you might be there for a little bit of like the first look or you know, do a little touch up, like you miss out on a lot of stuff. Right? I mean then you kind of have to look at the photos or whatever to kind of get that. Do you find that? Is that hard?

[28:57] Um, yeah. You know, because they're usually in a bathrobe when I leave and they're going to be getting into their address and they get into the dress five minutes after I leave. And so yeah, it's so exciting to see it all come together and um, after, after I'm done, I literally sit in my car for five minutes and I'm just beaming. I'm so excited for every single bread, every single bread. I'm excited for them and their wedding day.

[29:18] Uh, does it ever get old? There isn't always exciting.

[29:21] It's always exciting, you know, every once in a while there's that one bride, but I'm still excited for them as well. Yeah.

[29:28] Because I've had the same conversation with like florists and stuff, like, you know, they drop everything off and then you go and like, can you just miss a lot of like, you know, we get to experience a lot more, even more of that, you know, it's just kind of different coins of whatever. It's interesting that like so many, like different types of vendors can have such different interactions. You know what I mean? It kind of experienced different parts of the day. I always think that's interesting. I think it's interesting too, it'd be fun to have a vendor party someday after a big wedding. Yeah. Right. Whether they were already thinking about that when you're not working on wedding specifically, what other events and things you work on and, and how do you kind of spend your time otherwise?

[30:05] Um, I'm a crisis counselor on a text line and I do that on Fridays. I believe that everybody's rent here on earth is giving back and so I try to give back as much as possible. Um, I used to cut hair for the homeless. Uh, I always try to take my trades are my talents and put it towards the good. Um, you know, I know crisis counseling is not hair and makeup, but it is communicating with other people and making them feel good. So that's what I love to do. I read a lot because I have to charge my engines again and I go really? I go on a walk almost every single day along long walk and I listen to podcasts or inspirational books on tape.

[30:48] Um, this crisis. How long have you been doing that now? That's fascinating.

[30:52] Yeah, I've been doing, it will be two years in May. Yeah. I had to go through an intense background check and training that took about three months and uh, it's a text line, you know, kids nowadays, they don't talk on the phone anymore. So you text in when you're in crisis?

[31:05] Yeah. Oh, that's great. I didn't even know that, but why, like how did that inspire. Did you just wake up one day and desire? Did you hear about this or how did that.

[31:13] Yeah. So, um, I had a couple youngsters, I won't get too much into it that were very, um, uh, they attempted suicide and so I, uh, I wanted to give back and my brother's a police officer and I told him, I said, these are my needs. I used to work in pediatrics in intensive care volunteering and like I said, he used to cut hair for the homeless and I said, Dwayne, I want to somehow give back with suicide or helping young kids feel better about themself. And he told me about this program and that's how I got into it.

[31:47] I was just fascinated. I had no idea that they did the, like the texts.

[31:51] Yeah. Yeah. So on my computer it has a queue and it tells me how many people are waiting to hear from me or a crisis counselor sometimes it gets all the way up to 96 people, which is freaky. Um, and yeah. And so I just type away on my keyboard and they're texting on their phone.

[32:09] That's crazy. Well, I think that's great. I mean I think you just in terms of like obviously a, you doing that but then be like the technology that exists for that. Yeah, I think it's pretty cool because I, uh, yeah, like, like I even like not that my brother needed but like he wouldn't be like calling in and being able to, you know, you want to text her younger brother like texting and stuff. Um, and then you also have your real estate license, right? Do you have my real estate license? It's crazy. Yeah. So what, what inspired that?

[32:36] Um, I've had it for six years. I used to own a lot of rentals here in west Seattle and I just felt like, you know, I'm just as educated as all my real estate agent friend. Sorry you guys, I love you, I think you're doing amazing job. Um, but uh, it was almost a challenge to me because it had also to do with a lot of math and I've always been challenged at now even though my boyfriend is amazing at math, they laugh when he hears this. Um, and so your real estate license. Yeah, it has a lot to do with math and I challenged myself and I got an a on the course and I passed right away. So I just, it was almost like I ran a marathon once. I just wanted to see if I can do it and I did it.

[33:16] I. So do you still do anything with it or you just have it?

[33:19] Um, I, I, I have it and I actually refer out all my transactions to a friend of mine named Rebecca because I just don't have time to do all the paperwork anymore.

[33:30] Yeah, well I was going to say because it's a lot of different balls to balance know man. I mean, how do you kinda like, it just seems like anything you want to do, like you kind of figure it out and do it. Like talking about Kinda that motivation and kind of like keeping going and trying new things like that.

[33:47] Yeah. It's just been my personality. Like one day I had never ran, never ran 10 seconds of my life. I swear I'd probably in high school told the pe teacher had cramps or something. But one day I was inspired by one of my clients that ran the New York City marathon and I, s I signed up and I told my son, I forgot how old he was, probably 10 at the time and I said, I'm going to run the New York City Marathon. And he looked at me. He goes, I know you will. I know your mom. And that was motivation enough. So I ran every single day from June to November seventh. I didn't even take any breaks. I had trained myself and um, yeah, I actually don't like reading. So I also believe that there's actually a really good book called the one thing you really need to focus on one thing that you love to do and do that great. And so a few years back I was doing five different jobs and I was just kind of struggling and I decided, no, I'm good. Just gonna, just do one job and do it really well. And so I stick with hair and makeup. That was awesome.

[34:51] I love that. That's a great way. What's it like kind of having a teenage son? Is that fine? Is that challenging?

[34:57] Um, my son and I, if you ask any of my friends, we have a really special relationship. He and I are very, very, very close. He can talk to me about anything. He's already text me six times this morning. Um, yeah, I, I, I don't believe in being as best friend because I am his mom. Um, he's had a lot of difficulties in his life and he's always come right to me and we've worked through it and he's a very strong, strong, smart kid and he's amazing. I've never not liked having a teenage son or a toddler or I told him the day I said, I just love you unconditionally no matter what. That's awesome. Yeah.

[35:32] Uh, yeah, someone I'm very close with my mom. I, I appreciate this other meds because I know that. Yeah, my mom probably feel similarly about that. I'm kind of. Before we go here, I want to talk about you've been doing this so long hair and makeup and, and seeing all these things, uh, like what trends do you kind of see now or what kinds of things do you see coming back? And I don't know this because I just like take pictures of it, but I want to talk about Kinda like your thoughts in terms of like the current landscape and how things are going and like, do you feel like, what do you think about that?

[36:01] That's a great question. I think it's crazy how trends do come and go. Um, you know, one year if I did one more side Xiang been, I was going to throw up a, you know, they always, it seems like every bride fixates on one style every year. Right now it's a half up, half down, which four years ago nobody wanted their hair half up, half down. Um, braids came in probably I would say eight years ago and I thought it'd probably only last year and they're still hot. They're still hot in amazing. I'm even venues, you know, it seems like everybody wants to get married in a field and now everyone wants to get married in a barn and drink out of mason jugs. So it's really fascinating. Uh, as far as where I see it going, the natural look, I think more natural look, you know, just accentuating everybody's beauty. I think people are embracing themselves rather than trying to do airbrush. Airbrush was such a hot thing. Um, and now it's just really pretty beautiful liquids I embrace and I love.

[37:04] Is it, I guess because I, I grew up kind of in the news where a lot of airbrushing still big and people kind of that we would actually have dislike. I don't know how they did it, like kind of things in your bathroom that day, but it was almost like built in like it was weird. It is your compressor. Is that not a thing anymore?

[37:22] I haven't had too many requests for it anymore. It was such a thing about three years ago and my analogy, you know, I know how to do airbrushing, but I tell my clients, I said, you're a piece of art. Do you want to be sprayed like a car or do you want to be hand painted like a Picasso? You know, and that's how I look at it. It's like I can go and put foundation where I need to put foundation concealer where I need to put concealer, really look at your face and help you and you know, enhance what you have or do want me to spray a bunch of foundation on your face.

[37:52] Yeah. Because I think the big thing right was when it came out and it was like, what, like, well at least I knew, I knew we were getting like hd and the cameras were getting better. And so is that not people don't care about that anymore. Is to make it better now. Yeah.

[38:04] Oh, the makeup. Yeah. It has to do with the foundation you use in the powder and make sure it's hd ready and all that. So yeah, all my makeup is, is ready for the camera. Yeah.

[38:14] And then I'm sure you have to keep kind of keeping up on what new products and things. How do you find out about that stuff? Just kind of go into the education. Yeah,

[38:22] the education. Um, I, my, my son has a teenage daughter who he's been dating for two years. Um, she's actually my notarized daughter. That's a long story too. But I asked her, I asked, you know, the teenagers know so much about, you know, even snapchat videos. And so if I'm, if I really want to be educated, I'll ask a teenage girl.

[38:45] Uh, so now, uh, you've, you've, you know, you're in Tacoma, now you have your salon, Seattle, bride hair, like what's the next kind of goal now in terms of growth over the next one to three to five years? Where do you kind of see growing and, and challenges?

[39:00] Yeah, I, um, I'm going to move my studio. Hopefully I want to move my studio in my basement and then make my studio into a airbnb because I, I don't know, I just, I just feel like I'm all by myself in that house and I just want some energy and give back and so I want to make that into a rental and so I'm going to be moving my studio and redecorating, which I love to decorate 'em and maybe focusing more on, on brides. Um, you know, right now I work six days a week. I work in the salon as well. Um, and just be real picky and choosy on whose hair I'm cutting and take on more weddings.

[39:37] Um, I always ask this, what kinds of brides you find that you attract and they're attracted to you and that you like to work with?

[39:45] A awesome question. Uh, I take on all weddings of all ages, but I feel like I'm attracted more to, um, maybe people my age. Yeah, I can relate with them more. I guess maybe I'm second weddings. I love doing second weddings because maybe the expectation isn't so high. Not so dramatic.

[40:09] I will say the, the wedding. So we have that are either second or, or just a little older, you know, even like the late thirties or forties, fifties, like they are a lot more fun because I do think it's a lot more, uh, like would they want to do and not like, oh, my mom was

[40:26] exactly. Yeah. My mom is paying for this afternoon. Yes, exactly. So you find that as well? Oh yeah. Yeah. And you know, the younger girls, I love them. I love working with them in their sorority sisters, but it, it's just a different thought process, you know, they take, they put so much pressure on themselves for the day off to make everything perfect. You know, I had a bride who started crying because the head of her roses were too big and you know, I just wanted to say nobody knows how big that needs to be a. yeah. She was just putting so much pressure and it's Kinda sad sometimes. It's hard. Yeah. Yeah. I want everybody to enjoy their day and I keep going back to the wedding that I did in December. She, I swear she had the most fun. She had such a, I mean, just a great time. It was, it was such an awesome. And because she didn't put pressure on herself.

[41:16] Do you think that that we're going to continue with that. Do you think that people are going to be a little more kind of free kind of doing their own thing or do you think it's always going to kind of be like what? What mom and dad want?

[41:28] Yeah, I think both, just because it just depends on, like I said, the age or even the culture, sometimes the culture. Um, yeah, I think it'll probably always be like that and that's okay. I mean, I have an analogy that Jane taught me so long ago. He told me to be a swan and that's Powell really vigorously under the water and just keep gliding on the top. That's what you need to show people and I love that analogy. So that's also. Yeah.

[41:50] Well thank you so much for coming in today. It's so fun getting to finally meet you in person, uh, and, and, and do that after seeing your face online for so many years. It's been awesome. If people want to learn more about you and hair makeup services, what would you have them do and check out?

[42:05] Uh, probably my website, which is super easy. Not Bridal, but bride, I'm all, my information's on there. My phone number's on there. My email is on there. Yeah, that's probably the best way.

[42:17] Awesome. Well thank you so much. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much.

Melvin, Melvin’s DJ Service

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your . My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington and I am joined today by a new friend of mine, Melvin of Melvin's DJ Service and I want to thank you so much for coming on today. I know we had the little back and forth with getting things mostly on my end, having to clear out some rain from the top of my roof and I want to really thank you for flexibility and hopping on why don't you introduce yourself and tell us who you are and what you do.

[00:38] My name is Melvin. I currently reside in Vancouver, Washington. I am a DJ and I've been for about the past six years now. Even though I am based out of Vancouver, I do the overwhelming majority of my work in Portland and the Portland area and obviously for hire where anybody needs a party

[01:01] and uh, what is it about DJ and uh, they, they of draws you in and you seem to have a lot of energy and a lot of personality. So what is it about kind of the act of DJing and that you like?

[01:11] So I started as a punk rock front man when I was 15 years old and I've made a lot of us did the super heavy music and by the way I'm still into the really heavy music. But as I started getting on in age and I quit my last band, I thought the next thing that I was going to do was become a drummer, right? Because I sang for years and I said, okay, when that's all over I'm going to become a drummer. So I took up drums, I taught myself how to play drums. And I started doing that for a while. I started jamming with people. And then, uh, my sister who's now my sister in law, so my, my wife's sister about six, seven years ago said, hey, uh, we, we didn't hire a DJ for our wedding. We think that you, you should just come do it, man.

[01:58] I didn't know what's, what. I wasn't using DJ software. I have a massive record collection, like three or 4,000 albums. But. And I go, well, it seems like I'm a fairly natural fit to give it a try. So I did it. I prepared for months for this one wedding and then when I did it I was sad down, downright depressed when the night is over because I know that can't be it, I have to do this again. And then I spent about the next year and a half just studying, just watching DJ prices, just watching what DJs do, just learning the software, just watching the craft, you know, watching how the wedding season goes, just learning every single thing that I could about it. And I wasn't sure if it was going to catch on. So I picked Melvin's DJ service when I set up an account and it's a really generic name.

[02:52] Uh, if I would have thought it was going to catch on, I would've picked something less generic. And then when it did catch article, Damn, now I'm stuck with the generic name. But hold up, my name is Melvin, so it's going to be fine. And the first first year I did like one or two and then the next year I did 10 and then the next year I did, you know, 20 and it's a, I think it did just under 50, just under 50 different events in this past year. And I expect it to grow again this year. So yeah, it's been, it's been, it's been growing year after year, which is, which is dope, but the product, I said, you know what, there might be better mixers and you know, for folks that have been doing DJ allow longer old bedroom DJs. So the thing that I sell, obviously it's myself, this, this personality because the emc services, every single person wants those. And this last year I actually ended up doing a couple of weddings where I wasn't even hired as the DJ. I was just hired as the MC, the local loud mouth and hey, let me do that. So yeah, this is, this is where I'm at now.

[03:54] I love it. And I love the perfection. You women, we were emailing and you said, well no, I've been trying to get this fine tune here for the last hour there, making sure it is going to sound great and even kind of emailing and stuff the other day, getting all this scheduled. I mean I can definitely appreciate the attention to detail and kind of the preparation that you're for them and do it as a, as a fellow guy. Did you. I, I know I hadn't never knew anything about weddings until I did my first one off craigslist, you know, years ago. Did you have any expectations going in or what, what was Kinda your thoughts entering kind of this field, this as a punk rock singer kind of turn

[04:32] a completely unknown, which is why I spent so much time absorbing so much before I actually did it. And what are the things that I was surprised to learn about when I got into it or all of the fly by nights. So I think when I first started there were people obviously apprehensive about hiring me because the experience wasn't there, but when I finally got on in years, but this business and I got to talk to some folks. There they go, yeah, there's a lot of people that'll just. So it'll just pop up, take folks deposits and then disappear into the night. And they, and they go all those years ago when you had trouble getting people, maybe that's what you look like. And I go, Holy Hell, there are people that, that sort of start a fake business, like a fake DJ business talk the game and all that.

[05:20] Take people's money and run. That's somebody's wedding day. I have no idea what it takes to do that to somebody. So that's one of the things that surprised me about it. And then obviously the other thing that surprised me a lot was, uh, the prices, like the pure prices of weddings. I am a father of three daughters. That means that I am very likely going to have three weddings and tradition suggests that I'm supposed to pay for them all and working in the industry now I'm going to be a hell of a lot more prepared going forward when that day does come up.

[05:57] Yeah, it's crazy when he's talking about kind of the fly by nights and we had a company here in Seattle for years that, that, uh, did weddings and they went out of business and I mean, we're still, like, I still will edit people's footage that they've gotten it and they've been in business for five years and you still get emails and it's crazy that like kind of knows it for me. He says even further past kind of when those people were around. Um, and so the first wedding that you did was kind of a family member is how, how did that go besides just being sad that it was over? I mean, did you have fun?

[06:30] I, I had a ton of fun. The talking part a was the MC. It was real easy for me. I've got, I've got a background in radio. Of course I fronted all these, all these different bands for years, so that part came easy to me, but then the mixing part because I didn't have a mixer and I, I didn't have any software, so I ran everything off of windows media. I tell DJs that now and they just sweat. How the hell do you run it off the windows? How'd you make it sound? It wasn't easy. Oh, it was hard. So that was the only part about the wedding that made me sweat because yeah, the, the, the talk and the Yak and all that. That was, that was easy. But uh, uh, one of the things I decided early on from doing that first wedding and I, I think I probably had a pint maybe two pints over, like a six hour period. The thing that I decided was going forward anytime I do any event anywhere, and it doesn't matter what it is, is a, it's a, it's a birthday party. It's a wedding, it's a divorce party. Uh, I don't drink at the events anymore. I stay completely on the level because I realized after doing that first event how sharp you have to be, not just to respond to people but to take care of all this equipment that you're handling.

[07:45] Yeah, we've done a couple of friends weddings and things where we try to, yeah, relax a little bit and it is a lot more stressful kind of dealing with, you know, not only the filming but then the packing up and stuff. Talking about a being in these bands and things is a. As a young kid, what was it about music and that. Was it kind of being the star? Was it the music? What kind of jury they being in the bands and the first one

[08:07] I grew up dirt poor and I used to watch a lot of music on television and I was pretty certain that I was going to be a guitarist and so I went to join my first band as a guitarist and I was, was. He gets higher as I can say it now and that's okay. And then they said, well, maybe there's something else you can do it, you know, why don't you try to focus. I gave vocals to try, you know, and I just, because I was listening to so much abrasive music, I go, I don't know that I have to even take any single lessons. We're doing a brace of music. I can just do a lot of rhythmic barking and screaming. And it worked and they loved it. And that's where I ended up for like the next 15, 20 years, um, music an easy thing because everybody wanted to do it.

[08:58] If you had a couple of friends with some instruments, you didn't need a lot of money. And so my entertainment when I was younger is what I pulled off the TV and I didn't like sitcoms. I wasn't really that into cartoons. But I was in to watching and like guns n roses and Metallica, man, that's the thing that I should do. And I go, look how freaking rich they are. I should get into music and I'm going to be freaking rich. That did it work because that's not the way it works. Especially if you do a brace of music and I decided not to go the whole, you know, pop route or any of that and music just lifted me out of, uh, out of, uh, out of the doldrums that I lived in when I was growing up in poverty. And so that was the thing that drew me to it.

[09:39] And then once I became an adult, yeah, I just loved the attention. I just, I need to be on stage as much as humanly possible. Jumping in front of cameras and all that stuff. Yeah. I just. And now I'm just, now it's crazy because, because I grew up so shy and so quiet. I got into these bands in high school and I was a little nerd and girls started noticing me. I can't get away from that. Yeah. That was a thing too, that made me dive in even deeper. Holy Hell ladies like this. Oh, let's go.

[10:14] Uh, what was the name of the band or bands because I imagine it's a. I don't know, I have lots of thoughts swimming in my head of what it could be.

[10:22] Okay. So, uh, the first band that I joined a in high school was called endless nameless, and we pulled that from a, from a secret nirvana side, I think it's the, the, the last track that's buried on like the, I think it's the nevermind cd and it's like a 15 or 20 minute song and I go, you know what, no one knows it. Let's just. And boom, that was just the name. Uh, I was in another band for awhile called to word culture and what that was, uh, that, that name was from the, what we refer to as sort of the bumper sticker mentality, but a lot of folks have where they, because I have, I obviously have a lot of trouble, a shortening messages. Um, I like a lot of nuance and I think a lot of people don't need nuance. And, and the, they, they need everything consolidated down to a bumper sticker. It's, it's good marketing if you can consolidate everything down. And I didn't like that. So the two are culture was sort of poking fun at that idea that people sort of can't handle too much information because they, because they glaze over.

[11:30] Ah, that's awesome. And uh, do you still perform today? Do you still do any of that? Are you, are you kind of aged out of that?

[11:37] It's funny that you asked. So I still do the drums. I'm a lot by myself, but I just hooked up with A. I used to live in spokane. I just hooked up with a, a basis that used to play in a lot of bands out there and he and I have talked about starting something up and I know another drummer who might want a piece of it and so I might end up back on vocals or I might end up back on drums. But yeah, we're trying to get something. My wife is going to hate this. She thinks I do too much already, but she knows she knows the students because she, you know, she's friends with him too and, and I might, I might end up in another, in another hardcore band again either on either on the drums are on the vocal. So, uh, I did, I wasn't doing that this time last year, but this time this year I'm hitting right back into it.

[12:29] I love it. That's awesome. You said you're from spokane or you lived there for awhile. Are you originally from spokane?

[12:37] No, I lived there for a long time. Um, I was born in Montana but raised largely in southern California in the San Diego area and I moved to spokane when I was 15 because I met my dad for the very first time and that's where he lived. I lived there for a few years and then I moved away and then I moved back and then I'm glad I did because that was where I met my wife. Uh, and after spending about 10 years there, we moved over here to the coast after the, uh, after the economic crash. So I'm not, I don't really have a hometown. I have a place I was born in a place I was kind of raised, but I'm kind of from everywhere.

[13:13] Uh, and talk about what was in the band, Vancouver and kind of the Pacific northwest. They brought you guys here. Was it a, I mean, and what do you enjoy about living here now?

[13:20] When I went looking for work during the economic crash, I found work right away in Portland and so I said there, that's it. We're moving to Portland. We went house shopping because I said we're not going to rent. Oh my goodness gracious. It's too expensive to rent. So we're going to buy a house. Once I was looking around, this is like 2012, 2013. Oh Wow. It's too expensive to buy a house there to Vancouver. Vancouver's right next door. It's on the Washington side. It's not even, it's not even five minutes between them, but the housing prices were almost half on this side of the water, whatever. I can live on this side of the water and still be from Portland. So that was, that was how I ended up living here. Just, it was just the basic, it was just the cost of housing was better on this side of the water than on that side of the water.

[14:09] Uh, and what, uh, tell me about your wedding. Tell me about your wife. You can kinda. What was that for my

[14:15] wedding. I got married in 2003 and I had, I had long hair and a long beard. We got hitched in Vegas. We came back and had a reception and we had cds that we put on the boombox and that's what, that's what we played while we had our reception. Super Low key, super duper cheap. Now that I spend all of this time at weddings and my wife and I are coming up on our, on our 16th anniversary, I go, you know what, when we hit our 20th, we are totally doing this all over again. I know so much stuff now about weddings where yeah, I said we have to have to have the cars. Because I said, man, not that that other wedding was bad, but man, just what I know now I want it. I want to do it all over again.

[15:04] Do you take any, uh, any lessons from your own wedding and they're from your own marriage or dealing with that to kind of working with clients and couples now and kind of as they go through wedding, the, the process,

[15:15] the thing that I encourage couples because obviously if you went ahead and hired a DJ and florist and a photographer and you've rented a venue, the stress can get really heavy really fast. So the thing that I encourage in the couples that I work with, I said, Hey, I'm me and all the other professionals that you've hired. We do this stuff all the time. Uh, it seems as though there's, there is all this, there is, you know, there's all this stress but, but don't let it ruin your day. Don't let it bring you down because you went through all this work, you spent all this time, you spent all this money. And I, and I tell people when you hire me, I can help with a lot of things. I can help with coordinating if you want to, if you want to bounce ideas off of me for certain things you want to do during the wedding, if you need help picking out songs for your ceremony.

[16:08] I said, I said, just unload that stuff on me. Let me take as much of that stress off of you as possible. That way when you have your wedding day, you don't have it. Stress doesn't ruin it. Being tired doesn't ruin it. I said, let's just get all that. They get hired by somebody and even a few times when I wasn't hired by somebody, I help them. I help them plan their wedding, cause this. I said, this is your wedding day. It's going to be the greatest day ever and most of us only get married once. Most of us. And I said, and with that, it shouldn't get ruined by all the things that can come up at wedding because I've seen, I've seen such frazzled brides and grooms on the day of. And it makes me sad because so much work went into this day. I say just let me help out with as much as possible and if I can't help, I might know somebody who can

[16:58] do you like, I mean it seems like you really are a really joyful, really loving. I mean, do you enjoy kind of being in that environment and seeing all that love and excitement? I mean, talk about that.

[17:09] I do. Uh, I, I love, I love making people happy. A new years just passed and I, I saw on some of the social media feeds I was looking at, you know, this is my resolution and that's my resolution at. That's my resolution. I don't make resolutions, but I decided to sort of join in with the conversation. I said my, my resolution for this year and for every year after is just to encourage people to be more, more kind to one another, nicer to one another. So I like seeing people happy. I like seeing people together. I like watching people dance. I like watching people let go, have too much to drink, whatever lifts you to that specific spot. So when I go to these, when I go to these weddings, you know, the first part of it can be sort of formulaic I suppose, but the last part of it, which is usually the last, the two hours at the end of the night, the dance, our, the part that I am most in charge of, that's the part of it that I live for, you know, picking your songs, taking your requests, making the mixes, getting families dancing, getting on the mic and making, making dumb jokes in between songs and just making people happy.

[18:30] Yeah. I love that environment.

[18:34] When you decided to kind of start a DJ company, had you, uh, is this something you had had experience with and being an entrepreneur or was it something that was new to you or how did that work?

[18:45] I'd always wanted to start a business. My wife's my wife's father, so my father in law owned his own business. Um, it's a good business. It certainly has its place, but it's not, it's not something that I would want to do. I've wanted to start a business for some time, but I didn't have an idea and I go, oh. And I said I don't really have the talent either. I played punk rock music and I spent more money making heavy music than I ever made from it. So I was pretty sure that I was never going to make money on music. And I said, I'm fine with that as long as I enjoy it. Uh, so when this thing came about, I said, you know what, maybe I'll make a couple bucks, maybe I'll end up with a little bit of equipment, but this particular thing that I'm doing now could very easily, uh, sustain me, allow me to quit my day job. That was a, that was a surprise to me. Uh, no, I came into this with only the equipment knowledge that I gathered from being on stage for so many years, you know, setting up and tearing down and working in radio and working in television. I just brought that technical knowledge into it. And then the rest of it, I just sort of figured out,

[19:58] talk to me a little bit about your radio pass and tv or kind of any of that experience I used to work in, in broadcast news that's kind of interesting to me.

[20:06] News was the thing I worked for the uh, conservative station in spokane, Washington, a m 9:20 and I used to do top and bottom of the hour news cut ins in because kick so why had radio and television inside the same building to make it, uh, to make it more of a full time Gig. I went and I talked with the people at the TV station and ended up, uh, behind the cameras and teleprompters and things of that nature. But yeah, but the, the news cadets, the news cut ins where my word or my favorite thing to do because they let us write all of our own copy. So I'd always. And it wasn't my own spin, but I'd put on a story, but it was definitely my own wording. It allowed me to be a little bit more creative. And then of course everybody in town knew me so they can turn on the radio every half an hour and hear me. That was, that was, that was a ton of fun.

[21:02] That's awesome. Yeah. I went to Gonzaga. So we were, we had lots of kids interested kicks, ally and cram and kind of all the local stations

[21:10] Zag. Uh, yeah, they're, they're uh, their basketball team is killing it this year.

[21:16] Yeah. So, uh, we were there the year that I'm Adam Morrison, uh, that was, I was kind of my whole age and I was there and saw him cry on to basketball,

[21:26] then do the adidas commercial about how it's okay to cry when you play basketball. And he had the mustache and all of that era. Yeah. That's. Yeah, that's funny. Yeah, no, I remember God's Eggy. Yeah. My father in law's business is right in the [inaudible] area. So I used to spend a ton of time over there because I worked for him for a brief period. Um, yeah, what was was on business. It's a fastener business. It's nails and staples, which, um, which obviously has its use. It's what holds our cabinets together. It's what holds our houses up. But, uh, when I did it, I, I never, I could never ever get excited about it. And so now, and they're in retirement and they're trying to sell. They're trying to sell the business right now. But yeah, I remember when I met my wife and I found, I found out that he owned a business. I didn't even care what it was. I go, man, you want a business? That's awesome. I want to own a frequent business. And I just, I always, I just always had that dream in the back of my mind.

[22:24] Before I forget, I do want to hear, uh, an example of this bottom of the hour news cut in a. Did you have your radio? My buddy used to work in radio. He definitely has his radio,

[22:39] so right away right away I went to broadcasting school in American School of broadcasting and right away I just, when I heard on the radio growing up, I wanted bills. Voices. No, I wanted a radio voice. And there are so many broadcasters that I just loved the sound of their voice and uh, and I realized right away listening back to my own air check tapes, I don't have a radio voice. And I was talking with my, with my broadcast teacher about that. He goes, you know what? Don't bother with it. He goes, don't, don't try to fake it. Don't try to fake radio voice because I really wanted to. I wanted to have a deep voice, you know, or something hilarious. Like Casey Kasem and I ended up with the thing that I have now. And he goes, he goes, as long as you're genuine, when you're coming through.

[23:31] He goes, that's what people are going to. That's what people are going to latch onto as if you're genuine when you come through. And I said, okay, that I can be. And I go, maybe if I start working out, maybe if I get a little taller, I can get a deeper. Just stop. He says, just just, just be natural. Just be yourself. That's really all they're looking for. Now the radio voices in the days of old, that's not a thing is as long as, as long as you're yourself and you're real, you know people can relate to you and you talk to them like one on one. When you're talking into a microphone, just talk like you're talking one on one. If you do that, you're gonna do fine. And he was right

[24:11] and that it's funny. My wife listens to npr every morning and then it's, it's, it's very forced to me to this day

[24:21] I can do my, I can do my npr impression is five past the hour coming up later at all things considered. Okay. So that part of it I did it. Okay. That I, that I can't stand a NPR, deliver some good information, but when a trying to deliver it like this, it loses me so fast. I like voice inflection and I suppose that's not, that's not their game. You know? I think you can. I think you can do anything, whether it be, whether it be news, whether it be a MC work. Even I, even when I watched the nightly news, those people are goofing around with each other. It's not this, it's not this, uh, this, this, this, you know, this starched shirt, stiff, upper lip thing anymore. People just want someone that's real and I don't understand the impure delivery. And the only time I don't hear it when I'm listening to NPR is when I listen to wait, wait. Oh, good voice inflection. So that's the only show that I listen to on NPR now.

[25:22] Yeah, we listen to that. That's one that we say saves for me for the road trips. Um, no I never, I've, I've, uh, we, when I went to Gonzaga we all had to shoot and edit and I, you had to report and so I think I have reported in exactly one, a one package in my entire life because that was the requirement I needed to graduate because I hate.

[25:45] Nice.

[25:46] Um, so moving to Portland and kind of starting this business, how did you, um, kind of differentiate and help build that and the. I think it's Kinda hard to, whether it's Seattle or Portland, kind of any major metropolitan to kind of stand out as a new business, especially in the DJ business.

[26:03] So the thing I noticed right away is with DJ's, everybody, everybody really wants to be a club DJ. So that was the first thing I looked at and when I started asking around, a lot of folks go, oh yeah, there's a lot of club DJs. There's a lot of competition and they go, but you got to make a name for yourself and then you got to work for free or next to free and it's all this other stuff and it's these gigs that go tell to like two or three in the morning. And I didn't care for that part of it. So I moved more over to this part of it where I, where I get to to run the whole thing. Now it's, it's, there's still a ton of competition on this side of it as opposed to say the club side of it. But the way I differentiate myself is obviously the thing that I'm doing here, I get people on the phone and I talked to them like I have known them forever and then I do this voice and it doesn't, it's, it's very rare.

[27:05] I think it's happened at a, you know, say over 100 clients I've had maybe two where they didn't predict Lee care for my personality. And, and that's fine. I'm a grown man. I can handle that. I'm still like 98 in two, which is, which is a fine record. But yeah, there's a few people here and the goal. No. And I go, okay, they can hire somebody from NPR find and I don't blame them, you know, we don't want the wild and Zany and, and that's okay. But, but a 98 percent of the time, this is, this is the thing that separates me from the rest of the pack. The other thing that I tell folks is, um, I get a lot of folks that when they meet me, they go, what is your, what is your, how many of you canceled on? How many have you not been able to.

[27:52] And I go zero. It's happened zero times. He's never been a gig where I had to cancel for any reason and I've had to do. I've had to do two events while I was sick. Nobody was the wiser and I didn't have direct contact with a buddy, but I still showed up because this is the thing that I committed to about 20 percent of my business comes from cancellations and it's usually people quit in the last week before the wedding and so I. and so I, I, one of the things I do is really try to put people's mind at ease about that and that sort of goes back to the fly by night thing and when I look up and I, and they won't always tell me who it was, but I'll, I'll, I'll, I'll ask and when they do tell me, I'll look up who it was and yeah, it was one of these, it was one of these fly by night operations and then. And I said, okay, okay. So putting their mind at ease about, hey, no, I'm here. I'm always going to be here and if I'm not here, I do have one other DJ that I work with, you know that I can, that I could kick over to you, you know, if I'm not able to do it, but man, there's a pretty strong chance that even if I die I'm going to be there to sort of lurching around on the ones in June

[29:04] when you first said that you, the toy present your business. There are certain people who quit. I thought you were talking about like the couple and I was saying,

[29:15] you know, and some of them probably have legitimate reasons I think a lot of folks because it will almost always be a day that has a lot of weddings and I think what happens sometimes is it's not just a fly by nights. I think some folks end up getting more money. They get offered more money and then they make a, they make an economic choice for themselves and they and they split, which, which kills me because even if I'm more money once you hire me, that's it. I'm there until, until the last song.

[29:47] Yeah, you definitely see that a lot when people looking for a last minute replacement and it's always a really sub, sub normal budget. Then that's usually always my assumption that someone found something better to do that day.

[30:00] Yeah. And that's the thing I tell people, I said, yeah, a DJs, there's a bit of sticker shock when it comes to really any part of a wedding. I said, but if somebody is too long, I was talking with one couple and they go. He just kept lowering his price until we, we, he was at something that we, the price that we liked. And I go, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, you can't. No, you can't do that because I go that, that should've been a clue right there that he wasn't going to be around. He just had to just get down to a point where he could get, get money from you, you know, and I say, yeah, so it's not cheap, but uh, the DJs that will start a needle stick to a solid price because the reason we have the price we have is because of the costs that are involved with this, whether it be a equipment or maintenance or subscribing to DJ pools. We get our costs covered first and if someone's willing to keep dropping their price to the, get your money, that's a, that's a problem. There's a little bit of sketch there.

[30:56] Yeah. I literally just, I have it open here on the side of my computer before we got on. I've been messaging the girl and uh, she just said, oh, hey, you know, we're getting married this summer and it's a really popular day. You know, you guys have any wiggle room and it's like, oh, hey, I'm, you know, I'm a friend of another bride or my planning recommended you. Or there's this connection to that connection. It's literally just like out of the blue. Hi, are you interested? Are you available this date and do you have any wiggle room? And I thought, man, you know, that's like there's not, I just wouldn't walk into Mcdonald's and say hi, you know, I'd like a number one but be 20 percent, you know, if there's some sort of connection. I mean I certainly understand, you know, even though it's a referral from a friend and okay let's try and do work. But it's, that's always interesting to me itself.

[31:42] Yeah.

[31:43] And do you, are, you were talking about Kinda the sticker shock and do you spend a, are you pretty good to kind of educating the couples in terms of like you know, why you cost and why be equipment and kind of all the insurance and backups and 17 you're pretty good about that.

[31:57] Absolutely. One of the things I noticed right away because he, because I had, and I can relate, I had the same kind of shock because I looked at some of the larger DJ companies here in town, like the clearing houses where they'll, it'll be one company with like eight or 10 DJs underneath it. And I looked at their pricing and it's like a thousand dollars for four hours and I go, oh, so that's just what they charge. So once I got into the actual, the inside baseball part of it, but nuts and bolts, I said, okay, I don't know how they're getting away with a thousand dollars, but I think the price should be here now. My price, where my price is at, it's not the lower end, you know, but it's definitely not high end. But I found a place in the middle where I'm making money and covering costs and what I explained to people, oh, you know, itch, itch, that seems a little high.

[32:48] I say, well just flip on your computer and go to the Google machine and punch punching, DJ, and, and those guys are way, way above what I'm, what I'm doing. And I said I'm a, I'm just making sure that my costs are covered and that my time is paid for. I'd like to do this as a job. But I'm definitely not trying to get rich off of this. You know? And they, and they, they, they appreciate the DJ poses. That is one of the things that surprises them the most. I go, yeah, that's a, that's a monthly bill and it's more than one pool that I'm a part of and that bill is there whether I'm getting gigs or not and it's how I have to stay on top of music to make sure that I'm playing things in public that that is legal. But I've got public licenses for. And once I get into that part of it, I think everybody, well most people will rent their music now with spotify and all these. But there was a time when people bought music. So when I say, Hey, I got a buy music becomes a little bit more relatable because I think a lot of people have bought music at some point in their life and they realize yeah, by music isn't cheap.

[33:52] Oh. So when you're talking about a DJ pools, are you talking about like for music and things, right?

[33:57] Yeah, yeah, we've got the, we've got very specific tools that come with public licenses and special edits and remixes and all that stuff. And then that's where we have to get our music from. So it's the same way that radio stations get music, they get their music from pools as well. And so that's how we get our music from the same place that they get there. So the latest song is out there playing on the radio right now we can play it at your wedding that night because we're getting it generally the same day that the radio stations are. So that's what the pools are. But yeah, that's uh, uh, the two pools that are part of a man, it's just about 100 bucks a month just for the pool.

[34:33] Uh, I did hell in the summer. We had a wedding that was way, it was probably four and a half hours out of Seattle and I'm showing up and we're getting stuff in the DJ rolls in and they have like this huge. I basically, it was like the table that you would serve like the buffet on you though. It was like probably 15 feet long. This huge. He had case after case after case, after case of CDs, uh, more than, more than I've ever seen in talking with him because we were getting ready and he said, well, you know, sometimes, you know, we go out somewhere and um, you know, reception, you know, if we have spotify or whatever and you don't know if you're going to get Wifi. And I said, man, I totally understand like being prepared, but I think with like two of these cases, you probably be sad. I mean, they're only dancing for an hour and a half, 10,000 cds that was pulled out of the bathroom. His, I, and it was awesome.

[35:24] It's roughly, I'd say 12 to 14 songs per hour. Even if you're running the whole thing off of cds, which man, what a, uh, you still, you don't need that. That I used to do a thing when I first started the business, uh, that separated me from other people. I would take the play lists from, from the night and I would press them all to cd, like onsite and I would hand those cds in it. It get really be like three, four, no more than like six CD burn cds and I'd handled so a couple at the end of the night I say this is your soundtrack, you know, for the, and what I, what I did with the cds was, um, at the first wedding I did, I made cds as backups just in case I had any sort of computer problems. And then for the first number of weddings I did after that, I give these people these burned cds of their playlist, uh, and they, you know, a lot of people love that and then some people just sort of side eyed it, but. So I quit doing it. But uh, yeah, it was six was the most I ever cds that I ever had to handle a couple of goals. Here's your songs.

[36:30] Yeah. I love that. That's actually, I think that's a fun idea. I, is it tough kinda stand up on. I'm kind of the technology and stuff, man. I know that's something with videography that we struggled.

[36:40] No, no, it's not a, I don't know what the videography technology looks like, but for us it's just, it's a lot of, it's just a lot of computer tech, which I'm already super into and the other thing that we spend a lot of time with is a hard drive technology because I've got several hard drives. I've got two that I take on the road with me. Um, and then I've got a bunch of hard drives at home so I've got multiple copies of all of my songs. And the, the technology with a hard drives right now is getting insane. I've got a hard drive that's not much bigger than a cell phone that holds about two gigs, but there's just, there's one that just went, went up for sale right now that's the same size, same physical size that now holds five gigs. And I was reading, I was reading on a cnet that in like a year, year and a half, you're going to be able to fit like 20 gigs on that same size hard drive. So yeah, that's the kind of check that we keep up with A. I could, but it's all audio. I couldn't imagine dealing with the visual side of it,

[37:46] uh, talking about kinds of the kind of couples that you attract and the people that liked to work with you and that you like to work with.

[37:53] Um, I like to work with really anybody. There's the only kinds of couples that I, I develop a, a fairly good relationship with all of my couples and actually ended up friending one couple and my wife and I still hang out with that couple. But uh, I try to develop these, these great relationships with these couples over over this time so that they can feel good and they can feel like they trust me. So I just a good open line of communication is really the only thing I'm looking for in a couple. And I've had just a small handful of couples where it was really a sort of pulling teeth, getting anything, a song list. Emails returned to me communicating what they want. That particular thing I don't, I don't care for. But even with that, I still make sure to get everything that I at least assume that they want, so I just, people don't have to be wild and jazz hands like I am, but I was just like, if a, if people don't be afraid to say anything.

[39:00] If there's something you don't like, tell me you don't like it. I'm a grown man. I can handle it if there's something you want and understand how personal wedding. So yeah, if there's something you want, just say it, man. This is your day. It doesn't matter what it is, you're going to freaking get it. So, um, I work with a lot of millennial couples. So the thing that surprised me once I really got into this is I've got a fair amount of those where they do all of their communication through text. They might do an initial phone interview, but then everything after that is texting. I'll go like five or six months. And all they do is text. I talk, I like to talk and I wish more people did. But if text is your thing, I've talked to text on my phone and it still allows me to talk.

[39:47] Yeah, it's crazy. I was, we have one of the guys that works for me. We were talking about doing some client meetings here coming up and I said, honestly, I said most people, it's like email, you know, maybe we'll hop on skype and do a little bit, but it's uh, it's interesting. Kind of how that's a transition I guess in probably the last couple of years for the main thing I'm talking about. Do you have any kind of a. and they could be memorable, good or memorable, bad, but a memorable stories kind of in the last couple of years that you have from weddings?

[40:18] Uh, I won't, I won't mention the event, but I ended up in a venue on a, on a pretty high upstage and there was a, there's a stair that wrapped the round, the back of the stays like a staircase and it got pretty close to the end of the night, like the last half an hour or so. And I noticed a woman standing underneath the stage and she was just sort of pushing your back up against the stage and just trying to look at me out of the corner of her eye and I, oh my goodness gracious, what is this going to be? And, and I had sight of her for a long time and then all of a sudden I didn't and I just felt her behind me. And I go, oh no, what's the. And this is, by the way, this is an event my wife was at and she's watching me and I have this woman behind me.

[41:06] And she, as she grabs me, she turns me around and she puts it. She puts her hands on and put their hand around my neck. A baby. What do you want to do? Oh, no, no, no. It's of course had to happen at an event. My beautiful bride is watching me from the audience. No, no, no. Oh No, no, no. And, and the sad thing about this poor girl, she's drunk. He's just crazy drunk and I can see it. No, no, no. I said it's almost the end of the night and, and you've, you've got to come off the stage. I'm dear, you know, sort of help her down and all the rest and I got to figure this out and yeah, so that, that doesn't happen a lot. Every so often. And I had a wedding a couple weeks ago where at the end of the night there was a couple folks that got into like a play slapping.

[41:54] I don't know if you've ever like, just slapping for fun and I had this moment where I go, I should grab my phone and I should take this. And I go, you know what? Even though I'm not used to seeing this, this is probably a thing that happens all the time and the Internet is full of his. So I just watched, I just played music while these people slap the slap the piss out of each other. It was. So I get to have obviously a ton of fun. I clearly don't need television, you know, because I've got, I've got all these, I've got all these events. But um, it's just, yeah, it's, it's, it's fun. It's fun being a part of it and it's fun being the one that know I pack up here tonight and I'm sober and I drive home and I feel great. All of a pint when I get home and I'll say, man, I got to tell you some stories baby. And I've always got stories.

[42:41] What do you do when you're not a DJ? And you were talking about kind of working in your wife and said, what do you, what keeps you busy when you're not spinning and doing that?

[42:51] When I'm not deejaying? Uh, I do have, I've got two teenage daughters, so I do whatever they like to do. So it's the cold season right now. Sometimes we'll, sometimes we'll play basketball. Um, I've got, I've got one of the girls that is interested in taking up an instrument right now, so I may or may not be the, uh, the teacher for that, uh, my wife and I have at least one date a week and this is something that's never gone away for us. And I always said I suggest this to couples when I'm talking to them too. Um, I, I heard this quote just recently, and it's, it's, it's, it's stuck with me because it was so, it was so spot on and the quote was date, your wife or somebody else will and my wife and I have never ever stopped dating. We'd get out at least once a week where we go some place that's not home someplace that doesn't have laundry, someplace that doesn't have dishes someplace where nobody's pulling at our coattails and we sit down and we have a pie and we just talk.

[43:53] Maybe we'll meet some people. Sometimes we do it two or three times a week, but it's always at least the once. So it's, it's a pretty, it's a pretty comfortable and pretty fun existence. And, and my wife and I have never. The way we felt when we got married is exactly the way we feel today. I know people will say that and, and it sounds good, but I go, oh no, no, no. It's really just as good, if not better now than it was then. And I think part of that is because we never sort of stepped into the home, you know, do the mundane things, you know, watch the TV machine, go to bed, get up, go to, we're excited, we talk, we talk all day via text and then make sure to have that date once a week. And we're never ever bored with one another's company. It's just as true today as it was 16 years ago.

[44:45] Yeah. No, I, uh, I spend time even when I'm editing these vows are these things and people are pouring their hearts out. I always think I need to go buy my wife some flowers or something. I'm sure. Like when you come home from an event, you know,

[44:58] Oh, and you know, what, do it, just because he doesn't need to be a reason. I do these long winded cards several times a year for my wife. Sometimes it'll follow an event, you know, like valentines or something. And then sometimes it'll be just, just because. And she saves all of the cards, you know, and it's just, it's not, it's not a diamond ring, you know, and it's not a new car and it's not all this other stuff. The uh, you to buy all this stuff. You don't really have to, you just have to tell him how you feel. That's sort of, that's the lasting thing.

[45:32] My wife is a huge card person and when we got together, we've been together six years. I don't think I am given a car out and we are not a card family. And now we are a card.

[45:45] I always buy the blank ones because I don't need that. You know, you're the dumb jokes that come with them and I don't need the, the, the, you know, the sort of the mass produced poems that come with him. I will buy blank cards, nothing but a picture of a, like a puppy or a flower on the front. And I will fill the whole inside of that damn card and hand it over to her over dinner.

[46:04] I will say, because we just did a cards for Christmas. I do think the car industry is getting a little out of control. They were trying to market these cards that were $14 eras, like 1399. They were trying to market them as like hangable art and that shot man, that's, that's a far cry from the, used to be the side of the card

[46:26] and like they're not making enough money already charged $4 for a piece of art.

[46:33] Um, and so as we kind of get ready to wind down here a little bit of a talk about kind of like, do you wish, uh, what, what do you wish more people knew about your company or you are kind of DJ and in general, I mean, what do you feel like you're constantly kind of trying to trump it out, that you wish more people knew?

[46:49] I wish more people knew about the timing involved in this with respect to when they should try to get me booked. So right now we're into the new year, but what would be the hottest wedding dates? I'm already booked on those dates in, in most of it's Saturday. So I wish people would realize, so if you're getting, if you're getting engaged right now, probably the better time to get married would be next year because the good DJs at least are already going to be taken for so many of the hottest days. Uh, the other thing I would say is you don't have to get married on a Friday or Saturday. Sunday. Weddings are just as good too. Um, and I, I have a lot of folks that will get married during the week and they'll say, hey, well wait a minute. If I get married, you know, during the week or on a Sunday, I'm not going to have as many as many people there.

[47:50] Well, if you have something on a weekend, it's fairly easy to get a lot of people there because you're going to be giving away a lot of food and you're going to be giving away a lot of booze. And there's a lot of people that are willing to just gobble that up and spend your money. But if you get married, I got a Sunday, you know, you get married on like a weekday night or something. You know, you're going to have some pretty dedicated people that are going to show up, so don't be afraid to get married on those other days. And I've never seen a wedding no matter what day of the week it was, where it looked like it was less fun than say, you know, you know, some of these other weddings. I go, no, it doesn't matter what, what did week it is, um, we create the soundtrack, you know, uh, you and the venue create the mood and we'll make it no matter what day it is. And if you're getting married on a Sunday or a week day, even the good, even the great, even the most awesome DJs are very likely going to be available because our Fridays and Saturdays get eaten and eaten fast. So go ahead, try, try exploring some of those other days, you know,

[48:53] are you somebody a kiss? I have mixed thoughts on that. Are you somebody to discounts for a weekday or not?

[48:59] I don't know. Uh, I charge the same thing no matter what because, uh, I hold the prices down as much as I can. I had, I had one price when I first started the business until I realized what it actually costs and then I brought it up from there and I've consistently held it there for I think the last four years now. And so unless inflation goes absolutely insane, it's going to stay at that price. So yeah, no, I'm already fairly rock bottom for what I'm able to offer.

[49:29] Yeah. And it's because that's a question I get to and I always say, you know, I worked just as hard. If it's a, you know, a Tuesday in April or a Saturday in August, you know, you're going to be, you want the same effort for me. And I think when people. I think that's a common misconception that people think they're getting a discount. And I think when people start discounting then they start. Maybe it's harder to work as hard if you know, like, well man, this one's a late coming in at 30 percent less or something.

[49:54] You can get your venue at about half are pretty close half to what, what you could, if it were on a weekend and sent your venue is generally your most expensive thing. That's a, that's a, that's a fat chunk of money you're saving right there. Yeah. The rest of us, you know, aren't going to necessarily offer the same discounts, but that's, I mean, if I had to say you can only discount one thing, make it the venue. Yeah, they'll definitely give you those discounts.

[50:19] Awesome. Is there anything else you wanted to mention before we start wrapping up here? I really appreciate your time today.

[50:24] No. Uh, I'm just, I'm just glad to be here. Glad to meet you. Glad to be on the show and glad to get to get to talk about this industry that I love. Thank you for having me on.

[50:33] Yeah, and I will say that, you know, your energy and enthusiasm is really comes through for me here kind of talking with you and I, and I think it will translate as well. Uh, you know, in audio form to people listening. I'm sure you know, you've built a career out of kind of, you know, expressing your personality through voice. Uh, if people want to learn more about you and your company and what you guys do, what would you have them? Check out

[50:55] Melvin's DJ Service on Facebook, Those are the most, those are the easiest and fastest ways to get ahold of me and Melvin's DJ Service never ever closes. So no matter when you send me a message, unless it's the wee hours, you're very likely to get an immediate response. I've learned how important those immediate responses are.

[51:19] And I will, I will concur with that. It's, it's, it's pretty immediate when trying to work through stuff. So, uh, I want to thank you so much for coming on. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thank you so much.

[51:33] Thank you.

Markie Jones, Markie Jones Photography

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington, and I'm joined today by one of my long time friends here, Markie Jones of Markie Jones Photography. I want to thank you so much for coming in today, uh, during kind of the holiday season and I know it's busy with kids and families and other commitments I want to, I really appreciate. Thank you for coming in. Uh, why don't you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.

[00:38] Awesome. Thanks Reid. So I'm Markie and you'll find me on facebook as Markie Stein-Jones because I just got married, but I have not done all that paperwork to try and change my last name because it's a lot. Um, I am primarily a wedding and boudoir photographer. I currently have a studio space down in sumner, Washington. It's actually really cute above salon and you can find me there most of the time. Uh, if I'm not there, I'm probably at my house because I worked from home as well. I, what was the rest of the question?

[01:14] Uh, yeah. So you, so you do primarily weddings and boudoir. You live down in Sumner, uh, you, you enjoy kind of living in a little bit out of the city, right. Talking about that.

[01:23] Oh yeah, I absolutely love living a little bit out of the city. I actually was born in Puyallup and raised over in Bonney Lake and I currently live about 150 feet from my childhood home. So I bought the lot two doors down from my parents and put my own house on it. Um, it's, it's actually really kind of funny. We, we've lived out there for so long and my absolute favorite thing anytime I leave Bonney Lake is coming back to Bonnie Lake because as you go up over Eli Hill and dip down near the Walmart, there's a beautiful view of the mountain when you can see it when it's not cloudy, but it's absolutely gorgeous as kind of that big, like welcome home as you come into this to Bonnie Lake. So that's really cool and it's nice because I'm not like, it's still busy around there, but it's not Seattle busy.

[02:15] Yeah, it's funny. My wife's good friend moved down to one of those new developments, Tehaleh. Uh, I never, I never, no. I literally never know how to pronounce it, but every time we go down there and she's always like, oh my God, you know, because the mountain is like right in your face. And so it's just funny. I'm like, well no, I mean there is a reason why people choose to live down here and have the beauty and the scenery and you know, she is like Seattle until she died. So we're, we're kind of stuck here. But yes, I definitely understand. And she gets kind of the draw for that talk about. Yeah, that's a fascinating kind of moving in next to your childhood home. Tell me about that thought process.

[02:49] So funny story. Um, this is kind of, this will tell you about small town life for sure. Not only do I live 150 feet my childhood home, but I also married the son of my mom's best friend, so all of my kids' grandparents went to school together and now we've kind of like just joined two huge portions of the community together. So it's one of those are sitting there and it's like, oh, oh, this is small town living at its finest. It's not as small as lines will, Pennsylvania, where my dad's from, but um, but yeah, it's actually, I mean, living right, right next door to my parents is both a blessing and a curse. It's great because they're there all the time. My kids always get to see their grandparents. It's literally a phone call away and I said before my husband and I got together and he moved in. There were so many nights where it's like, I'm calling down the street, can somebody come sit here? I have to take one of the kids to the emergency room or I have to run to the store for milk. Can someone come down and hang out? But then the downside of it is having them so close, the kids, every kid goes through that I'm going to run away stage and so my kids will literally, they're like,

[04:09] I don't want to live with you anymore

[04:12] way and five minutes later I get a phone call from my mom. So you know, that uh, men, Gracie are down here, right? It's like, yeah, I know they ran away from home. Just turn them around, send them right back.

[04:23] That's awesome. Yeah. And, and, and you were talking even just with that, with Christmas and everything, how you said you kind of just have this open door kind of wandering in and out policy where, you know, obviously like where you're so ingrained in the community or whatever there. And you have everybody so near, right?

[04:39] Yeah. Having all of the grandparents so close by. I mean my parents are two doors down. My husband's dad and step mom are about eight minutes away. They're on the other side of Bonny Lake, which is eight minutes away. Um, and then his mom and her boyfriend live right in downtown, some nurse. So I said everybody is within 20 minutes of each other. Um, I think the ones who travel farthest are my grandma who comes from puyallup and my brother and sister in law who come from Gig harbor. So, but everybody gets to come over and it's just kind of bring what you want, feel free. Like I think my stepmom or my husband's step mom brought cinnamon rolls. She went, bought a big cinnabon pack of cinnamon rolls. My mom made two different, um, oh my goodness. Like had these hash brown things with eggs and all kinds of good stuff in them. And uh, what else was there? Oh yeah. My sister in law brought over, um, sausage and like we just, we had this huge smorgasbord of food and I mean my fridge, I have two fridges in my house, which is what sold me on the House plan that I bought and both of them are still full. And here we are. This is two days later. We've been eating for two days.

[06:01] So a vanilla. Say you guys had a good holiday. The kids got fat and toys were opened and everybody had a good time.

[06:07] Oh yes. And there's a karaoke machine now and that if you have not heard baby shark on a karaoke machine, you're missing out. And of course my kids cannot just stick with baby shark. It's been baby shark in baby bear and baby turtle and it's all the same tunes.

[06:27] Is that that do you do during these teachers? So we hear that from time to time. Yeah. I was going to say I don't even, we don't have kids yet. I didn't even know like what that, what the hot toys are right now. The kids are looking for.

[06:38] It's so hard to keep up. Like I could not even figure it out this year. I was like, I don't know. Here's some Hatchi baby thing. Is this cool eight year old. She's like five minutes. And she's like, okay, attached. Now I'm done. So I kept playing the playstation. Oh, okay.

[06:58] That's awesome. Well thank you again for coming in. Why don't we talk a little bit about why we're here. Um, photography. How did you, have you always kind of wanted to be a photographer? How did you kind of get into that?

[07:09] No, I actually have my mom and my ex husband to thank for my photography career. Um, that's the only thing you'll hear me think. My Ex husband for Ya. Um, so it actually happened. I was failing out of college pretty badly. I went from being a honor's roll high school student to I think I had a d minus in college. It was, it was pretty bad. It was low enough that it was kind of a turning point where I'm like, I either have to quit or I have to do something else. And so my mom was flipping through the course catalog and she's like, oh, they have photography classes. That's easy. You can bring your grade up. She's like, I already have a camera that you can use. And so she hands me a Pentax K, 1000 old film camera that it's like, I mean, you had to do everything manually.

[08:02] And I ended up, I still almost failed out of college, but that was because I was spending all my time in the dark room because this was film photography. We had light tables, we have, you literally had to lock yourself in a completely sealed dark room in order to develop this film. And being someone who, as a child I was afraid of the dark, I hated the dark. So I'm walking into this dark room and I'm in the back of my mind. I'm going, is somebody getting like, is there somebody who snuck in here who's gonna murder me while I'm standing here? Is somebody else going to show up and just find me like in pieces and this little tiny room, overactive imagination. Like I still have an overactive imagination, but it helps though, helps me. And so I ended up, uh, I passed college with like a c minus.

[08:55] So I think it was three points above what the minimum was to graduate. So I ended up graduating and my ex husband moved me to California where I knew nobody. And so I really had. I had no friends down there. I wasn't great at making friends, I was not as bubbly as I am now, and so he decided I was going to be the sports photographer for this pop warner football team that he coached and he handed me a cat. It was a canon x x s or something, one of the very first canon rebel cameras. It had like four megapixels and a Kit Lens, which was like the 20 to 300 or something. It was something ridiculous and he seeks me out on a football field to photograph football games. With photography is hard. It's you have to keep paying attention and even when you're paying attention, unless you're like holding that shutter button down all the time, you still miss things and you're like, oh, that would've been really cool.

[10:05] And so yeah, I spent most of my nights sitting there and just. And computers were not as fast 12 years ago as they are now. So I'm like, I'm sitting there one photo at a time trying to just find. Just find that one photo that would make the team go, oh yeah. That was what we wanted. So it was, it was a lot of work at that point and then one day I was over just Kinda, you know, screwing around doing my own thing and I was photographing the players as they were just kind of huddled around and so they were spaced just perfectly. I could do like portraits of them. So I was doing these kind of like this portrait trial type thing and one of the moms saw it and then hired me to photograph their Christmas cards for $35, which in California, I mean we lived right outside of San Francisco, so, you know, $35 might have paid for my gas to get there, uh, in stop and go traffic.

[11:07] But she paid me, she absolutely loved the photos and from there I started getting more requests and I actually started my business in Washington while I was still living in California because I was living up here halftime at the time I had lost my job. I was pregnant and so my ex husband was just, he was flying me home because I was lonely and he's like, go home, see your family. So I actually started working up here while I was still living in northern California. So it's always been kind of a sandwich and Washington. Then you didn't have to wait that whole transition? No, I never had to make that transition. I actually only photographed like three sessions in California ever. And it was just like. And one of those was in 2016. It was actually a wedding that I was flown back to California after living up here for four years. They flew me back down to shoot their wedding.

[12:01] Oh, that's awesome. Yeah, it's funny, I just, speaking of the sports photography, when I was doing news in Bakersfield, we would do for a high school. Football was like huge in Bakersfield, like small town. And um, so we would do Friday night ff x, like Friday night football extra. And that would be like our sports guy todd. We put together and so they'd send every, uh, all the videographers had to work no matter if you were working Fridays or not, you had to work Friday night and they'd send you out to whatever the, you know, you drive two hours out to the pier, whatever. They get the football games and like you said, you know, it's really hard to like, you would go out there and you would just have to shoe them enough to get like a highlight and then get back because you had to bring it back to the station. Like we didn't have, you know, like nowadays you have like live streams and stuff and you can beam stuff across and so like you go and like if you miss that one play, like you were totally Sol because you like, you couldn't wait around and so you're like, man, I might be sitting there for 45 minutes waiting for a touchdown and if I missed that pass and you're like, oh, you know, you're like swinging the camera around.

[13:06] Right, right. I don't think I could do videography. Everybody be like, I have no idea what's going on. It's all blurry, like flipping the camera back and forth, trying to keep track of everything.

[13:16] Um, so when you, when you started in Washington, had you ever really thought about like starting a business before? Was this new? Do you have a family history of any of this?

[13:26] Yeah, so actually what ended up happening is my dad owns his own business and my brother was in the process of starting a graphic design business as well. And so my dad basically came to us and he said, here's the deal, I will give you $1,500 to put into your business however you wish, however you have to get your Washington business license. And it was like, oh, okay. He's like, you have to become a legal business, you have to be filing taxes, otherwise you're going to have to pay me this whole $1,500 back, which you know, at the time was 2010, so I was 25, 24 and I'm going a $1,500, was a lot of money to me at that point. I was just like, what? And now I'm sitting here, I'm like, oh, $1,500. That was the last lens I bought. So I was super excited.

[14:23] I got this money. I went through, I bought Photoshop, I bought a new camera, I got my business license, and then I just kind of expected that, you know, everything was just going to take off, right? I just put $1,500 into my business. It was going to just take off and it was going to start without me. It didn't work that way. It was a lot of hard lessons and everything else. And then I ended up getting in the middle of all of that and kind of put photography on the back burner. I still shot one to two weddings a year. I still did portraits for friends and family, but I wasn't actively like putting myself out there. And so in 2016, that was when I kind of went, okay, I went through, um, what I call hell week, uh, my now ex ex boyfriend had bought me a puppy for my birthday because, you know, that's a great gift to give anybody is a puppy without a commitment.

[15:26] Please don't ever bring me a puppy. Um, so brings me this puppy. And on Sunday night of that week, I get a phone call from my mom that my grandpa had been taken in the hospital. Monday he goes into a coma and they put them on the ventilator. Tuesday we wake up and this puppy is just sicker than sick. And I worked in veterinary medicine for a couple of years and I'm looking at it and I'm like, oh great. It's got Parvo, like I can smell it. They get this particular Parvo is kind of like the human flu, but it's only in dogs and it's very deadly to la, like small puppies and older animals because it dehydrates them because they get super sick. So, but it's got this funky smell to it. And so I'm sitting there, I'm like, oh, great. My puppy has parvo now, so Tuesday I run the puppy to the emergency vet who then proceeds to tell me that they have no hope for the puppy.

[16:27] The puppy is too young. It's not going to survive and I'm looking at, I'm going, here's my credit card. Do what you can and I will. I'll be back tomorrow. Wednesday. My grandpa's pulled off the ventilator and dies. Thursday morning I get up to find that the boyfriend who bought me the puppy has packed all of his stuff and walked out before anybody ever got out of bed. So. So by Friday I am a complete Zombie. I go back down to the animal hospital where the poor puppy is just kind of laying in the cage and I'm like, are you even going in and paying attention to them? And they're going, well, we're very busy today. And so I walk over and I tap on the glass because he's an isolation and he jumps up and is bouncing all over his little cage in there.

[17:15] He, his ivy, comes flying out of his Paul because he's just going wild and I'm going, hmm. Not Getting Better, Huh? I'm going to take him to my regular vet today. So we moved the puppy to the regular vet and puppy came home. This was the bright spot in like 48 hours. The puppy was back at home. So after that I was kind of sitting here going, I need something to pour myself into. This has just drained everything out of me. I need to pour myself into something. So I started really focusing on my business because I went, you know, with the fact that my grandpa had just died. I realized how little time I had at home with my kids and with my family and I don't. I was working nine to five. I didn't get to see them all the time and everything else.

[18:04] So I started pouring myself into photography and in 2016 I think, what did I think I shot 14 weddings between May of 2016 and the end of the year. Basically any wedding I could take anything that somebody would have me second shoot on. I was there. I was doing all of this and so 2017 I did the same thing. And then this past year I've said I've actually think we had 14 weddings this past year, so, and now I'm moving into 20, 19 was five weddings on the books already and I have a boudoir business that just, I keep, I get people that come in there that I'm like, Oh, you want to come do this exciting, like I'm super stoked for some of the clients that I have coming up,

[18:54] you're talking about. I'm kind of, at least to me. And, and I, you know, I wasn't in kind of the wedding photography world for a long time, but it does seem to me that like the brood war thing is really kind of like coming up and whether it's male or female or couples or Kinda like. But it really does seem like it's like a thing now that it wasn't. Is that true? Is that, am I wrong in that thing? He hasn't been there. No,

[19:18] I think it's kind of, it's always kind of been there, but it hasn't been as prevalent as it is now. Um, for a long time there it was super taboo. These women were going and they were taking their clothes off for somebody else essentially, and then you're getting these photos printed and people are seeing you naked and this was a huge taboo thing, but a lot of the, uh, the huge amount of feminism and stuff that has become prevalent, it's really at the forefront right now that's actually empowered a lot of women to go, Hey, I can go do this and feel good about myself. I don't have to feel like, oh, I have to cover up all the time. And then the fact that, I mean it's not like these women are going through and taking these photos and putting them on giant billboards for the whole world to see.

[20:08] I, I said I kind of get the feeling that that's what a lot of people think it is, is that you're just going to go through and you're going to take these photos and then you got to put them on a giant billboard and, and that's really, that's not what you're doing. There are some women who I actually did have a client who ordered a giant like 20 by 30 for her room and I said, hey, more power to you if, if I didn't have kids that would, you know, bring everybody in their brother into my bedroom and go, hey look, that's my mom. I'd probably do the same thing that my kids will literally, it does not matter who you are. They will bring you in and there'll be like, hey look, look what I found in my mom's room. And it's like,

[20:48] oh, I did not want everybody to know about that. So

[20:52] I really think it's become a lot more prevalent. It's a lot more at the forefront and then now we've got the guys doing it too and I said what used to be strictly an Abercrombie and Fitch type of deal. Now it's like everybody can come do it. It doesn't have to be a, you don't have to be some supermodel to get out there and to actually love your body and enjoy yourself and think about the fact that yes,

[21:17] like how far has it brought you? It's funny because a lot of it was between you and other people I have on my instagram with like weddings and stuff, like I get a lot of like brood war, stuff like that. Like if you didn't know and you just picked up my phone and you're like, man, I'm like, what is this guy looking at? But it's a lot. But I do think it's, I think it's awesome when I think like even from a, just an artistic thing. I mean I'm not, you know, it's like I get, you know, like um, a lot of brides give it to their grooms and you know as gifts and stuff. And so like I get up, I'm just looking at it like even just like as an artistic thing and I'm like this is really neat. Like it's really clear with like, you know, lots of different uses of like lighting and shading and like environments and stuff. Right. There's a kind of give you a chance to kind of experiment a little more than you. Whether the wedding

[22:01] I'm a little bit. Yeah. I actually tend to go through, I'm in a couple of groups where it's like we share ideas and we go, okay, this is how I did this type of thing, so I'll go through and have an idea in my head and I kind of have the way that it needs to be executed, figured out before the session, but it does give a lot of, a lot more time to kind of go, okay, well here we're gonna, try this, and then every client's different. I had a client walk in here a month and a half ago that I said the first thing out of her mouth was, okay, can I get naked now? And I'm going, wait, wait, but we like, we missed all of these other shots that I was going to do for you. And I'm like, well, yeah, we can start there. Let's just. And so sometimes your clients really throw a wrench into everything and you're going, wait, I, I'm not, I have to take a second to catch up here. Um, but yeah, I mean they're super excited and my new studio actually has this old fancy clawfoot tub. So I have like three clients, they're like, can we do bubble baths? I'm going, Oh yeah, yeah, we can.

[23:04] Or it could be to like a nervous thing. Like maybe they're just like, they just want to get in. It's like a bandaid. You rip it and then they, then you can kind of feel a little more free. Right?

[23:13] Yeah. I have a couple of clients that it's like, that's kind of their thing. They're like, just rip the bandaid off. Let's just get in there and do it. And I always joke around with them. I'm like, Hey, if it makes you feel better, I can get naked too. Could

[23:26] not be the first time I photographed so many naked. Okay. Uh, this kinda being able to do these more intimate sessions. And I think you really, it's, it's a lot more on the photographer, whether it's a male or female photographer. You really have to be comfortable with really good with clients because like, I've worked with photographers so they're like really good technically, but they're like terrible in terms of like dealing with. And so do you think that that really kinda like helps you refine that skill then of getting and that you can relate that to like weddings or portraits or anything else, kind of that client photographer relationship?

[23:58] Yeah. I said during these intimate photo sessions has actually taught me a lot more about myself versus teaching me about the clients it has. It's really gotten to the point where I've had to totally just open up and I'm for a long time I was very, very closed off person. I didn't want to get close to anybody. I didn't want to have that opportunity to, you know, have any damage there. That was like I was avoiding it and a lot of that came from, you know, being divorced and, and kind of being isolated from family and friends and stuff. So. But I found that my sessions that come in where the clients are super, excuse me, super quiet and they're just kinda like, they're not loosening up. Those are the hardest ones for me because I'm like, I'm sitting there and I'm really having to pull something out of them in order to do it.

[24:57] I have to really pull out all of my terrible jokes in order to kind of get them to go, hey look, she's totally real. She's not, I'm not one of those super creepo. Although I do joke around with my girls. I'm like, you know, if anybody else ever growled at you like I'm about to growl at you, you'd probably be filing a harassment suit. Um, but I've found that taking that filter, that filter, that tells you, oh, you really shouldn't say that, and turning it off really actually helps during sessions because these girls come in and they expect you to, you know, not only make them look absolutely beautiful, but they're trusting you with the fact that it's like, here they are, they're almost completely unclothed and you just like, they're trusting that you're not going to basically go through and rip them apart. And so I'm one.

[25:50] I'll sit there and my favorite joke is I'm like a Gremlin. Don't get me wet. And that actually stemmed from somebody telling me that I, I was super sick during the session and I had kind of that gargly I sounded like a 60 year old smoker and I was sitting there and I'm like, Oh yeah maybe. And so she's like, you sound like a troll. And I'm cracking up laughing. I'm like, Oh yeah, I'm like a Gremlin. Don't get me wet. Well I'll start most of the sessions telling that joke and the girls just crack up laughing. They're like, oh my gosh, this is hilarious. And I've actually found that it's like, it's one of those where you know, you, you lead them into feeling more comfortable with you. And then I've actually started telling them that I have hair and makeup artists that will do their hair and makeup. It's included in the session. And that makes a huge difference because they don't have that. Well, how do I do my hair and makeup?

[26:47] Well, it's really tough. It's really tough. Even with weddings and stuff like I think that one of the most underrated things is, is making people feel comfortable. You know, like we just had a wedding on Friday and I had emailed with jake the grim a lot and, and you know, we had talked online and stuff, but like, you know, we show up, uh, in the middle of nowhere in Leavenworth, like she's in like, you know, her getting ready outfit, like with all of her best friends, her mom is there and like, you know, we show up and it's like, it's a really intimate moment. Right. And like I have about 30 seconds to like kind of a get everything going, you know, on a, on a good foot. I mean, and I just, it is really hard where um, you know, if you're doing like engagement sessions, so like the Buddha or like, you know, they're walking in and like you gotta go now and everyone's got to be comfortable or else it's just going to be, you know, and it's not, it is on us to kind of do that. But it is I think really something that like people don't think about or put enough priority on,

[27:49] I guess. I don't know. I think so. Yeah. No, I definitely agree. It's Kinda like you, you do, you have that, that just teeny tiny period of time to walk in and go, Hey, I'm here to be your photographer, your videographer, whatever, and if you. I've actually found in my experience, if you show up and you've had just the worst day ever that you can imagine and you haven't recentered yourself before you walk in, it's going to be a disaster. It's just gonna like totally fall apart. So that's one of the things that I've really learned and by doing the Buddha guar that it's like, yeah, I have to kind of. I have to be able to box everything. There's actually a youtube video out there where the guy talks about how guys have boxes and he talks about how there's actually a nothing box and there's literally nothing in that box, but then there's a home box and there's a work box and there's another box and however the female brain doesn't work in boxes. It's all interconnected. So I've had to really practice to have my boxes and go, okay, this is what's happening at home. I'm not gonna deal with that. This is what's happening here. I'm not going to deal with that. I am here for your wedding.

[29:06] See, I'm, I can't disconnect any event. I think I have more a female brain because I, my head just swims all the time. So I don't know if I, I might be floating in the sea here. Maybe I took your male brand. So maybe that's what happened here. And when I switched over I was like, no, sorry, read. You get mine now. Uh, no, but I do, I do get that. And I think uh, even dealing with brides and grooms and stuff, like when they're like, yeah, you just like the groups, you just sit here, you just wait, we're going to come back to you and get ready to. They're like, oh, okay. Like other than maybe other guys, I don't know if I don't work that way but maybe don't know. Uh, so talk about kind of like getting the business started that appear. Was there any like challenges that you faced or like kind of things that you thought would be easier, like you said, kind of getting clients and things, but talking about kind of that initial kind of starting up here in Washington?

[29:58] Um, I think the biggest thing was, was it was, I kind of expected that I was going to go, hey, guess what? I do photography and everybody was going to be like, Oh hey, I'll hire you. And it really started out that I was shooting for free for family and friends and the hardest part was the getting over people actually giving me money and getting over myself in a way that was like, you know, I'm actually doing work here. I should be paid for it. I mean, you don't go work at Mcdonald's and expect them to just, Oh yeah, until you're perfect at flipping burgers, you don't get to be paid. You got work for us for months. Um, so that was one of the biggest things was really my own self worth and trying to get over that hurdle because I was always kind of one of those.

[30:46] I will pick my own work apart like nobody's business, however, I'll go through and I'll deliver something and people are like, oh my God, I absolutely love this. And I'm going, oh, okay. So it's just me. I think the hardest part in business is getting over you and your own insecurities and your own question of whether or not you're good enough. And once I finally got to the point where I was like, okay, I'm going to stop picking myself apart. And it was both on a personal and a professional level that I had to stop picking myself apart before anything actually like started to work for me. And so it was like, yeah, the getting the clients thing as long as I was there and I was kind of like ragging on myself. It was impossible to find clients so we're willing to hire me.

[31:43] But now that I've kind of. I've taken all that time and I've honed my craft and I, I, I will admit there are some days that I walk in and I'm like, I have no idea what I'm doing, but I've gotten really good at winging it. And those are usually my most creative days, so they're nothing to be afraid of, but it's kind of one of those where you walk in and you got that deer in the headlights like, oh no, what did I do? But once I stopped writing on myself and stopped beating myself down, I was able to really hone my craft and I was able to kind of break out of that Shell. That kept me closed off from everything. And now I'm finding it a lot easier to get those clients and to find the clients that actually fit in with me. And they just, they don't run away. It's

[32:34] hard though. I mean I, I always struggled with, I'm like the biggest, a perfectionist and ocd in my own head and you know, Dorothy will be like, you're crazy. But like I can't like once I deliver something, like I can't watch it for like six months. Like once it's passed the statute of limitations and I can go back and kind of like enjoy it again because I'll always find something. And it is like once I, once I do it, if I can get it delivered to the client and then if I can get it, like posted on whatever align, whatever, like if I can get past that, then I just kind of lock it away because otherwise I'm like, I'm terrible, I'm terrible. I'll go back. Like it has to be a really, really long time passed until I can go back and rewatch stuff.

[33:15] Right. I had to get out of the habit of pulling things from the archive and like going, Oh, I'm going to re edit these because I turned around and I'd start editing and then I just get so upset that I was like, I can't believe I didn't read that. And, but I have, I have only had one client, which everybody always gets one client. That expectations were not quite on the same level for both myself and the client. And so. And my client was one that I got hired two weeks before their wedding. So I didn't even have time to get to know anybody. But there's always one that you kinda just sit in the back of your mind, you kind of wander and go, oh, could I have done this differently? Could I have done this better? But it's like, it always seems like those are the ones that stick around the longest. So it is, I have to like keep myself from going back and pulling images from the archives and everything else and going, oh, I'm going to re edit this. It's. And I said, but I watch your work every time it pops up in the Seattle wedding network. I'm like, Oh hey, I left

[34:27] because we always post a like anniversary stuff, whatever. I just have one that I posted and I was like, oh that was way off. And I had to go back and do it. I did have to fix it before I because I'm like, oh. And like you would never like, you know, Dorothy is always like nobody would ever. And I'm like, yeah, but it's still like, especially when like especially like for us, we're like if you're on photoshop or final cut or whatever and you can see like, oh I got to change the whatever color by two percent. Or like when you do like, when it's a tangible thing versus like if you're looking at something and you're like, oh that's, oh, you know, maybe it's off. Maybe it's soft. Like you know, like it's like a tangible percentage off. That's what always bothers me. Or like if the rotations off by like point two or something. And I'm like, oh no, I got to go fix that.

[35:16] That's one of the other things that really helped push my business forward was actually having a network because that reminds me that I have this nice tight knit network of other photographers that I do work with on occasion. And I've had in the past year multiple times where it's like I'm looking at a gallery and I'm going, oh, something is just off on this. And so I'll literally take that gallery link and send it off to one of my other photographers. And I go, can you look at this and tell me what's wrong with it? And usually if they can't pick up anything, it's just kind of one of those. I'm like, okay, I'm going to just ignore it and I'm going to send it off to the client. The clients are 99 point nine, nine, nine percent of the time. Like oh my gosh, these are amazing.

[35:59] So I said it helps having somebody just to go and go, hey, can you take a look at this really quick? And I said, I've had other photographers. I had one gal who sent me a whole gallery of photos. She goes, I think these are blown out and I'm like, I currently work mechanical design so I have a computer setup that has four different monitors in all different sizes and all different brands because I mean when you're doing mechanical design, it's not picky but. So I take it into my work computer and I pull it up on each and every monitor and screenshot at four so she could see that. It's like, no, I think. I think in the Monitor brightness that you have set is too high, so she lowered her monitor brightness and she goes, oh, okay, now they're perfect.

[36:42] It's so funny. Yeah, because I'll read them like forums and stuff where there they say how you're supposed to like I'm like, you're editing on the machine. You should have like another brand plug Dan and then you should also send it to your phone and somebody else before you deliver it. But then you also hear people to comment and they're like, ed realized most people are watching this on their cell phones now. And like it doesn't matter, nobody cares. It doesn't matter. And I. Yeah. So my thing is if it looks good to me, it looks good enough. I can't, I can't, I can't pass the sniff test for other times. You can get there and then elevate

[37:15] and see. That's what I do. I'm like, if it comes up and it looks great to me, shoot, I'm sending it off. I'm not going to try and like, you know, put it on my cell phone and everywhere else because the other thing I've found is with photos, a lot of it also depends on when you print them, who you print them through. Because I went through, I got, I mean my own wedding photos. I got those back. I printed photos at all costs, go. Um, I think I got one or two at Walmart and then I ordered a couple from my pro lab millers and I noticed that Costco, Walmart was blue because it's always blue. Costco was pretty much fine. Um, but when I got them back from Miller's there were like, it was super dark and so it was kind of one of those. I'm like, oh, okay. So before I send these off, because it was a halloween wedding, everything was shot super dark to begin with. And so there were a lot of bots. I mean I've got a big old family photo that's like a 16 by 16 by seven or something because this is really odd crop that I did. And you could see everybody except for grandma who had a hat on. So we're faced with shaded. So see we even make mistakes.

[38:37] Yeah. So, uh, I do want to talk about your wedding that was on the docket here because this was awesome. And I saw, I saw photos and I heard and I think, you know, where associated where like I think if somebody like in the community like gets married, were you, like obviously have a network of people. Like it's, it's like an event, right? Like people knowing, you know. Um, so talk to me a little bit about your wedding and kind of what, what all happened with that because it was fascinating.

[39:03] Um, so my wedding actually started out trying to be as cheap as possible because it was my second wedding and I, I had a really big wedding the first time I got married and I kind of went, yeah, I really don't want a big wedding. But it was my husband's first wedding. So he was like, no, no, I want to do this. He has a huge family. I mean, his parents are divorced. They both. Well, his mom has not remarried but his dad remarried, but his mom's boyfriend's been around for 16 years or something to that effect. So he's got kids and then step mom has kids and so we've got this huge family on his side. Whereas my brother and I were like, hey, it's just us and. But it was really actually kind of fun because being that we're both so connected in the community and everything else.

[39:55] And my brother having married his high school sweetheart, they're super connected in the community. So it was basically one big giant happy family and also half of sumner. I'm. So we started trying to be as cheap as possible and ended up. We did all right. But every wedding is his money. So we ended up having about 80 people, not including all of the random bystanders because we got married in the middle of main street. Halloween. Wayne Main Street shuts down about 3:30 4:00 and it becomes a public park. So my sister in law went to the city of some nurse, the mayor, because she happens to work on the parks and rec committee. She goes to the mayor and she goes, they want to get married in the middle of the street. What do we need to do in the mayor? Basically went, well, it's a public park and some of Halloween because of Halloween,

[40:54] because of how we may shut down the main street and make it a public park.

[40:58] Yeah. Because they do a big street have treats at 5:00 in sumner for all of this. Right? Who wouldn't do a street of trades, but they do this big street of treats so that all of the kids can come and they can trick or treat safely is basically the big idea. So all of the shops close down, they all bring out candy and so it's kind of a kind of a safe haven for those with parents because, you know, when we were kids it was nothing to go knock on your neighbor's doors. And now it's like, I'm not sure. I mean, aside from my parents and the neighbor across the street who have been there forever, I don't know any of my name. I definitely don't want my kids going and knocking on their doors. Um, but yeah, so we ended up having are having like a flash mob wedding ceremony, just everybody lined up in the middle of the street.

[41:52] It was kind of hilarious because my daughter's a gymnastics coach happened to be walking by during the middle of the ceremony and she's like, Hey, I know them. And we had other people, like there were a whole bunch of, just random bystanders that actually noticed what was going on and all kinds of just joined in. And so we had this huge crowd. Everybody was in costume. It was actually kind of amazing. All of the shop owners had actually shut their doors early and come out and they were all standing out along the street. So the city of sumner actually are they, I think they tweeted it and they instagrammed it as well as the sumner police department instagrammed it because they were all down there too. So it ended up being a really pretty awesome collaboration. I got to work with some amazing vendors, including my two photographers and I had seattle bride hair was my hair and makeup artist.

[42:51] I'm eternally or as events did, my Dj was Dj re and then like the reception was just kind of a giant collaboration of all of my super creative and talented friends and family. They decorated using a hodgepodge of random, like random decorations. Everybody brought Halloween decorations from their houses. I somehow managed to score like 35 white glitter to Pumpkin's. So. And then we had just a tool like beyond huge amounts of tool everywhere. So it was actually really kind of cool. It turned out pretty amazing and said everybody really came together on the day of to make. It was kind of magical

[43:44] because we had talked to either. When I found out about the Halloween wedding enemy, you know, I love how we weddings. I mean that's still one of my favorite memories is we had one a couple of years ago and she was the same way as you, you know, like love how we end a lot and a lot of family and friends and you know, decorations and all that stuff. And we ended up getting that feature. The bunch of places, and you can do this because it's just such a cool like Mary and have like your interests and then kind of like, it's just out of the norm a little bit. I think it's really kind of neat and especially even like for you as someone that like does a lot of different weddings. Like, you know, like when we got married, it's hard to like separate, you know, what you do versus what you want, you know, where this was like so specific to you. I just think that's really neat.

[44:29] Yeah, I mean it was pretty, it was a pretty incredible um, because I said it was one of those where, I mean I've photographed so many, the classic white wedding and, and that's what I mean when I got married the first time, that's what I had to was it was pick your two colors, pick your wedding dress, pick your invitation style and the invitation styles. They aren't, they weren't as complex as they are now. Like now you can get handwritten, you can get laser jet, you can get fancy, like specially made paper for your invitations. Oh, ours were from Michael's or something because that's what you did at that point and I was actually just talking to a, another gal the other day who we were talking about the fact that the trends have changed so much and now weddings are just kind of a, they're not necessarily a free for all, but you could do whatever you want.

[45:23] There's not like all of those traditions that used to be you can use them or you cannot use them. You get the choice. It's not a, hey, no, you have to do it this way, here's your timeline. You have to do this. So it's actually really pretty cool. And I said the one, uh, every wedding has a snafu. My snafu was my dress, so I ordered my dress off of Ebay, which just, brides never do that, just don't do it. It's dangerous. Um, so I found this really pretty black dress on Ebay and it was a too good to be true moment at ordered it. And it said that it was going to take 12 weeks to arrive, 12 weeks go by and I contact the company and they're. Oh yeah, yeah, no, it's in production. We're working on it for more weeks go by and at this point it's the end of August and I'm getting married at the end of October.

[46:19] And they're like, oh, oh, we will, we'll ship it out this week. So dozens of emails later. I finally get the dress shipped. It finally shows up and it's navy blue, Brown for Halloween wedding. Um, it really reminded me of something that I would have worn if I was going to a military ball because it was definitely not black and it was just not, it did not look anything like the dress that I was supposed to get. It was still pretty. But if you really don't want pointed Madonna boobs, I just, it was not the dress for anybody. So I actually was on the Seattle wedding and event network and I posted in there that, hey, I got this dress. I want to figure out what I can do with it. And being super creative and kind of a diy type person, I was like, I'm going to die it myself some or all of the dress designers come back.

[47:20] There's no, no, no, no, no, don't do it. Don't do it. Like, okay fine. So one gal suggested a costume designer who is in downtown Tacoma. And so I took this dress into them, literally wrapped up in a garbage bag because I was just that frustrated at the point. I opened the garbage bag, flip it up side down and just dumped this dress onto the floor. And Nora the costume designer down there, she kind of looks at me and she goes, you're really, really not happy with the stress, are you? Nope. So she managed to take the dress, take it completely apart, diet black and then put it back together as just one of those giant bowl skirts. And I said, I know there's a company out there called Mr Pretty that makes these giant ball skirts. And that's exactly what it reminded me of when she was finished. Like when she was finished, it was absolutely amazing. And then I ordered a shirt off of Amazon and that became my dress for the day, which I will say two piece dresses are amazing because you don't have to take the entire thing off to pee and you don't have to like, you know, have four friends in their holding all that tool up. Either you just unclip it, step out and you're good.

[48:37] So floody it's um, I will tell you I've never heard of a single person or during the dress like on, um, you know, like the cheapo sites or whatever and like having it work out like e Bay I think, you know, is, is a little more hit or miss. But like, yeah, like Brian, he, the bad dorothy's friend was getting married that we shot her a video years ago and she like, the money is not a usual thing. And she's like, Oh, I'm, you know, I'm looking and you know, I can get this dress from China for like $250 or whatever the world. Like absolutely not. Absolutely not. And she's like, no, look, I really like, I really think. And it really was like, we ended up nod and I can't remember where she got her address from. I know it was local, but like I like it was a struggle to like get her to not. And I was like, anything you're going to save money, you know, like try to get it or whatever. So I'm glad that that worked out for you. It's definitely not a, not a good moment to have.

[49:35] Especially, I mean the one real bummer for me, it was the fact that we searched and I had my vendors, like we were all searching for black dresses and we searched and searched and searched and so it basically hit June and I was like I have to order something. I don't have a choice anymore. And then as soon as I ordered my dress and as soon as I get it back and my wedding is already done, like for designers came out with all black lines. I'm like, why? Why are you guys?

[50:06] Yeah. I guess I didn't realize because people, every once in a while if someone posts about like, how in weddings all still share, I'm the one that we did. I don't watch it because I can't watch my work, but I'll send it for you. And they always say, people always say, oh, I love her a dress. I love her address because she did have, it was like black and it had like spike and Mike of course. I mean it was like cool. You know, it was awesome. It was definitely like a Halloween when you think of like a Halloween dress. This is definitely. But I didn't realize. I guess if there was such a rare, these are fine, but now maybe it's going to be on trend now it's going to be on trend and I'm not going to say that I'm taking credit for that because that was not me.

[50:47] Mine was definitely, it was a struggle, but I'm not the one who decided on black wedding dress. I think it was actually vogue that came out when this whole thing on black wedding dresses. Um, but I said, yeah, it's actually one of the, one of my favorite things is seeing some of the new trends come up and there's a designer out of Seattle. Oh my goodness. I photographed her a couple of years ago actually, that she does these incredible dip dyed dresses and yeah, I know what you're talking. Yeah, I think it's. Chrissy is her first name. I cannot pronounce her last name. I would be terrible. But she does these gorgeous dip dyed dresses. And I said that I was looking at one of those for awhile and then I was like, oh, but I really wanted all black. I just kinda wanted to go polar opposite of my first wedding, which was, you know, white and purple and blue.

[51:45] That's funny. Besides, you know, obviously the dress now who was there, um, lessons, things that you've learned now that you're going to be able to kind of incorporate into when you're, you know, helping couples now plan weddings and you know, do their photography and everything.

[51:59] Oh yeah. Everybody's going to have an opinion. That does not mean you have to take it. You can easily politely go, oh, that sounds great, and nod and then go do whatever you wanted to do to begin with. I said that was kind of one of those things that as we were going, it was like everybody kind of went, well, what if we do this? Well, what if we did this? Well, what if we did this? And me and my friend group where a bunch of strong willed women, a bunch of strong willed women. So of course every single one of them had an opinion on how we were going to do things and it was just, I kind of at the end just threw my hands up and went, nope, not happening. Just here's what's going on. And um, even though like in coordination and stuff is a kind of a huge expense for a lot of people.

[52:52] Consider having a day of coordinator. I was gifted one because she happens to be related to my husband. So she actually came in and it was a complete blessing. There were a couple of things where it was like I was getting phone calls from the Dj who wanted to know how to do this and I was getting phone calls from other people who wanted to know this and I, I just Kinda went, okay, here's my phone Leah, please by all means just go. And so she was able to go and field all of those questions and work all of that out so I didn't have all that. I just kinda got to, you know, hang out and do my own thing. And I mean the giant bottle of corona helped so I just, it was totally worth it. And being able to. Even if you can just move a few things around in your budget, get that day of coordinator is a great thing.

[53:43] Yeah, it's, it's crazy. And I've talked before about, you know, I have a big questionnaire and stuff die so now they're whatever. But it is always interesting to me like we just had a wedding where like how many vendors like still have a lot of questions like at the day, like where, where, where should this napkin go or how do you want the cake thing going? And I'm like, the, I, this is all stuff and like, you know, if you have a coordinator they can kind of help answer some of that. But that was sitting there at this wedding and I was like, I can't believe like these are still the questions we're asking. Like we're setting up the reception. Like how do you know? I just always funny to me because I always try to like not have to ask anything. Right? Like we're just hanging out and like, you know, I, I might be asking like other people, but I'm not going to ask him like the bride or groom or whatever. But it's just, it was just a thought that I had at this last wedding. I'm like, I, I can't believe we're still thinking about this stuff. This isn't, you know,

[54:36] for me, the only questions I usually ask during the day, or do you have a preference for where you want to do your first look if you're doing one and where are all of your accessories hidden from me? Because I always tell them, I'm like, make sure you put all your. Except like if you bring your invitation, if you have your ring boxes, your shoes, all of that stuff that you want those detail shots of have it all in one spot. Nobody ever puts it in a spot that I can find it. They always, they're like, oh yeah, I have it all over in this random bag over here in the corner behind the TV that you.

[55:10] Yeah. No it's never. It's never right. Kids are in the box in the back of my car. And you're like, wow. Okay. Yeah.

[55:17] And those are usually the only two questions that I will ask. Um, unless there's something super specific that I'm asking about, like if we're doing family formals, I might say. Okay. Was there anybody else that you wanted photos with? But I said some of the stuff that is just like, oh yeah, where do we want this? And I said, I'm one, I'm super like I, I'm really picky but I don't necessarily want to do it myself. So having that day of coordinator, she came in and she was like, okay, well how do you want the table setup? And I literally looked at her and I went, there's the pile of stuff, I trust your vision. And she kinda went, are you serious? I'm like, yes, yes, I'm serious. Here's the pile, I trust your vision, you do what you do best and here's my original inspiration photo.

[56:13] And she kind of went okay. And she, they just went all out and like by the time it was done I said you could not. We got our reception down at the mcmillan grange and walking in there before everything was set up. You would not have recognized it once it was finished and it was just like, it was amazing. And being able to just kind of go here, take it was really wonderful because I mean I was already running back and forth and trying to get all of these other things. And then my husband is love him to death, but he's one of those where he, I realized he's just trying to please me, but I'm kinda like, I just asked you to do it, just do it. So he's all over there going, Oh, do you want these lights just a little bit higher. I can put them right here or I can put them right here. And I'm like, honey, just put them up there. I don't even care right now. Just make sure I'm not going to hit my head on them. Okay.

[57:11] That's awesome. Uh, so, uh, to Kinda wrap up here, moving forward, kind of, you know, goals and aspirations you have, you're talking about, you kind of want to start scaling more to full time photography now. Right? So talk about kind of the next year or two it looks like for you. Ideally.

[57:28] So the next year or two for me is going to basically revolve around, um, I want a minimum of 24 weddings, at least two per month. Obviously with wedding season they'll likely all end up, you know, may June, July. Um, but I basically I want to move into where I'm, I'm shooting weddings, not necessarily every weekend because they still need some weekends with my kids for camping and that sort of thing. But you would not believe how many campsites are around most of these wedding venues?

[58:00] Finger I've noticed lately is the ones that we do out there. It is the don't like plan the whole weekend with the kids.

[58:07] I actually did that. I'm my worst weekend was one of those weekends, but it ended up I had my tires rotated and the guy who rotated them did not put them all the way back on the car. So in between the camp site and the wedding venue, my whole car started shaking and it ended up, it destroyed my tires and my rims. And so I mean I got, I got a whole new set of shoes for my car there. But, but yeah, I actually really love being able to look at the campsite and go, okay, we're going to go camping and in the middle of this mommy's going to go shoot a wedding and then we're going to come back and finish camping. So, um, but I do, I really want to kind of branch out a little bit and shoot a little more over towards the peninsula area because there are some incredible wedding venues over there.

[59:01] And then get up here in Seattle a little bit more. Um, I do a lot of weddings, like down in sumner, Buckley, Tacoma area. So moving north would be fantastic. And then filling in with boudoir sessions. And honestly, if I could convince every bride to come in and have a boudoir session before her big day, that would be fantastic. I would almost rather shoot your boudoir session then your engagement session. Like because let's be realistic, your husband probably doesn't care one way or another how the photographer works, but you are going to be the one that it's like, I have to impress you. I don't have to impress him. He'll be impressed. Anyway, I got a camera

[59:43] that's awesome. And Yeah, just speaking of, uh, of the wedding season and I know we decide December 21st best wedding we have all year, so you know, I mean just brides and grooms and let's talk about extending the Cae because Basil, I just emailed it to her an hour ago, best wedding of the year and it was, I mean it was really cold, but you know, we got married inside. We just had to go outside for pictures but you know, you can tough it out. She had snow boots on.

[01:00:11] Oh yeah. Where those snow boots. I actually had on my photography shoot boots underneath my wedding dress because I was like, we went out in the middle of a corn field. I was not wearing my high heels and according feel yes, it's okay to have like have your picture can have boots. I know you said you can always, you can have the cute little shoes for walking down the aisle and whatever, but definitely. And don't be afraid to keep the, the mud boots on afterwards because there's so much more comfortable.

[01:00:47] And also, uh, she drug her dress everywhere. Oh yeah, I do not, I, I was amazed because I've had brides wanting to carry their address on the carpet, but she drug it. We were walking down to the lake through the logs,

[01:01:03] that thing dirty because for most of us we were at, once we get to where it wants, where it to its full potential, get it dirty. I'm not saying get down and roll around in the mud unless that's something you really want to do. Um, I'll photograph that. It wouldn't be the first time I actually shot motocross for awhile so my camera's gotten dirty. But yeah, I mean get that thing dirty, drag it around. You'll get some of the best photos, like just kind of going out and doing your thing. I had, of course, you know, mom, grandma set mom and mother in law that are all like, oh, oh, pick your dress up and I'm going, why it's going to be dirty and need dry clean by the time we're done. Anyway. So

[01:01:42] it was, it was really refreshing to just be able to focus on like the photography and video and not like, oh no, is it going to get, you know, if you want to keep your dress clothes. I mean, you know, obviously we want to prioritize with the customer wants, but like it was just nice to not have to like worry about that and you'd be able to worry about the other stuff and it made it a lot easier to kind of get the photos we needed as opposed to like, oh we need the like drape out a blanket that you can stand on and we need to cover everything and we need to make sure that the, you know, the ground is dry and

[01:02:15] yeah. So I know how that goes, but yeah, weddings are pretty. They're actually kind of, they have their own magic. Honestly, I've shot, I did not get one this year, but both in 2017 to 2016. I shot a wedding on December 22nd. Um, they were small courthouse weddings, but even the courthouse weddings, it was just like they were super magical and just kind of, because you not only get the, like lovey doveyness of the wedding, but it's two days before Christmas people, everything is magic from November to January, it just is. So that was super fun and I said the one in 2017 actually went back to his mom's house and she had decorated everything for Christmas. So that was a, that was super fun. I basically got to go hang out and party with these people.

[01:03:12] Well thank you so much for coming in. I appreciate you taking the time. Like I said again, you know, we're a couple days before the new years and things are busy. If people want to learn more about you, your photography, both weddings and portraits, other things, what would you have them check out?

[01:03:26] Um, I would definitely find me on facebook. It's that will get you to my main page. I believe that both of my websites are listed up there. But you can go to Markie Jones, or Markie Jones weddings, and it's M, A R K I E. So when you go to look for me, it's super simple spelling and you can also find me on Instagram. I have Instagram is Markie Jones Photography LLC, or Give Me a Wink Boudoir

[01:04:01] Perfect. Thank you so much for coming in. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much.

[01:04:10] Thanks.

Katrina Allen, Love Blooms Wedding and Event Design

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington and today I'm joined by one of my longtime friends and someone I've worked with a lot and even did the florals at Dorothy and my own wedding, Katrina Allen of Love Blooms Wedding and Event Design and I want to thank you so much for coming on today and joining me to talk about you and your company, why don't you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about who you are.

[00:39] Thanks for that. Um, my name's Katrina, like you said, and I own a floral and wedding coordinating company named Love Blooms Wedding and Event Design. And we also just recently opened a wedding venue called Evergreen Meadows.

[00:55] And uh, I'm sure that will be a topic for discussion. But what was it about kind of starting the wedding venue that got you guys excited?

[01:05] Um, every since I started the business, I, I, I knew what it was in my future to own a wedding venue. Um, I like being able to be the first stop in the clients to do list for planning their wedding. Um, I wanted to create a beautiful outdoor garden venue. I'm on the east side because as of now if a client wants to get married in that sort of a setting, they have to go to Tacoma area or they have to go to Snohomish. Um, there wasn't a whole lot of options in the Bellevue, Snoqualmie, Seattle area. Um, so I kind of wanted to fill a niche for my clients that hire me to plan their wedding, but then also other clients that live in this area that don't want to travel very far to their wedding venue.

[02:02] Awesome. And then obviously with your background of being an event, wedding design coordinator, uh, I'm sure that will give you lots of insights of what works and what doesn't work. I talk to me a little bit about your team and kind of how you guys specialize in a couple of hours on their wedding.

[02:23] Love Blooms. Being a wedding planning company. We have various packages that we offer to our clients to help with as much or as little as they are wanting when planning their wedding. Um, so they can hire us from the beginning to help plan their entire wedding. They can hire us in the middle when they realized that planning a wedding is taking up more time than they originally had anticipated or um, it's just more stressful than they are wanting or they can hire us as a day of coordinator where we come in and execute their plans that they've had a wild planning their wedding for a year or however long they've been planning. Um, and then we offer floral and decor services outside of that. So our planning couples are welcomed to hire us to do their floral and decor, um, but we also have that service available to clients that don't have us as their wedding planner.

[03:28] We actually met at a styled shoot and then we've done a couple of different styles, shoots and weddings. And I know with Sally and Nick we were there together and then with, and less, uh, last summer. So it's always fun. What was it about, did you always want to be involved in weddings? Was this something you envision you're kind of smiling and talked to you about? Kind of how this journey came about?

[03:50] Actually, when I was 17 I decided that I was going to be a registered nurse. Um, so making a long story short, I was on that train. I'm not looking back for a long time and I got, I mean, I did my prerequisites and then I applied for nursing school thinking I'd be on the waiting list for years and I was one of 10 people to get accepted to this nursing school in San Francisco. Um, and I was two years into nursing school when I was planning my own wedding and, um, I really, I was planning a wedding from California in Seattle and so it had a lot of obstacles and I had a very small budget so it had even more obstacles. Um, and then I had some pretty terrible bosses and so, uh, having terrible bosses along with planning my own wedding, um, created this doubt in my mind as far as if I wanted to be a registered nurse and work for the man and have these terrible dr bosses that don't appreciate nurses at all for what they do.

[05:04] Um, I was nannying for a nurse who just had to work nights and she never saw her husband and she missed the child's first steps and milestones. And so there's a lot of kind of factors once I being stubborn like I am allowed into my life and really actually thought about it and I realized I didn't want to work for the man. Um, I wanted to be my own boss. And so, um, like I said, I was planning my own wedding and then I realized that starting to starting a business is a lot of money and I was putting myself through college so I did not have a single cent to my name. So, um, what can I do that isn't a lot of startup costs? Um, that I'm good at. And I was like, Hey, I planned my wedding and I was pretty good at it.

[06:00] Um, so let's create a company. So that is what started Love Blooms as a wedding and event planning company. And then I changed my major from registered nurse to business and then finished out my degree in business. Um, my parents about had a heart attack because I was, I only had one year left of nursing school. Um, so they couldn't believe that I was like, no, I don't think it's for me. Um, so then four years into planning, I had a client, I was coordinating her wedding and she was like, Hey, I need you to do flowers for me. And I was like, ever done flowers, you are on your mind, go to go to the market. They have options. And she's like, no, that's not what I want. I can't afford that. Could you please? Um, and it's always been my philosophy in business to try everything once because you don't know what you're going to like or what, what your niches until you try it.

[06:54] So I was like, all right, I'll do your flowers. What do you want and focus. She picked out these huge centerpieces that were like three feet tall. And I was like, okay, yeah, you got it. You got it. Um, so I watched some youtube videos. So of course now I'm a professional at doing flowers and I, um, I, you've watched a youtube video and ordered my flowers. I was all set and ready to go. And um, I was like looking at the flowers and looking at this piece of foam that's on top of the skinny little vase going. How is that turned into this big large arrangement? So I, um, my mother in law, bless her heart, called in a favor from wonderful old floral, floral florist friends. Um, she came over, she's like, well, where's your greenery? I hate greenery. I'm not using greenery in these, that's ugly.

[07:48] And she's like, oh no, sweetheart, use of greenery that had that foam and then you could put your flowers in there. Um, so the market was closed for the day. The wedding was the next day. Um, so we were out, uh, just cut and greenery off my mother in law's bushes. And I just enjoyed every second of putting these flowers together, stumbling the entire way I'm learning. And so I put the flowers together. They turned out actually really great, um, and deliver it up and she was just in love and I realized that I really enjoyed the creativity that floral, um, allows and designing. And so I decided that Love Blooms needed to grow into a floral and decor. I'm a business as well as planning. What was it about being a nurse? Helping

[08:56] people? What was it about that specifically that kind of dreary did not major in the first place.

[09:02] And interesting enough, now that I do wedding planning and floral and um, I still get the problem solving aspect to that I loved, um, and so although way different time taking care of people as a nurse then I'm planning weddings now, but, um, I still get to problem solve.

[09:24] So problem solving. Yeah. I would have to imagine that your parents would be quite terrified to switch your major like that. Did you guys have any like, history? I always ask this like any history of entrepreneurial ship or was this, this kind of you going out on your own here?

[09:41] Um, you know, come to free now. My Mom's dad didn't finish middle school and he owned his own rock company. Um, and it's a really successful company in clean. Um, so yeah, there is a little bit of it, but other than that, nothing.

[10:05] Were you scared at all or were you just kind of young and excited?

[10:12] You know, I was scared because like I said, I was putting myself through college, just had recently got married living in California where the rent is out expensive. Um, and before I was working for the Veterans Hospital and there was a guaranteed paycheck. Um, so when you own your own business there are no guarantees. Um, and so it was scary to know like if, if I don't get, if I don't book this client then nobody's getting Christmas presents, but it was worth it.

[10:48] Yeah. How did your, your wedding planning ended up going and finishing up? They, you said you had this kind of inspired you during that. Tell me about how it all work out.

[10:57] My wedding, it was 105 degrees. We did not have air conditioning so everybody was drenched in sweat. Um, but I've heard from a lot of people not directly towards me. So you kind of feel like it might be true though. It was one of the most fun weddings that they've ever been to because it was just real and it was just us and our family and friends having a good time.

[11:29] Were there any lessons that you learned just having gone through that process that you relate to clients now

[11:36] you pay for what you get? Um, so I had a $10,000 budget and 300 people to feed. So I got my dj off of craigslist, my photographer off Craig's list. I'm actually, I've got all of vendors, my florist and cater off of craigslist and some worked out, some didn't, but you know it. And so yes, that is definitely one of the biggest things is that you pay for what you get. Um, yeah,

[12:14] yeah. Well, I mean, I think everyone starts somewhere and you just need to always be like a, yeah, know what you're getting and you know, sometimes you look out. And then when I got my first wedding off craigslist, I like to think that we've progressed a little bit since then. Maybe maybe not. I'm talking about your first wedding then when you decided to start the company and how did, how did that go? Were you terrified having a first client or how did that go?

[12:39] Oh, I was terrified. Well, so when I first started, I charged $100 that pretty much covers gas, maybe not. Um, it was in San Francisco because that's where I was living at the time was like 120 person wedding. The client was super sweet. Um, and I will always remember this because it was before there were smartphones and that's how long ago I started loving blooms if anyone's doing the math right now. So I'm at this wedding venue. The wedding went really well. I was scared. I was so scared, so nervous. I was like, what? I don't even, like, I just did my own wedding, like I hadn't interned for anybody. I hadn't gone to school to be a wedding planner at what I'm doing and this is a mistake. And I asked my husband to come along with me and he was like, no, no, you, you dug this hole and you're going to figure it out.

[13:42] Thanks. You're so sweet. Um, so I, uh, the wedding went really well. I just, you know, my, my motto in my business has always been do what you expected or you wanted. Um, so what in, what would you expect your wedding planner to do or what would you want? So that Kinda guides me and all the calls that I have to make as far as like, should we do x, y, or z 30 ways. The end of the night we're on like the top of a hill in San Francisco in the middle of nowhere. And I don't have a smartphone and I have these two. I've cleaned up the venue. It's like an hour and a half after the bride and groom have left. And I've got this couple that's sitting on the sidewalk and I'm like, what's going on? And Oh, we called the taxi and they never showed up.

[14:33] And I was like, oh, okay. And without a smartphone, you know, no, like way before uber, lyft. And there's no, I can't google like another, another taxi company. The building's locked at this point now. So. And it's breezing San weather. So I ended up taking him home. Like I can't just leave this couple of here, I don't, I don't, we don't have any ability to call a taxi company because the only one we know of is the one that called. So I ended up taking these two guests of the wedding home. Um, which thinking about it now, it's like doing, but

[15:14] yeah, insurance, insurance liabilities or is it

[15:18] everything? You know, I had no idea who these people are, like nothing. Had no idea where it was taking them. Like what if they lived in the ghetto, but it was all, I mean it was, it was for the client, right? Like it, I do everything for the client. Whatever needs to happen to make the memory of their wedding perfect. Um, I do it. So, yeah, I, I, uh, um, I had some, some decor stuff in my car so I had to put that in the trunk real fast and move my school books or whatever. Um, but yeah, so I took them home, but it was a good wedding. I will never ever forget that wedding as like, just scared. I was nervous.

[16:07] Yeah, it's funny. It's funny to think about what a, you get away with what we got away with and then the further you look back and you're like, wow, that was a really terrible, horrendous idea. How long, how long were you doing love balloons in San Francisco then?

[16:26] Oh boy. Um, let's see. We moved to three years. Um, yeah. What bloomz is in San Francisco for three years.

[16:36] Was that a tough transition then coming into Seattle and kind of happened, or not rebrand, but kind of relocate your brand?

[16:43] Well, I knew about three months into moving to California that California was not for me, and so I tried to move back to Seattle, but the credit, my college credits weren't going to transport transfer smoothly. Um, so I was like, you know what, I'm just gonna peddle to the metal. I'm going to get my degree and not, I'm just gonna I'm just gonna make it happen. So actually when I met my husband while we were friends first, but we went on our first official date, I told him I'm moving to Washington to second, I graduate. So you could either, we can either say Fred or we can see where this is going, but I am moving to Washington. So I did the same in my business when I started it in San Francisco. I started it in Seattle because I knew that I would be moving back to Seattle. So, um, uh, so we did. I had my hair and my cousin to do a few weddings here while I was still in California. That's awesome.

[17:56] That's very smart. Yeah. I always fear about the whole like brandy. And then whenever you have to move, and then, uh, did you find what was the biggest difference between doing weddings in San Francisco and doing wedding in Seattle?

[18:12] Um, yeah, it's, I wouldn't say it was very different, however, the weddings that I was getting there because of my price point where, you know, there were lower budget weddings and so they were a lot of work for me, um, because the wedding's doesn't necessarily have a caterer who were busting the table. So I was busing the table. I also had a very crazy idea that I was going to start renting out linens. Um, so I created a lot of work for myself because if you hired me as coordinator, then you get 50 percent off of your rentals. Um, and so I did tablecloths and Napkins and chair covers and chairs ashes along with coordinating the wedding. So when I moved to Seattle, um, I knew I was not going to bring that part of the business with me. Um, and so by the time I moved to Seattle being three years into it, my price point was a little more, um, my weddings were a lot easier in Seattle, um, than they were in San Francisco.

[19:19] And then I do, um, every once in a while I'll get a client that finds me on yelp and San Francisco, so I'll do a wedding there still. And I'd have to say the weddings actually are very, very similar, um, for me, uh, because they're, they're the same budgets. They're, um, they're all in like their, most of them are in San Francisco. So the weather besides the rain is pretty similar, kind of cold and gray. Um, so it is, it is similar, but I'd have to say, um, I had a client who knew it was from California getting married in Nevada and I did her wedding and Taco and it was so nice to have a coordinator from Seattle who's used to the rain and not California because it was raining. And I was like, it's going to clear up. I can tell by the clouds. We've got this, we're going to have an outdoor ceremony. Um, and sure enough, but right before she walked down the aisle, it cleared up, the chairs were dry. Um, and so the weather kind of plays a part if it shifts in California, but no, the weddings, weddings are pretty similar,

[20:32] isn't it? Funny how, and it wouldn't necessarily think, but like generally if you're getting paid a little bit more for the wedding and it's going to be a little bit easier. We're and I'm somewhere in the ranks, a little bit of a reduced range or it's off season just kind of trying to fill up the dates and it's always like the ones that you take a little bit less usually and you're like, man, I'm like, oh, well what if you only have like Yukon videographer? I mean we can cut off a little bit more work for me now, but you would think the opposite. Think the more money you make, the more work you'd be doing. But sometimes it's the opposite.

[21:13] Yeah, you would think that the more they pay, the more they expect. But it's definitely like clients that are like, oh my gosh, it's $500 that so much money. They're expecting like $6,000 worth of stuff for the $500. I actually, I think that all the time and I, we, I've just recently had a few conversations with other vendors about um, about that.

[21:41] Um, have you, how have you worked to kind of make yourself stand out and in terms of your brand and your company in Seattle, has it been challenging just in terms of like saturation there, how has that gone for you guys? It's been a long time now. So

[21:55] yeah, I think that I've always tried to keep my price point middle of the road. Um, I don't want to be the lowest, but I'm definitely, I'm like, you were, I liked, I liked to work. I like to work hard. Um, and so I don't want to price myself where I could do five weddings and make just as much as if I did, I'd rather do 20. Um, so I think price point wise, um, I've set myself apart a little bit because do you know, you, you're paying for those years of experience, but I'm not charging as much as other people that have just as much experience. Um, and then, and then the fact that I do floor really decor, um, there's, there's a few coordinators out there that also do floral into court, but it's definitely my clients love it because it makes it easier for them. They only have to find one vendor versus three coordinator, floral and a decor person. So, um, and then I just show up with the flowers and then I take them all away at the end of the night. So it's easier for them.

[23:07] Yeah. That's something I've struggled with too. I kind of have this, we're in the off season right now kind of prepping for next year in terms of like I went back and kind of crunched a bunch of numbers on my side in terms of like years in hours and weddings and all this staffing like yeah, it is hard sometimes. It's not necessarily like charging what you're worth, but it's essentially like charging what you know or what you've been through. I mean like having started back as long as it goes, you have like, it's just a lot of, you just seen a lot more stuff than someone that's kind of started even in the last, like three or four years, you know, you. Do you sense a couple of get battery? Not, I mean, I have a couple or somebody else. It's a little bit cheaper. I always think like, well, I hope that they're going to be experienced enough the album Leo, because I, I want everyone to be successful. So,

[23:58] um, yes, I do believe, um, I mean at least I post my pit, my prices on my website, which, so, which is nice. I don't have to have that money conversation with my clients. I'm at the actual meeting and the reason I do that is, is so that I am getting the person that is appreciating my experience and the fact that I'm charging more because I'm experienced. Um, and then there are people who totally honest with me about it and go, yeah, it's a little more than we were hoping to spend and you know, I'm talking to this other coordinator and she only charges $500 and she says that she's going to do everything that you do. Um, so we have to have a conversation about, you know, um, I, I bring up things when I first started, um, that, that happened then and now 10 years down the road don't happen anymore because I plan accordingly.

[24:58] I plan ahead for that. Um, I know that it's a common thing that happens. I know the questions to ask the vendors and the caterers and the client to make sure these things don't happen. And the knowledge that I have now is because as I was growing and only charging $100 and then $500, somebody had to stumble and fall in order for me to learn, oh, okay, that's not what we do. We need to do this or that's a question I need to ask them ahead of time so I don't have to come ask them. On the dance floor, um, so that's a conversation that the client and they have, um, and then obviously it's up to them whether they want to pay for more experience and a smoother, um, some of the ride or if they would rather go budget conscious and get somebody that doesn't have as much experience.

[25:52] What do you, what are one or two of those things that you wish that people knew more and more about or you know, the kind of pitfalls that you see that you're constantly, you know, like you said, things that you've, you've dealt with or were there some common things that couples can learn that you wish they knew?

[26:08] My biggest thing is the caterer. So they reach out to the caterer and they're like, hey, I need food, here's my budget. And the caterer put the proposal together. Um, and if it's not like an inhouse cater, sometimes they put that budget together and they have. I'm leaving at like the staff of the cater leaving at 9:00 when the event, when the event's not over until 11. Um, and so now there are, you know, there's two hours of people eating cake and drinking and all of those cups that are just everywhere and is cleaning them up, but the client doesn't know any better. They don't really know. They don't think about, oh yeah, who's going to do those things the last two hours or um, who's gonna take the trash away at the end of the night. Um, so a lot of them have to do with caterers. I'm trying to be within their budget but not telling them what corners were cut to get there. Um, and so that's something that I look at, um, uh, that I look out for the client to make sure that at the end of the night we're not stuck with a huge mess that now their parents have to clean up.

[27:25] So that's one of the things, um, I think one of the things also is, um, not knowing exactly what they need from their photographer. Um, you know, do I need to photographers versus one, do I need the rights to the photos or do I need an algorithm? Um, do I need them for hair and makeup, dancing, you know, what kind of, what do I need them for 12 hours, um, so kind of steering them in the direction of, of what they actually need and want versus like, you know, there are three packages that the photographer offers.

[28:02] I see like order of things sometimes to have a day but don't have a venue. I'm talking to a couple right now that had a photographer but didn't even have a venue yet. And so that means they didn't have a date and that was like, you know, just just sometimes like the order of things that, you know, like I think you need to have a venue before you have a date and then you can book other things. Do you find that to the couples or what do you think?

[28:31] Yeah, it's funny that you mentioned that I had a conversation just recently with a client because she said that they had a $10,000 budget, which they realize that they're not going to be able to withhold. I was like, okay, well just send me what you have budget wise, what you spent. I'll look over it. I'm sure enough they had booked the venue, the photographer, the videographer, and myself, and they were already at 10,000 and some change. And I go, well, did you hire a caterer? And they're like, oh no, no, we haven't. Oh by the way, you're going, you're looking at spending like $30,000 on your wedding if you haven't hired food. So yes. Um, that's a huge, huge problem because, um, it's, yeah, what are you going to do? You've spent your entire budget and you don't have food yet. Um, so there's definitely a better order to go about it.

[29:34] I have had clients reach out to me to do their flowers and they don't have a venue or date yet and I was, well, why don't you get a venue, get a date? That way we can kind of design your floral accordingly because what if you book a place that has maroon carpet and you wanted red flowers in your venue? Um, and so, uh, I think people, there are definitely clients who have things that are like so important to them and it doesn't matter what they are, they're just going to book those things, um, and then kind of fill in the pieces afterwards, but to your point, if, if you don't have a venue and a date, um, and you're reaching out to photographers, you know, what, if they're not available on the date that you actually choose or vice versa. I've had a client, she booked me and meet me as her wedding coordinator, her photographer and a Dj and then she found her menu and so she had to work around our schedules to book the date and I was like, that is such an unnecessary headache. Um, so yeah, there's definitely, I'm a little bit of an order that needs to happen to keep your budget in line but also keep it easier on the client.

[30:59] Yeah, I know that Dorothy and I were the worst and I know when we [inaudible] we, we have I think 13 or 14 month engagement and we had worked together and I knew I wanted a to use you for, for all seven. Like Dorothy, we, we didn't know what we wanted and we did know we had the date and everything that I said, okay, well we just need to like get her reserved here. And that was like literally just like whatever we need is like a minimum. They get this going because I was like, we have planned this so far in advance. Would it be so upset if I, these vendors that we're trying to buck and it's not working inside now. Even though that I was like, all right, tell me what we need now to get those books for this day. And then we can figure out if we need, you know, three massages or four of them rely on their whatever else is going on. I'm talking about some of the couples that are trying to do you guys in your company and a couple of you like to work with. And weddings you kinda like to do.

[31:56] Well, I love a client who, um, I, you know, I had really last Saturday I had an ideal client. She was like, it's my wedding and the most important thing is that I'm there, he's there and we get married and that is absolutely what it is about and all of everything else when it comes down to it is just extra fluff that is nice. But if it goes wrong, it is not the end of the world. Um, so she had like her veil laying on the bed because she didn't want to get it all wrinkled. And her mom was sit on was like, mom, it's okay. It's okay. It's there, I'm watching it. And if somebody sits on it or it rips, oh well. And I was like, yes, she, you're going to enjoy your wedding because this is like the first thing, right when I came with the flowers to say good morning and hello or whatever.

[33:03] I was like, yes, that is the right attitude. It's a veil. And you spent like 200 plus dollars on it and yet love it to be in one piece when you walked down the aisle. But if it doesn't happen that way, as long as you walked in the island, you get married. Oh, well. Um, so my ideal client is one that doesn't get caught up in the very, very small details of things that just, it doesn't matter. I had one client who emailed me and she wanted me to send her a picture of the red rose that I use because she wanted the exact same shade for her pocket squares. And I said, you know, what? The Red rose and medicine you today is, might not be the red rose that I get tomorrow and I'm not in control of that. So now I'm not going to send you a picture.

[33:52] It's going to be read. And if you're that concerned to match than either don't get pocket squares or don't get boot in years because it doesn't matter. When it comes down to it, it doesn't matter. Um, and so yeah, when I meet with clients and they, you know, they like easy going, I'm not caught up in the, in the stupid small details, um, but also aren't one of those ones that's like, doesn't know anything about anything or care about anything because what happens is the entire process of planning, they're like, oh, I don't care. Whatever they show up, they show up, but I will have open seating and that will have, you know, 10 tables and I just assume that'll be enough. And um, and then all of a sudden a week before the wedding, they care about everything and it's like, oh, well you've had me for a year and you didn't care.

[34:53] And now it's like one week before the wedding and everything is set and you want to change everything. Um, so those are a little hard. Um, and then the only other one that is huge for me is the bride has to have friends. Um, she has to have bridesmaids and if she doesn't have brides mean if she chooses not to have bridesmaids because they don't want to make, you know, they're best friends. Pay Two hundred dollars for a dress or flying in and go to a, you know, go to a Bachelorette party and pay for a dress and pay for the flight. And then there is because of considerate reasons. Good. I'm good with that. But I had a bride who she, I should've known but she didn't have any bridesmaids and it was not because of considerate reasons. Um, she had nothing to do the day of her wedding.

[35:47] She had no one to be with or entertain her, keep her mind occupied. So she was my managing every step of everything. Um, I, I'm surprised in killer because she just, she was terrible. Um, it was then that I realized if you don't have, they don't have a bribe, a bridesmaid or groomsmen and it's not because they're being nice, you're not for me because I can only take being micromanaged so much before I'm like, okay, step back, I do this for a living, I know what I'm doing. Let me set it all up. And then you can come down here and if you do not like everything, then we can change it at that point. Um, and then floral realizes is the client who kind of knows what they want, but is it like, so stuck on it has to be 12 inches wide of a boat, K or I have to have this certain flower because, you know, of course that flower isn't available when they're getting married or does it cover the color that they saw on pinterest or something like that. And then I get stuck and I feel like I'm crushing their dreams because I have a reality of a budget versus what you can have, you know, what the look that you can afford and what, you know, what you want or else are you fell in love that flower but you can't have it because it's not available. Um, so one is kind of like, I liked the look of this but I don't really care, you know, what flowers do you use?

[37:19] Yeah, that was tough too. And I will say like someone that went through the formal planning, uh, you know, to not get. Why don't the only certain things are, are available or volume or you know, it is like a seasonal thing. I'm like, I, you know, I, that is not something I deal with. And so it is always very insightful for us to kind of go through that process as well. Like, well it is more of like this look or a vibe or a theme versus like, it's going to be six of this, have this and they're going to be your veil story made me laugh. Um, years ago now it was a jeff, my assistant. It was, I think it was like the third way you meet ever done and he had just come on and, you know, I had been doing weddings for a couple of years and she, uh, like the first couple of weddings had gone really good and so, you know, he's like, whatever, it's just like easy peasy and we get and the bride's getting ready and rather apartment and it's like really quiet.

[38:13] Like it's just her, like two friends and they're kind of getting ready and we go to get her bail on and there's like this little rip in it. And she had a meltdown meltdown like jeff had never seen before. And he was like looking at me like I don't know what to do here because it was the first thing, you know to it then, you know what I mean, stuff happens. And he was like. And luckily they happened to get her dress in bail at a bridal shop. They just happened to be like a mile away from your house and they just happened to be open at nine in the morning. And he was like, what are the chances that like most people like, oh, I got my dress in Redmond and we're getting married in their clothes. I just couldn't believe. And I was like, yeah, but I told Jeff, I said that was like a good lesson because we didn't actually have to learn the lesson, but it was a good experience to go through a BMI. It's not all going to be, you know, you kinda got to be prepared for that sort of stuff.

[39:12] I'm a professional vale hemorrhage. Figured out how to perfect putting it back together and not letting it be known that it actually happened.

[39:25] We had a photographer, it was his wife was a second and she carried a m, a sewing kit because she had a bride's maid, popped the back of her dress, just something had torn and she goes, I'll tell you, she was like, if you'd be surprised more than often how often I'm kind of on my knees handling this or sewing up a seam or something, you know, as we're getting ready to do bridal party photos.

[39:51] Yep.

[39:51] Do you as someone that has plans and likes to have you found success in that in terms of just knowing that, do you enjoy that kind of having your toolkit then going out or what do you think about?

[40:05] Well, I. that's what I loved about nursing is problem solving. It's kind of like, I don't wish I did. I don't have that something goes wrong, but when it does, I'm like, yeah. Like I go into this like in my mind I would say that like jump for joy in front of the client, but in my mind I'm like, alright, here we go. What's, what solution? What's the plan b? You know, how, what can I do to fix this? And I'm into, you know, come to the rescue.

[40:37] That's awesome. Yeah. You don't want to make them think you're excited about it. Oh yeah.

[40:47] Keep that inside.

[40:50] Yeah. I was at my other. No, that was going to say is in terms of, like you said, the couple couples said they're easy going and then not. Yeah, if you have concerns, definitely voice. Um, I have very extensive questionnaire that I send out before my wedding and I know that they're somewhat overwhelming sometimes to people, but it's, it's to get all that info and it's always the ones that I send and it's like, oh, whatever. And then after the wedding and then they have like a lot, a lot of questions about their video and that's why I've been trying to go through this with you guys for the last six months. You know, like I get that there's a lot to do here. You can't. But it is, it's like a once, it's once, it's right about there. Especially, like I said, once it happens, like once couples get done with, at least for me get done with the wedding and it's like, oh, well now we can actually like folk, you know, like what can we focus on now, like the video or the photos or the whatever out, you know, the album afterward or whatever.

[41:42] It's kind of funny how people approach that.

[41:45] My floral contracts, they break it down. I'm like Chris Hodges, and if it depends on her wrist and it says on there that know pin on our wrist, but I can't tell you or I'll say I'm using row of roses and baby's breath and gun I eucalyptus. Um, and it is, I mean it's not in the fine print. It is there like you cannot miss it. And I have clients that will call day of and go, there's no Chris Hodges and in all of this. And I go, yeah, it's the one with the three spray roses and baby's breath. Well, well those pins, there's not a risk corsage. And I'm like, yeah, that's what you ordered and it's had on the contract that you signed. And then three weeks before your wedding I sent it to you and I have to look it over again and you approved it.

[42:36] And then Saturday is wedding. She was like, it's supposed to be halfway through the reception. She's like, it's supposed to be a full open bar, but they have just been serving beer and wine the whole night. And I was like, oh my gosh, that's a huge like thing that the client that the venue did. Oh my goodness. Well No, I go to the office to talk to the venue coordinator and it's right there in the contract beer, wine and signature cocktails that was sent to her numerous times. And so she, after the wedding on Sunday, she texted me. She's like, whatever happened about that. And I go, well, I wasn't in the contract. I'm just beard line into like, oops. So clearly she didn't read it. Um, so yeah, that's a huge, huge thing is getting clients, you know, we spent and I'm sure you do as well, your questionnaire, it didn't take you two minutes to put that questionnaire together and there's a lot of thought that you put into that so that you know exactly what they want when you're shooting it. So for them to come afterwards and be like, oh, hey, yeah, you know, I hope you got a shot with my grandma and you're like, great things I needed to know before you walked down the aisle.

[43:49] Oh, we really captured in the thing and you're like, uh, I, uh, just one final note on this. And then I want to switch subjects. Yeah. Re a clients read your contracts, range of conscience page contract. And I know a Docu sign tells me when you clerk to read the contract and sometimes I'm amazed at how quick. It's like, oh, it's signed the return. Then I'll be like, there's no way that they read. It's just a six page contract. There's no money. They read that in two minutes, but it's just, I guess we're just that entire scene to work with that. It's just like,

[44:31] who cares what the contracts.

[44:35] I want to round out the conversation today talking about this now again, and kind of, um, you're using your knowledge and expertise and how did this come about? I know you guys found some property and it was a little bit of back and forth and however much detail you.

[44:52] Shortly after, like I said, shortly after starting Love Blooms, I decided that I wanted to eventually own a wedding venue. Um, and um, so we went searching, um, it took us three years to find this property that we found. It's in Snoqualmie. It's nine acres. It's surrounded by beautiful evergreen trees. Um, and I, you know, I'm, I love barn weddings, but that just, if that wasn't for me, um, ballroom weddings are very pretty and elegant, but that wasn't the look I was going for. I really wanted a, I'm a true to Seattle area, Pacific northwest, evergreen trees and green grass and beautiful aligned tent with Chandelier's. Then you get married in the gardens and I wanted that and I, so knowing that I was going to go into the wedding venue eventually, every single wedding venue that I went to for these last 10 years, I've been taking notes in my head about what I liked and what I didn't like and what worked and what the client was complaining about or what the client really enjoyed.

[46:22] Um, so this wedding venue is being created with 10 years of feedback from vendors and brides and grooms, um, so the bridal suite to get ready and is designed for beautiful pictures and for functionality. Um, so the client is happy. The photographer's happy, the videos happy. Same with the guys room. Um, and then the garden area for ceremony has been designed where it's big enough for, um, the, you know, the guest count, but also for extra chairs so that when people fill in, you don't have to fill in every single seat. And the back scape is designed where you can, um, bring in your own decor pieces, your own elements. It's not particular to a static or the other. And then the reception again is kind of designed where any theme, any color scheme makes sense in the area. And then we, you know, we wanted to make sure the parking, there's plenty of parking on site so that you don't have to pay for a shuttle.

[47:50] Um, there is the Snoqualmie falls is three minutes down the street, so the picture opportunities are endless here. And then there's a Hilton Garden Inn right down the street so your guests can come and hang out, easily, get a shuttle from the hotel to this location. Um, and then the casino is five minutes down the road. So it's a really fun destination wedding for anybody who's, who's wanting to kind of create the, um, for the atmosphere like you are in Tahoe or Vegas or something like that. But you are enjoying the beauty, the beautiful Pacific northwest aesthetic. Um, so it's, there's been years, years, the thought of being poured into this space that I'm, I cannot wait to watch people enjoy this. Actually 2019, we have three weddings booked. Um, and I can't wait to watch them enjoy my blood, sweat and tears. But I have poured into this menu

[49:04] and uh, yeah. So are you guys opening now or for dates? Are you going to get through the. I don't know how that works. It works

[49:11] well. Um, we, we've put in the, um, we're getting, we're getting all the permits from King County to have the weddings here. Um, so we're, we're on the tail end of that. We're okay to have to. Well, we're okay to have 30 weddings a year from King County, so we're just waiting to get that permit in hand. Um, and then, uh, students that we're gonna get, we're going to have a grand opening party in May or June. Um, and then, uh, you know, just invite wedding planners, wedding industry people and caters. Then we've, I, in the last 10 years I've also been doing research on catering. So we did, I wrote down, you know, the caterers that I really enjoyed working with that bringing a good product to the client and kind of fill any niche that they would want. So we interviewed them, did a tasting. So we've booked with what we have four different caterers that you're required to use and so there was not anything done here that did not have a lot of thoughts poured into the decision making.

[50:29] That's awesome. Yeah, I know. Is someone that, um, I think we had talked about it last year at one of the weddings we did and I know obviously you have lots of friends in that community and I know it's a lot of people have been very excited about this and anxiously looking forward to it and I was happy to get your call the other day and kind of getting, getting the wheels go on the website gets you. It's inside this know that I think it would be really exciting and I think you hear a lot of times, you know, I've even heard from couples we're going to get married and then open their own venue and I've heard from clients and vendors and lots of things. And so I think it's just really exciting to kind of see this coming about and I think it's going to be an awesome, you know, obviously the next step for you guys and I know that there's a lot of people that are pulling for you guys and you know, looking forward to kind of seeing how the stuff there.

[51:15] Yes, we are, we're very, very excited to be able to offer this to our clients. You know, just, um, again, there is, there's definitely a niche for it with our Seattle clients. I'm not having, you know, an outdoor option unless they go super north or south. So we are really excited to fill that niche.

[51:39] And do we make sure we mentioned the name, uh, the, uh, on the podcast. I don't know if we talked about that.

[51:44] Evergreen Meadows and the website is

[51:49] Perfect. Uh, well I want to thank you so much for coming on today and scheduling this. I was so happy last week to get your call, even though I didn't know who it was at first I was, oh, this is. I go, hello. And she goes, oh, hi, this is, uh, this is Katrina. And I said, oh, okay. Cause you know, it could be a client or a compliance guy. It sometimes I want to thank you so much for coming on today and taking the time if people want to learn more about you and, and Love Blooms and everything else we talked about the venue, tell them how to get in touch with you about wedding planning.

[52:26] Um, so we, so you can just go to our website, and there's my phone number is on their email address or just our contact form, along with everything that we offer.

[52:40] Perfect. Well thank you again so much. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thank you so much.

[52:48] Thank you.

Jen Lagers, Jen Lagers Makeup, Hair, Styling

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington and today I'm joined by one of my long time friends Jen Lagers, who is a awesome hair and makeup stylists here in the greater Seattle area. And I want to thank you so much for coming in today, uh, for coming in on your day off. And also I know you've been sick lately and I was very, I'm nervously watching your social media that makes sure that because this is obviously the most important appointment you found that way. Of course it is a. So thank you so much for coming in. Why don't you introduce yourself, tell us who you are and a little bit about what you do.

[00:48] Great. Thanks Reid. Um, my name is Jen Lagers like Reid said. I am a professional licensed hair and makeup artist. I have a salon in the Green Lake area and then I freelance for weddings, events, commercials, you name it. I can do it. Um, so hair and makeup. Oh, I'm based in Seattle, but I travel internationally too. So you just came back from a quite an excursion, right? Yeah, when to Paris for a workshop and then Morocco for fun. So Paris was about a week of hair and makeup. I'm like 12 hour days, so it was intense but it was amazing as well, so very fortunate to have been there and done that. So it was awesome.

[01:33] As I'm sure we can talk more about your travels. I always envy people that get to travel professionally. I traveled for like wrestling, but I have to pay for it. I don't know if anyone wanted to but uh, so. Well thank you so much for coming in. Uh, one thing that I wanted to talk kind of it right off the bat. I mean you've been doing makeup for a long time and so I'm talking about kind of just um, kinda how you got into it and also kind of like the importance of having that experience. But I guess we can start at the beginning like, like

[02:00] how, how did this begin? How did you, kind of, a long story, but I'll shorten it and make it sweeter. Um, I've been doing hair makeup for 15 years, um, which makes me feel very old, but not really guys. Yeah. I'm originally from Missouri and I opened my salon when I was 21 and own the salon from 21 to about 28 and during that time I had my daughter and I thought, you know, I want to do something maybe a little different. So I ended up selling my salon and going back to college, finishing my degree. My degree is in fashion marketing, merchandising with a minor in event planning. So at that time I had come to Seattle to intern for Nordstrom and I really loved Seattle. I actually, I've never thought about traveling here until I got the opportunity. Um, and they were like, oh, just come back in, we'll give you a job.

[03:00] So I moved back or moved to Seattle to my daughter. I had, I knew zero people here. And so I worked for Nordstrom for bit and then got recruited by another company because my goal was to become a buyer and I got recruited from another company to be buyer for women's accessories. So I did that for about three years and during that time I was doing hair for, we call it kitchen hair for like friends, um, and every now and then events for hair, makeup, but I just felt not my self and I felt a little lost because I just did not jive well with the corporate world and, but also at the same time I thought, Gosh, I've worked so hard to get this degree and I uproot it myself and my three year old at the time. So, um, I just stuck in there and then one day they laid 20 people off from our little office and I was one of them. So I was basically forced to think of something different and that was my opportunity. I'm like, well, I'm going to go back to doing hair and makeup and working at a salon. So long story short. Yeah. Here. Yeah. So this is my third year doing hair and makeup in Seattle professionally, right? Right. Yeah. Yep. So, but 15 years total.

[04:19] That's crazy. I'm talking about one the age of 21. That's a, I think a lot of 21 year olds nowadays are probably not as, you know, I don't know if it's a millennial thing or it's not as much of your time. I mean, that's fascinating.

[04:33] Um, you know, I have always been having that entrepreneurial spirit, I guess you could say when I was 12 I just ran all these little side businesses and my mom was like, what are you doing? But I'm like, I'm making mcgee, you know, I was bringing out a lot of cash so I was like, I should just continue doing this. Um, but yeah, I never thought about owning my own salon at 21. It just kind of fell in my lap and I said yes to it and put both feet in and jumped in and it actually worked out well. So yeah, while my friends were partying and, you know, living it up at the bars, I was working 12 hour days, but I also was making good money and enjoyed what I was doing. So yeah, it was kind of crazy that I think about that, you know, 21.

[05:21] Uh, what was it like living in Missouri versus. Yeah,

[05:25] uh, so I just got back from Missouri like three days ago actually. So it's like fresh in my mind. Um, it's very different as far as environment. Um, you know, we've got some rolling hills and some beautiful trees and definitely four seasons, uh, we have snow, but overall I just, I love Seattle and I love the but that it has and just discovering new places and that's another thing I love about doing weddings because I get to travel on the weekends to these new places that I've never seen before or maybe would have never visited, you know, so it's definitely different. Um, but I, I do really enjoy it. So the people are a little, I had to kind of accustom to the Seattle freeze is what everybody called it. And, and that's very true. Um, the midwest people are just very sweet and genuine and um, we'd give you the shirt off their back. So Seattle's, it's getting there, it's getting better.

[06:22] Uh, what was it like kind of coming to out. Because I have heard of the Seattle freeze and that also people have come on and talked about how like the wedding community though is maybe a little bit more inviting and a little bit more welcoming. What did you, what did you find? I'm kind of getting your way into that now and obviously still growing your network here. You know, I saw you at Meredith's event a couple months ago, you know, still trying to kind of, obviously we're always trying to build our networks. But when did you find coming to Seattle and now the experience?

[06:50] Um, you know, I found it very opening and very powerful. I do feel like the community here is, you know, we always say community over competition and I do feel like that's pretty on point and I, you know, people are always willing to help and I feel like it's also relationship. I mean you really have to put yourself out there and um, the people are very sweet and very helpful. So I found out that going to the meetups, um, was a good thing just to show my face, get my name out there, you know, just being new and knowing no one and kind of rebuilding my brand, rebuilding my clients. It was a lot of work, but I definitely could have not done it without the community here. Absolutely.

[07:35] Yeah. Was it hard, um, is someone that you haven't had a lot of experience, like you said, you know, it was newer to Seattle in terms of like you have been in that market, like was that hard to like brand that and kind of market that like here I am with all this experience but now trying to like get a foothold here.

[07:50] Yeah. You know, sometimes it was because I, I'm thinking I know how to do that or I am just as good but no one knows me. Like I have like three people on my phone that have Seattle phone numbers, so that was a little difficult. But again, it's just, you have to put yourself out there and be willing to take those risks that, you know, I am an extrovert so I, sometimes it does come a little easier to me to say hi or send a message via instagram or facebook, whatever it may be. Um, you know, I've got some nos, but I, 80 percent of the time I got yeses. So just to meet up for coffee or happy hour and it definitely goes a long way. So,

[08:32] um, so when you were doing advanced back in Missouri, you know, hair and makeup and things, what was the difference between doing that in Missouri and in Seattle? Is there, I mean, I have to imagine a pretty stark,

[08:43] uh, you know, um, somebody asked me that the other day. I worked a lot in Chicago as well, so working for maxim and Disney channel playboy. And so the makeup there is for those things you're doing a lot more than you normally would for a wedding. So. And also my girls, they're, they're very big into like hair and makeup and they do their hair everyday. They put on a full face everyday. So coming to the Pacific northwest, it was a little. I'm like, wow. Um, I would put a dress on and people are like, Oh, where are you going? And I'm like, oh, aren't we going out to dinner or happy hour or heels and no one wears heels. So I had to tone it down A. I definitely found that out because a lot of my girls, they're just, you know, they're professional women and they're excited about getting married, but they also want to look like themselves and I value that wholeheartedly. I mean it was definitely a huge change for me, like coming from someplace like the south, which it's not, but people would consider the south. So changing everything, toning it down.

[09:56] No kardashians makeup. Dorothy is such a like you were wanting to dress up. Yeah, I'll it like happy hour. I am like her trying to get me to jump. My hair is like a, it's a daily struggle and it's something that we did. We actually negotiated into, okay, well his job, my hair today, if I don't have to do something tomorrow or if you'll do something. Um, yeah, it talks about doing, uh, doing these large scale events like in Chicago and here I was perusing your site kinda before you came and he is quite an extensive list of experiences and things. I mean, is that, was that intimidating kind of entering that world or is it, are you kind of used to that now or. No,

[10:37] I, I'm always intimidated. Um, it doesn't matter whether it's this lovely podcast, it doesn't matter if it's a wedding. I always get butterflies and I used to be kind of mad at myself for having those feelings, but now I, I love it because it's still teaching me to be humble and always just expect the unexpected and just to be prepared, you know? Um, so yeah, there's always times where I get a little more nervous than other events, but I just feel like it's good to feel that way. Yeah. Teaches you to stay true to yourself.

[11:15] Right? Absolutely. So when you were kind of entering the, this yellow one market here, did you have any kinds of expectations that you thought it would be harder not or kind of any major lessons you learned starting out here and kind of kind of get back into that world after being working at Nordstrom?

[11:32] Yeah. Honestly, I didn't know what to expect. I really didn't. Um, I tried to do as much research as I could. I started following other Seattle makeup artist, um, just to kind of get the feel and, you know, everybody is their own entity so I would see anything from Kardashians makeup to very light and airy makeup, which is more or less my brand. Um, and I just fell in love with um, skin and I didn't really have that love when I was in Missouri because I was so busy covering skin because people want it. So much makeup that I just took a different, uh, I guess look on, on my brand and who I am and who is Jen and who are my brides. So yeah, I didn't honestly have any expectations until I started booking weddings and my brides kind of made those expectations for me. Yeah.

[12:27] Yeah. I guess before we go any further, but maybe you should, I kind of defined more or less year your makeup style and kind of how you, how you approach either whether it's a wedding or however

[12:37] right, approach it. Right? Yeah. I think it depends on the job that I'm doing. My, I would say 80 percent of my brides are very, um, they want to look like themselves. They want to feel it just like themselves, but more enhanced. And I love that because I want my girls to feel beautiful, but I definitely want, you know, their makeup to show up for pictures, you know, that in videos. So, um, you know, they want a little bit more, but they want to, they want to know that their fiance is going to notice them walking down the aisle, you know, that's their biggest thing. And um, I just, I love, I love my girls, like they are very um, inquisitive about makeup and you know, some of them know exactly what they want. Some of them are just like Jen, just do whatever you want because I just love your brand. So my, yeah, my brand is more or less um, enhanced version of yourself, you know, be the best that you can just maybe add a little bit more cream blush or add that extra layer of Mascara. So

[13:37] yeah, I know that was huge for the, you know, way it came to our wedding of wanting to feel because, you know, we, she's been to weddings and I've shot weddings were like, you know, pre, pre makeup a post makeup are both beautiful, but you like I'll look back at like the first two clips I have of the day and I'll be like, oh wow, if that's the same person, it's always good. But you'll be like, oh, okay. Either. So it is a. and I know that there was a big thing for Dorothy. I said, let me, uh, making sure that she felt comfortable and that I would know.

[14:09] I'm always like, well, you know, trying a red lip is maybe not the best on your wedding day. Probably not the best time to try read live, you know, like for rehearsal dinner. Sure. Not your wedding day.

[14:22] Yeah. So you think for the most part though, like cll brides kind of want just more of that? Yeah,

[14:27] absolutely. Yeah, I definitely, yes. Specific northwest women are very like let's just be natural and which I love because I, I can do that very well and um, I can keep you looking like yourself. So

[14:42] um, I've had other makeup artists on the, on the podcast before and talking about like kind of that whole like unlicensed versus licensed and kind of like different people's expectations and what costs are and stuff. I mean, what, what have you found kind of in the Seattle market in terms of like, you know, if brides are looking for a like I'll see a lot. Like oh my gosh, my makeup person cancelled. I was going to pay them $20 and of course they've found something else. Or do you, do you find that a lot? Are you in that world or you kind of out this far outside of that now or.

[15:15] I mean I feel like I'm a little bit out far that I am licensed and you know, that's another topic for discussion, but I value my education. I value any education and I'm constantly learning new techniques and again, I'm not the world's SPEC makeup artists. I am really good at what I do. I'm confident in my skill and very confident in my job. But having that willingness and open heart to learn more, you have to have that. So I think education is super important. I, I regard it highly. I mean this past year I've been to palm springs. I've been to New York, Portland, all for learning new techniques for hair and makeup. So you know, when my brides book me, I want them to know, yes you are paying this price but you're paying somebody that keeps up on education and not saying that the $20 makeup artists don't. But education is not cheap, so you have to value yourself just as much as your brides.

[16:17] Yeah. Talk about talking about the, having the license and kind of the importance.

[16:21] Um, I mean, I am an advocate for, I feel everyone should be licensed if you're touching someone's face, your hair, their hair, um, and you know, going anywhere near those, those body parts, I feel like you should kind of know what to do and I'm not saying you can do your research, but I went through about a year and a half of school and learned proper skincare, proper haircare. What happens if someone has on, God forbid, like a sore or a rash, um, how to kind of take care of that. So I feel being licensed, um, is very, very important. So just for. I mean, like I said, I've, I feel there's some makeup artists here in Seattle that don't agree and the state is actually cracking down on that as well because it is illegal to do onsite hair and makeup. Um, if you're not licensed, the state has turned a blind eye to it for quite awhile. So, um, it's uh, again, topic up for discussion, you know, whether that's true or not, but it, it is, it is. You have to have a license to do that. So

[17:30] that's crazy. Yeah. Yeah. That's interesting. Yeah. And see that's something obviously that you, you fall into a lot more. I'm talking about, uh, I want to hear more about these excursions and these travel, um, you know, training sessions and things. I mean, how, uh, how do those come about and talk about the benefits of those and continuing kind of grow who you are.

[17:50] Right. Um, you know, are we, I feel like as whether you're a photographer or makeup artist, a videographer, we all have somebody that we kind of look up to and um, you know, whether you follow them on instagram or facebook. Um, I, I, I do that for a few people that I absolutely love their work. And I saw, okay, well somebody who's coming to New York while I happened to have a wedding in Pittsburgh to do so I just extended my stay and took the class and it was an all day class and she went, she is a woman of color and I think that being a makeup artist you have to have the knowledge of to help any lady no matter what ethnicity they are and to be knowledgeable and have those colors in your kit. So, you know, going into her class really helped me a lot and um, I feel very confident and doing any, any color, any, any shade, any shape.

[18:48] So, um, that was the all day eight to, oh my gosh, were there for almost 12 hours, eight to eight. And it's just, Oh, you know, you do feel very overwhelmed when you leave, but you do feel very like, okay, I'm going to like dissect everything and you feel very knowledgeable. So. And then yeah, I took another class in palm springs and that was a two day event and well, you know, it's palm springs. So definitely was like complaining that I had to be there, but again, it's just, it's very overwhelming. It's just like all this information overload and um, but then you go home and you read your notes and then you're like, okay, I'm going to try this and, and even if you'll just learn one or two things out of going to a class, it can really dramatically change. Not only your brand but the experience that your brides have with you.

[19:40] It's so funny. I just was thinking of a story I was going to share. Hopefully you enjoy it because I do agree like going to these garments conferences, like I did the wedding mba like to, to whatever is it going in vegas and it's like the same thing, you know, you're there all day and you're like so excited and I got home and like, you know, I'm trying to like tell dorothy everything and like oh my gosh. And you know, pages and stuff. And then like I'll go film like these conferences which I assume is, is maybe a similar experience for somebody else. And so I just have one over at the Bellevue club and it was um, like companies that do like fuel reward points, so like incentive programs. So like, uh, we do a buy four tires, get one free or we do the fuel points three, you buy the groceries and it goes on. But it was like all these guys from like all over the country, like flown in and I'm sitting there filming this like bored to tears falling asleep like off of the podium, nylon. And I'm like, I mean, I guess it's the same then if they're like super jazzed about it, but, uh, you know, it's definitely a lot better when it's your own personal. Yup. Yup. Um, do you, do you wish there were some things that more of your bride's kind of asked a more

[20:50] guy? Always kind of say like pitfalls or ever, but like things you wish people asked you more that you know are happening.

[20:57] I think all going back to. I mean this is probably going to bore you a little bit, but um, dorothy would probably relate. Skincare. Skincare is a huge, huge thing for me. And, you know, I, I feel that good makeup starts with good skincare, so a lot of women don't know or they feel very overwhelmed. There's so many products out there, so they're walking into Sephora or Nordstrom and they're just like, oh, I didn't even know where to start. So I'll have women's at my chair for trials and we'll start talking. I'm like, well, what do you use for skin care? Oh, I use dial soap. And I'm like, I'm sorry what? Say That again? Use dial soap. The soap you're using to wash your dishes, you wash your hands and now your face. So I love to educate people and um, it's sometimes it's scary just like this, like that lovely lady. I'm going to tell you what you should be using or just give you some advice on where to start. Um, so yeah, I, I do wish people would be a little bit more conscious of what they are putting on their skin because I think people here in Seattle are very conscious of what they're eating. And um, you know, everything's organic and I'm like, but you can't wash your face with dial soap or like the lava soap or are, you know, like, no, you can't do that.

[22:14] Bless their hearts. Vibrating things. Yeah. Look at you. I don't, I don't do anything. I use Irish springs but read your faces. So beautiful. So do you feel like there is a lot of education they just goes into like when someone books with you, like do you feel like you kind of go through this as you can talk about that.

[22:37] That is a huge passion of mine as well because I really want you to look as glamorous as you can have your wedding day, but I want to educate you on the right products to use, whether you're getting married or not getting married. Um, and whether that's like your hair. Well maybe you should try these layers here or maybe you should grow your bangs out or if you add in a few like blonde pieces around your face that could change everything. So I feel like I give a lot of advice as well as, um, education to my brides. Um, or you know, anybody hit the books made whether you're brighter, not. So that is one thing with me that I just have a passion for helping women and again, like I don't want you to feel overwhelmed. Makeup is not scary, hair is not scary. It can be. Um, but I'm gonna help you as much as I can.

[23:29] Well, no, because I do think in no matter what the event and made it all starts with hair and makeup. And so I do think that like there's a lot of stress that's put on that, you know, it's first thing you do and then kind of like sets everything I'm talking about like the differences if you prefer between like, you know, maybe doing like a red carpet event or like a wedding or like, I don't know, like a seven for like a TV or something. I mean, do you, is there a certain aspects you like have more one or the other or is it just helping the people?

[23:55] Well, first things first. I'm a Gemini so I'm very, I love my science. Um, I'm just very eclectic. Meaning I, I love this and I love that, so I don't really love one thing over the other. I feel if I continue, like I'm doing weddings and weddings and weddings and then like, oh, a red carpet event. Oh, I love that red carpet event, you know, so it's just kinda nice to change it up and people often ask me, Oh, you're going to quit doing hair and just completely do weddings. I'm like, absolutely not. I love to have a little bit of change in my life. So after the crazy wedding season is over, now my salon is building up for the holidays and now I'm like super busy at my salon and I love that. I love the change that I'm the season spring. So talking about, yeah, talking about running the salon here in Greenwich is green, like about kind of the bad experience.

[24:49] Um, I have been there for three years and um, we're all our own entity there. We all rent. Um, so you called a booth rental but um, I, yeah, I, I love doing cuts and colors. It's a huge, again, passionate of mine. And um, I love to transition my brides into my hair clients because again, I love to keep that relation ship going with them and catch up with them. You know, this past week I had three of my brides from 2018, they came in and it's just like, oh my gosh, you know, how's married life and how was your honeymoon? And I'm, I'm just a very personal person. I view all my brides as my friends and um, I want them to feel very comfortable with me. So again, if I can see them after the wedding, it's just a bonus. So yeah, I, I love, I love doing salon work too. And sometimes I think my brides forget that I, that I do hair where they're like, oh, we just saw your wedding and hair mate, you know, just for the day. And I'm like, oh no girl, I got you. It was coming like the haircut. So yeah.

[25:52] Oh, but that, it gives you a chance to kind of, like you said, maintain that relationship afterwards. Because do think that a couple of year, whatever the kind of the vendor is, whether it's hair and makeup or video or you're fishing it, like it, you know, it, it's important to us as it is you, you know, on the wedding day and those emotions and kind of that way their brains are like, I do have a challenge with that sometimes where like, even though it's like really, um, intimate and like, you kind of know them and then you're like, oh, I've never seen this one.

[26:19] Right. You just like invested all these feelings and emotions into their wedding day, which is a huge day. And then you're like, peace out. Bye.

[26:28] Uh, we had one this summer and uh, I had met, um, uh, it was, uh, during the reception and that, you know, they, everyone's dancing and uh, this guy came up and he goes, hey man, like, you know, long story short, we need the video for next month. And you know, are you still available? You know, I know it's last. And we had actually had the rescheduling a just because of some family issues they had pushed back the wedding and so I was open and so I ended up booking him and so the groom from that wedding, you know, was at the was that, you know, Andrew's wedding and I just like sent him the video like the day, couple of days before and like I just spent like two weeks, like staring at him and like he was so weird, like seeing be like the end, like we had a good connection like day and it was a lot of time but still it's like I have looked at you away a lot more than you have looked at me then. So it's, it's always kind of a weird to be on that other side. Um, I, I don't know if we ever talked about, um, when you've gotten into your salon and in 21, like what was it about having that salon and the hair and makeup, the kind of got you into that besides just the entrepreneurial ship of kind of running businesses when you were young?

[27:35] Gosh, I mean, I wasn't that girl that played with makeup when I was younger. I didn't really do, you know, do my friend's hair. I was a bit of a tomboy and I had two younger brothers. My, all my neighbors around me were all boys, so we would constantly play like baseball and ghost in the graveyard. So it's like, I was just like, okay, here's Jen, just, you know, the only girl. And um, my mom was not a woman that did a lot of things for herself. So people, like where did you get this? Like I honestly, I think it's for my grandma, but that's about it. So I was going to college right after high school and a freshman in college and so my friend was working at the clinique counter at a store called dillard. So I don't know if anybody knows or very, you know, we have nordstrom here.

[28:26] So dillard's is definitely a midwest thing in south. Um, so I was working at Dillard's and I was just, I loved clients. I, I, you know, I start making friends with people that would come and buy products. And again, at the time clinic was really good about education. I mean, there are, of course when you go to sell their product, but I would go to these classes and learn about skincare and learn about different products for your face and um, whether that's makeup or you know, not dial soap. So I'm the manager. She said, Jen, you know, you are so good at this, you should really look into career of doing like hair and makeup. And I'm thinking, are you kidding me? No Way. I'm going to end up like the lead off of Greece, you know, like beauty, school dropout. I'm like, that is just not my plan.

[29:13] I'm like, I want to be a journalist and I want to go work for National Geographic, travel the world so that it's opposite. And I just started feeling again, kind of lost and I would just go to these classes. I'm thinking I'm wasting my money going to these classes that I'm not even loving and I'm don't even know what I really want to do. So I thought, I'm just going to go check out the school, you know, just go check it out, talk to somebody. Yeah. Did by the end of the day I was signing papers to start like in two weeks. And I'm like, oh my God, mom, hi. I'm starting beauty school.

[29:50] She actually was very supportive. Um, both my parents were supportive. I think they could tell it wasn't a happy college and um, all these ideas that I had for myself, you know, I was going to move away from this small town in Missouri and I was gonna do my own scene and then I was like, oh nope, actually I'm going to college in my hometown. So, um, but yeah, that brought me just a lot of amazing opportunities that I don't think I would've have been able to, um, experience if I was not in cosmetology school and friends that I'm still great friends with on that. Again, that was like 16, 17 years ago. So that changed my life and just opened up a world that I never knew existed. And I think I'm a passion that I didn't know exist it

[30:38] well. But that's better. There was also like the knowledge, but then your own drive to expand. I mean, there's people that have or whatever, you know, I mean in any field. So, um, talk about, uh, am I wanting to get back to that, talk about the journalism you wanted to be?

[30:55] I did, I was, well I thought it was a really good writer. Um, and it's another thing probably dump. I was homeschooled from second grade thumps, sorry, third grade until twelfth grade. So I'm crazy that I thought I was like, oh, people are like, oh, how are your teachers? I'm like, they were great. It was my mom, you know? Um, so are there, like, who is your school? You know, you're a Valedictorian. And I was like, it was me. I was president and vice president as well as all the things. Um, so yeah, I was homeschooled and I just did a lot of, I love, like I said, national geographic and I just poured myself into that. I had the opportunity to travel to India when I was 17 and I did humanitarian work in India for three months. And so that kind of put the drive in me, I was like, I'm going to go save the world. How can I save the world and get paid at the same time? Oh, I should just write. Um, so yeah, that was my, that was my first love was writing and traveling. So

[31:55] do you still write at all?

[31:58] You know? Um, I use social media, lovely instagram, you know, I, I never am one to like air my dirty laundry, but I am wanting to be, you know, if, if you follow me, I'm very genuine. I am very myself. I don't, I just, I don't know, it's hard for me to be someone that I'm not or just to be fake. So I use that as my, you know, my platform and I can just lay things out or in my heart out onto social media. So it is what it is. Sometime, you know, I feel like I should be this person or if they conform to this person, I'm on instagram or facebook and then I'm like, no, because at the end of the day, you know, I, I, my people, whether that's my friends or my clients say, you know, this is Jen, this is like if I meet you at a coffee shop, then you will still feel like, oh, this is instagram, Jen. So

[32:52] I see a lot of, we sat with social media with people and all this is, you know, it's so hard or fake and I do think that, yeah, the people that are like the most genuine and uh, you know, have, have something to say and also like, you know, represent themselves. You know, honestly, it's like the same thing when I post, you know, stupid stuff. I'm doing whatever, you know, wrestling or whatever you want it to be a, you know, you. Do you feel like when you, so getting your, uh, going to school and kind of like, do you feel like then you were kind of like escaping the small town when you got out? Or was that like a drive to get out or do you feel like that was the next step?

[33:31] Um, actually I, I did because initially right out of cosmetology school I started working at, um, there's a town about 45 minutes from us, got Columbia and actually that's where I went to college. But, um, that's a college town as the University of Missouri's there. They've got all their football games and they have this great journalism school. So I thought, well if I'm there then I'm still kind of sort of escaping my little farm town population 500. And I did, I worked there at the salon for about seven months. And then the opportunity came to open the salon in my hometown that actually it was a little bit outside of where I grew up town, Missouri. And it was like, wow, I have gone even deeper into like the country them what I thought. But I had all my clients still would come from Colombia and they would still come from the lake of the ozarks, which is another like hour away. So people were still traveling and I really was appreciative of that, you know, and it made me feel good. I'm like, Oh, I actually know what I'm doing, you know, like people value me as a stylist and they want their hair to look great. So yeah, they would drive. And I'm like, okay,

[34:47] as you got kind of deeper and deeper in that you work in to be able to.

[34:52] I mean, yes and no. I, I, at the time I was dating a guy who, um, he was an engineering school, but he was from that small town. His Dad was a Turkey farmer and he was one of 12. And so I thought, okay, well this is my life now, you know, I thought, oh, we're going to get married and um, I'm gonna live in Lewis Creek, Missouri for the rest of my life. And then we broke up and I thought, oh, I'm not, oh that, no, actually let's reel those dreams back in. And what I had was, you know, to travel and to live outside of, of not even a loose creep, which just out of Missouri. So, um, you know, another four years went by three years and I'm like, okay, I'm going to sell my salon, started college, finished my degree and then peace out. So,

[35:37] uh, was that

[35:38] a motivating or was that scary or liberating to kind of make that, you know, leap then? I mean, that is quite a leap at what? Twenty eight? Yeah. Yep. Um, yes and no, but I've always been the person to kind of like leap and then think later about it and just like pray as I'm like jumping that there is solid ground to land on, um, because I feel like the more I think about it, the more I either get scared and don't do it or just think of all these excuses so it's either I'm just going to do it and hopefully it'll work out and then I'm not going to wet. It always has. And I feel like you always just, there's always, you can make it work, you know what I mean? It's just about your attitude and making sure that you have a drive and an attitude to continue your journey.

[36:26] Where do you think that motivation comes from now that kind of continued that and, and did do all the kinds of leaps that you have?

[36:34] Gosh, I mean, what's this a great question? Read? Um, I know it is. Well, um, I, I don't know, I think obviously I can say the cliche answers, you know, would be my family, my daughter, but my motivation is a lot to travel and I figure, well I want to be the best makeup artist and the best human being that I possibly can be and hopefully people will hire me. Um, I'll pay my bills and have some quote extra money leftover to travel. I mean, yeah, I, yeah, that's, that's a hard question. Yeah, no, I think obviously my family and the love and passionate and I have to travel. So

[37:15] yeah, talk about that because I was going to hit that topic anyway. And, and, uh, even on your website, you have a, you have a lot of calls to travel in, in France and in Paris and they were talking about love of, you know, besides going to India, you know, and in doing that with your kid, you know, that kind of continued to build.

[37:32] Well, it's funny, India, you know, people are like, Oh, where did you travel first? I'm like, my first flight was to Bombay, India, you know, it was like a 17 hour flight and I was in the middle seat of like a, it was awful. But I'm, that kind of sparked that, that drive, that love because I've always been fascinated with other cultures and other other people and how they, their thought processes and how they go about their daily routine and what that looks like and um, what they eat. And so yeah, definitely being an India kind of started that. And then I thought, well, okay, well what can I do next? And so my next trip I backpacked in Europe with a girlfriend of mine for like almost three weeks, lived in hostels. That was another experience. So anytime I travel, whether that's, you know, internationally or to New York, I just, I love it.

[38:24] I love seeing different people and again, experiencing food and culture and just being open minded to because I don't think that you can travel well if you have a closed mind or just not open to new ideas or hey, guess what, we missed our flight or the flight's delayed. So now it has a trickle effect of missing other things. You just have to go with the flow. So, um, that being said, I mean, I think sometimes that transitions into my business because I'm such a laid back person. Um, I definitely have structure with, you know, day of the wedding, but I am just very like, okay, that's great. We'll just, you know, we'll do grandma now instead of, you know, aunt susie that was supposed to go or, you know, just making sure that I want to create a stress free environment, um, for day of weddings because it's already stressful. And I think that translates in somebody's traveling. So,

[39:20] uh, I had to have been insane, uh, b as a girl from the small attendant in Missouri going to India. And how old were you? 16 or 17. Happy have been like crazy. I mean it'd be crazy for me now to go to India. I just kind of like. And also like

[39:38] let's throw in that. I was homeschooled so I am all of a sudden into this group of 28 kids and they were from everywhere. Alaska, Mexico, California. I mean everywhere. And then now you are with them 24 hours a day, living in tents and like bathing in a bucket, washing your clothes next to them and all of a sudden you're just like, oh, okay, this is how real life is. And it's funny. People are like, you were homeschooled will what? You're actually like normal. You actually can hold a conversation. And I'm like, yes, that, that happens with us. So

[40:14] how is he going to say you're very well adjusted. Does that drive your, like you said, you're an extrovert and your desire to like see and talk to everybody and do all these things is because

[40:27] of like being cooped up so to speak. I mean, maybe so I feel also, um, I mean, I, I sound like a total nerd but I didn't have a lot of friends growing up and so I found freedom. I guess you could use that word and books and reading. And so I read everything I could read about India. I was fascinated with, um, a certain missionary there and he was Amy Carmichael and so I read everything about her and Mother Teresa. And um, I traveled there before I traveled there, you know, so when I got there, of course it's completely different than it is in books, but you feel a sense of, of knowing and you feel a sense of like belonging. And so when you see people, um, I'm like, okay, let's chat. Let's, you know, let's talk, let's talk it out. Um, so yeah, I do feel like being cooped up and then all of a sudden like out, like let's rampage just, let's learn page with conversations. So

[41:30] talk to me a little bit about Kinda like your home life and your daughter

[41:34] and everything goes. She just turned 13. I'm 35 actually. Right. You know, sometimes I feel like she's my mom. She was just like, mom, did you do this or this? I'm like, oh gosh, no, but thank you for reminding me. Um, so yeah, she's, she's a wonderful child. I mean she really is, she's such a good girl. She's such a great student. Um, so she's just brought so much joy and, and, and again, like motivation and she um, is such a chameleon, you know, she adapts very easily to her surroundings. I know as a single parent before I got married and so I would take her to my college classes with me and she would just sit there and color and she was just fine. She wouldn't throw a temper tantrum so she's just adjust it to my crazy schedule and crazy life now. And um, then we have a three year old black lab, his name is Griffey and yes, as you can imagine, my husband named him and my husband was, loves baseball.

[42:38] So go Ken Griffey Jr. He is a spazz, um, as a black lab can be. THat's three and yeah, he hears literally I will go into the kitchen and I opened the refrigerator and he's automatically like by my side, I'm like, dude, I'm just opening the refrigerator, like I'm not even opening like a cheese package. Like how can you hear this? A. Yeah, he loves food. Um, and then my husband, sean and I, we've been married this july for five years and so we met here in seattle and I'm great man. I mean he definitely, I'm just taken to the role of being a ray's dad and it just, yeah, I couldn't have asked for a better match. So I'm like, oh my gosh. I was like, do it. I'm going to do everything myself because I just didn't want to pay a lot of money. Like my, again, this is like, I just want to spend a lot of money because we didn't have a lot of money at the time and I just thought, well, I want a good honeymoon, like I want to travel, I don't want to like, you know, get married and spending all my money on getting married.

[43:46] Um, so we got married in port townsend and my thought process was I want it to be anthropology meets the pacific northwest forest. It's. And I did, we got married like in the trees and the water is right there. It was beautiful venue and it was very budget friendly. And I also learned, this is how meredith, uh, bruce and I became really good friends. I almost called him mickey, but um, at the time she was so she, I did her hair and we just became friends and then she's like, well, what if we trade, you know? And so she did my photos and I did her hair and cut and color for like a year. And it was amazing. I was like, okay, this is awesome. Because I knew I wanted really good photos. So, um, yeah, everything else was great. I, I did a lot of like good willing and to find all my decor that I want it and everything turned out just how I envisioned it. Like anthropology is meeting before, so

[44:51] that's awesome because I knew, I knew you knew mayor. That is a, that's great. That's so funny. Another quick speaking of looking forward to the honeymoon after the wedding this summer with a, it was emily and charlie. I had done all my correspondence with emily prior to the wedding that you know about times and dates and all that stuff. And so we get to the wedding and charlie had gotten there first it was a bit hidden meadows and emily was going to get ready offsite and then put her dress on and so we're waiting and charlie, sarah and I go, hey man. I said, uh, are you, are you excited for today? You know, it's nice to meet you. He's like, are you excited? He's like, ask. No, he didn't say af but tomorrow we're going to be in bali. And emily said that if I, if I planned the honeymoon then she'll do everything else will be good. And so I said awesome man. And he was a true sport for someone that did not want to be even less probably than any of my. I have this sense of feelings at least. Um, uh, is there anything you wish that people knew more about you or your company or how you work or anything?

[46:02] Um, I, I think just going back to like, oh, hey, I have a salon. I do hair and like a full time like stylist, so not just like hair and makeup for special occasions. Meaning like up dos and things like that. Um, but yeah, like I said, I, I am very genuine on social media and I always love meeting new people, whether that's, you know, over a cup of coffee or over a good margarita. I'm always down to do some more networking. And, um, I think it's just important in our industry to, uh, you know, be friends with everybody being kind and you know, whether that's, you know, so called competition or not, you know, I just want to be a very kind and genuine person and if I can help you then awesome. You know, if you have questions I'll be more than happy to answer them. So,

[46:53] uh, someone that, you know, within the last few years has really kind of reestablished, you know, a brand here in the business you do. Would you have any advice for other vendors of any type or lessons you've learned kind of in the,

[47:05] just put yourself out there to be honest with you? No, I mean, again, creating relationships is no different than having a relationship with a partner. You know, you really have to kind of sometimes make that first move and don't be scared to do it because, um, you'll be surprised of the outcome or the answers that you get back. So really just strive and in the hustle, because you know, this industry, I mean, it's word of mouth and I do very small advertising so my brides are, you know, whether that's social media, but 90 percent of them is word of mouth. So just be true to yourself, be kind and put yourself out there.

[47:46] Uh, last question, uh, what uh, were, where do you see, where's your kind of plan for growth now and the next year or two, where do you really see kind of trying to make, and that could be either kind of personal growth with the business are kind of more scale.

[47:59] Um, well I'm starting to do makeup classes, um, in January will be my first first class and I was nervous about even starting at because I thought, well, gosh, what if nobody wants to come, you know what I, I have all this education and how these ideas, but what if no one wants to come? Well, I mean it booked in 24 hours. So I thought, okay, well that's a good sign. Um, so we're gonna see how it goes. And I'm very excited and have all these great ideas and um, so yeah, I really want to help. Again, it goes back to educating, educating women and men, but I would say 90 percent women that um, might be a little overwhelmed with hair or makeup or skincare and really just get them to feeling their best and um, you know, putting their best face forward. But yeah, so classes are going to be a different, a big thing. And then blogging is going to be a big thing too. I'm very excited because again, I have all these ideas but just the process of starting it and then going through it. Um, am I. Blogging is going to be a little different. I'm not going to just do hair and makeup. I have really what I think are really cool ideas. So yeah, I'm excited.

[49:15] So, uh, the, the beauty school student is now becoming the teacher that's come full circle. Well thank you. This has been so fascinating. I've so enjoyed getting to hear your story and have you come in a. If people want to learn more about you and your hair and makeup and styling and salon and all that, what would you have them do?

[49:34] Of course I'm on instagram at at Jen Lagers, l a, g e r s, and then my website is I'm in the process of rebranding that and I'm on Facebook a, so yeah. Those are three different ways to get ahold of me

[49:53] or. Yeah, just google Jen Lagers. I think that's what I googled it just to kind of peruse the site this morning. All pops up. Awesome. Thank you so much. It's been great. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much.

[50:14] Bye.

Lori Losee, Elegant Affairs

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington, and I am joined today by one of my longtime friends, Lori Losee of Elegant Affairs. I want to thank you so much for coming in today, not only on the weekend, on a Seahawks game, driving up from Puyallup and, uh, a lot of things to make this happen. So thank you very much for coming in. Uh, why don't you introduce yourself and tell us who you are and what you do.

[00:35] Well, great. Well thanks so much. Reid. Um, well again, my name is Lori Losee, I am the owner and the senior planner of Elegant Affairs. We're based down in Lakewood, Washington. I live in Puyallup and my associate planner, Lisa lives in Tacoma. Um, our extended team of interns, wedding day assistance, very all over, up and down puget sound. We actually started the company back in 2005. It was kind of a second career change for me. I was lucky enough I was a newspaper reporter in Gig harbor for about four and a half years and I went on maternity leave with my oldest who is going to be in high school next year. So I'm trying to like freaking out about that. We're about six months away from that. Um, and I knew I wasn't going to go back to work. We had just moved from Tacoma to Puyallup and my husband was like, so what do you want to do with your new found freedom?

[01:23] And I said, well, I don't know. And he was like, well, how many parties, weddings have you planned for friends, family, sorority sisters over the years for free? And I said a lot because that was kind of my gift to my friends. Like, Hey, I'll kind of help you do your weddings and just kind of be your day up kind of person to just help manage the flow of the day. Because I had a day, a planner when I got married in 2003. And so he's like, well, I think you can kind of make a goal out of this. And literally overnight I came up with the name, my logo in my head and three days later I had my first client who will actually be celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary in two weeks. So it was actually at my husband's coworker, so it was, it was really nice to kind of see that progression.

[02:05] They met in June, got engaged in September, got married in December, so. And the bride was also living up in Alaska up until about six weeks before the wedding. So I really got to see the whole gamut, planning the wedding and basically being the bride because the bride was. I have no idea. I've never, I've only been to Seattle three or four times. I have no idea. The groom was like, you just, you run with it and this is your show. And I'm like, okay, this. And then right after that I kind of caught the bug and we've just progressed and to where we are today. And it's just, it's amazing to look back where you first start to where you're at now and you're like, wow, we're still here. And we still love what we do.

[02:46] Yeah, it's crazy. I, uh, I'm filming the nutcracker this weekend for this dance, a true value is and like I've been doing that for years and it's just like, just weird to be like in that world and like know these people, you just would never, I would never go watch this thing and hang out and kind of gets me all these kids and the artistic director and all the services kind of funny to see like where our past lead this. Um, so we met a years ago now, uh, and legendary styled shoot a and that was amazing at new castle. Talk about that,

[03:19] that, you know, that was actually one of my first stylesheets and basically what a style sheet is, is that you collaborate with an amazing team of wedding professionals and you kind of recreate a wedding. So we had a bride and groom and we had an amazing Flores photographer. Obviously we had raid doing videography, we had bridal store, we had everybody, we had Seattle farm tables come out and we just recreated a wedding in February. It was cold, but we had to make it seem like it was warm, but it was a really fun experience and it's you kind of break out of your box and do something maybe that you've been wanting your couples to do, but maybe you haven't hit that niche with that couple. So that's kind of the purpose why I do these editorial styled shoots just because I can kind of put my stamp on something. And so a couple that like, oh, that was a really cool, like how can we recreate that are like, oh, I didn't think about putting, you know, this kind of decor on a table or how do you style that and kind of really branches you out. And it, to me, it's just kind of that fun part of my job.

[04:20] Yeah, it's funny. I remember. Yeah, I had never done one. I'd never done video for one. And I know it's not a typical always to have a videographer all the time out of them. And I just remember, um, it was really fun. The funniest side now that that was just with the models who were like, the guy was ridiculously handsome. I remember like Shawn's great. I've actually done a couple of sheets with him. Yeah, yeah. Is Awesome. I remember like, it was funny though because I was trying to get like pose them and when it's like a couple and you're like, okay, like kiss her now or make out and you're like, well with the models we need to be a little bit more like, oh, like snuggle her or like put your hand on your eye, you know, keep it a little more pc.

[04:57] Well especially since she was still in high school even though she looked like she was like 25 and I asked because, no, I'm 18, I'm a senior in high school and I'm like, you blew me away. So. And I think that's kind of the one challenge is that when you do those style sheets and you're working with models to have that chemistry. So we kind of go on this, the adage now if possible to have real life couples because then you can ask them like, okay, nuzzle in Tim, give him a kiss because sometimes when you work with the models, you know, they're like, okay, I'm here to kind of either showcase the attire, do this, but to kind of have all of a sudden like, okay, be romantic, pretend that you guys are married or you're getting married. There's kind of that disconnect right there. But for most part they do a great job. But I think I like having those real couples because then you kind of have best of both worlds kind of coming together.

[05:44] Uh, yeah. So just on the topic of a shoot because you guys do a lot of weddings and try it. I think either kind of the. I think the common belief is like, you know, like if a, if a photographer doesn't have any portfolio work, like I'm going do a skylight shoe to like get some. So yeah. So why do you continue to do amen. And feature that because you guys obviously work a lot. Like what is the mindset behind that? Well,

[06:05] I really loved doing the style sheets, especially when we're in the off season, just because again, you can do those creative things where, oh, I really want to push our design focus. I really want to push this part of our business out and maybe we haven't had that opportunity with our clients during that season or at this point. So I feel like with the stylized shoots it's also great because you're going to work with maybe photographers or vendors that you haven't worked with, but you're like, oh, this is the perfect opportunity to kind of see, oh, would they be a good fit for future clients? And we also get direct messages on instagram primarily from, from new photographers saying, Hey, I've seen your work. I would love to collaborate, would love to kind of get into your book of business. And I think that's kind of where the relationship started and some of our vendors that we never got to do a wedding with when they've reached out to us.

[06:57] Now you're for him all the time because we have a great preferred vendor list and I tell my clients like, you don't have to go with anybody on that list, but it's a great starting point. Instead of trying to google like Seattle wedding videographer and three meal and people are gonna show up and great. There's reviews and there's their portfolio, but sometimes you need to have that one on one. Say, okay, I love working with reed because he does x, Y and Z and that by doing a styled shoot with somebody saying, okay, I've really seen them in person outside of a wedding shoot and Kinda can interact with them and saying, okay, I like his style because of this or I like working with him because of that. So I think the style sheets are great because I, again, I see a different aspect and then I can bring that into my clients and then into future projects and thinking, okay, I know I want to do this later on. How can I use the vendors I've already worked with in the past and bring them on board.

[07:47] Yeah, because I get asked a lot, you know, from a, from photographers are planning, there's lots of people like, oh, how is that person to work with or how is this other person to work with? Because you do like, you meet a lot of people and you meet a lot of people and networking events or out in the ballot and like this ally shoot. Yeah. It's like know not close to the wedding, but it's as close to a wedding this you can kind of manufacturer to kind of get that working relationship and kind of see that. Uh, so talk about kind of your start here. Uh, you said you were a newspaper reporter. Harbor. So do you go to school for that or how did that start that?

[08:17] Yeah, I actually went to Washington State University. Go cougs and uh, how did that work out? Uh, you know, why we're an air raid offense and when he can't play in snow. But. No, no, no, because he says we had a great, we had a great season. I see you laughing, but you know, I, I love my kids and when you're cool, you're a diehard Kook and my kids have grown up. They've known the cougar fights on, they know that they go to the other school that we will not mention, um, they will be paying their own tuition. Uh, but yeah, so I graduated with a Ba in journalism, worked at the newspaper and that was great because it kind of, I did a lot of meeting different people and kind of organizing things. So it really kind of lent itself into event planning and plus through my sorority through different, um, the Greek council, different university events that I helped put on. I did a lot of internships through the university and that just kind of went everything together. So kind of, I feel like, you know, there there's the great certifications programs, but for me it's all about experience. You can, you know, whether you have five weddings, are you your wedding planning and you haven't even gotten married or you've done 100 different weddings. You're going to see a variety of experiences and interactions with couples and vendors. And so it just, it again, it's that experience. To me that's the most valuable

[09:47] tool. Yeah. What was it about the journalism? Because I would say that's probably not a highly sought after degree. I mean, I've, I've a broadcast degree. There was a seven people that graduated with me in my program from Gonzaga, which is not as big as school. But um, what was it about that, that kind of drew you, drew your interest?

[10:05] Well, I'm also, you know, I've been out of school a few years and so newspapers back then were huge. And so, you know, obviously being a graduate of the School of communication is, is huge. It's if you are in part of the communication kind of world, you knew who he was, you know, what the reputation, especially the Wsu, Wsu, school of Communication has. Um, I didn't want to go to the broadcasting aspect. I always have loved writing. Um, even when I was little, I'd write my own little books. So going into that and then, you know, sadly over the years, newspapers that have either folded or combined, um, and I knew it was in a longterm career as opposed to like working for newspapers. So I always knew I could freelance for magazines, newspapers, different publications. So I've done that. I've now graduated 17 years ago from Wsu and so I've continually done that. Um, right now I'm working with, um, the south sound wedding magazine. I'm a good friend of mine named Dean who is the new owner of the magazine. She's given me the opportunity to do a couple different special projects for the magazine with. So I'm really excited for her first issue that comes out in January.

[11:16] That's funny. Uh, it reminded me, uh, the Edward r murrow school because they also have a good broadcast program. And so it's excellent. It's like, you know, top top of the line and um, you know, God's Sega isn't necessarily known for broadcasting. I mean, I think they do a good job. But um, it was funny when I was working in [inaudible], we would go get a lot of insurance in the summer from Wsu and they go, oh, like, well where did you go to school? Like, I went to the school.

[11:41] Oh, you always have to drop that.

[11:45] Why don't, I don't know. I said I got, you know, seven people graduated with me and that we're all working all across the country. So I don't, I mean, I know it's not Gonzaga, whatever, a broadcast school by that I feel like we did okay. But now it is, like that'd be a seen as just in general, I mean across the board that stellar education, but especially kind of the communications and the broadcasts and all that. Um, so, uh, your, your reporter now, what was that, what was that experience like? I mean, I kind of have mixed thoughts of my time is uh, you know, it's kind of a journalist or whatever, kind of like a beat go in there and covered. So did you enjoy that? Did you enjoy meeting people?

[12:18] You know, there were some aspects of my job where I didn't like. And there were some that I, I really liked. Um, I started out as an education reporter for the school district, which was great. Um, I love, I love kids. Obviously I have two boys, but when you go to an opening of a school student store, like you're, it is like, Oh hey, like this is fun. It's great. And you take pictures and you interact with teachers and educators. But really my probably fun experience is I got to be the police reporter for about a year. And I loved it. I made friends with all the Gig harbor police department. We had the de Pierce County sheriffs attachment out out there. So it was great. I love doing that. I loved, especially when I was super pregnant with grant and I get a call from the lieutenant saying, Hey, we're going on a drug busts, you want to go with me?

[13:09] So literally he picks me up. I'm about six weeks from giving birth. He's like, okay, well you can't go inside the house because there's a lot of things that will probably not be good for you or the baby. And so I'm just standing outside with my camera and my little notepad, my little recorder and you know, he's telling me stuff from, you know, inside the house, like this is what's going on. And so to me I liked it where it was something you didn't know what was gonna happen that day and, and you know, we had a tragedy that happened in, in Gig harbor and unfortunately I wasn't there that day to, to cover that. But I think, you know, as a criminal justice and political science, double minor, I love the court system. I loved covering a couple when we'd get a big case in Gig harbor, like I got to go into Tacoma and go sit on a trial and see that perspective.

[13:56] So I just, I liked that. I liked the hard news. We didn't always get it all the time so it was kind of a nice, nice break from covering the schools and. But again it was those relationships that we formed. Coincidentally my actual day of wedding planner was, I met her because she was one of the school board members. So it's just, you never know when her daughter ended up being my candle lighter and her daughter is now, she got married about a year ago, so it's kind of like full full circle, how, you know, you're like, oh my little candle lighter now she's married and she's has her master's degree and you know, it's funny because facebook kind of brings you all back to everything and people that you don't have necessarily those interpersonal relationships right now that you can kind of bridge the gap from Wsu, high school, even elementary school that you've reconnected through social media.

[14:44] Yeah. Because you're big into like the sorority and all that. I mean, my wife, I didn't have any interest in so I go for better or worse, kind of like missed out on all of that. But you're, you're big into that. I mean we talk about that.

[14:57] Oh yeah. So, um, I am a member of Alpha Phi sorority. Um, and so once I graduated I kind of was looking at the opportunity like, okay, how can I keep that commitment? Um, and we always say, you know, I'll fees not just for four years, it's for a lifetime. And so, um, luckily that was Kinda my one introductions to kind of getting back into volunteering and giving back to what the organization has given me was through volunteering. So I've been an advisor, basically every single campus at Alpha has been on in Washington and we have five or six chapters. Was advisor for a long time at university puget sound in Tacoma, Washington State University. And I was on a couple different teams and uh, coincidentally a lot of my interns have been alpha fees either from Wsu, you dab ups. I've even had at estates, um, interns that have moved over here just to intern for me for the summer. And so my husband always jokes, he goes, now I see why you volunteer, you don't get paid. But now all the Alfie weddings that you have done. So this year alone we did four album for weddings and next year we will have three. We have three as of right now for 2019. So I would say a large part of our business now has been either just alpha fee or other Greek chapters that I've met through different channels or referral based. So it all gives back in the end.

[16:19] That was awesome. I had a tutor for two years. I did the recruitment video for a Delta Zeta at you that know. Yeah. And as someone that had never stepped foot in a fraternity or Sorority, pretty experienced, it was wild because I like, I had no idea and I was, you know, Dorothy was really excited about it because, you know, she lived in that and she's telling me what he paid and I was like, man, he was a wild. But I mean I, uh, a good portion of Dorothy's friends are still from that and you know, a of her people at her wedding and then they did the song and it's a lifelong. It's not what does it, not just for 40 years, it's a lifetime. Uh, so you said that when you got married to someone you had met while working as a, as a reporter, how plan your wedding, talking about your wedding, what was that experience like?

[17:09] It was really fun. We got engaged on New Year's Eve, so we were the traditional like, oh, we're going to get engaged over the holidays. He surprised me. Um, I had been thinking once I graduated from Wsu, we went to Maui for for 10 days. I'm thinking every single day we were there I'm like, I'm going to get proposed to you. Like, made sure I had my makeup or my hair done. I don't know why, because, you know, cell phone cameras did not exist back then. And so. And then when it did not happen, it was kind of a let down and you know, Lo and behold, he, I don't do surprises. And so he was like, this was going to be the one thing that I wanted to surprise you with didn't happen on Christmas. And I'm thinking, okay, we've been together for five years. We've had friends that have been together way less that are already married.

[17:53] And so we had friends over at our, um, at his apartment on new years and you know, he dropped my, rang in a bottle or a glass of champagne and wasn't paying attention and I almost drank it and all of a sudden you hear this gas from the two ladies that were there and I looked down and there is the Rei. And so we got engaged in. I knew we were the first, both the first kids and grandkids to get married. And so I knew that there was no way I could plan a big Catholic wedding because, you know, we had to do the big Catholic ceremony, um, for, you know, 250 of our closest friends and family. So, uh, we actually held off and did it for the summer of 2003. So we actually were engaged for 18 months, which is kind of, if you have a.

[18:42] most of my couples now are not engaged that long. I've had, I would say less than 10 percent are engaged or more than a year. So it was nice because we were able to lock in all like the 2002 prices and we also got married on a Friday because we knew with our friends, especially that with the Catholic church at a specialist specifically at mine and fragile way. You either got married it to where you got married at eight. Well if we got married in two, I don't think people would last past six or 7:00. Got Married at eight. Realistically you're not even eating till 10:00. So luckily I'm the priest I grew up with. He was like, I go, can we get married on a Friday? He's like, well I've never done a Friday wedding guests. We can think about it. So we got married the first Friday of June and it was 95 degrees that day.

[19:27] And the one thing my husband wanted was he wanted to stretch expedition. Well, when you get married on the hottest day of the year and you have about 30 people in a stretch expedition with no air conditioning, let me tell you how fun of experience that is. And I will never let them down that same. Yeah, that's the one thing you wanted. And that didn't work, but I think too, it's, you know, I really got to see the whole planning side and that was the, that was the best thing about it. That working with vendors really kind of interacting and seeing what we needed and having our day of coordinator there kind of helping guide the process was, was great.

[20:06] So why don't, you know, what were the biggest lessons that you learned from doing going through the wedding process yourself? I mean, is there anything now that you like continue on that you learned that day or were like what was important or not important or. Oh, one thing I always stress to all my kids, my clients

[20:19] is get everything in writing. Nothing is a verbal contract. And that's the biggest piece of advice I tell people is make sure you have notation somewhere, whether it's jotted in your contract. If you do an amendment, make sure it's in an email because over the last 13 years of our company, you have vendors that have really great intentions and say, Oh yeah, they promise you something, and then when they don't deliver, granted it's a very. It's a very rare thing when that happens, but again, when I come to a wedding, I have basically a notebook of all the contracts, everything and have everything on my phone so I can pull up and say, oh no, you said you were going to do x, y, and Z. I don't want to have my bride walk in and saying, okay, what just happened? My flowers are supposed to be all white and they're now all pink, or we've had a cake that was supposed to be all pink that showed up white.

[21:15] So it's those things that you hold both your client responsible and also your vendors responsible because we're. It's all a team collaborative effort that we're all. At the end of the day, we want to a great wedding. We want great memories. We want our clients to be happy and their family and friends to really have enjoyed the wedding without having to work it. So that's Kinda what we stress to our clients is that, you know, yes this is this, this can be a stressful process, but if you take it one step at a time, but you also have to be smart and all your decisions and things that you say and again that's where it gets back to make sure you have everything in writing.

[21:49] Yeah. And I think that that's helpful know for the couple, but then also like for the vendors, right? I mean like sometimes like I'll be talking with someone about something and I'll be like, yeah, you got to remind me. Or like we'll do it. But you mean it's, it's helpful for everybody. I think they have that other writing just to kind of hold the kids it, it might not be an intentional like, uh, I just forgot. Or you know, some of that got overlooked. Right?

[22:10] Exactly. Or, you know, a vendor could have a conversation with a client and the client says, oh, I really like this and you know, you might take note of it, or you didn't think like, oh, they actually, they wanted to amend their package that they have selected with you and then, you know, you turn around and give them the complete package, which was contract, you know, according to the contract, we got everything this done like, oh, but you said you were going to do this. And so I think it just, again, it goes, it goes both ways and so you want to have that great working relationship with everybody because at the end of the day, yeah, my end of my client's contract is done, but it still continues because, you know, majority of our business is all referral based. But then I also get referrals from vendors too. So it's keeping everybody happy and again, working towards that common goal and we want to have a very great wedding that in the end it's going to continue to produce more business in the long run.

[23:04] Yeah. It's funny because uh, you know, and I'm terrible with memory sometimes, but it's funny how like sometimes you'll have immediately with like a couple, like a year, year and a half hour and like they'll be like a photographic memory of like every single, like where the fuck and you're like, I like, I can't hardly remember your face except that we're friends on facebook and what you look like. I mean we've emailed a lot but like I don't remember but like you know, but it is like you want to make sure and then it's a certain expectations. Seven and that's my biggest thing is like, you know, making sure like people kind of can see the side and see everything's like they know what they're going to get and what they're not going to get because that's all you want ultimately is like people to be happy with the product and whether you know this flower company or a different flower company. Like you just want people to be like happy. Right?

[23:50] Yeah. Well, and I think for, for our sake is I want to have great photos and I want to have great video clips that I can use for our portfolio show on our website and if you know, if another couple is getting married at the same venue, I'm like, okay, this is what we did here. Is there anything that you like or is anything you want to change differently or something that you want to continue? Like, Oh, I love how they did the setup or I love what the staff did on this. So I think again, it all comes full circle with that, but you've. Everybody has to be on the same page. So I knew. I've always known growing up I take copious amounts of notes sometimes too many now. It's like even just the littlest things like groom only likes Diet Pepsi that I knew that when the venue, all they had was diet coke.

[24:31] I sent my assistant, I said, here's 10 bucks. Get me all the Diet Pepsi you can get because he does not like diet coke. That is a true story. And he was so excited because he was like, he saw everybody with diet coke and he goes, oh, I only like Diet Pepsi and like look at your table. And then it just to see. I mean, and he was an older group and just the one thing he goes, it was that small thing, the small detail that I didn't even think that he even remembered that you took note on. Can we be honest? So who likes that Pepsi? Well, I don't like Diet Pepsi or even Diet Soda Anyway. So, but I mean you get when you have a group or a bride that is very, like, this is the one thing in life I need or the new, if it's a dietary issue, um, I actually had a bride that heavily celiac and like to the point that I had to have a specific mouthwash for her that she needed to rinse out or had her girlfriends out so they can even kiss because certain kinds of beer with would cause her to have a massive migraine.

[25:32] So like I had in my little fanny pack, I had all of her mouth washes. And, you know, would we give it off to the groom? But it's, it seems like that you need to remember, um, if it's not a medical thing, but just even just a small like, oh, I really like Diet Pepsi. So it's, it's, it's one of those things that we really take our pride is in. It's those details that we can say, hey, we have you, when you don't think maybe we're listening or we've taken notes on this, were there, that's always say like for weddings, you know, where there, you may not see us because we're kind of like blend in the background with our black dresses. But you know, that we have your back and you know, that we're going to be the first ones that have, you know, if something goes wrong or if you need us, we're going to be right there before you even like, oh wait, where's Lori? Where's Lisa? Oh wait, they're standing right next to me, ready to anything that they need. We have for them.

[26:19] Um, so, so you're, you're, you're married, now you're working with as a, as a reporter, right? So then you start having kids, so they talk about the kind of transitioning out into, you know, doing the wedding planning.

[26:34] Well literally it was, I went back to work after six months off maternity leave, went back to for work for six weeks. I'm just long enough I'd have to pay my healthcare. And then I knew I was transitioning out of that kind of lined up a lot of freelance gigs that would kind of kind of help fund extra money. Um, and then kind of writing gigs, writing gigs. I had a couple different newspapers. I was, I was also still freelancing for my old paper, the paper and puyallup since we are now in Puyallup. And a couple other like parent magazines. I was doing little jobs for a. But having a newborn and trying to work and trying to find that balance was really tough. And so it was nice that I could have those little things. Oh, I have like one project every week. I didn't want to like overwhelm myself.

[27:23] And then once we started kind of thinking, okay, well is this something I really want to continue or do I want to continue with seeing if this wedding planning job that was supposed to be like, Oh, a fun summer job that has now turned into full time and then some and then staff. So it's, it's one of those things, it's, you never know like what I have thought when I went to Debbie issue back in the day that I would have owned my own business, you know, 20 some years later, know what I, what I do. Anything different. No, I think there's a reason why things happen. You may not see it until years later. You're like, okay, well my degree in communications is leads me to a perfect entryway into event planning. Um, because communication is the biggest part of our job. If there's no communication, whether it's with clients, vendors, family, anything. You don't have a job and you don't have a career.

[28:21] Was it a, was it scary kind of launching the business? Like you said your husband was kind of helping support you saying like, you know, whatever. Like, what do you, what do you think you want to do? I mean, was that, did you have like any, like history of anybody you knew that Dennis

[28:34] and back then, I mean when the wedding planner with Jennifer Lopez came out my senior year, I'm like, Oh, you know, that's like a cool thing to do. Never thought in my wildest dreams would I ever owned my own business, let alone be a wedding planner owning her own business. So, you know, the first couple of years were definitely, I would say a struggle, um, with kids and like when somebody would call like, oh, like can I meet you? Like in 30 minutes. I'm like, okay, well I live in Puyallup, so just to get to Seattle you're an hour away and it's not like I could just like leave my kid at home and um, or take, you know, take him with me. And so you kind of go through those growing pains the first couple of years and kind of figuring out what that balance is, knowing what your priorities in your.

[29:17] Obviously families are first and foremost our biggest priority. And it's always been in, it's kind of, it's kind of a struggle though because you're, you want to do what you love and I'm very passionate and I'm a workaholic, but you know, as my boys are older and they're both in middle school and they've got their own social lives and sports schedules kind of dominate our life and it's, it's, I don't want to take my time away from that. But I also need something that fulfills me and what, what gives me joy besides my family and so and as crazy as this, this industry sometimes is. I think I thrive on the craziness and I, and I love it because not every day is a typical eight to five. You know, there are some days where like, okay, I'm working on social media, I'm working on our website and working on blogging.

[30:04] I'm working on our online workbook two days where I am in Seattle all day with client meetings, vendor appointments. And so it's just kind of finding that nice balance where I can do everything I want without feeling overwhelmed or feeling like I'm letting either my company down or letting my family down. So I think, and again, it's one of those things where you have to continually look back on yourself and say, okay, what do I need to change in my personal life versus my professional life? So everything blends together because if you don't have a cohesive relationship, something's going to suffer. And so it, it's, again, it's one of those I struggle with it, but I feel like I'm in a great place now where, um, you know, my oldest will be 14 in January and he's like, I'm so excited when I'm 16, I'm going to come help you.

[30:50] And I'm like, okay, I don't know how that looks, but I think they see my excitement. And I think too, is I, when I'm planning out my summer schedule, it's not every single weekend I have weddings because if I do that a, I get burnt out and I'm not giving my clients or my vendors the attention that they need. So by taking little breaks here or there throughout the season is huge and I feel like right now as we end the season with two weddings left, it's been great. There's no burn out. I'm excited for the end of this year. I'm excited for 2019 and what it all has in store for all of us. So it's just, it's constantly planning ahead and looking forward and, and, and finding that balance.

[31:37] Yeah, I think it has to be incredibly hard to like maintain that, you know, like Dorothy and I don't have kids yet. I'm like, I always like have so much respect for like a, you know, entrepreneurs and especially like wedding vendors, like have kids and families and like trying to balance that. And especially like a plan there were like, I think there's a lot more that goes into it then even like people realize besides like the emailing assembled like going the light check out new venues isn't going to meet new rental companies have things. So like I see all you guys online, like always like oh I gotta go check this out or go going here, go in there. And like, it's crazy. Um, do you, is it, do you feel like you now have that good balance or is it still something that like you work on it because I think people could learn from that, you know, like how the hell to make that balance?

[32:18] Well, you know, I think I'm really lucky at this point that my boys are old enough that I'm not relying on babysitters. Nannies that, you know, with their lives that they can be home afterschool, they don't have to rush home and be home right at 2:00 because I mean, you know, this is a wedding professional. We don't have eight to five schedules. It's, we can have a meeting at 8:00 AM, we can have a meeting at 7:00 PM. So it's working with your clients and their busy schedules and saying, okay, well maybe I can meet during lunchtime. You have, you know, you have me for 60 minutes or I could only meet on the weekends or it can only meet up in Redmond at 6:00. And so again, it's when I know I'm in Puyallup and you know, our traffic is just super lovely and you never know what to expect.

[33:03] And so I always have to give my myself a cushion, hence why I was early today. Could you just never know, especially with the seahawks game. But it's, it's great because I love one vendors, you know, reach out like, Hey, I want you to go check out our new linen line. I want you to come check out our new rentals. Hey, we have a new venue opening up that's huge right now is I can't tell you how many calls and emails I get on a daily basis. Especially now saying, Oh yeah, we're just opening a venue or hey, can you consult with us? We're looking to maybe turn in our personal home property into a venue. Can you consult with us and say, Hey, what do we need to work with in terms of with the county? What is a wedding planner? If you want to refer our our property, how, what do we need to do to enhance its beauty and enhance its kind of marketability to potential clients.

[33:54] And so that's kind of a fun thing that I've just started doing the last two or three years and um, and kind of seeing that aspect, saying, okay, if I had, if I could create the perfect wedding venue, what, what I want into it. And so that's what I want. I go into these consults with these potential vendors. I say, Hey, these are what my clients want. They need x, Y, and Z in a, in a venue to be exciting, something new because you have all these great venues popping up left and right. And it's sometimes overwhelming for clients because they're like, there's too much out there. How do I narrow it down? Do I want to get married in the south side? Do I want to get married in the Greater Seattle area? Do I want to get married up in snohomish? Do I want to do a destination wedding?

[34:34] So it's breaking it down where geographically where you want to go and saying, okay, here's a great venue because of this. So I think it's, you know, getting back to your question is it's exciting because there's so many different avenues going on that again, it's not a typical day anymore. So, and there are some days where I'm just in my office or I'm working from home and I love it. I can sit and do emails while folding laundry or I can be added in my office and concentrating and getting things done for my clients or having clients come into the office.

[35:09] Yeah, I love, I love working at home today is my favorite kind of day. Uh, I just, uh, related to the whole a steady that blight properties and stuff to be venues like,

[35:19] um,

[35:20] I don't know, I always feel like a 90 percent of the people that are thinking that they're going to do that, like don't realize how much work goes into that. I don't know. What's your thought on that?

[35:27] Oh yeah. I mean, I have my checklist that I go through it before I've been go out to look at the venue saying, have you been contacted the county? Because that's my first red flag question. If they said, no, we haven't even, I didn't even know we had even contact the county. Then I've learned my lesson over the couple years that I just say, okay, well you need to go check out the county first to see a. are you even zoned? Even have this, have even talked to your neighbors because unless you were a property where there's nobody within a stone's throw from you, your neighbors are not going to be happy that you're going to start having three to 400 people every single weekend coming down your street and there's no parking in their parking on the street. So the county question is always big and then sometimes they just don't think about the little things.

[36:13] Um, I consulted with a venue last year and saying, okay, what are your bathroom facilities? Oh, we have an in, we have a bathroom inside our house. Okay. Do you want somebody to come in and use your one bathroom stall and you know, they could have 150 people at the wedding or do you want to provide bathrooms or just say blanket statement you'll need to bring in, you know, Porta potties of, of some sore. So I think sometimes like, Oh yeah, I've got this great house, but they don't think of it as of like what all goes into that. So again, it's, it's my checklist, but usually it's the county question that they haven't looked into that. And I'm like knowing owning of a wedding venue is a whole different pot of problems that if you are really serious about it you need to go through and do it right because you don't want to be that venue.

[37:07] And I've dealt with this before because we had this happen about five or six years ago in Pierce county where I'm from, that these venues would just pop up like, oh, I have a great barn and the county would find out about it or most likely the neighbors saying noise ordinance and the venue would get shut down. One of my first weddings a couple of years ago, they had a family friend who had this amazing property. It was great. It was fantastic. We'll. They had done three weddings at that summer and the week of the wedding, the county shut them down and we. I mean we, I came to tell you how many times I was on the phone and I said, look, like I went over everything, like a, b and c and like, nope, that's not going to happen. And it was because all the neighbors complained because there was no, there was no infrastructure setup about like, Oh yeah, the noise ordinance is 10:00 and music has to be turned off or you have to accommodate for.

[38:01] You can't have streets, private streets lined with cars, both sides. And when citizens try to go park on their own street and they can't because the neighbor's having a party and it's. But for profit, that's the issue that you're getting into. So. And that's why I say to, if you want to have a, a venue, please go through the proper channels because at the end of the day, you don't want your venue getting shut down and having to tell your bride and groom, sorry, our venue got shut down. You're getting married in three days to funny tidbit stories. One was, one of my consults is Sharon, I can't remember

[38:36] which one. It was a couple. And they said, oh, you know, like we're going to get married in San Fernando

[38:42] years from now our goal will be like, we're going to buy a property and like having a wedding venue. And I was like, let's get through your year by the and first before we, uh, about 10 steps forward. Now. The other one about the noise ordinance was, uh, one of my favorite weddings have last, I guess it was two summers ago now, was over digital sellers. And they, like all the Woodville ones, like I have pretty strict noise ordinances. Like, especially like the little. And um, it was on a Monday because a lot of the family was from Scotland and England. And like a kilt and all that kind of stuff. And so it didn't really matter what day of the week wedding was because everyone was traveling in. And so I think on like a weekday there, I think it's like nine, nine or 10.

[39:21] It's like a hard, you know, hard out, you can't, you can't change it. Yeah. And so we're like, we're like getting ready to pack up and one of the, like the Gruden or something outside, uh, this is well past now, like playing the bagpipes like drunk and like in the driveway and like, they're like, no, it goes right there as you're on the driveway. It echoes down into the valley and they just, you have just thought, you know, I dunno, something bad like a bomb was about to go off. I mean they were, it was funny. I, that was a kick. Um, so when you, when you were starting your company, um, did you have a vision for how you want it to be different or like what you wanted to focus on or like what was your, you know, besides like one when the plan weddings, it's like what, what did you want to be like, your know differentiation or your calling card?

[40:09] Think it's the one true fact that we've continued the last 13 years is I think it's the, our personality and our dedication to our clients and that I'm, the one thing we, I put together about three years ago is that either myself or my associate planner, we won't do more than one wedding per weekend. And I think it's that attention to detail that we can tell our clients. Like, you don't need to worry that if we can't make your rehearsal because we're having to do the rehearsal for somebody else's wedding. Because I'm a lot of couples now. There's not a traditional Saturday. You're getting married. We've done literally every single day of the week. And so a lot of these venues now, the only time you can do rehearsals on a Wednesday or Thursday and so, um, I think it's that attention and that we can tell our clients like, Hey, our focus for you that week and that weekend leading up to your wedding, it's all about you.

[41:03] You don't need to worry about us focusing on, you know, another client or two that weekend. And we get so bogged down. And I think that was another reason why too. I kinda got a little burnt out as you know, there will be some weekends, I would have Friday, Saturday, Sunday wedding and then I would go right back out to it. And so, so starting the company, you know, I really had no expectations because again, I thought this was a fun summer job. I do like five or six weddings. And then in our first full time wedding season, you know, I did 15 and I'm thinking, okay, that's a lot. The next year I did 25 and I'm like okay. And then the next raid of 27 and I'm like, okay, I need to set, I need to set a hard and fast rule that, you know, a, I'm only gonna do one wedding per weekend and I'm only going to take a certain amount because again, I want to give my, my bride and grooms all my best and I don't want them to feel like they're kind of being put on the backburner whether they have our smaller package or they have our larger package that everybody feels like they're treated the exact same.

[42:06] Um, we give her 100, 10 percent. All of our clients, whether they hire a six weeks before their wedding or they hire us two and a half years before their wedding. And so I feel like now I can say most of our clients now that we get our referral based, we do all the wedding shows and we, and we still do a couple here or there are, we know we do a lot of venue, open houses and vendor open houses. But when you don't have to really sell what you do because either they were a bridesmaid in your wedding or they were a wedding guest or their mom was a guest at the wedding. Those are the. The best things you could ever receive intern is that somebody trusted you because they saw you at another wedding that there's not even a question like, oh yeah, we're going to hire Lori at Elegant Affairs.

[42:50] Like, I mean it's, it's funny that I hear these people like, Oh yeah, I knew when I was. When I got engaged, the first thing I needed to do was call Lori and that's probably the most humbling things ever. And seeing the client response and the client testimonials after you're like, you know, whether you have a small impact on their wedding or you've been working with them for two years, that you're literally talking every single day and the impact that you have and the continued friendship you have with those clients. And then you see them have babies and then you follow up with there and you do their kids' parties and you're like, you know, it, it, it's, comes full circle. And I love it just makes what I do. So joyful. And I love, I love what I do. And I, I think it's because it's because of our couples that makes me want to continue to do this for the, you know, for a very long time.

[43:44] Uh, it's funny speaking about, you know, attention to detail. Uh, and not that they're, at least under the bus, we had a good way. Uh, we, I had a wedding with her in May and I think it was like January and she emailed me like, Hey, read, like I just wanted to check in and see a, you know, like um, the plan there for Matt and Kim Lee and you know, just kind of wanted to see what you needed for me. And I was like floored because like there's weddings like that we do that like I or like my other team will do. Like there was a, there was one the summer that my other team did because Dorothy and I were out of town and I didn't even realize they had a planner because I had never like gotten into you can, you know, nothing.

[44:27] Like I think I saw in one of their things like oh here's our who's the best day of contact for the day? And it was a planning company and I was so like excited that like be like, I was like, oh my gosh, like this is like five months out and this is crazy. But it spoke to like condensed, like how on top of everything she was right to like, but, you know, but that is that like where you, uh, you know, try to limit a little bit of the numbers to be able to do that kind of stuff and like be able to like really like have a conversation. Like for me, it's super helpful to be able to have that ongoing communication.

[45:00] Well, and I mean I've got to brag, I mean Lisa, just if you thought I was organized like that girl, like she were doing our year end meeting this upcoming Thursday and you know, she just blows me away. Like she goes, Oh yeah, I've already done this and this like I'm already. And I'm like, you know, she came into my life at a time where I didn't know where we were going. My other associate planner had just moved down to Texas with her husband and so we're kind of like, am I going to be back to being a one woman show or am I going to bring on new staff? And so when I said, hey, I'm looking for new staff, she was literally within like an hour of me posting. She had her resume, she had her cover life because when can I come in and meet you? And she met me at our old office in Tacoma and I just, I was blown away.

[45:50] I think just her personality. She comes at it with. She did wedding planning before she worked for me. She was a florist for a long time. So she kind of, I saw that she had all these just positive attributes. I'm like, why would I not bring her on? I'm like, so I don't even think we got halfway through it and around like, um, can you just start now? She goes, wait, what? I go, yeah, like, and so it was just. And it's great because, you know, she has two young kids and she's lives about 10 minutes from me and she's just one of those people where, you know, you can count on her. There's never an issue where I'm ever concerned that she's not on top of it. She's always three steps ahead of me where if you know, how I operate to be three steps ahead of me is pretty impossible. But somehow that woman does it and I am so blessed to have her on our team and just hearing their response back from clients and vendors like you that work with her and it's just like, how did I get so lucky for her to want to work on my team?

[46:50] Yeah. Talk about that. Just kind of the idea of like expanding in, in having these people that are under you, but also kind of like, you know, like obviously they're their own planner but they represent you and kind of your vision then like is that, was that scary? Is that something that obviously leads to like impress you a lot, but just that idea of like kind of, you know, building that expansion of yourself?

[47:09] Yeah, I mean when I first started it was literally just me and I would work for 15 hours, 16 hours a day and I'm like, how, how am I doing this by myself? And so, um, luckily I was still advising a Alpha chapter at University of puget sound and I just said, hey, if anybody's interested like this summer if you want to intern for me and this wonderful woman named Lily's, like I would love to, I'm going to be in Tacoma all summer. And I'm like, great. So she was my first intern and I kind of, you know, it was great. Like she was there anytime I needed anything. And coincidentally, I'm going to be meeting with her this week to talk about her 20 slash 20 wedding. Um, and so it was kind of that organic growth. Um, Rachel who used to want to be my, one of my associate planners, um, she started as, I was her advisor at Wsu and she interned for me, then became my wedding day assistant.

[48:02] Then she was working as a nanny and Seattle. And she's like, well, I want to do more of this wedding thing. So I'm like, okay, so let's bring you on as a planner. And then started small three, five to 15 weddings per summer. And you know, it was really sad when, you know, when she moved. But, you know, when the army calls and you really can't say no. Um, so, and over the years I've had other associate planners. I've had tons of wedding day assistance, dozens of interns, and it's one of those things. It's, it's a, it really takes a village. It's just not me or it's just not lisa and event typically leases my goto wedding assistant. Um, just because she gets me in again, she anticipates my next move before I even make it or even before I think I'm going to make it so that that's what to me makes a good collaborative effort.

[48:51] Um, and so, you know, we kind of go in waves like are we going to bring on more people, are we gonna are we content where we're at? And I think kind of the industry will dictate if and when we're going to expand. But I think right now we're good with, you know, Lisa and I and I've got an amazing team of assistants for 2019 that have kind of gone through, um, the intern stage two wedding assistant to some have even done weddings um, with me. And so it's just kind of saying we're seeing where the wind takes us.

[49:24] It's tough because we're in a little bit of a rebuilding phase now too, just in terms of shuffling around a little bit. And it's, it's tough because it's, it's a lot easier like just managing my weddings and not having to do that. And so, you know, there was a lot of soul searching and kind of in the last couple of months in talking with dorothy about that, about like, you know, it really is easy when it's just me and, and, and when you, you know, when you bring on other teams and you know, obviously they're managing things but you still need to kind of be accountable and help kind of figure that out. And so it's, it's tough and I think it is something that like every vendor kind of like balances and kind of juggles and it's, it's tough to kind of figure out what is best. But yeah, I think like when people come into your life like a good time and kind of like it works out and pans out, right?

[50:10] Yeah. And sometimes when you're not even expecting that person that you'll just get a random email saying, hey, I'm looking to, you know, are you taking in interns? And sometimes I'm like, oh, I really don't want to take interns anymore. You know, I love, I've loved the interns I've had. But sometimes, you know, maybe you don't get the best fit or they, and I always tell, I said, hey, make this internship into what you want. And it can always lead to more because that's where everybody starts and you know, some will realize like, oh, this is not what I expected at all. Um, but I think it comes down to trust. And I think that's a hard thing for me too, just because this is my baby essentially my third child and you need to make sure that whoever you bring on your team is not only going to represent your company but the wedding industry because we're such a tight knit community that if something happens, it gets around. So you want to make sure you build that team that you can trust. And if something happens, you can call that team member to step in or just be there for you whether you need help or just need advice.

[51:18] Before I let you go today, I want to pick your brain just a little bit. I, you have such a wealth of knowledge and so many weddings. Um, what are, what are some common problems or pitfalls you see like couples encounter as they go through you that like you wish people knew or like kind of little things like that you see people do wrong that could be done a little easier or different problems that you see?

[51:40] Um, I think first off is budget is figuring out what you want to spend realistically. Not that Oh I want x, Y and Z, but I don't want to pay for it. So I think it's having a realistic budget and getting all those players into it. Because, you know, back when I got married it was 100 percent response once they respond to but traditional that the bride's parents pay for everything. Whereas now average age of brides and grooms are a lot different than when I got married at 23 years old. Most of our clients now are in their late twenties, early thirties, which is a vast difference from when we started. I mean you're so it's figuring out our parents financially contributing at all. Or they could write an actually contributing everything to the wedding and playing a part of, do they have a say in the decision making sense?

[52:27] They are writing the checks. So that's always my biggest question is what do you want to spent, what are your priorities that you want us to put money into it? Is it chairs, is it linens, is it flowers, is it having a videographer? So I think budget for me as number one. Um, and also setting realistic goals for yourself that do you want to have a wedding at an upscale Seattle hotel? Or do you want to do it at a rustic barn and the time of year. So I think it all comes down to is seeking out advice and help and whether you're not sure if you want to hire a wedding planner, go talk to somebody because I think, you know, all the wedding planners I've had great relationships with in the Seattle wedding community. We're all a wealth of knowledge and just seeking out help and saying, you know, I didn't really think we needed help, but I now realizing all's involved in wedding planning because everybody leads a busy life and besides working and a lot of my clients are getting their masters on the sides and going to school, they don't have a lot of time for wedding planning and especially if they're like, oh, we're getting married in six months.

[53:40] And I'm like, okay, you're getting married in August and you don't have a venue and you want to get married on a Saturday. And I don't. And I've learned that over the years too, is I don't sugarcoat things. I don't want to waste your time, my time, my vendors time. And you know, if you're like, oh yeah, we want to get married Saturday, August, 24th. I'm like, great, what's your venue? What? We don't have one. Okay. Then you're really going to need to start looking into those alternative venues. Or maybe you're getting married in grandma and grandpa's backyard or at a park just because you know, wedding venues or booking up a year or two in advance. I've even seen that they're now opening the book for Twenty Slash Twenty one, which I don't even want to think about that. So I think seeking out a professional that can help in at least figuring out, do you need help?

[54:23] At the end of the day, I feel like all couples need to at least have somebody there on the day off, whether they hire a day of planner just to come in and kind of tie up the loose ends, take care of everything. Or if you're going to hire a full time planner that really plans your whole wedding, takes your vision from your pinterest board, your mood board, inspirational board, and makes it an executes it. So because you don't want. At the end of the day, you don't want to be setting up your own wedding. You want to enjoy your. I was telling my couples, literally, you wake up in the morning, you blink and your day's over and the amount of the money that you're spending on your day, you want to enjoy it, and when you can bring in those professionals that can make your day what you want and you could enjoy your day. That's gonna be the biggest investment of your wedding budget.

[55:10] Uh, yeah. It's funny. My favorite thing at the wedding show that we do and not favorite thing really is when you talked to a couple of, and we always ask like, oh hi. You know, congratulations, you know, like, oh, what's your day? Oh, you know, whatever. Oh, do you have a venue? Oh No. And I'm like, you don't, you don't have a date until you have a venue and, and there's a lot of other, you know, you can get a different florist if you need to or videographer, whatever. But like you do not have a date until you have a venue. Exactly. It doesn't matter, you know, unless like you said, unless it's like a family member or a property or something that you know you have locked down, but like you do really need to like be honest about that and kind of figuring that out.

[55:49] The other thing just in to talk about the blink of an eye real quick, I just did a video testimonial with one of my couples from April and that was like, he a tailored the groom say time and time again. He's like everybody tells you, you know, it's going to go by and such a flash and he's like, and then it does. And like I don't know why we didn't think that because everybody told us for the year we were planning like it's going to go by fast, it's going to grow my fast and then it did go by fast and we're so glad that like, you know, they have everything in place. I'm also, just to wrap this up, I, yeah, I do think that like just nowadays with people being so busy, like with, you know, continuing education or jobs and things like there is a lot more demand for like wedding planning and then kind of that assistance throughout the process. I mean people are just so busy nowadays and even they were like 10, 15 years.

[56:35] Oh by far it's, it's, it's crazy wellness. I think too, the amount of business travel, a lot of my clients are traveling all the time to try to nail him down and that's why I thank God we have email and I can get email on my phone just because sometimes that is the easiest form. I can nail somebody down on a decision or like hey, I'm sending you a and B, pick which one you want or like, Hey, send me your vendor contracts. So let me take a look so we can get that nailed nailed down. But I think too is making time. Wedding planning shouldn't consume your life. Make time saying, okay, what are your parties? What do we need to get done? Obviously, like you said, getting that venue and the date is number one first and foremost, because other than that you have nothing.

[57:17] So I think really prioritizing your time, looking at your schedule and saying, okay, what can I commit to planning this wedding? And I've even had couples that just said, look, we thought we were gonna get married this year. There's just no way with our schedules, family life that they've pushed their wedding to the next year and then they're like, that was the best thing we could've done because we got to enjoy the process. We didn't feel like we were stressed and nobody wants to be stressed because the biggest argument couples get into over weddings is finances and that leads to everything else. Because when you don't know what to expect, like, oh, I didn't expect that I'm gonna have to spend 3000, $5,000 on flowers or I have to bring in my own linens or I have to do this, this and this. That causes stressors in life. And so I think too is it's finding that balance and I think at the end of the day everything comes down to finding that healthy balance. What works, what works for you is not gonna work for everybody, but finding what works for you and your partner.

[58:17] Perfect. Uh, well I think, uh, you were associate wealth of knowledge. I think we could continue this for, for many, many hours. And I want to thank you again so much for coming in, you know, on a Sunday and making time to do this. I really appreciate it. I think it was a great interview. If people want to learn more about you and your team and your company and what you guys do, what would you have them check out?

[58:35] Check out our website. We are We're also on Instagram, Facebook, same handle, ElegantAffairsWa or or EAffairsWa.

[58:46] And I will say one of the joys of my life is following your story on Instagram and seeing all the differentiated against that you and your family and everybody gets into. So I would at least plug that and say that that is definitely worthwhile to kind of get in a more in depth look into kind of you and in your life and what makes you tick.

[59:04] My crazy, uh, being a sports mom and the yelling at wrestling matches. Yeah, that's me. So if you want to see what your wedding planner really does on her free time, check me on Tuesdays and Thursdays at wrestling matches and that's, that's fun time so you can see my real personality there.

[59:18] Perfect. Well thank you again. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thank you so much.

Jessica Heriot, Jessica Heriot Photography

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington, and today I'm joined by a longtime friend of mine who's actually coming to us from Portland, Oregon today via the Internet is my good friend, Jessica Heriot. Jessica, why don't you introduce yourself, tell us who you are and what you do.

[00:32] Hi, thanks for having me read. I'm glad we're doing this. We chatted about this a little bit ago so I'm glad that it's working out. So I'm Jessica and I'm the owner, photographer behind Jessica Heriot photography. I photographed a little bit of everything from weddings, couples, engagements as well as families, newborns, kids. I kind of do a little bit of everything and Yeah, I love, it's my passion and I actually picked up my first camera probably about 10, 12 years ago, so it's been awhile. But, um, I kinda really dove in about seven years ago into my business.

[01:14] Thank you so much for coming on today. And we've actually met each other years ago of the wedding and then we had the opportunity, you worked with one of my associates, Joe, uh, this past summer as well with the Robin and Kristine and it was great. And so I so appreciate you taking the time to come on to that.

[01:30] Absolutely. Thanks for having me.

[01:32] Uh, so talk about, kind of, you know, is have you always wanted to be a photographer or have you always been kind of creative or you said, you know, you've had this long time passion but like, you know, did you grow up kind of trying to be creative as a kid or how did that start?

[01:46] So actually I had no idea that I ever wanted to be a photographer. I grew up in a small town and my first creative outlet was actually dance. I was a ballerina growing up and that was my creative outlet as a kid. I was pretty shy and when I was around 21, um, I had kind of, I was not a dancer anymore. I've kind of closed that chapter and looking for another creative outlet. And I picked up a camera one day and just kind, kinda started tinkering with it and then from there I was actually at that point in time, I was coaching high school cheerleading and then it kind of snowballed into capturing senior photos of some of the girls I was working with. And then it just kinda snowballed from there that I realized that was, you know, another direction I could take it or something I could use with my creative outlet. So went from dance, you know, the first 20 years of my life. And then I found photography.

[02:42] Um, how did you get into dance? Was that something that your parents wanted you to do or something that you wanted to do or. And it seems difficult.

[02:50] Yes. Uh, I was pretty shy as a kid I. and uh, when I was three was when I first started, they enrolled me in creative movement. It was what they call it when you were three years old. Um, and then from there I just kept doing it every year and I did ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, modern, all the different types. So you could think of, um, and from there I was taking anywhere from, you know, some years taking a couple classes and it worked up to when I was in high school, I was taking sometimes 12 classes a week after school. And then I also started cheerleading in high school. Um, we didn't have a dance team so I figured you're living is the closest thing to dance in a way to be involved in my school. So that's, I did that, which has been how it led to me coaching high school cheerleading after, after that.

[03:37] What was that process like be the coach?

[03:40] Um, it was, um, it was very rewarding. Um, I loved working with the kids and you know, just being, you know, not as being their coach but being someone they could go to and uh, you know, potential role model for them. Um, and it was a good way, you know, to continue my passion of dance and choreography and you know, creating routines for the girls and working with the kids and you know, also taking. I'm taking things that they learned from there and kind of creating life lessons for them as well as kind of was something I really tried to focus on with them. So very rewarding.

[04:17] Do you still do any sort of dance now recreationally at all or do you do anything like that to kind of keep that passion alive?

[04:25] No, unfortunately not. I am hoping to actually have signed up for some classes but I just haven't gone and actually eventually I. well but, but I just haven't had the time between, you know, just finishing busy season with photography. So now winter time I'll probably probably get in there and get to those classes. So.

[04:49] Well yeah, I mean running the businesses and I always say yeah, I'm not much of a hobby guy so I Kinda, I definitely understand what that a. So how did you get that first care where you. So it kind of fell into your hands and you started experimenting with that was just kind of doing things for free time.

[05:09] I actually worked at a coffee shop in my hometown and it was right on the port and it was supportive schnuck there and uh, uh, after work one day it was really pretty sunset, so I was like, oh, let's go down there and port and cakes and photos of sunset. And then from there it snowballed when my friends, um, she was hoping to become, she was aspiring to become a singer and she had asked me to take a couple of photos of her for her cd, for her demo. And then from there it snowballed into taking senior photos of my girls and my cheer squad.

[05:40] Uh, I bet that was a fun experience. Uh, and so then he of started doing that. And then when did you decide to kind of emo officially of started the business in and decide to make a go of it?

[05:55] Yeah. So then I moved from my small town. I moved to Portland, Oregon. Um, gosh, about nine years ago now, eight or nine years ago. And then see her for a couple of years and I was kinda trying to, I wasn't coaching cheer anymore, so I had a little more time to try and focus on photography credit sided, you know, I really wanted to make that my career. It was something I was passionate about and I did attend the art institute in Portland for a little bit, um, just to kind of get some education from other creatives where I felt like I couldn't teach myself, you know, I wasn't going out and shooting as much as possible, but there were, you know, some backend things. I just wanted to get that knowledge from somewhere else. So I did that for a little bit. Um, and then from there just kind of snowballed and I booked my first wedding I think in 2011.

[06:42] So, um, and from there I think I had three weddings my first year starting out. And uh, I was pretty proud of myself for that. I was like, all right, three weddings, here we go. And then, uh, just kind of snowballed from there. Just kind of took off and word of mouth. And I think too, it was really nice coming from a small town, I had a lot of support, um, and with social media these days, you know, it was just, you know, it seemed like every time I was sharing, you know, a new event that I had, whether it was an engagement session or family session or a wedding, it was, you know, getting interest from someone else and a lot of support from my hometown. So, and I even still go there often to my home and I do a lot of family sessions and engagements and weddings there. So it's great to have that support system from my know from my small town, um, as well as I've built pretty good clientele here, here in Portland as well. And then I also travel up to Seattle appear way. So, which is where we met.

[07:36] Yeah. And uh, well I want to touch on that too and kind of expand on that. What was that first wedding light that you booked is as kind of official wedding? What was that?

[07:46] Um, so actually it was a lady I worked with, her daughter, one of her daughters is getting married and she knew that I was aspiring to be a photographer and I hadn't done any weddings yet and I was hoping to dive into that and she, she just, you know, stopped me in the lunch room and she's like, I want you to photograph my daughter's wedding. I said, well, you know, I've never shot one before. Right. And she was like, oh yeah, she's like, but I know you'll do great. And uh, you know, going into my first one, you have to start somewhere, but I didn't really know what I was getting into, but it wasn't really, it was a really cute intimate wedding. It was at a little coffee shop in Oregon city. I'm a great group of people and after that I was immediately hooked. I was like, Yep, definitely want to photograph more weddings and this is definitely something that I want to continue and for sale.

[08:34] Uh, when you mentioned just the, Oh, I'm sure you'll do great. It just reminded me, and maybe you've had this experience too, that quite frequently and that we'll get ready to leave a wedding after filming and the guests are a mother or father will come up and they'll always say, oh, you guys did a great job today. You guys did a really good job and I'm always like, you guys haven't seen any of the video yet? You've seen none of the photos you though. I mean, just because we're still standing here at the end of the day. I mean, I know that we did a good job. I don't know if you've ever had that experience, but that always makes me laugh. I'm like, Oh, I'm sure you did. God are, y'all did great.

[09:09] Yeah. Yeah. We usually get a few of those, especially at the end of the night, you know, and, and in a way it's flattering too because I'm like, yeah, they're supportive without even seeing any other thing, any of the footage or the, you know, images of it and created, created from that day. But um, but yeah, it's, you know, you always get that towards, especially towards the end of the night of her wedding.

[09:29] Uh, so you said that you were kind of immediately hooked. What was it about the actual wedding incident that inspired you and that kind of grabbed, you know, made you gravitate towards that?

[09:38] You know, just, um, I really liked capturing all different moments of the day. Um, I love capturing people in general and their personalities and letting that kind of create, help me create the photo or images that I'm capturing. But with the wedding day, you know, there's so many different pieces throughout the day and different people you get to meet and work with. And just the whole aspect of that. I think to me, like I was mentioning growing up, I was, I was pretty shy kid and, and even into my early adult years, I was still pretty shy and I think that was really a way for me to kind of come out of my shell. And I think that really helped me grow as a person. Um, because I kind of had to be, you know, when you're a photographer, videographer, you're kind of help, you know, kind of keeping things going and running smoothly and kind of keeping on the timeline and kind of directing people and you know, so I think it really helps me grow as a person and as well as, you know, something I love to do.

[10:31] Yeah, I think it would have to be a circle than A. I think people kind of underestimate how much, you know, the social politicking and there whatever comes into play. You know, as a wedding veterans especially like as a photographer and yeah, you're someone that grew up really shy and kind of being thrust into that. Like you might not necessarily anticipate. Was that kind of a struggle or did you feel like you kind of naturally kind of broke through that?

[10:54] I think they naturally kind of broke through that and I think some of that too probably came from my dance and cheer back background because even though was shy, you know, when I was dancing or cheering, you know, you're in front of people in front of a crowd and you have to, you know, is kind of, I think that helped me grow and I think that was in a way Kinda helping me prepare for my next step, which is photography and directing people and being in front of, you know, sometimes small groups and sometimes large groups and Kinda just kinda keeping the ball rolling and I'm really not being, you know, you, you can't be shy because you gotta you know, make sure you're, you're helping out your bride and groom and helping create the day that they want and what their images and you know because they're trusting you, you know, and your vision. So, um, I think it was kind of all these different stepping stones to kind of get me to where I'm at now.

[11:41] Yeah. Because if you certainly, like, if you're nervous or, or, um, you know, have any hesitation, you know, they have lots of nervousness, hesitation, but they certainly, there's lots of nerves that you hope there's not too much hesitation. Uh, so it kind of after you did three weddings that first year and then you kind of figured like, okay, now this is solid, I'm going to make this game plan or what is that next leap or step?

[12:04] Yeah. So then I, um, was in Portland for a couple of years and um, it was kind of building, you know, I'd book a few more weddings each year. Um, and then I actually moved up to Seattle for two years because my family had kind of a good point, you know, part of my family had moved up to the Seattle area, so I kind of ventured up there, um, just to give it a try and, you know, be closer to my family. Um, and even then while I was up there, I was starting know kind of rebuilding clientele from the Seattle area, but I was still making a lot of trips down to Portland because I had already kind of started a base of clientele there and it's continuing to go back and do like know yearly family sessions with people that I've built relationships with. And then once I was up in Seattle actually started coaching cheerleading again too.

[12:51] So, so then I, you know, I just like to be busy apparently because I was photography coaching, I was working another job and um, and then I was up there for about two years, came back to Portland, realized I love Portland a lot, but you know, I can still serve the Pacific northwest from here. And you know, I've traveled to California this year. I went to Minnesota and Wisconsin. So, um, but yeah, and then I think the last I would say like the last three years is when I've really kind of put a bigger focus on my business and really, you know, really going for it. Cause this is what I want to do. You know, this is my passion, what I want to, you know, I like, it's a job, but it doesn't feel like that to me.

[13:33] Yeah. I mean like we're working on right now getting to hang out, you know. Uh, so you, you said you kind of decided your heart was back down in Portland. What is it about kind of the Portland, is it the city or the environment or the nature or whether it's about Portland that speaks to you?

[13:48] Um, I think, you know, the nature. I kinda, um, I live in like in Portland currently right now, but I'm always been sharing, it seems to become like a good central location because I do things down in central and southern Oregon. Like I said, I go up to Seattle often love going out to the gorge. I think that's one of my main draws as I love the gorge and I've done a lot of sessions out there and um, you know, there's multiple places you can go to that are in the same area, but they look totally different, you know, once you've captured it on your camera. So there's a lot of options out there and I don't know, just something that speaks to my heart here and I really love Central Oregon to just that kind of more high desert vibe there as well. And hoping to get down there more of this next year.

[14:33] Yeah, I mean it certainly is a different, uh, even is so close to Seattle. I mean just even the train and like my grandpa lives. Yeah. Lived in eastern Oregon for years and like it's just totally different than anything, you know, interest in terms of like scope and size and whatever. Uh, so yeah, it's someone that works both in Seattle and Portland. How do you find kind of that balancing act between the two and what do you think the differences are between Seattle and Portland?

[15:01] It's definitely been a balancing act. I'm still working on. I feel like I'm in my car a lot, but that's okay because I love it. Um, you know, seattle definitely has more of that. I mean, I guess big city vibe, it has more of that city vibe, you know, I don't really get to the outskirts of Seattle as much. I know there are places on the east side that you can get out more in nature, but I think that's why like Portland, because you definitely have that city vibe as well, but it's not. And maybe it's because I've explored Portland more, you know, I'm not sure, but it definitely seems like, you know, each direction you had north, south, east, west, like you're not that far from the beach or you know, like I said along the gorge, there's Mount Hood, there's so many beautiful areas and I like this is just kind of a good central hub for me where I can get, you know, go up north to Washington or I can, you know, be in southern Oregon and not a couple hour drive as well. So, um, but I definitely like know anytime there's somewhere new, that's all he wants, he wants to go. I'm always in.

[16:01] Do you find there's a big discrepancy between a budget? So in pricing between Seattle,

[16:06] Portland, Seattle,

[16:10] they're just kind of a different vibe. I think up there are at least maybe, maybe I just haven't gotten my name into the right, you know, people are areas that, you know, that maybe I went to work with, clincher that I, you know, I feel like Portland and Seattle are similar, but they are very different, you know. Um, but I think, I think in Portland I've just found my niche of people that want to explore, like, because I keep going back to the gorge, but I think that's just because I'm out there a lot or I'm over at the coast at the Oregon beaches quite often as well. And um, so those places Kinda Kinda speak to my heart more way as far as locations. Um, and you know, I think it's important for every couple, especially with weddings. I keep kind of talking more about weddings, but um, you know, I think there's a big thing too about, you know, every wedding needs to be super, you know, adventurous in which those are absolutely wonderful. And of course I want to photograph those, but I think it's also important to make it really unique to the couple, you know, whether that is a big church wedding or going out to the gorge or going to the beach.

[17:12] And so I just think it's really important that no matter where your location or where you live, I'm just making sure wherever you're selecting a location for whether it is a family shoot or a wedding that, but something that speaks to you and your family or you know, you or your husband or wife to be.

[17:29] No, I think that's a great point. I think it's, it's a difficult sometimes, oh, as vendors of any kind that you have have your own certain kind of like, well this is how I would do it. Like where I would get married and this is how I would do it in like, it really is like each wedding really does speak to the individual couple. And I do think it's kind of hard to reconcile that sometimes where you're like, you know, I would never want to do that. But they do and it looks awesome. And that's great, or like, you know, like during the, and I weren't really up for like the adventurous type of whether you like, I would totally go film that, but I probably wouldn't want that for my own day. I think that that's exciting, you know?

[18:06] Yeah, that's what I think. It's so cool like that. That's what I try and emphasize too much to my couples, especially with weddings when they're still trying to figure out details and location. So united always tell them to like, you know, do what speaks to you, like don't do what you think is expected of you, you know, follow your guys' gotten what you guys want to do is same thing with picking your vendors. Even. So

[18:28] I'm talking about kind of the year a photography style and kind of how you approach them. It could be weddings or portraits or whatever, but how do you, you know, what's your kind of artistic style on that?

[18:41] So for me, um, it's definitely something always over the few years I've been kind of working towards to perfect and kind of get where I want to be with that. And, um, you know, I think over the years, and I think to a lot of this actually comes from dance. I think being a dancer I was very self aware of my body and being a ballerina and I think that has helped me with capturing people and you know, because I like them to be more candid with each other and I'm not, you know, I'm going to direct you in ways that I'm not going to pose you and to, I think to me as a photographer, knowing you know, where to place them and getting the right angles that's most flattering for them. Um, and making sure they're having fun, you know, that's like the most important thing.

[19:22] And I want to capture fun, um, or you know, that's an intimate moment. I want that to be captured. So I'm saying that the biggest thing for me is, you know, I'm going to direct you and give you cues, but I'm not going to be posing because, um, I want it to be more natural. So when you look at your photographs, it's not, Oh, this is how Jessica made me stand. It's, you know, oh, that's how we would hold hands. That's how I wrap my arms around her in our, around 10. So I really try and keep it as natural as possible.

[19:50] Uh, I think that's a fantastic point about kind of your knowledge of the kind of the body and in what is flattering them, what is in then I'm sure like growing up in the dance community there was probably a lot of scrutiny and making sure everything looks nice and like, yeah, I think that like coming from like when I came from news in the like weddings, like that was just not something that I was even like trained the lookout was like how people are standing in. It could be how the girl standing or the guy or how anybody is, you know, just just a slight kind of one way or another could make or break or whatever. I mean it is tough, right? So

[20:28] I think that, I think that's why I was, you know, what I think about things and people and how to, you know, get, you know, especially if you have two people or have a group of people, you know, getting them to all kind of work together. But keeping it natural, I think, you know, just coming, you know, I was a dancer for 20 years and I really think that body awareness and you know, individuals, whether it was me dancing or choreographing, you know, a group of girls together or group of guys and girls, you know, dancing. I think that really helped me with one of my stepping stones, you know, and, and directing people now and you know, because I have all people at almost every photo shoot. We're really awkward together in front of the camera that I get that all the time and I'm like, you know what, don't worry and if you are just be yourself because I want you to be you.

[21:11] But I'm going to help direct you. And, and um, you know, by the end they're having a great time. I usually, they don't want their session to end, which is my goal every time they want to keep going. So that makes me happy by the end of the session when people are like, oh, like we're having so much fun with like a date night now. So, um, but yeah, I really accredit a lot of that to my dance background. I think that really helped me a lot with visualizing and seeing people together and you know, getting them in the right movement and placement, you know, with each other.

[21:40] No, I think that's great. I think that's a fascinating point. Um, what kinds of couples and families and things do you find that you attract the most of the, you're attracted to the kind of that vibe and into work?

[21:53] I would say just anyone that I'm like, I think my main thing is like I just wanted you guys to have fun and interact with each other. Um, so carefree. I'm not being like, okay, you just need to sit there and smile and smile and be happy. But same time I want, I want movement and laughter and love and seeing a family interact together. A couple interacts together. That's what it's all about. Or you know, um, you know, if your Kiddo is not yet, maybe they're not making eye contact with me all the time and you know, maybe their hair is a mess or whatever it is or they're putting her. Like I had this one friend who her daughter just did not want to have her hair down. She just kept putting it back up in a ponytail and like, you know what, you're gonna remember this though?

[22:36] And when she was sick she was just like, nope, mom and my hair is going in a ponytail and I'm like, nothing. You're going to remember it. You know, it was, her hair was a mess and she. But she was having a good old time and I'm like, that's what you're going to remember. So you know, I think just being cared for and it's kind of going with the flow because the moment I think you start to Kinda tense up or like oh it's not going how I visualize, just trust in me to capture you guys how you interact as a family or as a couple because the more fun you have just enjoying each other and being in the moment with each other. The more you're going to enjoy the whole experience in your photos after.

[23:12] Do you find as someone that does a lot of like families and other things too? Like and maybe this was just when I was kind of like not in this world before, but it seems to me like the amount of access people have to like getting high quality like family photos like every year or like amazing baby photos or amazing like back to school photos or like it just seems to me like we're essentially a luxury now or like you can really like chronologically like capture, like your family's story the years like do you find that in that people are taking advantage of that more? And do you like that?

[23:50] I have a handful of families that yearly, they set up their yearly family sessions and it's fun to revisit their previous sessions. So usually for those families that I do, you know, your early sessions four, sometimes even six months, you know, especially in the earlier years with Kiddos. Sometimes they'll do every six months, but usually every year it's pretty standard. I have a lot of families that I do that with and before each session I have with them I'll revisit, you know, their previous sessions just to kind of refresh and then it's fun to see the kids and how much they've grown and you know, they're different little personalities that have come out, especially with kids as they're growing up. And um, and it's really fun too because working with families it's, you know, it's, it's an honor that they keep asking me and return to keep photographing their family as you know, they're growing throughout the years and how they're going to, how I'm going to photograph their kids senior photos. And it's just, you know, that that makes me feel good because obviously I'm doing my job and get delivering them something that they're treasuring forever and that they can't wait for even future shoots. So that makes me feel really good about that.

[24:51] Yeah. I just feel like growing up. But we, for one of our, one of our birthday is like my grandma or one of my mom's birthday's, my grandma put together like these big frame collage, like photos of us through the year. And uh, you know, they're just like, what does a couple, you know, like, oh, here it was like one when I was in high school and like here's when the night. And like other than that, like I think we have like our yearly, a Christmas card photo like my mom took place. We just don't have that. And like I just think nowadays with social media and like mini sessions and family sessions, like the ability to do that. I just think that it's a great way that people have. And then you know, you kind of have this digital. Yeah. History now of kind of your family and kids. And kind of all these important moments in your life?

[25:34] Yeah, same for me because growing up I honestly, I can only think of one time we ever had family photos as a kid growing up and I think I was about four years old so that's the only time I can remember ever having like a family photo, you know? And I think they're the only one, I think only have one photo from that session, you know, we're now at you like you're saying it's so much easier to share images too. And I think people are excited, you know, through social media, they're excited to be able to get photos every year and share them with their friends and family. There's so many different ways they can share them now. And so it's fun, you know. And I think too now now that you brought that up, it's good. Now I'm Kinda like, well that's kind of bummer. Only have one to. There's only one time I can think of that we ever had family photos taken. So I'm. So I'm just glad that I, you know, have families that keep coming back to me because that's the man I love doing it and I love working with them and seeing their families every year.

[26:30] Yeah. Let this be a don't be, don't be. Don't be as, as we're as we're implementing right now about our mutual lack of family. For us, what are, what are some of the biggest challenges and kind of running the business outside of, you know, the actual stuff for the wedding day are dealing with families or things like that.

[26:53] No, I think for me, um, you know, time management, you know, there's so many different aspects. I think people don't realize behind the scenes that, you know, for me it's, it's just, it's just me or is anyone else helping me? Um, so I'm doing all the scheduling, all the contracts and website and invoices and, you know, and then as far as to, you know, driving the sessions and taking the photos and I think to even feel even like on the back end after your session, there's a lot, you know, it's a, it's a big process that goes into that, you know, uploading and calling and, you know, so um, something I've been working on is time management, you know, to, and allowing myself to have a little bit of personal free time sometimes, you know, you know how that goes. So especially during the busy season, pretty much may through November is pretty crazy. So, um, but that's different thing that's always evolving and trying to find ways to better serve my clients, you know, the best that I can.

[28:00] So when it came to you, uh, you, did you ever have any like entrepreneurial backgrounds in your family or was this something that you've just kind of had to learn as you go? Or

[28:11] how did that work out? Actually, my dad has been a big help in that. Um, he actually owned a business while I was growing up. He owned a grocery store in our small town in Ilwaco Washington, so I watched him run a business there. Um, and even now he's up in Seattle and he had his own business there as well. He's a carpenter remodeling know people's kitchens and whatever they need built in their homes, which was his passion originally before he owned the store he was doing prior to that. So, um, I'm really thankful for my dad because he's, he's been my go to for questions in, in that area and taxes and all that good stuff. So he's definitely been a big help. Um, and so when I can always go to and ask for help and someone also admired because I watched him do it over the years growing up. So

[29:05] yeah, looking back now would have been better off getting, like a, a finance degree here in business. Then, you know, the, uh, the broadcast journalism sounds good, but it's not as, not as useful as I think as being the tax accountant, uh, were, were you scared in running the business or did you just having seen your father kind of go through that, where did that alleviate some of that or was there worrisome to you or did you think, wow, he can help me out of the fight?

[29:35] I think that alleviated any fear that I had because I don't ever really remember ever being afraid knew it. I just kinda like in feet first and was like, all right, I'm just going to do this. I'm not really sure what all I'm doing or how to navigate this, but I'm going to figure it out. And I think I just kind of had that attitude going into it and I just kinda kept that. Obviously there's been times where I've kind of second guessed myself, you know, and you know, as we all do, but um, but yeah, for the most part I just Kinda, I just knew, I was like, Yep, I'm just going to do this. This is what I want to do. And then there have been times where I'm like, thank goodness I had my dad though because there have been some questions and some things are I who to go to and he is my number one person. I'm picking up the phone to call. So um, but yeah, it's, I really thank him for that because, you know, like I said, he wouldn't be in the shy kid growing up. This was something I was just really confident in doing.

[30:24] Uh, is it? Yeah. As someone that was shy, is it tough like where it's like Jessica Heriot Photography, like it's your face, like it's your brand. Like is it, is that, are you happy with that? Is that hard to like kind of be able to put yourself out there like that and be like, this is my work and this is what I'm proud of that I'm like, I even still, like I just edited are like a compilation of like weddings for the year and I'm like even just sending it to the guys that shoot for me and I'm like nervous. Like I hope they take. I did a good job, but see now they worry about that,

[30:56] you know, I think I'm a bit of a perfectionist, which can be a blessing and a curse. But yeah, absolutely. I think because to me, every session, like when I, when I go to deliver, it's not to be corny, but it's kind of an extension of me because I look at myself as an artist and as a creative and you know, I've captured them and in my creative, you know, how I knew them. And so I delivered galleries to clients. I'm always kind of like on the edge of my seat. Like I hope they like it. I really hope they like it. And I think too, because I, I put so much time and work into my galleries and into my photos because, you know, I treat every session as if it were my own, you know, if they were my own photos. Um, and, and sometimes I probably put some may say I might sometimes put more time into them than I should, but it's because I care so much and I want to give my clients the absolute best product possible, um, and like, because it's kind of an extension of me and in my heart and you know, putting a lot of work into that for them and then to, you know, with my clients and my couples that I work with and you know, I've gotten to know them if I didn't know them before, you know, it usually over the period of time, especially with my wedding couples, you know, setting up calls and different things.

[32:14] You really become good friends with them. And, and so it's important to me that I deliver them something that, you know, I'm proud of and I want them to be proud of it too and unhappy with the results. So I'm always Kinda, you know, it's my name on everything. So everything I'm doing I'm like, oh, should I do this? Okay. Hopefully this as good. Hopefully they like it, you know, and um, but I think to explain good at helping kind of my, my confidence too and the more sessions I do and deliver, but I'm still always a little on the edge of my seat when I deliver something to a client because I want them to be happy.

[32:49] Yeah. I, uh, I have a rule that I, once I deliver, like if, you know, I've watched the video, you know however many times and deliver it like I have a hard time going back and rewatching it then because I'll always find something. Yeah, something a little bit or you know, Dorothy, it'd be like, nobody, nobody can tell that but you. But it is, it is hard because I do think like, and that's a sign of somebody that cares. Right. It's like you say like you treat it like your own and you on that even though you, you always want to be proud of the work that you deliver. Um, I imagine that the Portland, Seattle has a wealth of photographers and people working in and being successful. Is it, is it hard to stand out? How do you, how have you found success and kind of like creating your, you know, your style and brand and, and how do you work? You're kind of standing out. Is it just like, is it hard work? Is it the networking, is it something else? I'm not thinking of. I mean, how do you, how do you go about that?

[33:49] So I think first off it just being really true to me and what, what I want to stand for. Um, and I think because I think with, you know, there are a lot of creatives out there which is wonderful, but it's hard to not compare yourself and the comparison game gets really difficult because I follow a lot of other creatives on social media and then I start comparing myself sometimes getting a little self doubt bubble and that kind of rein myself back in and just, you know, stay true to me and what I believe in, what you know, what I want to serve my clients and with my, my style and, you know, so I, I really try and straight stayed true to myself and just continuing to build those relationships with my existing clients, you know. And um, I think that's really helped. And, and, and from there it kind of builds like word of mouth is huge, you know, I mean honestly working with families and then they know someone else that's, you know, got another family, it's another family session.

[34:46] And I think word of mouth is huge. And really building those genuine relationships with your clients is something I think that's really, you know, been beneficial to me. And I've built a lot of friendships in that way too, you know, because I feel like all my clients are my friends, you know, maybe that sounds kind of Corny, but it's true though, but I mean, because you get to know them. I really, I like to get to know them and their personality so I can help bring that out in their photos. And so I think too with word of mouth and, you know, just making sure I'm, you know, sharing things on social media as much as I can, which can get, you know, like it's, you know, like when you're wearing all the hats it can get hard and you know, all the different things and aspects of trying to get your name out there and there's a lot of creatives and um, I think the number one thing is just staying true to myself and my brand and what I stand for and being genuine with my clients.

[35:34] That's great. And I love just looking at clients as friends. And I will say that nothing makes me happier. My wife is far more popular and has way more, you know, quote unquote friends and I do, but like if we post a photo of some wine and I'm like, I'll get a lot of my wedding clients like comment and she'll be like, who are and I, you know, I do know people, I do know people and people do know me and just because I didn't have three Bachelorette parties doesn't mean that I'm not, I'm not have a little bit going on talking about. One thing I've heard a lot of people say is like the Clo wedding community is pretty welcoming, pretty good at like getting to know people. Do you find that in Portland as well and that it's, it's a lot of like community over competition or how do you, how do you think that works out?

[36:22] I think it is, it's very welcoming because I, you know, I didn't, I wasn't from Portland originally. I grew up on the coast and there weren't really any photographers in my hometown when. I mean, there were a couple, I guess, but you know, when I first started out that was kind of when digital was still kind of becoming a thing and you know, there weren't a ton of photographers and social media wasn't really a thing. Even then I was like, I think facebook had just launched like a year or two before that. So, um, but when I moved here, I think especially to going, I mean initially going to the art institute, I met a lot of other creatives in different worlds, videographers and calligraphers and you know, there's different types of artists in that sense too. Um, and then I think I'm getting out there and going to different, you know, networking or classes or different events with different vendors.

[37:17] Um, everyone is so been so welcoming and I made pretty much instant friends with other photographers when I've gone to events and you know, we're all supporting each other. So I made a lot of good friends since moving to Portland. And I think that was one thing when I moved to Seattle. Um, I, you know, I'd Kinda slowed down and doing photography a little bit and I wasn't putting myself out there as much, so I'm sure that, you know, just as great up there too. But that was one thing that kind of pulled me back to Portland is I had such a good support with other creatives in Portland too. So that's Kinda, it was a draw to come back as well.

[37:51] Uh, I probably should've asked this earlier, but you, you speak of the small town you grew up in a. I don't know if I've ever heard of this town and I've been working in news, I've been quiet around the Pacific northwest. Talk to me about this town that you grew up.

[38:04] So it's Long Beach Peninsula. In Ilwaco was where my high school was and I think the population is maybe a thousand if, if that, even though I have no idea, there's, there's one stoplight in Ilwaco. Um, so it's pretty tiny, but you know, we always just kind of called it the beach growing up because there's a lot of little beach towns along the peninsula there. Um, and then two, um, we were over in Astoria, Oregon is just across the river, so my house was, it was actually closer to go to Astoria, Oregon than it was to get to my dad's business and a walk from my parents' house. So, um, but yeah, tiny little, small town, but it was a great place to grow up in, um, you know, I, I pretty much, it was like you went to school, like whoever you went to preschool with, you, you probably the same kids who graduated with kind of thing.

[38:57] So, and a lot of those kids, I'm, I shouldn't say kids, we're adults now, but we're still, we're still, we're still friends to this day. So that's kind of cool thing. I think too, like I was touched on earlier, you know, coming from a small town, having that support was really great when starting my business because I started it in my hometown and even since moving to Portland, you know, I'm, I'm traveling to my hometown. I went there probably more this summer than I have in a while, but I think I had more shoots there than I did in Portland.

[39:30] Uh, was that, was that tough kind of making that transition. This is a life experience from that small town to Portland back when you moved? Originally

[39:37] it was, um, I, uh, decided to make move just to do something different because I think I was, I think I was around 20, must have been 23 I think when I moved to Portland and I just Kinda, I just kinda wanted to change and something different. And I knew my sister was in Seattle because she was going to school up there and she'd been in Seattle since she graduated. She's a year younger than I am. And so it was Kinda like I can either go to Portland or Seattle, those little kind of like the two, the two big cities I, I kind of knew of and um, I just decided to go to Portland so it was a little bit closer to home. It's like a two hour drive basically to get to the coast. Um, so I just kinda jumped and did it and I made a lot of great friends here ever since. So

[40:24] when you're not photographing weddings, um, what do you, what do you try to do the, if you have any spare time, which I, like I said, I totally understand if the answers, what do you do recreationally or to do to pass the time now? What are your interests?

[40:40] Oh goodness. When I do, when I do have some free time, I'm actually spending time with friends honestly. Um, uh, there's a lot of great places around here to go eat and Portland and different places to go check out and you know, live music. I love going to live music, you know, no matter what it is, but I like going out to edge field. I'm not sure if you're familiar with Edgefield mcmenamins out there. So I usually try and spend my time with friends because I like enjoying my friendships and relationships and meeting new people and, and honestly, you know, from, from photography, a lot of my photo clients that started off as just clients initially or friends that I hang out with now. So it's really cool.

[41:23] Now that we're kind of in the, a little bit of the off season kind of moving into January, in, in the winter. What are your goals now for growth and, and kind of you longer term now and it can be within the next year more. Where do you kind of see the business going from here on?

[41:38] Um, I think my goals is just to, um, you know, I'm really going to focus on, I'm trying to get my name out there more and I would really like to travel more. I'm hoping to get up. I'm hoping to get the actually to the Seattle area more of this next year with weddings and I'm just kind of expanding where I, where I go and you know, meeting more people and um, you know, I think a lot of what's neat about this job is meeting the people in new places. I get to go explore and photograph in this kind of kind of seeing the world. I know that sounds kind of cheesy, but I really just want to get out there and explore and photographs stories for people and capture moments. And so I really just hope to keep continuing growing and getting more clients and building more friendships with them. And, and two, what's really cool is I really look forward to couples that I've photographed that have decided, you know, what if or when they decide to start families when they call me and let me know they're expecting like that's always such a fun, you know, step in continuing that relationship then. And I'm not just being their engagement wedding photographer and now becoming, you know, family photographer, newborn photographer as well. So we're just looking forward to, to more sessions, meeting more people and continuing that relationship with my existing clients.

[42:51] Yeah, I'd say it's always interesting to me kind of how many different your lives we touch in terms of. And especially I always lament not being a photographer, insurance if like you said, you get to, you have that opportunity to kind of grow with this family as, as they go through the years and the need for a videographer. Um, you know, I mean there are birth videographers but I don't, I haven't branched into that market yet, but you know, that needs a little less as time goes on. And so, um, talk about that kind of just that obviously you enjoy that, but just being able to like touch all these different people's lives and all these kinds of pivotal parts of pivotal points in their lives.

[43:32] Yeah, it's, it's wonderful. And actually a story from earlier today actually I got to, you know, I get to know sometimes things that are life moment that are happening that are private, you know, and I get to share things. For example, a long time friend of mine that I grew up with, her brother was in my class since preschool. I'm pretty sure she was couple of years younger than me, but I got to photograph, you know, then letting everyone know that they were expecting another little baby on the way. And so it's really fun to be involved in those moments that like, if, you know, it touches my heart that people trust me to capture those moments and that's what they're using to share. Like there exciting news with their family and friends and so her, she got to share one of the images today and she, she couldn't, she texted me and she's like, I just shared the photo and I'm so, you know, it's fun to be a part of that and to continue like, you know, capturing those, you know, those big life moments for people like that's, you know, they're trusting me with that and that's such an honor.

[44:33] And, and it, it, it, you know, they'll be many a times two will see me at a wedding and I'm crying because I'm so involved with a couple of them. I go, oh my gosh, let's first look is the best first look ever. And I'm all emotional. But um, it's just really great to continue to capture, you know, these big moments in people's lives or even if it's not just one, uh, you know, we just want to set up a session for fun with you just to go have fun, you know, like it just means the world to me that people keep coming back.

[45:00] Yeah. It really does take you back even when you're looking through and, and you know, the photos, the video that I'm putting together my compilation, like we had a groom this year, Corey. And like, I mean I'm probably the biggest reaction you've ever had to apprise walking down the aisle. I mean we're talking like 30 seconds of just like arms flailing and, and crying. I mean, but like you'll never not like see those photos and a video. I might not remember like being there at that moment, you know, and it does like even like edited and I'm like, Oh man, I still remember that because it does in the end. And I think that people like, yeah, I mean it is a business and obviously like were there, you know, earning the living, but like really being a part of those moments, you really can't be understated how, how impactful it is for everybody. Right.

[45:42] Absolutely. It, you know, I sometimes forget that it is a job, you know, when I'm doing it because I'm so involved in the, in the day or whatever it is that we're capturing and, you know, it's just, it's just like on part of it. So I, you know, I almost forget like, oh yeah, this is, you know, I'm, I'm actually a vendor to these people, but it becomes much more, um, but not to me. And I think that's, you know, that's a part of it. That's, you know, that's why my path, my path, I'm doing my passion. That's, you can't ask for much more than that.

[46:10] Perfect. Well I think that's a good place to wrap up for today. I want to thank you so much for setting this up and then that we've talked about this for a long time and I appreciate you making the time. And, and as someone that I've known for a long time, it's good to get these people on and kind of get to know you more and get to know you behind when you obviously were dissing the wedding day or chatting via messenger about an upcoming wedding. If people want to learn more about you and your photography and see your work and learn more about your story, what would you have them check out?

[46:40] Um, you guys can find me on my website, as well as find me on Facebook. I'm also on Instagram. Um, and yeah, if you want to chat more or get to know more about me or if you want to, you know, we need some photos, just just give me a call or shoot me an email.

[46:57] Perfect. Well thank you so much. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much.

Chris Beck, Chinook Photography

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington and today I'm joined by a very special friend of mine, a longterm friend, Chris Beck of Chinook Photography. He is located up in Canada now, but we have spent quite a few years working together in the Seattle market and I, uh, I have gotten the technology now. They'd be able to do a podcast remotely and I figured that this would be a great chance to catch up with Chris and test out this new technology. And Chris, thank you so much for being here. Why don't you introduce yourself, tell us who you are and what you do.

[00:47] Hey, thanks. It's great to be here. Great to be part of this. I really enjoyed your podcast. So it's crazy to see us here actually, uh, doing this now. Um, so my name is Chris Beck. I'm a full time wedding photographer. I am based out of a vamp Alberta, Canada. I'm doing this now full time for about 10 years. Um, but I've only been in Canada for maybe three years now. I guess I'm, I was originally in the Seattle market and I was there for about two years. And um, I. What was the other question?

[01:24] Yeah, just talk a little bit about your wedding photographer. What kinds of things do you like to take photos of?

[01:29] Oh, okay. So, so, um, weddings. I do 100 percent weddings. I try to specialize just in that, so I don't do seniors, I don't do anything else. Um, but I also do landscape and wildlife photography and I try to keep those two kind of separate because that really still is fun to me and it's not work. So I think when I'm not shooting weddings, I'm definitely out shooting a animals and wildlife. And in coming originally I'm originally from Alaska where I had a chance to do a lot of wildlife photography. The Banff area that I live in now is just incredible for wildlife. In my first wedding and bath I was able to actually get a big horn sheep in with a bride and groom. It just, it was like the perfect Mesh of two worlds for me. Um, yeah,

[02:14] and Chris, I always tries to get my go by sending all these awesome shots of all these epic mountain ranges and lakes and all of this really cool staff and say, look at all this cool stuff. I get to photograph up here that I don't, I don't get to take any part in that. Chris, I always appreciate that.

[02:31] Yeah, you're welcome. It's fun. And at the same token, I wish you could get up here and we can do some stuff. That'd be awesome.

[02:37] All right. So talk to me and I don't know if I really know this. Talk about Kinda how you got into photography. You said you've been doing this now full time, 10 years. Did you study that in school or how did you get about doing that?

[02:47] Uh, you know, so, um, when I was in high school I did take photography classes and uh, we used film and it wasn't a big fan of film. I hated kind of sticking my hands in this dark box and trying to roll film. And then I really hated the dark room that was just such a, such a chore, a, I just wanted to be out shooting things and um, my instructor was kind of kind of hardcore, um, and we'd go in the hallway to do different assignments, get the feel and all these different kinds of things and um, action shots and ended up going the gymnasium, but I would usually leave campus and kind of go around and I would take pictures like cats and dogs and all this other stuff that's around. And I would always get in trouble because he said I wouldn't take my photography serious.

[03:31] Um, and then I was on the yearbook staff with him hoping to take photos and do more advanced stuff. But he took the camera away from me, made me go sell ads and kind of deal with the business side of things. So I was pretty frustrated with that. Um, but I, I put the camera down because I didn't have the money for a, all the film and all the developing. Um, but I was always interested in, always followed. It always had an eye for, it just was kind of a part of who I was and it wasn't until a man maybe 10 years later, uh, that I picked up a digital and just got obsessed with it. I had a fulltime job at the time and just became obsessed with photography and it was kind of cool to have that outlet. And um, wildlife photography.

[04:19] I had some friends that were doing it, so I was getting interested in that. And my first real experience with wildlife photography was spending time with his wool in Juneau, Alaska and with wildlife, you can't tell them to stop, go back into the light, compose something, you can't think about it. You've got to get it right. It's got to be, you know, 100 percent all the time and it's not. But that's just kind of the thrill of the chase. Um, and so when I was in this small town in Alaska, uh, I was asked to shoot a wedding. There wasn't really any wedding photographers and it was very nervous about doing it, but excited at the same time. But I never saw myself as a wedding photographer, a, it seemed kind of boring and cliche. I really wanted to do more wildlife stuff. But as it was at the wedding and these moments were unfolding, it felt like I was back with that wolf.

[05:08] I really wanted to catch genuine moments that weren't staged. And you had to get it right and you had to know, you know, your gear well enough to make sure that your data right. Uh, I shot two weddings in that town and I was lucky enough to get published in a, in a wedding magazine, which was kind of shocking in that. Just let the phone up. I was getting lots of phone calls about doing weddings and I thought, wow, this is really a great opportunity here, but I'm not ready for it. I don't want to be two or three weddings into this thing. And then all of us and say I'm a wedding photographer. Um, I had a buddy who had been a wedding photographer for, Gosh, since he was 16 years old and he was very successful in Alaska and I ended up moving to the town.

[05:51] He was in, in working with him, I said, listen, I'm going to take a few steps back to show me the ropes. Let me just do this. Right. I felt I had to earn my keep in the industry, so I was a second shooter and he really challenged me. He really put me through the ringer to to build my skill set and it was the best thing I could've done. I think from a career move at that crossroads of saying, Hey, I'm going to do this on my own or I'm going to learn it from my buddy. That was the way to go because it just controlled the environment. He handled all the business side. Well, I could just focus on the technical side. It was great. I mean, I'd get these emails saying, hang on Saturday, you're going to be here and you know, whatever, and fill up my schedule and my calendar and it just being surrounded by professional wedding photographers.

[06:40] It was. It was amazing. It was just a, a great chance to, to build a good portfolio and be challenged in our skill set because I'd be at a wedding and I'd get a text from one of the other guys and they'd say, Hey, look what I'm doing right now. And you're just like, Dang it, I've got to beat that. I kind of do something better. And then it was a lot of fun. Um, and it wasn't until I moved to Seattle that, um, at the time I was teaching wildlife and landscape photography classes and I owned a business that did cruise boat, wildlife tours every day. And uh, uh, in the off season. Well actually I remember I was sitting in a lodge and valleys. We were, we were photographing bears and I had some clients. I'm not, I'm sorry to backtrack. So I'm in Seattle. I've got a season off.

[07:27] I decided, let me, let me try to do some wedding photographer here, photography in Seattle. And I felt like everybody was a photographer and then it was just like being a needle in a stack of needles, you know, they just kind of. How do you separate yourself? Um, but that's where kind of the business side kicked in. I had learned the technical science, I focused a little bit more in the business and figured out who my ideal client was and once I zeroed in on that process I could really kind of pick them out of a crowd and to launch the website and started it. And it just took off like wildfire. And that fall it was in Alaska and a bear photography clinic I was teaching and I had turned down 12 inquiries for weddings for that one week. And I was in shooting the bears and from a financial aspect I'm like, man, that would have been a little bit more lucrative.

[08:20] I got to pick my battles here. I think I need to really commit to being a fulltime wedding photographers. So I let all the wildlife and landscapes landscape stuff go and focused on the weddings. And there was no turning back and it was great to get up and running and Seattle. And um, my wife who's a that and who is Canadian had an opportunity to come back to Canada and work here. So for her professional development that was too good of a chance to turn away. So it was a tough discussion, but we agreed and ended up transitioning rather quickly and coming to Canada. Yeah. So I was in living in Canada. I didn't have my work permit yet. I was flying back to Seattle basically every weekend to do weddings there. And uh, once I got my work permit I had to kind of start over with a building another business and I felt like it was Deja Vu being in Seattle. Same thing. Lots of photographers here. It's going to be a tough market. Um, but I, I, having learned everything I did in Seattle, replicated it here and implemented that business plan and I just, this is my first full year, January to December this year and I'll finish up with 45 weddings I'm here, which I think is fantastic for my first year.

[09:37] Yeah. And you're kind of like me. They were kind of, uh, a quantity over, not over quality, but we're kind of a quantity based. I think we both operate more on the quantity based kind of standard that we hold ourselves to just insurance, that kind of the number of weddings. Would you agree with that?

[09:53] I do agree a knowing who my ideal client is it, it is going to be a numbers based system for sure. And I would rather, as a photographer, I know it's going to piss off a lot of photographers, but I would rather be there the day of shoot the wedding, edit the photos, hand them over to the next one and it's quite common to shoot three or four weddings a week, which isn't an issue for me.

[10:14] Yeah. No I and I definitely agree with that and I think in the same regard, there's a lot of videographers that want to spend six months working on something and to deliver within a client. And, and I certainly appreciate that and I do think that there is a client base for that and there's a budget for that. But I think that a lot of people just want, you know, want their, want their photos and want their video. I just had a skype testimonial tonight with the client and just because of timing with their wedding, uh, I was able to deliver their stuff they watch on their honeymoon and like that was super valuable to them. Whereas if I had taken nine months, you know, to deliver it. We're talking tonight. I mean they've been married for nine months. I mean, it's a totally different world than if you're delivering kind of on that scale.

[10:58] What do you. So I want it back right now because you gave a lot of, uh, talking points that are kind of in your, in your story that I think is really interesting. So when you were doing the wildlife, what did you, you know, you said you didn't think you wanted to be a wedding photographer. You thought it was really boring. I mean, what were some like common misconceptions or whatever that you had looking at the field now that you think maybe were justified or silly or whatnot? Now now that you are a wedding photographer?

[11:25] I think for me, when I looked at wildlife photography, it was about just being somewhere that people might not get themselves too. So it's about telling a story about animals, especially bears. I really dig the carnivores, if you will, bears wolves. Um, and especially where I lived in Alaska in Juneau, there was a killer whales and just anything dangerous like that, um, was, was just a feeling that in the moment I'm there and, and it's, it's sensory overload. I wanted to portray that in a lot of the photos in the. Think about wedding photography. I didn't get that same vibe. It to me and not knowing, I didn't shoot any weddings. I didn't know the whole thought of doing it was, um, was just want to say mundane. I mean, I'd have to think of the right word, but just the thought of him, it's just like not the same.

[12:17] I mean, when I'm here with a bear, I'm scared to death and one of them bride, I don't want to get bored and I don't want to, um, I don't know, lose the, the impact of the images where I feel you would get with wildlife. Um, but it was, it was actually quite the opposite. You're, you're trying to, um, to really make an incredible image for somebody and in much like you are with wildlife. And just that drive was just like, oh my gosh, I've got to do something that just drops their jaws. That just makes them feel I'm amazed at this happened and validates their decision on who they chose to shoot it. Yeah.

[12:58] And uh, so I, I would say that, you know, when you talk with a lot of photo and video people and they always say like, you know, when clients are looking to like a website or they're looking for photos or video that, you know, you have like two or three photos, right? To kind of get their attention or get their whatever. Like, do you always focus on that? And I'm like producing quality like that or what you think about like trying to catch people's eyes the same way with a foe, a wedding photos as you did with wildlife.

[13:26] Well, I think when it comes to the website, it's kind of an interesting concept because somebody gave me some advice when I was trying to figure out how to design and build a website that you need. You have a, you have a second to catch their attention and one photo might hit somebody but not somebody else. So if you kind of limit that series that you're showing to a few, you may not catch everybody. Um, and somebody said that if you look at a, a store window and in the store there's a display that's going to choose whether or not you go in that store. And the more stuff that's there that catches your eye, you might see something you like and you're then opted to go inside of there. Um, but as a photographer, I think it's tough to, you know, you might have one or two images from a wedding that you're impressed with and you want to show everybody.

[14:16] But it's about consistency, it needs to be deep on the bench as far as the entire day to, to have it stick. So I think even though we're trying to catch their attention with one or two images, it's then when they say, all right, let me see the rest. Let me see an entire wedding that you have to be consistent. And I think that's a struggle for a lot of photographers is to maintain that consistency. I'm the guy that helped build my career, uh, in Alaska. Uh, I'll never forget I was struggling as a photographer, uh, trying to make my way in the industry. And we were, we were about to board a flight and somebody asked us to go, are you all professional photographers? And I used to be nervous around him because he really was so good at what he did. And, and definitely was a full time professional photographer and I was just kind of struggling with my identity there in when they asked me that I just said, I said, oh no, no, I'm just kind of an amateur, just learning this.

[15:12] But it was an awkward moment. He really picked up on that and he looked at me and he said, uh, what's, what's your definition of a professional photographer? And I said, um, oh, I don't know, I've heard different things and I suppose that somebody who makes more than 50 percent of their income, but blah, blah, whatever that textbook kind of answer might be. And he laughed at me and he said, no, no. A professional photographer is somebody who knows their equipment and their gear well enough to make something out of nothing. And that's your job. When you show up at a place you've got to like capture these amazing, amazing images no matter where you are, whether it be mountains in the background that's easy to do, more incredible landscapes or if you're stuck in a hotel because it's raining, you have to produce just amazing imagery.

[15:56] And so did they really make you kind of reevaluate your entire life, Chris?

[16:00] It really did. It really did. It's like, ah, crap, I got a lot more work to do here. Um, but it really, that's just the pursuit of excellence. And I think when you're, um, you know, you hear some of these analogies, like if Wolfgang puck showed up into my kitchen and grabbed my crappy gear, he's gonna make an amazing meal because he knows how to do it and he knows what to do with the tools that are in front of them. If I show up in Wolfgang Puck's kitchen, I'm not going to know what to do. And I think sometimes in photography people get caught up in the gear acquisition. That's an amazing image. What Lens did you use? Boy, I need that Lens. You don't. Um, I think it's kind of fun to challenge yourself and try to do with, you know, less less stuff and see what you can do and just push the limits. But you have to know your gear well enough to make that happen.

[16:49] It's, uh, it's interesting because I think I'm in the speaking of just professional and, and the definition of that and everything. You know, it's interesting because for years when I worked in TV, you know, I think at least I looked at it more kind of just like a day to day job. Like you know, you would have, you know, whether it be at starbucks or wherever, you know, you go in, you get your stuff, you know, you see that you go, you do it yet, you know, you take it back and then you go home and then the next day, you know, I didn't really look at it like oh I'm this like professional whenever. But then yeah, when you, when you kind of start, you know, putting the pieces together and especially, you know, starting the business and everything and then it is a weird, at least for me, a weird switch of like, yeah, like you know, people do pay me now specifically me or the people that I work with, you know, to, to do this or it's produced this or produce produce that. It is really kind of an interesting. You know, I never really thought about it that way. I always just figured when I was in news like, oh, well if I don't work out, you know, they could just find somebody else or another guy in the shift could probably do it, you know, it's a different

[17:49] way to kind of change my mindset, but I mean, I've seen your work and I think what you do and you're always pushing yourself to that next level. I've seen your dress shots, man. You're like, you know, trying to, trying to capitalize on that. You gotta do better than you did last time and I love that about you and I think you like me when you're, you're at a wedding or you're with these people. There's that fear factor of like, I have to do something amazing and I've got to make it work and it's, if it ever becomes like the news where you're just kind of there, you're just clocking in, then I shouldn't be in this industry anymore. For me, if that's the way it's going to be, I just don't have that passion and that, that fear to I'm just kill it, you know?

[18:34] Yeah. So when you say, it says backtrack here again now in you, in your story, so when you, when you got that digital camera and you started shooting, you said you were working, what were you doing before you kind of transitioned to wildlife photography? Uh, I was doing banking in compliance. Very boring stuff. So how did a, how did the banker become a, someone hanging out with bears shooting wildlife? Is that something. I mean just, I don't even know how that transition happens. You know, what's Kinda interesting. So, um, there was, there's like 2008, so it was around kind of the downmarket banking was having some issues and cut backs and all that stuff when I was in Alaska and I was so hooked on photography just as addicted to it. I didn't sit there and think I've got to earn money from this thing.

[19:21] I just tried to figure out how can I do this more? And there was so many places in Alaska I wanted to go see, but it's expensive to visit. You've got to get on a flight. It's just like, you know, being in Seattle, I got to fly somewhere different to get different kinds of photos. So using my banking background, I hadn't shot weddings yet. I was interested in wildlife. I'm, I took a job in a bank that would actually fly me to 12 different locations and Alaska and because banks close at a certain time, like five I had the rest of the time to, to photograph. So I was traveling to like these cool places and doing cool things, but I wasn't the best photographer. I was driven missing opportunities. I'm still trying to figure out the relationship between [inaudible] and. But it was just that frustration of, of learning the system and applying it to the setting that I'm in that just consumed me.

[20:21] And because of what I did at work, being compliant stuff, I could spend a lot of time at work. They were paying me essentially to do photography just to sit there and do this stuff. So it was perfect. I didn't want to leave this world. Um, and a lot of people around me knew that's kind of what was going on. And then I took a full time position in Juno out of the places I traveled. There was a place in Alaska, Juno, Alaska I absolutely loved. So I took a two year assignment with the bank to go there. And the thing I loved about Juno is that you had everything between whales and bears and landscape and wildlife. And if we were sitting there in summer reading, you were like, hey, let's go, let's go see some bears. I could take it and we'd see him.

[21:06] It was that easy. And that was, that was incredible. And that was awesome. So, uh, that day jobs, what, help me do that, but I realized also that, um, you know, the thought of being a photographer that has a gallery is not as lucrative, not as common as it, it used to be. I, I, I really felt that the business model was taking people with camera gear to those locations to let them capture those images themselves. And that's where I kind of saw the business opportunity when I was learning and doing this stuff. And that's where I kind of started seeing the transition from, um, from a full time job to doing photography full time was I've got to take people to these locations and help them do it. And that's where the first transition started happening to becoming a full time photographer. And in the meantime I did some weddings and uh, and that kind of complimented what I was doing, but because I didn't want to do weddings full time because I just wanted to learn the business more.

[22:13] Um, there was never a conflict of quitting my job to become a wedding photographer because what I've seen a lot of people do is they immediately quit their job once they have a few good successes with wedding photography. And the position I didn't want to be in was, hey, I got to pay my mortgage so I'm going to have to do some, some babies and some families and some seniors and stuff I didn't want to do in order to pay bills. And that was a world I didn't want to get caught up in. And I, when I was working full time, knew it was time to leave full time work when I was actually turning assignments away, turning weddings away, I was turning opportunities down because work was getting in the way and that's when I had that moment of like, okay, now it's time to leave.

[23:01] And so then you were, you had started taking people to these. I mean how did that. I did. It's such an interesting concept for me that like if that would be where you kind of saw that niche where you fit in there. I mean how did that even, you know, most people just oh I'm going to go. Like you said, it takes some baby photos or whatever. I mean, how did you think to like build this business, taking people to these places?

[23:24] Well when I was in, when I was in Juneau, Alaska, it's known for being a big pitstop are cruise boats. And so a small town of 30,000 people would see 12,500 people arrive on the shores each day and looking for something to do. And so because I have a job I had, I had lots of free time, I would do the math and say, you know what, if I took 10 people from a cruise boat and took them out and showed them different things around town to take photos of and they paid anywhere from 50 to 100 bucks a day, what's the math on this? And it was pretty impressive. And that's what kind of started the business gears turning, how do I do that? What's the scale of economy here? How do I get into that market? And I went to a poc to the cruise company about doing this because they sell a lot of the tours.

[24:14] And I said, guys, I'm interested in doing this, here's the math, here's the scale. This is perfect. Um, and they said, oh, 10 is too few. When you're ready to do 100, let us know 100 people today and then we'll consider booking this for you. And that blew my mind. Like, I can't, I can't handle 100 people. How do you go from zero to 100 people? Here we get, there's got to be a transitional step here. Um, as I was caught up in that mindset of trying to build that business plan, that's when the wedding's came along and that's what I was shooting my first couple of weddings and getting interested in them, but I still saw this opportunity for the business plan of wildlife and landscape and my two years was up in, it was time to go back to anchorage and that's when I called my body and was like, Hey, what if I help if I carry your bags and just kind of learn the industry.

[25:09] And he was super excited. Um, and he needed the help because he was, he was turning away a lot more wedding so he would hire other photographers to book them and fill their calendars. And I think at one point he was up to about six full time photographers. Uh, so it was nice for me to pick up those real weird odds and ends because I was still working full time, um, to, to compliment his business side. But that's when I went back to anchorage. Did the wedding stuff figured out a system there where I can make it work and decided to give it a shot. One summer I'm going to go down to Juneau and in run summer tours. And what gave me that opportunity was um, I had sold some week long excursions of bear and wildlife tours that remote lodges in Alaska where I would guide those and that's what helped pay the bills.

[26:03] Like I focus on that day to day operation and in Juneau and at the time we were talking about moving to Seattle. So I thought that's a good compliment because I can live in Seattle and in the summer, you know, live in Alaska and do weddings and do bob live tours and this would be perfect. So that was the plan. So I'm like, you know, roll up my sleeves, neck deep and that stuff, trying to build that business. And then when I'm in Seattle in the off season, that's where I thought, okay, let me, let me try weddings here and just see how that goes. And boy, that just took off and I'm going to give everything up on the landscape. And wildlife side and I spent so much time dealing with the landscape and the wildlife and teaching people that I really did hit a great level of notoriety in Alaska.

[26:48] I had galleries selling my stuff. I'm Canon every now and then would ask me to teach wildlife and photography classes for their cannon numbers. Uh, so I mean, it was, it was really exciting to be a part of that and to look at a business decision and say, Hey, I love what I'm doing here with wildlife. This is passionate. Uh, I, I do enjoy weddings it, but I can really make a better business out of weddings and I can with that wildlife stuff. That was a hard decision to, to give all that up and just focus on weddings.

[27:22] No, I bet. And were you were, were you married at the time then already?

[27:25] Uh, we were together, but I don't know if we were. No, we weren't married yet,

[27:30] but they had to have been a difficult decision, you know, it's a two way kind of the two sides. And, and go with that. I mean, that's fascinating.

[27:37] You know what the hardest decision was? I mean, I'm completely healthy. There was no issues but quitting a job and losing benefits. Yeah. It wasn't always kind of like a weird. I think it's, I think it sucks. I don't wanna get political, but I think that just sucks that as a business owner, whether it be small or having a couple of employees, something as simple as, as benefits, it could make the decision or not to do something. Absolutely. Yeah.

[28:02] No, I mean, during the journey as a teacher. I mean, that's why, you know, we, we benefit from that because it's all public schools.

[28:09] I'm here. Here's your factor. You can't, you're, you're down to the core of the decision of saying, you know, being full time and what do I want to do and how do I deal with that issue? You know, that's, that's tough. It was tough factors.

[28:22] Um, another thing I wanted to comment on and get your to expand a little bit, you know, you said when you started doing the, you know, those first couple of weddings and getting the notoriety and, and you know, you kind of self policing yourself and deciding, you know, I needed to take some more time here to get, you know, the skill set and you know, do you see that a lot now or not? I mean, what, I just that to me that's not the norm. Like you said, a lot of people do, you know, a wedding or two and then they quit and think that they're going to make this and was that difficult or was that an easy decision as a, as a banker and someone that dealt with that to take the time to plan it out? Or where did that come about?

[29:02] You know, it's, it's, I know exactly what you're asking. It's, it's tough to characterize the industry if you will. Um, I feel that more people are just diving in headfirst and perhaps doing it a bit early. Um, and, but people, but those people that are doing that may not have the option of going a little bit slower like I did. I, I knew some people. And, and the funny thing about it, like the guy that helped me out, the whole reason we met is because somebody had asked me to shoot a wedding. So I was doing some research really on um, you know, looking up different wedding photographers looking at their stuff. And this was, gosh, I don't know what year it was, 2009 where there wasn't a whole lot of stuff. It's not like it is now. And I came across this guy's website.

[29:53] I never even met it, but that moment got me so hooked on with this guy in and I had to, to learn more from him than for some reason through that process I think we were on facebook and ended up chatting a little bit. And that's Kinda how our friendship grew. So I mean it really, it came from just reaching out and saying, Hey, can you help me? And I think one cool thing about our industry is that when, when, when perceived competitors reach out for help or with an olive branch, they're usually well received saying, hey, come on in, let's chat, let's talk about this stuff. Let's hang out. You know, it's really kind of a cool core community. And I think if, if somebody who wants to jump in the industry who says it's either all or nothing, because I don't know anybody, they could take a moment there and reach out to a few people, um, and just kind of introduce themselves and say, hey, here's what's going on here in, in the banff area, there was actually a gentleman who had been laid off and was into photography, was big in back country stuff and did some landscape stuff.

[30:58] We had some pretty good portfolios, a shot, a friend's wedding. And he was addicted. I was like, I don't want to do this. And so he reached out to me and we went out and had some coffee and he said, I really want to do this full time. This is what I want to do and I want to learn. Can I come and follow you and learn from you? And it was an interesting moment because I was like, um, you know, hey, I'll hang out with you and we can certainly have these conversations, but I can't teach you the business in this market and then set you free to go compete against me. That's Kinda tough. Um, but he was so determined to, to, to be his own guy that, uh, he charged forward to make that happen. And you know, a week later he had his own website touted his wedding photography, but he had never shot a full wedding. And uh, you know, we'll see how he does.

[31:50] How has he done? Um, he, he caught a lot of friends. I mean, he's really his, his, um, his stuff is fantastic, you know, where he's really going to earn his, keep his when he's in a bad lighting situation and he's really trying, you know, it needs to make that situation work. That's where he's going to have to learn either to make it work or um, or, or learn the skill set to make it happen because it's easy when you have. Nice, beautiful golden sunset and the mountain behind you to get some really good stuff, but um, he uh, is asking a lot of friends to come out and kind of develop this portfolio. So He's, he's doing the ground work to make it work and now we'll just see on the back end with the bookings how we can do, when I wish them luck and I always told them I'm here to help and we can certainly go have coffee again and we can talk about, um, you know, things to be successful.

[32:42] So when you, when you arrived in Seattle then the decided to kind of make the wedding's a go for it. You said earlier on that you were kind of overwhelmed with the number of photographers here and what was Kinda your initial now that you know, in this part of the store and now we've arrived at Seattle. What, what was your initial kind of thoughts here?

[32:59] Um, seattle was intimidating because like I said, I came from a place in Alaska where there was no wedding photographer. So you're just like, yeah, I've got a camera and I can figure this out. I mean, that was, that was the ability to score a couple of weddings to then go in and compete in a market with some very established photographers in my portfolio was 100 percent Alaska based. So to go into a new market and say, listen, I've never shopped there before, I've never been to this venue. Um, those were all obstacles you have to kind of find a way to overcome. Uh, but then I needed to know specifically who my ideal client was and I know that I don't want the Ritz Carlton $100,000 budget crazy detailed weddings that's not me. And if somebody called me and asked me to do that, I honestly would probably refer it on to somebody else because I'm not saying 100,000 dollars every budget that, like total budget for the wedding and everything.

[33:57] Um, because that's just not me. I love the, the kind of grassroots backyard barn in a field. I'm kind of realistic. Weddings that's, that's me, that's why I want to be with. And that's what I want to photograph. And so when choosing my portfolio, what I showed, I really wanted to cater to those brides that would see the staff and she'd be like, yeah, that's it. That's what I want. And consistently see the images that deliver that message. That's my audience, that's why I want to be in front of. And when, when I put stuff up in Seattle with it being Alaskan portfolio, it seemed like everybody that called me had some sort of affiliation with Alaska, whether wanting to be there or from there or had lived there. But what was, what was resonating was me and you do outdoor stuff and mountains in western Washington and Washington offers that opportunity. We want somebody that really specializes in outdoor stuff.

[34:56] Yeah. And I do think it's, it's a similar email. I think Alaska is probably more impressive to me in Seattle and that to me feels more impressive and, and same with Canada, but it is kind of that similar outdoor, you know, not as wide open space but still wide open space. Um, you know, I think, uh, you and me I would say are both, you know, hustlers a at heart, um, is that, do you think that that's what kind of helped you stand out in Seattle too? Or was it just kind of having that technical skill or a charming personality or what do you think kind of helped you break through that? I do mean that, you know, coming in and, and, and not having the portfolio and kind of having a lot against

[35:38] you, how, how did you kind of stand out? So being, sitting there and realizing, okay, I've spent the past, I don't know, three or four years focusing on wildlife and landscape and in building that stuff up to sit there. Literally it was like September and I've kind of got a clean slate and go, okay, do I do wedding photography? And I'm starting from zero. I didn't have a template of what I was going to do. So there's a lot of trial and error stuff. Um, but I knew I had to hustle and trying to figure out what the best method to, to make an impact on the market. And get that start, um, I knew I had to know other people in the market and so that's when I started calling people and studying what is, what is the average price of a wedding in that market, what is the average price for photography in that market, where are the successful venues that are in town and where's the, where am I willing to go?

[36:38] And I think you and I have that same mentality of like we'll go anywhere. You tell me where you want to go out, go up because it's an adventure, you know? Um, so I knew I didn't want to limit myself to just a specific geographical area within Seattle. Uh, let's just, let's just open the doors and figure out what's going on. Um, but I also got involved in a call venues that I really liked that stood out to me that I hadn't been to before and said, listen, I would love to sit down and just talk with you and just meet you. Um, because referrals are one of the photographers biggest assets in, in gathering clients. And in doing so, I would go and I would take photos and I would put stuff on a blog and try to get seo content for that specific site so that it would then be searchable.

[37:25] It was just kind of building it from there and I knew nothing about what well, and you will a little bit about websites. I knew nothing about wordpress and so sitting there and spending a lot of time researching seo and what is a good website presence and boy was I spending 30 bucks here, 30 bucks there for these stupid little widgets and and second guessing myself and just really spending too much time on that website to, to tweak it. But really it came down to content and what's on there. And since I didn't have the content in the area that I wanted to be, I had to create it and to create it, I had to get creative by meeting people buy by shooting just plain old venue stuff that was kind of boring and maybe even blank until I could get something booked in and get there and deal with it. And then I also had to learn a story to tell clients like, yeah, I've never shopped there before, but guess what, it doesn't bother me. It doesn't scare me. That really entices me.

[38:23] Do you see a lot of that same hustle that you have today with, with other people, or do you, do you think that that's unique to you or what do you, what do you think about that? I want my honest opinion. I think that if you want to be successful in the business, you've got to hustle not where you're going to be, you know, make it or break it. For every 10 photographers that come out, one is going to have that hustle and they're going to succeed in those other nine are going gonna fight it. And they may be caught up in the gear side of it and saying, oh, I don't have a full frame camera yet. I'm still shooting with a crop sensor. And that's my issue. That's why my photos aren't good. That's why this isn't good. Um, it really comes down to understanding who your client is, understanding how to market towards them. And then working within, um, you know, the vendors that are around you to, to endorse you, um, to, to be good, to be a good referral to, to, to have that bride recognize you. And then you somehow by talking to a venue going, yeah, no, he's never been here, but we've met him. He's a super nice that's going to make the difference. It's those little things that help and when the business comes and it will come and then you got to keep up on that game. You can't lose it.

[39:45] I've talked with a lot of different people in the podcast about, you know, the challenges of running a business and you know, people want like, you know, if you want to be a forest or do video or photo or whatever and you know, you spend so much time not actually doing photography or anything else. You've always struck me as someone that is really good at doing the business stuff. And maybe that's a, that's a good front that you put on that I buy. But it does seem like you, you really have that locked down. Is that the strength you have, is that something you've had to work towards?

[40:16] I think it's, it's, it's intuitive to me, my background is business and especially with my degree, but it's not easy and I don't think anybody, if somebody says it's easy, I think they're lying because there's always something you can tweak. There's always something on your to do list that you feel you could make better. And um, you know, for, for every opportunity of learning photography, there's, there needs to be equal balance on learning something business oriented. Um, and I'm wondering this right now with my nephews that are kind of almost college aged in and we've been talking about this one has gotten into photography and he's like, what should I do in college? And I'm like, you need to get a business degree, like focus on business because you can pick up the photography stuff later if that's what you want to do. It'd be awesome to get a combo degree.

[41:02] But, you know, some schools don't offer that. But, um, you know, for me, uh, you know, I've got this list of business related tasks that I really need to spend more time on and that's my frustration within growing my own business and those things are always going to be there. I don't know that I'll ever be at a point where I'm like, perfect. Everything from presentation to um, contract delivery to follow up is perfect and we can just move along and have a nice day. I don't know that I'll ever be that way because I always think, can I it better, can I do it differently? Um, and where I appreciate that compliment, I think on the business side, and I'm just being bluntly honest for, for everybody who's doing this, it's um, it's something you have to continue to develop and keep working on in every year. Reassess what worked, what didn't, what can I change and what can I learn from.

[41:56] Yeah. It's funny because I've been seeing people more now than I did during the summer at social engagements and other things. And that's always the common question I get is like, oh, well, you know, isn't it so great now that you know, aren't you just so much slower? And the seasons died down because, you know, seattle is like super seasonal, uh, in terms of weddings. And I said, well, yeah, but now I have like a thousand different projects that I haven't touched, you know, I haven't done anything except shooter editor. The wedding sense, you know, Memorial Day. So it's hard to write. I mean, do you find that too?

[42:27] Totally. So I mean I've got this long list staring at me here at the desk of things that I need business wise to work on. And you're right, you're going into that cyclical side where you're kind of finishing things up and excited about this is my last year, but then you're nervous about next year and you're focusing on, you know, the wedding show is coming up in the acquisition. And am I on track, um, from, from, you know, my, my December numbers, are they equal to or greater to last December when you look at business things, you know, and what am I doing differently, what can I do better? Um, but you have a lot of business stuff that I kissed, I got to get to and it's, um, it's hard to prioritize it for sure when it comes to you. And I don't mean to cut you off, you will not got along because we were sitting at a wedding that we started talking about that. Like what are you doing? What trips do you have? What, what tricks are you using and you, you showed me, um, some pretty cool stuff for the website that I was blown away with. And I think that's one thing that's cool about our industries. We're willing to share that stuff, you know. Hey, did you try this? No, I don't even know what that is. What is that? Oh, that's cool. Let me add that to my list. I'll figure that out in February, you know.

[43:33] Well, we, we also met it. Uh, probably one of the all time, a memorable weddings there that we showed up in. I guess I was still, I don't even think I had jeff at that point, so it was just me anyways, just you. And uh, I always, I do get a little intimidated when it to another male photographer because I do worry a little bit about the, but she's Mo Kinda, you know, I, I tend to get along a little bit better with the brides and the, and the female photographers and yeah, I remember you show him up and he was just like this, a bundle of energy and excitement, which obviously resonates with me and that I think it was one of the maids of honor came in or whatever, and a medicine to lobby to take us back to the, to where everybody was and we, you know, you are.

[44:27] I say, Oh, you know, how's everyone doing today? And you know, you always get the like, oh, everyone's great, you know, it's fine. And so, you know, whatever. And she goes, oh, well, you know, it's actually a really terrible right now. I'm one of the, the one of the one brand that party had had some inappropriate relations with one of the other bridal party the night before. It was leaving chaos and I think it took us a minute to realize like to try to figure out if that, like if she was pulling our chain or not. Right. Do you remember that? Oh yeah. And then I start kind of looking at each other not knowing each other, just like, oh boy. And then we just kicked it into professional mode. They'll do it, we're going to do, we're here, you know. And like I think the bride who got ready like in the side room, like in the same room where they were putting the flowers and stuff together.

[45:12] I mean he was just kinda like a, not a diy weddings, but he was certainly a diy kind of photo and video kinds of day. Right. We were doing things to stay busy, that's for sure. Talking about just the actual wedding days, um, you know, coming from wildlife and, and besides the business of how do you keep that fresh, how do you keep, like you said, you use to kind of be chasing bears and wolves and stuff and how do you, how do you keep that day to day fresh in terms of, you know, the actual wedding day.

[45:41] So I think it would, it would surprise people. So I came from Alaska into Seattle now and in Canada, three different markets, three different arenas if you will. So in Seattle, the craziest thing is I probably never met 95 percent of my brides and grooms until the day of their wedding and that was weird to walk into a, a, a Roma Hotel Room and look at a group of guys and just kind of wander around and be like, Hey, are you the room? How you doing? Nice to meet you. Finally. Um, and I would offer for us to get together. We never force it, but I would certainly say, hey listen, I'd love to get together by a beer. Buy a coffee, let's chat, let's hang out. And a lot. And we're like, no, we're good. We'll see you there. And that always blew my mind. Um, so walking into the weddings that I typically do is nothing but chaos.

[46:40] I have one for Saturday here than I am forcing with her, trying to get some sort of organized agenda and she just doesn't want to do it necessarily. It's not really important to her. It's an all day wedding. I'll be there for 12 hours and I only know is that the ceremonies at one dinner is at five and we'll figure out the rest as we go. Um, that I think would drive some photographers nuts. They have to be structured like I need to know what's going on every second of the day. I don't want to miss anything. I need all this information. I got to have a list of planned out. We need to meet 56 times before. Um, but that going with the flow and spontaneity really keeps it fresh for every wedding because I never know what's going to happen. I never know what's gonna go on. I shot a wedding today. It doesn't. Matter of fact, I just got a text from the, uh, groom. The bride got so sick they had to take her to the emergency room. Um, so I mean, every, every wedding is different.

[47:40] Everything's fine. Thanks for showing up today. We appreciate it. Um, but it's, it's, I, I think, um, if a, if a very organized photographer was to look at my setup and, and realize your weddings are very chaotic. I can't manage in that. That's again, a reason that I'm dealing with the perfect target audience and that's how it stays fresh. I just never know what's going on. I had no idea. He just shot a wedding today. Yeah. Well, and it's late. It's late for you, right? Well it was only like, it was only supposed to be four hours. Um, but then after two hours she was like, I don't feel well. I'm going to bed. You can go home. Oh, okay. Did they get married? I think so. And so only in Canada. The commissioners are, um, there's only a few of them and you have to, you have to get.

[48:32] One of them have available and they do literally a, it's a verbal contract. They're reading a verbal contract and then you sign the documentation in my understanding is they were going to do that bedside while she was pretty sick. We're going to just, they didn't want photos and I tried to get them like, guys, I know you're sick and you're going to hate every one of these photos, but we should at least like document this because this is what's happening and you're going to tell everybody the rest of your life. Um, she was in bed sick and sign the document and usually the least have photos of that, but they were like, no, you're good. We don't want that to have a nice day. But that would have been cool for number seven, for the portfolio for sure. I would have been awesome. Um, so everyday is different. Every wedding is different.

[49:18] Uh, I think it's an understatement to ask. What was it challenging then transitioning again from Seattle back to Canada? Just in terms of like learning the market again and I mean we had kind of touched, you know, the, the licensing and trying to get all of that implant, but like just in terms of now this is the third, you know, totally different community and totally different set of rules and totally different pricing, you know, besides the whole international thing, just, you know, establishing and another environment.

[49:48] Oh, it was tough. It was absolutely tough because you're just, you. It's like pushing a rock up hill, you know, and you know, fight for the start of it. You get halfway up the hill. You can always look at your momentum and realize, look how far I've come. I'm not at my goal yet, but I'm still, I've got some history in the market and I can keep pushing this thing and to go from that in Seattle where I've pushed that rock like halfway up the mountain to, to Calgary, to banff area where I'm like, man, I'm at the bottom of the hill of this big ass rock again. Here we go. Oh, that sucked. It really did. Um, but luckily I was able to navigate through my trials and errors. I will look back at Seattle and said, all right, what did I do there that worked when I started in what didn't work and I know I spent a lot of time spinning my wheels with wordpress and, and the widgets and all that nonsense that, um, it helped make my decision on choosing squarespace, squarespace to run my website.

[50:47] Now, you know, little things like that I'm going to cut, not necessarily cut corners, but learn from those mistakes of the past and just streamline it to get that rock going further and faster. Um, but yeah. Oh, I did it. It's a. and then, you know, looking at it, you're now I'm a year into it, um, with my first full year. So I started like August of last year. And so my first full calendar year this year, um, I, I have no a template. So if I look at January, where should I be? Where was I got last year? I don't have any January numbers from last year for this market. So you're still kind of flying, creating that, that starting point, which, which is tough.

[51:32] Yeah. I told Dorothy when we moved here, when we were going to move because I, when I was still in tv, that was, you know, always that thought is oh you know, you moved to a bigger market or do whatever and when we decided we didn't want to move and I said well if I'm going to start this, you know, it's going to be a cold day before I have to start this again because I just couldn't imagine having to do it now. And not once but twice like you have. I just think it's a commendable and distill be shooting weddings and stuff in between and flying and I mean it's just absolutely incredible.

[52:01] Thank you. Yeah, it was tough and I don't, I don't know if I could do it again, like if that ever came up again, I kind of got. I don't know. I don't know what I do. And there's this funny story that like, like somebody like you and me will work 80 hours a week for fear of having to get a regular job and working 40 hours a week. Oh, absolutely. I fear I don't want to work an eight to five. That scares me to death. I'd rather work a paid or a committed. And you're funny too because I'll text you and I'll be like midnight new answer. And then I'm up at like seven in the morning, six year time and you're like, Hey, I'm still here. What's up? You're up late or up early. I can never figure it out. But you're always going, you're all business.

[52:42] Uh, what is in this could be one of many, but to, to kind of get to land this plane here as soon as what would be one of the greatest lessons you've learned and kind of the last 10 years, uh, in terms of, you know, and they can be in terms of business insurance with photography, if you have a couple that would be great too. But just to kind of a lesson and you've seen a lot and been through a lot, I think we could probably do another two or three of these sessions to, to get the whole story. But what would that be?

[53:08] I would say, um, don't be afraid to ask for help. Like, like I said, we're, we're a close knit group, um, in the industry and, and there might every now and then you'll, you might run across a personality and I honestly can maybe think of one person in three markets that might be rough and you're like, well, I'm just gonna. Avoid that person. That's fine. That's not you want to be with. But most people, if you're in the industry and you're starting out or you're established and you just want to have coffee with some money and, and compare notes, that is awesome. That is the best thing you can do because a lot of times you feel you're alone in the industry and you're running a business and you're competing against these other people in there. At the same token, going to be your best allies.

[53:53] So reach out and get to know him, just take him for a coffee, get to know them. I mean, it doesn't have to be business related in a sense of, uh, questions you might have or, or input they might have for you. It might be just as simple to say, hey, I want to meet you photographer. I really like your work. I think you're amazing. Um, because they may call you and say, Hey, I need some help next Saturday, or hey, I'm busy. I want to give you a referral. You know, that's how it all starts. It's just, it's just positive stuff. So get to know your, your, um, get some friends in the industry and the business and um, learn the business side, spend time learning numbers, understand how many, you know, how many weddings you have to shoot to make a decent income and at what price point and then understand your market.

[54:39] Like if you're going to go very high end and offer everything to them at a certain price point, then you need to understand what's the average amount of weddings then then, um, if the person's spending x amount on weddings and you're asking for twice that amount with an, you realize your client is far and few between you're gonna get a lot of nos before he got a yes kind of a thing. Um, and then if you do things like wedding shows, I, I'm very happy with wedding shows. I love wedding shows and there's times where I've been to a wedding shows where I leave very happy and I talked to another photographer there and they're just like, this is the worst ever. I didn't, I didn't talk to anybody. Nothing happened. And I'm like, we talked to the same people that we. I mean, it was the same. What happened? Um, you know, the business side is, is the key to success in this industry because you can learn to shoot better and you can learn to um, you know, you can go to a clinic or a seminar or something else in the photography side and, and build that skill set, but for every, every hour you put it on a photography need to put an hour in our business to learn that. And if you do have it, share it, share the information

[55:49] as great when I just have one tidbit to think to add on here, uh, in terms of asking people for help and you never kind of know where it's gonna come. I, um, years ago when I kind of was getting all my cameras staff, I had a, I bought like this enormous way too big Pelican case because I thought I was going to like store. I was going to have everything I would ever need all the time like in this case. And it was like, you know, it's too big. It was like this, it was, I couldn't even explain how big, bigger than the desk in terms of width. And I needed to get rid of it, we were getting ready to move and so I hit up this guy on a local group here. And uh, he did like production stuff and he said, well, this is actually perfect for me because, you know, we set up and we need this kind of big thing and you know, I was never going to use it going, you know, shoot to shoot.

[56:37] And so he had come and said, hey man, you know, I'm, I do editing and staff and you know, if you ever need anybody, if you ever need any help, you know, everyone always says whatever. And um, you know, the next year, uh, I didn't need help. And I, you know, I flew him up, he was working in La and I flew them up because I knew him and I needed some help with some shoots and stuff. And now I just got off the phone with him earlier tonight about, you know, trying to book him out for next summer. They do weddings in this all just came from him, you know, get in the Pelican case off of a productions, pete posts, you know, I five years ago, I couldn't even tell you how long ago it's been, so you never know kind of where, you know, those relationships and like people helping you and ask him for help, God and coffee thing. So it's, uh, it's interesting.

[57:19] Yeah, for sure.

[57:21] Uh, Chris, this has been said so fascinating. I really do mean that in all seriousness, I want to thank you so much for being on. If people want to learn more about you and see your photography and your business, where would you have them check out?

[57:33] Ah, they can go to, @chinookphotography on Instagram and Chinook Photography on Facebook. Awesome.

[57:46] Well thank you again so much and for me in the test of this fascinating new venture of a remote podcasting and I wanted to thank you so much for your time and coming in after shooting the wedding and then it really means a lot. So thank you so much. Thank you.

[58:00] Appreciate it. Keep up the good work, man.

[58:02] Uh, this has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thank you so much.

Jamie Buckley, Jamie Buckley Photography

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington, and I am joined today by Jamie Buckley of Jamie Buckley Photography who has been so kind to come in on this long holiday weekend. I know people and uh, it's, you know, it's stressful with the holidays and scheduling and families and things. I really appreciate you making the time to come in. It means a lot. Um, you know, when wedding vendors take time out of their schedule, when they could be doing more fun things to keep doing work. So thank you very much for coming in. Why don't you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your company.

[00:45] Hi, I'm Jamie Buckley of Jamie Buckley Photography. Um, I shoot primarily weddings, a little bit of family and also a little bit of, let's call it intimate male portraits. Um,

[01:00] Dudeoir is that like more? Yeah,

[01:03] [01:03] I hate the word dudeoir because people just associate it with like a kind of comical sense. Um, I wish, I guess male boudoir because, well, I guess I could use the word, cause bourdoir, it's not gendered so we don't need the gender. Um, I have been shooting weddings for, this will be my fifth year. Um, I've been in, in the Seattle market for three and a half and yeah, I really enjoy it weirdly.

[01:31] Uh, and so, uh, if people are recognizing a little bit of an accent, you, you're not needed to talk about a little bit about your background, where you come from.

[01:38] Uh, so I was born in Glasgow, Scotland, lived there for 23 years and then I weirdly moved to Vancouver, BC, not Washington for just over a year. Then I moved back to Scotland and then in 2015 I finally moved to Seattle and that's where I've lived for three and a half years.

[01:58] Uh, and what do you think about the Seattle, uh, living here in Seattle?

[02:03] It's similar but different to home. Um, it's similar climate, similar surroundings. There's a lot of green, a lot of snowy mountains, but it's bigger, much bigger. Like the population of Scotland is 5 million and I believe the population of King County is 3 million or something like that. So yeah, it's, it's much bigger. People don't appreciate how small Scotland,

[02:33] that's the idea. We uh, with my brother graduated from college, we did a tour around Scotland and kind of edit is. I remember it being the very similar climate because we, I think we left here in dispatch, rain jackets and stuff and it was kind of, it was a very similar, um, you know, weather and climate and things like that. Uh, so what brought you back to Seattle to the states at least full time for the last three and a half years.

[02:57] Um, so I, I was that weird kid who always grew up kind of romanticizing about America. I don't know why. I always was weirdly obsessed with America. And then just by a weird coincidence, I'm not because I forced it. Um, my husband was who I met was American and we took us 99 years for me to get here. Thanks to the, the joys of immigration. Really? Yeah, it was, it was a struggle, but go here and there I am. So, so he was here and you guys were kind of. Yeah. Um, so we did the long distance thing for three years until 2009 when I tried to come up to visit for the summer and was denied entry. Um, just because they thought I was going to stay. Um, I wasn't, I had a return flight booked and everything. Same as every other time I came, but they were like, no, thank you.

[03:57] Bye Bye. Um, so then I wasn't able to come in under the visa waiver act anymore. Um, so our plan then was to move to Scotland, which I wasn't really all four, but then the US market housing market crashed and basically my husband would have lost money selling his house and it was already going to be really expensive to move. So we just kind of played it by ear to like vacations places together. And then in 2011 because when I moved to Vancouver, uh, he was able to come visit me every weekend and then in 2013, the defensive marriage act. Yeah, the defense of Marriage Act was struck down, which allowed him to sponsor me for a green card, but of course when it was struck down and everyone applied, so it took 18 months to get it. And then I was finally able to move here.

[04:54] That's great. It was, it was a process. But, you know, it makes us appreciate each other more, I think because of all the time we spent apart, but also just all the struggles that we had to go through it to make it work. No, we're like, wow, we're stuck together. Yeah, right. We can never, never, ever. Uh, and we were talking just a little bit before he sat down. Uh, you guys met a, which I think is an awesome story. If you want to give a little background on how you met your husband. Um, yeah. So we actually met playing video games. Um, there was a website, it no longer exists, but it was like a forum called [inaudible] Dot Org, gay and he are, um, and it was a group of us playing halo two and I didn't know everyone that I was playing with. Um, I knew I knew a few, I didn't know my husband and the game split as into I think it was eight teams of two and I was on his team and I didn't know him.

[05:48] Uh, so I muted my mic because, you know, I was a delightful person so I didn't want to talk to him and I put on some music and I was just happily sitting there singing along to myself with a beautiful rendition of don't show up by the pussycat dolls and you know, that when you're listening to music and no one's around and you know, you're going pretty right into this little voice in my ear, said, you know, that I can hear you right. And instantly I was like, no, thank you. And just turned off my xbox. Um, and then the next day he sent me a message being apologetic and saying that he didn't, he didn't mean to embarrass me and I was like, no, it was me. Um, and then we just got to chatting and a year later I flew to Seattle for two weeks to see whether this thing could work in person as well as online. And it turns out it did. So 13 years later, here we are still.

[06:46] I think that's incredible. I absolutely love that. I think that's so great. And so he's from here.

[06:51] He's originally from Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, but yeah, he's lived here for 20 something years. That's awesome. Yeah.

[06:59] Uh, and so now you work here in Seattle, now doing wedding photography. Um, how did you, like, did you always know that you wanted to be a photographer or do you, were you always creative kind of growing up? How did that.

[07:11] Um, so I was always kind of, I'm the youngest of three. Um, so I was always kind of the called the creative one. I'm lefthanded. So that was probably, it was probably forced on me by my parents. Um, but I was always the creative one, but I didn't really have a creative outlet. Like I tried my hand at our can't draw for nothing, tried my hand at painting. Um, I even did a bit of a stint in music. Um, I played the trumpet, got bored of that. Um, and then in 2007 when I was here for the summer, I had some birthday money and my husband said, you know, why don't you buy a camera? And I was like, why would I buy a camera? So it was a weird suggestion, but I did because he got to spend that birthday money. Um, so I bought one.

[08:01] It was, uh, it was, I guess they call them bridge cameras now. There wasn't a dslr and I just went out and started taking pictures of things. We went on a lot of trips that summer, so I was just doing a lot of landscape stuff. And then I guess it was 2012, I think I bought like I splurged and thought 300 pound camera. I like, that was a lot for me at the time. And I got the canon 85, one point eight, and then, you know, that's not a landscape lens. So I started taking pictures of family members and then they were all very, you know, what do you take pictures of other people, why don't you charge people. I was, nope, don't want to do that. Um, and then I decided, you know, I gotta go to recoup the cost of this land. Somehow I did a bunch of kind of, I think it was like 25 pound, um, family photo shoots just posted one that was local bicycle groups and people weren't.

[09:06] There was, I got like 50 or 60 messages about this. Um, so I did I think like five or six and this was back in Scotland. Um, and it was, it was fun. I enjoyed it. So when I moved here I was like, I should, you know, just try and make something of this. Um, and I knew that or I didn't know what people had told me. The only way to make money in photography was weddings. But I was like, no, I don't, I don't really don't really want to. I'd shot my sister's wedding, the in 2014, which I had new, right to do. Um, I had a Canon Fifty d, I think I had one body, no backup. I hit a nifty 50 and uh, I think it was like a 17 to 50, so not great lenses, but you know, she said she wanted me to do it.

[09:57] So I did it and I enjoyed it. Looking back on it, now I cringe, but at the time I enjoyed it and it was probably good for me. Um, so I did a couple weddings, does a 15, um, to that I liked one that I did not and that one kind of put me off it. Um, so I was like, nope, just going to stick to the family stuff. And then in 2016 my dad asked me to his wedding and I was already going. So I was like, fine. Uh, so I did that and I really enjoyed that. And then my coworker at the coffee shop, she asked me if I fly to Chicago and shoot her wedding, which I really enjoyed. So I was like, Hey, let's give this a second chance, let's be a bit more selective in the clientele that we pick. And since then I've never shot a wedding I didn't enjoy. So yeah, I kinda, I got bit by the bug and I really like it. I,

[10:51] so yeah, when we, when I was getting started that it was the same thing and we, I, we decided no, we were never going to do weddings and I remember we, I was doing some stuff with Clo magazine and they wanted to give us some advertising in cll bride and I say that we'll know we have, I have no interest in that. We'll never, we'll never be doing weddings. And then you've come to find your way there if it's meant to be one way or another. Um, so then, so now you do weddings. Uh, and then you also, bruce is still talking about that and, and it Kinda that outlet to the work.

[11:24] Uh, so I've worked in coffee since 2008. It was kind of my first real job. Um, and I'm that weird person that actually really angel. He said people come, people who work in customer service fall into two categories, either they love it or they hate it. Um, and I actually really enjoy it, like I think it's, I think the two kind of feed into each other really well because I spend all day at the coffee shop making small talk with people and then I go to weddings and I have to talk to people there all the time. I'm like, you know, at the coffee shop is people I see kind of every day, whereas at the weddings it's people I'll see once in my lifetime, but I'm able to have meaningful conversations with them because of what I do all day. Um, and it's like I'm an introvert so it's very good.

[12:15] I get to kind of fill my social quota by just talking to random people all day. Um, and I love coffee. I'm like, I actually enjoy making the coffee. Um, I like, you know, it's weird that it's actually a huge part of some people's Day. Like if you make them a bad coffee in the morning, you brighten their day, but you've made them a good coffee, you make 30 day and then they, sometimes people come back and they're like, that coffee made me this morning. It was amazing. And I'm like, cool, that sounds so. But yeah, I've worked in five coffee shops in 10 years, which is probably a bit weird because I guess I stick around at places.

[12:55] Yeah, right. You feel like maybe it's a little more like a come and go or are you.

[13:00] Yeah, like I've, I've worked with so many people, whereas I seem to just stick around and I've met some of my closest friends through the, through these jobs, like people I still know from back home through just the coffee shop. Um, so yeah, it's, I am probably going to be kind of giving it up probably this year or next doesn't move towards shooting full time photography. But since weddings are kind of a seasonal gag, I would probably still go back and work part time in the winters because I'm guessing I would probably miss it. Plus free coffee.

[13:37] It really cheapens your, your life. Yeah, I mean, especially if it's something that you enjoy doing, you know, it's, it's, uh, let's see, what is this on the podcast and you know, she, she keeps her job because it's like if you're forced to do photography like all the time and then maybe you would like kind of learn to grow to hate it or grow that kind of resentment. Like if that's, if you're forced to do with all the time. I know. Do you ever worry about that or

[13:58] um, I don't know about that. Like I said, when I moved here I was just going straight into being full time photography, um, which looking back with a terrible decision because I had no, like I didn't know anyone when I moved here apart from my husband and his friends. Um, so after I think three months I was bouncing off the walls, like I had had a few like photo shoots, but I didn't really have a lot of money to advertise. Um, I didn't know anyone, so I had no network to kind of mine. Um, and you know, my husband would come home from work and I'd have just been sitting in the house all day and he'd come home and you know, that way when you come home from work and just chill out and then there would be me.

[14:42] What did you do today? How are you? It was like

[14:44] you need to get a job. Um, so I actually got a job at a local coffee shop. I'm a little family run place. Um, and then through that I actually met a couple of clients which then when I moved jobs again I've met more clients so I don't think I could ever grow to hate it, but at the same time I don't think I would want to do it just sold solely by itself because I do get a lot of my, like social miss from talking to people all day. So I think that if I was just at home kind of editing by myself through the week and then shooting on the weekends, I think I would probably go a little stir crazy. But then this past summer was working full time Monday to Friday, the coffee shop and then shooting weddings on the weekend was, it was a lot. So I, I think I probably need to work at work at a better balance. Um, but yeah, I, I like, I want to keep both in my life just because they are kind of my two passions. But I definitely need to find a better balance.

[15:53] Uh, yeah. Luckily my wife Dorothy talks to a 29 students everyday so she is very talking at the end of the day and so that I get to do my talking because I think Rosie, our dog has done a hearing me talk by the end of the day. Um, what did you find a kind of growing into the CLO wedding community here? Kinda like, you know, entering here, like you said you didn't know a lot of people like now, like do you feel like you're kind of like in that, you know, obviously in the network, in the area here, where, what you, where did you find the kind of coming into the Seattle community like that?

[16:26] Um, so just before I moved here, um, I can't remember how I found it, but, um, I joined this facebook group called North Zone portrait photographers. Uh, I think it's about a thousand people in there, um, but a lot of the people in there who like I back and forth with like I've not met them in person, but I feel like I know with them. Um, so that was a huge help when I moved here. Like I felt like I could just post something there to ask people, like, because I didn't know any locations, stuff like that. So, you know, I posted that and they would, you know, give up their locations, which I think some places are not like that. They're very kind of might look at it. Whereas I think it's in the bio of that group community over competition. Um, and that's Kinda what I find in for a lot of this area is that people are very community over competition. Like the, there's a lot of comradery. A lot of the people who I have a second shot with or had second trip for me, um, they're just lovely people. Um, there's no kind of cutthroat ness to I don't think. Um, so yeah, if I feel like I just kind of came into this really nice familial area, which was really nice.

[17:48] Yeah, I noticed lot online about

[17:50] that. A lot of like, you know, swapping mini-sessions or like, like you said, like sharing locations or hey, where was this or I need, what does someone have somewhere that's covered in this area because it's going to be rainy in there. So it's nice to see because yeah, I guess I don't, I don't have any context for like any other large weighty communities, but I've heard that yeah, they say yeah, seattle is like a little more friendly in that regard, which I think is good. Um, did you kind of, when you were getting your business started, um, when you originally, like they were saying you should charge, did you like sessions you're going don't want to deal with that? Like have you found it a struggle kind of like doing the business side of the wedding photography or is that something you've grown to enjoy or. Um, I enjoy it to a point like I am kind of weird in that I like making kind of like, I like making my advert is that like, I like writing up the, like the tech.

[18:52] Yeah.

[18:52] I'm like, I've heard a few people say that like, you know, I write really well and so I enjoy doing that. Um, I kind of cringe at some of the things I write, but I enjoy doing it. Um, the taxes and stuff, I just leave it to my husband. He's in finance, so I'm just like, Hey,

[19:07] go take it off, take it off.

[19:09] Um, which you know, is probably not the best way to do it, but it's, it's his domain, should we say. Um, but then I also kind of struggled with chart, like charging what I'm worth. Um, that's, that's kind of a main struggle. I find that kind of tough. I'm looking at going full time next year as well. Um, is kind of a, it's going to be an interesting year.

[19:40] Yeah, it's sad. It's tough to kind of make that, to make that, that leap. So it's, uh, it's something that, yeah, everyone can ask to struggle with and Kinda go, I will say yeah, looking through your site isn't very like personable email and like I think like you said, you know, finding the right clients so like, you know, are attracted to you or that you are attracted to work with I think is important. Like talk about like your um, ideal client and kind of like your style. Like, you know, I was looking to your side like I can see a little more upbeat, a little more intimate talking about kinda keywords and things that you look for and kind of your style. And

[20:17] um, so in the beginning I kind of, I, I definitely didn't know my style, um, or I guess I didn't trust my style. Um, in the, in the beginning I was very, uh, what's the word? Reticent, I think is the word to put too much of myself into my style. I guess I'm like, I didn't mention anywhere on my site that I was gay. I didn't mention that I had a husband. Um, I didn't show off that I had any tattoos. But then through the clients that I got that way, I was like, these aren't the people that I want, like these are nice people, but they're not the ones that I like wake up and jump out of bed, excited to go shoot the wedding for. So then I kinda, I did a one 80, I read it all my branding. Um, I mentioned, you know, my history in my bio, I'm mentioned my husband.

[21:15] Um, and then through that I was able to find the people who were more kind of my tribe. I'm so now specifically lgbt but very kind of angled towards that, um, or lgbt friendly. Like those people I find are more into me. Sounds a bit weird. But yeah, like people who, you know, don't, who beat to the center of their own drum. Like I'm there for the bride or groom that has tattoos everywhere. Um, pig care of blue hair, like the ones who tell corny jokes because I'm all about the dad jokes. Um, but yeah, just people who are true to themselves. Even if societies maybe not their biggest fan, it's kind of what my vibe is.

[22:10] No, I think that's good. I think uh, I think it's important for a lot of the people to Kinda like get to that point as business owners because I think when you're starting now there's like I'll shoot anything, anywhere of any kind, any style, and we have any budget that will fit anything and like I anything you want, like I'll do it and then. Yeah. And it's not cause I think like originally maybe I thought like, oh, like some of these people that are like really stubborn about like their clients and things like oh they're cocky or too confident or like I said, well that's like, wouldn't you want to like work with anybody? But like now, like years and years later it is like, it's more like, it's in the best benefit for not only you but like the client, right? Like you want, you want them to be happy. Like you don't want you to show up with the tattoo and have them be like, oh my God. Or like, you know, like a photographer with like blue hair, whatever, and be like, oh my God. You know what I mean? You want everybody to be comfortable, right? Yeah.

[23:03] Um, yeah. So at my consults for weddings, the two things I always do is I always roll up my sleeves because I have a lot of tattoos on my forearms. Um, and then I always in some way mentioned that I have a husband because the two things that I want them to always know is that I have tattoos, which is not a huge deal for some people, but I guess there's some churches that don't allow it. Um, so I just want always people to know and then I always want them to know that I'm gay because if like I'm not here to judge them if they have an issue with that, but I also don't want to work with them because that's going to be, they're going to be uncomfortable with that and you can't take good photos if you're uncomfortable.

[23:43] Um, do you find what you're about Kinda your process in terms of like getting clients and working towards that wedding day and kind of working with them? Why do you like obviously like how far out, like ideally do you like to meet clients? And they're talking about Kinda that process of getting people comfortable with like engagements and shooting style and things kind of moving towards the wedding.

[24:03] Um, so I always meet people in person before I book them. Um, I think I've done one where I did like a skype session and it was because they were kind of further out a location wise, but I always like to meet people in person because, you know, people can say whatever they want in an email, but your body language and just talking to someone, it's harder to lie and you can get a much better read on someone. Um, so I always do that, meet them for coffee or whatever, just chat. They tell me their story, you know. Um, I never like push on people to, you know, book pick. No, I'm, I'm always like go and talk about it, email me. And then afterwards I do follow it up with like a, hey, did I answer all your questions? If not, please reach out right now.

[24:55] And I've had a couple of people who were like, oh, we didn't, we forgot to say this or I forgot to ask this or you know, we didn't feel comfortable asking this. Um, and so, you know, that's a good way to get them to be able to ask everything they want because a lot of people don't like to talk money or deposits or you know, stuff like that in person, which is fine. But then all of my wedding packages come with an engagement shoot because it's such a great way to get to know you're a couple, you know, I usually spend probably two hours I'm shooting their engagement session. Um, they're included for free. Like it's, you know, it's basically me just using that time to get to know them, get to see how they interact. I'm getting them comfortable in front of the camera.

[25:43] I shot, I think one of my weddings last year where we weren't able to sync up our, an engagement shoot before the wedding. And it was basically they were much stiffer. I didn't know as many kind of cues for them. So it's just a really good way to get to know people. Um, and then usually about a month before their wedding, we'll meet up again, just go over their timeline. Um, I try not to be the person that creates their timeline because I like to, you know, leave that to their day of coordinator, but you know, if I look at it and I'm like, oh, this is a bit weird, then I'll, I'll say something. But yeah, usually I'm just kind of arranging the times for when we can do good photos and then head to their wedding and shoot the happiest day of their life.

[26:35] Yeah. So you said you've kind of grown into being a wedding photographer. What is it specifically about weddings and couples and things? Is it just kind of like the in the day I like talking about your favorite parts of a wedding and kind of what resonates with you?

[26:47] Um, so I don't understand why more people don't like, like I see people who are like, I'll never shoot a wedding. And I'm like, why? No, you literally get to span the entire summer on the entire year being with people on the happiest day of their life, week after week six. I don't understand why people don't enjoy it. Like I know a lot of people say that weddings are stressful, but I'm like, that's you. That's not the wedding. It's how your approach it. Like I'm a very laid back person, so if things start going off off the rails on a wedding day, I'm just like, hey, you're here. Your partners here. Efficient. It's here. That's all you need. Like at the end of the day, you don't need anything else to get married. Um, so I'm, I'm pretty good at kind of mellowing people out if things start getting a bit top. But yeah, it's just, it's such a fun day. Usually the bride and groom don't care about, especially if they have like a planner or dl coordinator or whatever. They don't care about any of that. They don't know that, you know, they're running an hour behind schedule, they're just having fun. Um, and that's the best part is that these people are so happy. It's like, it's infectious. Um, but my favorite part of the wedding day is probably, and I try to push this on people. It's a first look because there's just something amazing about first slicks.

[28:16] I guess it's because it's a private moment. I'm like, I always, that's why I always try and push it is that it's this private moment between, you know, two partners who are about to get married and, you know, they haven't seen each other probably at least 12 hours and you get to see each other like done up in their best attire and you know, a lot of times people will cry. I'm just like, this is so pure and happy. Um, and I find that weddings that don't have a first look, I don't like the first time that the bride or groom sees their partner. I don't think it says, especially with guys. I think because they're standing up in front of all those people, I think they like reserve themself and they don't have the same emotional burst as they would in a private sale thing. Which is why I try and push it because I love taking photos of people crying.

[29:14] No, it's tough because I, you know, and as video even though I don't get to really do like the engagement sessions and stuff as much and like, you know, I always um, you know, we always, I always try to match like the photographer with time at least wedding day so that we can be there all the time and kind of get all that because you know, it is important for me to like have that time with the couples and like, yeah, the wedding until we're like we don't have a first look. I'm obviously like, you know, it's like a personal choice and like I'm not going to like for somebody to do it but like you know, like my assistant will be with the guy, you know, all day until ceremony, whatever. Like I'll be with the brides. Like yeah maybe we'll do portraits or whatever afterwards.

[29:50] And like I'll get a little bit of time with them, you know and like whatever. But like, I won't feel like I know Eno, the groom or the other partner whenever, like nearly as much as like if we do a first look and they get to hang out for the afternoon, you know what I mean? We're like, you want like that time to like get to know what kind of makes them click and I don't know, I feel like when we don't do that first look, then I'll be like, oh yeah, like he is great. Like, but like I got to spend an hour with them and now they're at the reception and like I just don't know. I just feel like you kind of lose that were like the ones where you're with. I'm as much of the day as possible together. I don't know, I just think,

[30:25] I think it's um, the reason I kind of try and push people towards thing. The first look is that one, it's really adorable, but you also can do a lot of the wedding part. Like the wedding party photos, the family photos, stuff like that before the ceremony. So the, after the ceremony they can just spend time with their family and friends, whereas if they haven't done that first week beforehand and afterwards, the need to do the family photos, the wedding party photos, the couple of photos and then like an hour, an hour and a half has gone by and all of their guests are like, are we ever gonna? Get to see you guys there. Then try to eat dinner and people are like, hey, they're like, I'm, I'm on my mind that they, I feel like days with first flow better. Um, but mainly I just like taking pictures of people crying.

[31:15] That's awesome. Uh, so when you're not shooting weddings, I know you spend, like I read through your site a lot of different interests and things that you have and I think that's good. A lot of similar TV shows and things we have in common. Talk about some things you do when you're not shooting weddings and things like interests in other like hobbies you have.

[31:34] Um, so when I was shooting weddings, um, ironically, one of the things I like to do is shoot these, um, intimate male portrait sessions. Um, this was something I kind of started to do to avoid burning out during wedding season this year. Um, I was just shooting wedding after wedding after wedding and I was enjoying it, but it was also kind of beginning to feel like they were molding into one. Um, so I was like, I need to shoot something just for me. Um, so I was actually inspired by another photographer who lives in Atlanta called Kevin Larry. He did, he had a project Instagram, shut it down. Um, it was called skin like dom and it was just photos of men being vulnerable. Um, and so I started a project called No Bits, But Butts, um, and I've just been shooting, um, Matt and our male couples.

[32:29] I'm just like in home, I'm kind of good stuff and it's just been like really fun because it's, it's fun to shoot, but it's also kind of a technical thing. I'm like, I'm shooting in spaces that are tiny. I'm shooting space spaces. It happened to light, so it's been, it's been fun because I can then take it back to the weddings for doing stuff there. I'm like, you know, I've, I've been exploring a lot with lighting, um, things like that. So it's, it's a hobby not related to wedding photography but kind of as well. Um, but outside of that I, I read a lot, like a little, um, I still play video games when I get the chance. Um, you know, I have, I have a dog so I have to walk him every now and then. Um, I actually through him I work with the rescue that we go home with, so I did a lot of work with them.

[33:26] I go to events to photograph them in my photograph, new dogs. Um, we foster through them. So yeah, talking about that, how does that work? Um, so basically they are a forgotten dogs rescue. They are a foster based rescue. They don't have a shelter or space or anything like that. So they are primarily pulling pitbulls I'm usually, it used to be from Yakima because Yakima had a band that just got overturned. So I don't know how that's going to change things going forward. Um, but they would pool pit bulls from the Yakima shelters, bring them over to here, put them into foster houses that they've got around the Seattle area and then getting them adopted. Um, so we've done two fosters through them. The first one was great. She was, she was basically used as a puppy mill. Um, and then she was picked up when she was pregnant.

[34:26] She gave birth to 10, eight puppies. I think only two of them made it. Um, but she was basically, they fixed her, not that she was broken, they fixed her scientific, I don't know. Um, and then we fostered her and Kinda got her. She was, she was afraid timid dog when she came to us, like she'd only known Ms Dot treatment, um, and our dog is not the subtlest dog, but that was actually great because it brought her over shell. Um, and then she actually got adopted the two months after she'd been with us. So that's great. I still follow her on Instagram. I get to see her. It's great. Um, and then the second one we had was not as great, it was a five month old puppy that we passed on to another foster because we didn't have the time for her. Um, but we're bringing in, we keep on doing it because, you know, these, this rescue can only save as many dogs as they have fosters for. So like we want to get a second dog for our dog, but I want to keep fostering because I want to pay it back to them for giving us our dog in the first place.

[35:41] And is it you said you guys also like help with events and stuff? Photograph, right.

[35:45] You go to, um, the, they do events twice a month, like pet stores. They take some of the dogs that are available for adoption and just hanging out at the pet store. Um, and yeah, I go along and take photos of the dogs just like hanging out, people playing with them and stuff like that. And then sometimes when they get new dogs, um, if they don't have good photos of them, I'll go along and take some photos of the dog, you know, playing in the yard or whatever. But that was actually before we got all of that was why I contacted them. There was a guy on the east coast who went up and down and shelters and to take the dogs out of the shelters into like parks and stuff, took photos of them and the adoption rate for the dogs tone out by something like 60 percent. Um, so yeah, I just, you know, give them good photos of the dogs and hopefully it can get.

[36:43] That's awesome. Uh, and then I know, like you said, you're a big reader, a huge Harry Potter Fan. I saw a talk about that talk about not only reading but every father and your love for that.

[36:54] Um, so like I was first hired Bar Harry Potter book came out in 90 seconds. I would have been nine and that came out. So that was just kind of my childhood. Um, I actually didn't read the first two. It was the third one that I got into first. My Dad bought me for Christmas. I was like, who is this man heard? Um, and I read it and I was like, so I actually, I read them in a really weird order. I went like three, four, two, one, five, six, seven. Um, and it was just a huge part of my childhood. I'm kind of growing up. Um, and then my nephew, my sister's kid, his name is Harry, so I actually got Harry Potter Tattoo for him. Um, she says he's not named after Harry Potter, but we all know she's lying. Um, but yeah, there's just something pure about the books.

[37:51] Like I just read a thing the other day about how, how ron is like his character that's always laughed about, but you know, he, he gave Harry half of his sandwich when that on the train, when that was all he had. And so like there's a lot of depth to the books that I think a lot of people don't realize. They just kind of look at people and like kind of like whatever. This series of books have a lot of life lessons in them, um, but yeah, we're actually next month going to London for a vacation and we're going to the studio tour, um, which is just outside London and it's like the original sets that you can go and visit and walk around and stuff. So I'm pretty excited about that. Do you ever done that before? No, we've been to the park. I'm over in Florida. That's pretty cool. I'm at the Universal Studios. Um, those are really cool. But yeah, I've never been to the studio tour and then we're also going to see the cursed child on the west end, the play. So I should be pretty exciting.

[38:57] Do you still make it back home at all or?

[39:00] Um, yeah, I've been home every year.

[39:04] Yeah.

[39:06] Yeah, I've been home every year since I moved here. Um, this trip will probably be my last for awhile because I'm finding that because I'm going over there so much, people aren't coming here to visit me because I go there and I can see like everyone at once. Whereas if they come here, they can only see me and that's fine, you know, it's 10 hours on a flight. It's not cheap, but at the same time I want people to come visit me to see the life that I've built here. Um, so I'm gonna not visit for a few years and see, see what happens. I want to, I also want to do like my husband only gets two weeks vacation, three weeks vacation is work going back to the UK, you've got to take like at least a week. So it's eating into a lot of our vacation time. So I want to go travel other places. Um, but also I want people to come visit me

[39:57] and then talk about, uh, I wanted to talk about this a little bit more about this male brood war, a project you're working on and more just kind of like that trend right now. And like I think we talked about like right at the beginning of the podcast about like this dude war term and like you don't really like that. Like talking about kind of like your thought process behind that and kind of like how that is becoming like a thing nowadays that people are doing for their wives or partners or whoever comes in

[40:24] it, extend on that a little bit. Um, so yeah, like the, so the reason I don't like door Dubois is that it has a lot of, kind of, not negative commentary connotations, but a lot of people do that as like a joke version of female boudoir, but with a guy. So we'll do like, you know, a larger guy doing like female boire maternity or something like that. And I'm like, okay. Um, but I think it's, especially with guys, um, I don't, I think men are kind of taught from a young age that they shouldn't think about themselves as beautiful or handsome. I think. I think guys who kind of, you know, I mean there's in society, there's the, the, the joke, uh, like the caricature of the guy who's like, you know, primping his hair in the mirror and people laugh at that and I'm like, okay, why is it okay for a woman to do her hair for an hour? But if a guy does it for five minutes, we all laugh at him. I'm like, why can't men take

[41:29] taken their own appearance without seeming vein? Whereas with women it's, it's okay. Um, so for that I, I like, I like showing the guys like the photos during the session and they're like, Oh wow, look at that. And I'm like, yeah, you're handsome guy. Why? Why don't you know that? Um, and then it's also just about like feeling comfortable in your own skin. Like I usually ask people in advance in advance, like, what don't you like about your body? Um, and then, you know, there'll be like, I don't like my eyebrows, I don't like my nose, I'm too fat, I'm too thin. Um, and then I, I don't try to enhance that, but I do try to like take photos where that's kind of the focus and then they look at it and they're like, oh, that actually looks really good. And I'm like, yeah, so I did that because, you know, because of the light it was falling on your face and see how your nose looks fine.

[42:28] Whereas you told me that you didn't like your nose. And I'm like, see? And then they're like, oh yeah. Um, but then also for partners, it's, it's a fun way to just kind of reconnect with each other. Um, one of the things that I've kind of weirdly fallen into is doing sessions with older guys. I'm like, I did a session with these two old guys who I think they were in their late sixties and they've been together for 33 years. I'm only 30 years old. They've been together as a couple for longer than I've been alive, which doesn't sound, you know, you hear about couples married for 40, 50 years, but there are a gay couple who have been together for 33 years, which in itself is kind of amazing because, you know, there's that stereotype that gay couples don't make it. Um, but also the 30 years ago it was the late eighties.

[43:27] It was a very different time, like they couldn't, you know, get married. Um, there was the aids crisis, um, and we just talked about that and I, I feel like it was kind of Cathartic for them. Like they, they actually were like crying as they were telling me about. I'm part no partners, friends that they'd lost to aids. They were telling me about how, when do those 15, when the log overturned and gay marriage became legal across the country, they remember exactly where they were when they heard it. Um, and it was just amazing. And then I posted them in a photography group, um, that has like 50, 50,000 members or something. I posted them when I was like, no one's gonna like, like these, but I'm really proud of them. Like the lighting was amazing. Um, I posted them and people went crazy over them.

[44:23] I was like, this is, this is like some weird Bizarro word world where I've just posted a picture of, to like, first of all to men, but also to older men who society would tell us aren't worth that much anymore. And yet these people are like losing it over them. Like I got so many messages. I got so many friend requests to this day. People still like management. Like I just saw that photo. It's amazing. I love the story. Thank you for sharing it. Um, and so I, I kind of gravitated more towards doing the shoots with the older guys because it kind of ties into the other project that I was doing and like I just like to talk to them and hear their stories and like how they persevered. They endured so much so that I can now have what I have. Um, and you know, if this is a way that I can kind of pay it back to them, then, you know, I'm happy to do that.

[45:25] I think that's awesome. And I think that, yeah, just like um, even just kinda the wisdom there and like you said with the age and even like with a, you know, same sex or bride and groom or whoever, like a wedding with couples like that are older, whether it's like my rh or because they were pretty similar age or older. I do find a little bit more wisdom there than like some of these 19 year olds, which is, it's still, you know, it's great. And it's somebody that you do find that people that have spent kind of like part of their lives actually together already before they got married or you know, if they're like this couple this together, I do think you get a little bit, you know, a lot more from kind of like seeing that and they just have a lot more experiences and I think it's a little more fulfilling to Kinda see that.

[46:09] Um, I also have to imagine that like kind of going through that with them unlike like other guys and things like, uh, maybe feeling uncomfortable or like having to open up key light that's got to help then translate to like weddings and other things. Right. Kind of like that tack that you're obviously that you have, they get these guys to do that. Right? Kind of makes you like kind of like a whisper in terms of like, you know, like getting people to be more comfortable. Right. Do you feel like that's applicable to a lot of things now?

[46:37] Um, I think so. Um, I sometimes when I posted a picture on Instagram, people will be like, you know, I love the emotion that you got here. Like it's so weird that they're so comfortable and I don't really approach it as so much as like making them comfortable. I think it's just, I naturally make people comfortable just because I don't have any airs and graces. I just talked to them as human beings. Like I'll joke with them, you know, you know, admonish them mockingly kind of thing. Um, but yeah, I just kind of be myself, um, and I think I kind of naturally because I am so laid back, I don't like I get nervous during, you know, wedding days and stuff like that, but I don't project that, that's all internal. Um, so yeah, I think, you know, I just, I think definitely with the more kind of intimate posing, I bring a lot of that over and I, especially during things like the first look in the couple's portraits, um, I think that was very helpful. Um, and sometimes people kind of site it and they're like, I'm sorry, what do you want us to do? I'll be like, touch each other, touch your bodies and as many places as possible and they're like, what? I'm. So yeah, I think the two are definitely helping each other, which is nice.

[48:01] It's tough because yeah, like I'm on the wedding day. Like there's so many other things besides like taking the time to like make everybody feel comfortable and like a good photos. Like there's just, there's a lot of other stuff. So I would have to imagine that like having these like sessions and being able to like really like get to know people and like figure out like what makes them comfortable and like, it just, it would be nice to have because like a lot of the time at weddings, like whether you're laid back or not, there is still a timeline. Then you're like, oh crap, we gotta be somewhere in 20 minutes. And it's just hard. It's hard to like, unless people are like super, like super chemistry, like it is hard sometimes to get that same effect. You know what I mean?

[48:39] Um, I think definitely a lot of it comes down to how comfortable they are because, you know, traditionally a lot of people haven't been on in front of a professional camera. Like it's not something that whole lot of people do. I think nowadays maybe it's more common, but it's not something that, you know, a lot of people are comfortable with. Thought. That's also why I do the engagement shoot is that, you know, I'm like right here with the camera in front of your face and they have to be, you know, in they have to think of me is invisible, which is easier said than done over my wedding career. Um, I've kind of gravitated more towards the same sex couples. Um, and so a lot of people, like other photographers will, you know, ask me stuff about them. Um, and specifically how to pose them.

[49:38] Um, and you know, I see it in photography groups every week. Like, Oh, I'm shooting my first same sex photography. How should I pose them? What do I do? And I guess I would just say to people like, they're just people like, don't be afraid of them. They're not any different to a male female couple. I'm just, don't, don't gender your poses. Like I don't really get why people do that. Like if you want them to pose in a certain way, just say, hey, you guys go stand over there. And one of you sent in front of the other, the one in the back. Just wrap your arms around the on the front, they'll go over there and they'll put themselves in that position. So you don't say one of you like or kyle standing in front and Brendan, you sign in the back. Well, most couples like, you know, when you're taking a Selfie, most couples, one will stand on the left and one on sat in on the right. It's just these things that you fall into. So if you tell them to go over there and stand on a very specific way like that, that might not be where they're comfortable. Whereas we just tell them broadly to do it. They'll make themselves comfortable and that's just something I've kind of found is that people are weirdly scared of same sex couples, but they're just human beings. They just want you to like them as much as they like you. So don't be afraid of them.

[50:58] No, but I, I actually think that that's a great point because, um, we, we don't do as many seeing sex weddings as I would like a go. The worst thing for me, the first summer we ever did, whether you, uh, uh, I did for just like the first summer in two of the four were safe sex and it was awesome. But like now just like there's such terrible weddings, like in terms of like video quality that I'm like, oh, we can't weather. So it's, it has been hard for me to the last couple years to like, you know, really kind of ramp up that because like I want, you know, any kind of religion, any kind of sex and you know, I want, when you look at like a portfolio, I want you to be able to see you somewhere on there, wherever this. But I do remember that we had a wedding last summer and um, I had referred the photographers too.

[51:40] And so we all, like, we're very much on the same team with and yeah, it wasn't like a scared thing. But yeah, like I do remember like what you're saying there where I'm like, well how do we, like, what do you say? Right. And it wasn't like we were, there's no uncomfort, like we didn't care, but he was like, you're just so used to like, okay, how'd the woman put her head on? Or like, you're just so used to that, right? Like, and it's not even like an intentional thing. I think it's like a train. So, um, I think that's a fascinating point. So do you get a lot of people asking you for advice on that?

[52:08] Um, I do. Yeah. And I find that I find that weird, like I'm not any kind of expert on this. And I, I was talking to someone about this the other day and they said, well, you're more used to. And I was like, and then I kind of thought about it and I guess for a like, cause I'm in the lgbt community. I do kind of have that advantage of, you know, I'm pretty forward thinking or whatever. But a lot of people don't have experience with same sex couples and they're not asking to be malicious. They're asking from a place of learning. And I'm like, as long as you're asking from a place of learning, just ask, like say to people, hey guys, like, I don't mean to be offensive, but how like, you know, how do you want me to pose you? And one of the things I always do is at every session or every couple of session is when we start, I always say, hey, can you guys tell me how you say your name and can you tell me your pronouns?

[53:11] Because you know, I might get what I think is a same sex couple, but it turns out that one of them is actually not the sex that I thought they were. So that way they can tell me what makes them. I'm like, you know, their pronouns that they want you to use. But also how do they want you to say their name? Because I did a wedding with a lady called Alicia. I was calling her Alicia for the entire engagement session. And then she was like, can you just call me Allie? Because only my mom calls me Alicia. I was like, oh, so that's awkward. So yeah, they'll basically tell you, just let them tell you what they want you to do. Um, but yeah, never, never be afraid to ask as long as you're coming from a point of learning which most photographers would be.

[54:02] Um, and then also I would say if going back to your kind of portfolio thing, if you don't have same like same sex couples won't go where they aren't represented. Like when I was getting married, we contacted like I got married in Vancouver, but we contacted 10 photographers. Anything, only one of them replied to us and now I know why that was, but we didn't expect that. Um, so yeah, some photographers just won't shoot same sex couples. Um, and you know, that's sad, wrong, whatever. But by putting on your website, um, same sex couples, couples of color, you're advertising that you want them and that's important. Um, but if you don't have that but you want it, then I would suggest going out and doing, doing a model call. I'm like, go out and shoot them for free. Find those people so that you can find more people. Um, but I would say only do it if you completely agree with them, don't just do it to make the money because that's not good.

[55:17] Yeah. No. And it is interesting because like I say, we, it was never even a thought for me, you know, when we started [inaudible], like I, I worked in news like I covered when gay marriage passed and like I covered that for years and so it was not even like a thought for me and like, yeah, like we would have couples like email me and be like, just so you know, like this is a same sex wedding. Like is that cool? And you're like, well yeah, because like I just never even thought about it. Right. And, but like I think maybe especially at like not in Seattle, it might be a little harder where I think Seattle is, you know, a little bit more.

[55:48] It is to a point. I've definitely seen some photographers in, it's more kind of in the outlying areas who have said some pretty harsh things and definitely say that they don't shoot same sex weddings. I'm like, okay, it's more for me, you, Bu, Bu, Bu

[56:10] uh, well I want to thank you so much for coming in today and taking time, like I said, on a long holiday weekend to come in and drive down there and participate. Um, thank you so much for coming in. If people want to learn more about you and your projects in weddings and everything else you're working on, what would you have them check out?

[56:27] Uh, so my Instagram and Facebook are at Jamie Buckley, Photography my male, boudoir project is at No Bits, But Butts because Instagram doesn't. Well it's changed now. It didn't, it used to allow butts but which is why I called it that, but they don't anymore because they changed their stuff daily. Um, and then yeah, my website is just or Um, that one's a little sparse. It's mostly just kind of the photos that Instagram didn't like.

[57:08] Perfect. Well thank you so much. Again. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thank you so much.

[57:17] Thanks for having me.

Jaeda Reed - Jaeda Reed Photography

[00:08] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington and I am joined today by my new friend who I think is going to be a good friend. After just a few minutes of off-mic talking, that's Jaeda Reed with Jaeda Reed Photography. Jaeda, thank you so much for coming in. Why don't you introduce yourself and tell us who you are and what you do.

[00:33] Thanks for having me. My name is Jaeda, um, interesting spelling. It's got an extra vowel in there. J A E, D A. I've been called J-eda for most of my life. People like to stress it. But I'm, I'm the artist behind Jaeda Reed Photography. I really like to stress that I'm an artist because I think for me, my kind of selling point for my brand, that's the barrier of entry to photography is so low. You know, you can go to Costco and get a nice camera and get started and um, do your thing. But I really feel, um, photography as an art form has kind of fallen by the wayside, so that's kind of where I started in terms of like building my business and my brand. Like I want to bring traditional art aspects kind of back into my work. You can just cause like I said, I've been there, it's so great that there's so many photographers working and it's so easy to get into now in terms of gear and equipment. Um, but I think my background is the most valuable thing that I can bring as a person. So

[01:36] that's perfect. And uh, and I want to get into all of that today. I think at least with the form and everything you filled out and kind of the background you gave for your schooling and then I looked at your site. Uh, I think we'll bring kind of a valuable, um, you know, view point to that. Uh, I want to thank you again so much for coming in and saving me last minute. A full disclosure. I'm usually really good about, um, getting the, the podcasts interviews lined up. You know, I always have a backlog and I don't right now, and I'm going out of town a salary. They were actually going to go watch survivor series in Los Angeles and I can't do a freakout moment the other night and I realized I did not have anybody that would be recorded, uh, for next year for this, for this episode. So, uh, you luckily had just reached out and like a boss came up and we got this going. And so I think that that's also a testament to kind of your work ethic and kind of getting everything going. And so I do really appreciate that. Um, talk about photography. Have you always wanted to be a photographer? Where did that come about and how did we find ourselves here?

[02:39] So that, that question that kind of comes up growing up, like what did you want to be when you grow up? And like for me, like I can remember way back to like kindergarten, I wanted to be an artist, but in my, my limited world view at that point, like I thought the only thing that you could do as an artist was to be a Disney animator. So, so as a little kid, like I'm sitting at little writing desk I have and I'm, I'm drawing like series of pictures, like a little flip book and I just, I was, I was obsessed with this idea of like being an artist and growing up and doing this thing. And then at some point people tell you like you, that's not a real job. Like oh you're really good at this. Like, that's cool, but what are you going to let go to school for?

[03:18] When I was like, oh, okay, I guess I have to like pick a real thing because this isn't a real thing. And so I graduated high school and it was one of those things like my parents were like, well you gotta go get a job or go to school, you know, like one of your options. And I was terrible at 18 years old. I'm like, I don't know, I guess I'm going to school some more. So I go to, I went to Plu, a couple of my friends were going there and I'm, I'm, I like orientation thing. They were like, well, what, what do you want to do this question that has plagued me my whole life. And people tell me like, art isn't a thing that you do. So I was like, oh, well, um, I liked biology. And so she just like, okay.

[03:56] And she stuck me on this like biology track after like one question. And I was like, whoa. And I figured out my first year I had to supplement all this heavy, like chemistry and bio with like art classes. And I was doing just as much art classes as I was biology. I was taking like maximum credits to like do painting classes and things like that. And I remember Robert Wells was a journalism journalism professor there. And uh, he was kind of looking over. He got from the stuck with him by chance. My advisor had quit and they were like, oh, well here's this guy. He's got some time, okay. And go into his office. He said, okay, it looks like in biology is kind of your track and you have all these art credits, like, are you double majoring? And I was like, oh no, like I'm just, I just take those to keep myself sane.

[04:48] And he was just like, dot like if you're doing that to make yourself sane, like why aren't you doing this? And I was like, oh, like you're the first person, the first adult in my life who has been like take this art thing and like make a career of it. And so he like really turned that around for me. So I just went, dived into the art program there. I got to do some amazing things. I got to go study print and China. I got to meet a bunch of wonderful people and really my focus was painting and then the year I'm supposed to graduate, I'm like, well what am I going to do with this? Making it as a painter, I mean realistically it's very difficult. And so, um, but I loved photography and I had this, this camera that I bought like my freshman year, it was a canon for dee dee, you know, like my very first little crop sensor camera.

[05:42] And so I was like, well, you know, what, let's see if I like weddings. And so like my last year of school I as a gift to some high school friends of mine, Stephanie and Lee, he was like, let me shoot your wedding, let me see how this goes. And they were wonderful and looking back, the photos there, there was some pretty photos in there. But I mean really everyone, if you think about your first wedding, you're like, oh gosh, I would have done this so differently. Um, but they were wonderful. They still tell me they love their pictures. I love a lot of them, but just, you know, the growth there. And so I was like, you know what, this is, this is what I'm going to do. I'm going to, I'm going to do photography. And so I graduated in 2013 and uh, I have all the hope in the world and all the student loans looming on the horizon and I'm like, oh Gosh, how am I going to pay for these?

[06:28] So I started playing the studios. I'm like, you know, I'll just start somewhere low and Louis and pearler and I've implied to the Walmart photo studio and Walmart is the only place that called me back. And I was just like, wow, maybe I suck. So I go into this interview and they used a 40 d in studio. I was like, oh, I have this. Like I just, I nailed the interview. I've been using photoshop since I was 11. I nailed their whole editing process. I get the call like three days later that I didn't get the job. And I was like, well, I was in full on panic mode that day. I like sat down and got my business license. I got a website. I was like, I'm screwed if I can make this happen for myself. And I have literally done nothing but photography sense. So it happened. It was a lot of ramen at first, but it happened.

[07:25] That's awesome. I love that. Uh, I think, um, I had a similar kind of going into college, I will say for any colleges out there. This whole, like one question thing because I, I think I had put like teaching on and then I, you know, I show up at guns and it was like all these tea. I'm like, I guess like one thing, you know, during the application. So like colleges out there and stopped doing that. Um, and I also think that's fascinating too because I too got disenfranchised with kind of applying to places and not finding the right fit. And so I ended up making my own fit by starting my own company. I'm like, had anybody in your family been entrepreneurial or was this kind of like, what did they think when you said, hey guys, I'm, I'm doing this?

[08:10] So funny story about that. I didn't tell my parents for a long time that I had switched my major. Um, it was probably up until my last semester when I'm like, Hey, you're going to go to graduation. And it's gonna show me as a bfa on there, um, and not a bachelors science. So get ready. And I mean, you know, they, they were upset, I mean, understandably so. They were helping me pay for school and they kind of felt like this wasn't a smart use of my time and effort and finances. And um, so they were, I think frustrated at first it was a very intense sort of thing. Um, but they've really, I mean seeing how my business has grown, they've really come around, um, but ultimately know it's people in my family there. They're the traditional like nose to the grindstone, like hardworking family.

[09:01] My dad started as a ditch digger when he was like 16, dropped out of high school and now he's the public works director for the city of ordering and you know, he's, he's gotten awful rough formal education beyond his experience. And so people in my family, it's, you know, you start working and you just like, you claw your way from the bottom. And that's sort of what I've done just within my own kind of structure. And you know, my mom was a computer programmer in the eighties and she stopped to raise my brother and I. and so now she really struggles with her. I found we liked the teaser about that. But yeah, I'm, I'm kind of the first person really to branch out into like the art area period and kind of the first person to sort of pick up my small business and really try to run with it and make it, uh, make it a thing.

[09:51] No. And I think even when you had said too about like, you know, when you wanted to be an artist and people had said like, well that's not really like. Because for me, when I went into news that was at least like one of the selling points of that was that I could get my mom something that then she could tell people she worked with. Okay, well, you know, my son is just isn't news videographer because what does that mean? Like video production stuff or what does that mean? Like photographer? Well, is she but giving, you know, kind of that defined things. So I do, I do totally kind of relate to that where it's like, uh, you know, the trying to see where the artist thing maybe isn't like a high selling point, it's tough to kind of sell it to your parents on that. Uh, so when you got to put your, you know, your business license and all that together, um, what was that process like? Was that overwhelming? Were you scared or did you just think like, I got to make this work and this is what I'm going to do? It was really good.

[10:46] Terrifying as like a young 20 something. Um, and I started out as like jr photography because it sounded like in my mind this like more like gender neutral, almost masculine sounding name that that would be better. But it was really just, it was lacking any sort of personality and need behind it. So I put my real name on there in 2016 and it's been a lot better. Um, but honestly the whole taxes thing, like I'm, I'm a creative person. I am not, I'm organized when it comes to like my business and my process. I just can't, I can't handle the tax thing, and so just when I finally could afford to have someone else just, just, here's all my stuff, just please figure this like I can't. Like, I really am. I'm horrible at it. I just, I am. I tell people that I may, I'm a good photographer and sometimes I'm not the best businessperson, but if I can outsource those things, I am, I am so happy to do that. But ultimately applying for the licenses and things was very simple. Very easy. I just, you know, it was, it was super nice and quick and online and modern.

[11:50] Yeah, right. I think, uh, yeah, I would to say the same thing. Like I think I did like the legal zoom, a llc or whatever, ship it off and that was like, oh, you know, in less than 10 minutes like we're going to do this. Um, that is funny too, you know, and we've talked on the podcast with other folks about how, you know, little of the time is whatever vendor you are, whether it's photography or for or whatever, uh, how little time you actually spend on, you know, taking photos. And I think last night it was like 7:30 and I was like, oh good. I get to edit video now today I've worked since seven this morning, but now actually be able to edit video tonight. Do you enjoy running the business? Do you enjoy that aspect of it or do you enjoy more? Just kind of like being on your own schedule and being able to take photos and things.

[12:36] I, I enjoy the fact it's, it's good now, like my fifth year into this, I can be more selective with my clients because I'm not so desperate for clientele and money. I can really kind of choose clients that appreciate my perspective and my work and it's a lot less stressful for me. And so I think I, in college I worked retail, I worked at Michael's and it, it was soul sucking. No fault of Michael's, Michael's was a great company to work for, but just in a customer service position I was working in like, and that was all this bright eyed like 18 year old, like, Oh man, I'm working in the art department and people are going to have, you know, asked for my advice and things and care about what I say. And it's not. People don't, Kevin, they don't care at all. Like, oh, what, what do you recommend here will be as better because of this.

[13:21] Okay, well as cheaper thinks and you know, that's, that's what it is and that's, you know, that's fine. But you know, being in that environment where I just, I didn't feel that my skill set was like respected or valued was very, very hard. And so being able to kind of target these clients that are usually other creatives, you know, musicians and other photographers tend to be who I work with and it's just, it's so nice when you can kind of connect with someone who appreciates the difficulties of the creative career path and can really respect and, and work with you within that realm. That's my favorite. Uh, yeah. Talk about,

[13:57] or you said of musicians, more creative types of me. Is that kind of the clients you attract your who do you think you work well with or what kinds of, you know, client base you have?

[14:05] My favorite clients really, um, are a perfect example of this is in like 2000. The early 2010. I had done that senior photos for a couple, um, and I got to do their wedding like four years later and the other high school sweethearts and then like now I'm doing, you know, their, their anniversary photos and their Christmas photos and so getting to be with like clients and their families over the as are their families grow and evolve. Those are some of the most rewarding things for me. And so really I do tend to attract a lot of the creatives because, you know, I, I really like pushed myself as an artist if I care about like a timeless image, especially in a time when it's so easy for photographers, which is a biased set of presets and with these like crazy, like blown out highlights like you mentioned in your last episode like this, the big trendy thing and like you know, the wooden signs and things and you know, if you want to have those in your photos, great.

[15:01] But I'm going to try to talk you down from like using props and everything because it's gonna date, your pictures, you're going to look at them in 20 years and cringed when you look at our parents, you know, his photo walls and cringe. So my goal is really like simple and timeless and like emotional things that are going to age really well. And so I think a lot of people see like the vibrant life, true to life colors that I tried to push. And so, you know, those kind of images I can do for them from engagement to a wedding to maternity and, and they'll kind of all look uniform over the years. Yeah, it's tough. And uh,

[15:38] I know you mean kind of with, you know, the trends and you know, I never know like what, because I just don't, I have a journalism background. Like I kinda just record things true to life and you know, even like I'm not a videographer that like stages a lot of the stuff or you know people and do all that and that's great. I mean it's not, it's not wrong, it's just not my mind doesn't work that way. But yeah, like I know like some photographers, you know, I'll see like the galleries because they'll, you know, they'll send them out and I won't even be the same day, you know, I mean I'm talking like it doesn't even look like we're in the same place. And so. And I don't, I don't know. I don't know if that is, is right or wrong or if, if you know, obviously people are attracted to that and, and go for that. I mean, do you, what, what is kind, Kinda your thought on that, that kind of ongoing look right now that seems to be really popular.

[16:30] You know, I think it's gonna, it's gonna look really dated and about 15 years, you know, you're gonna, you're gonna have all these people that are kind of, you know, in their late twenties, early thirties with young families and things having these family photos done and there you're gonna look at them and you're going to know what era they're from. And that's kind of the downfall. You know, it's like the, like the ads photos, you can just, some of them you can just tell like this was taken in like 1983 and I want to really avoid that. I want, I want things to sort of keep their, their kind of freshfields. So I'm always telling clients like, you know, avoid even like trendy clothes. You know, I can in the early two thousands when it was like peasant skirts and like tank tops over t shirts.

[17:13] Like if you had that picture on your wall, now you're going to know it. That was 2002 like, you know, and so those kind of things, I just, and it's so maybe I have a different perspective on this because I know when I was 11 I was pirating photoshop, I'm legit now, don't worry, I'm paying for the creative cloud as an 11 year old with like limewire, you know, giving your computer all kinds of sti for music and things. I was, I was learning photoshop and so I've been working with that for a long time and, and I just, you know, I, it's not hard to play with it and develop your own sort of like editing style and it's so easy now to just to buy a preset pack from another photographer and just apply it, you know, oh, light room everything. And they all look the same and great. Now you have a look, but it's not like it's funny your look and something that's been given to you, not that you've honed and crafted yourself.

[18:06] Um, definitely. I, uh, I do have still, uh, uh, I don't know. I haven't really old adobe photoshop. I Have Photoshop, uh, about this, uh, these episode covers is about the only thing I found shop. The rest of my workflow is in final cut and I cannot justify the $40 a month or whatever it is to. So I do have whatever other word. So I'm really terrible about that. What do you think about photography selling preset? Since I didn't even, I did that just came to my mind. I see that a lot in groups and stuff.

[18:41] I mean, and people talking about how you should tell your presets, just all your presets. Well, it's something that's, I mean maybe this is the artist in me, you know, but like I'm happy to collaborate and I help. I help other photographers. I did teach up and coming to Harvard, this is what I do in Photoshop. You want to look at my workflow, but I'm not just going to hand them all my preset, so my settings because that's really, it's something personal and something I think that you should really spend the time because ultimately that preset pack, it's not going to fix everything. Like if you don't know how to fix these things and post that, you may be in the, Oh, this picture is great, but there's this problem and you're trying to find a preset that fixes it. Well, if you don't know what those issues are like piece by piece to really get in there and adjust sliders and things like you're going to really struggle, you know, hard lighting situations or if you weren't like ready for a moment, you know. And, and I, I just, I, I don't fault anyone for making money, like hustled your thing. I just, I'll never sell presets and I'll, I'll never buy a preset. It's just because I think it's such a, you know, it's, it's like having someone do my underpainting, Lena, like get it set up for me and then I'll, I'll finish it off and this is my work and it's really not like I want it from the ground up to be me.

[19:54] Yeah. Talk about, uh, you had mentioned too, when you had filled out the questionnaire that you, you know, have you, are, you are a or do you still paint? Is that something you enjoy?

[20:04] It's, it's, yeah, people telling me, Oh, you just saw your paintings, but again, it's become this very personal thing for me in a lot of my, my, my money making thing is my photography and so now my fun thing has become my painting and so I think if I turned that into a source of income, it wouldn't be a fun thing anymore. Um, but I do, I paint a, usually it's over. The wind turned my slow, slow months and stuff. I love watercolors and oils from my two things. Um, we're renting and ordering right now in kind of a small space. And so I've, I've only had the room for like watercolor, but we're buying a house in Pierce County. Hopefully this coming spring. And so I just want more room I can spread out and like get really back into oil painting. I love big, big canvases and things and being that sort of classically trained painter. I'm Michael Assassin. Ellis was my art professor appeal you. And he is fantastic. He is, he's a painter. I'm located up here in Seattle, Tacoma area and he's got beautiful, wonderful work shows if you can find him, go see his stuff. He's on sabbatical right now. I don't know where he's, you know, working on himself, but a very talented painter and so I would like to kind of be able to lose myself. And then again when I finally have like a studio space for it,

[21:18] what is that like a to be able to create art in both ways, right? Where like I couldn't draw a stick figure of anybody. Right. But I can, I can point the camera and get people to kind of do whatever where you know, you're taking the photos, but then you also are able to kind of create that from scratch. What is that? Do you have one that you liked more or was it just talk about kind of that?

[21:43] I don't know. Talk on that. For me, I think the thing that helped me the most, and I took photography classes at Plu, don't get me wrong, but the most useful class that I ever had, there was a figure drawing class because he learned about light and the way it hits faces and what it does to faces and so being able to actually appeal you, um, up until this year with Michael be on sabbatical. They're not doing them, but they have open drawing nights where he'll bring in a live model and anybody can come in on Wednesdays for free and sketch and paint and, and so doing those kinds of things and like keeping my understanding of light human anatomy kind of fresh really helps when you're figuring out like where the light is on an overcast day and this sort of thing. And, and just color theory and composition.

[22:28] Those things really kind of blend into my photography was ultimately if I can get one perfect photo that a client wants blown up on like a 30 by 40 canvas for the wall. I feel like I've succeeded in this digital age where people are getting like thousands of photos back. It's just, you're, you're only going to print 10 like you will, you're going to print like 10 pictures and if I, if I can make those, those key photos, a piece of artwork, that's kind of where I feel like my success is. And so that's where I get the most professional satisfaction. Like here, here are these pictures that are literally like, where do they have blowing up enormously on a canvas and sticking on the wall. My, uh, my wife prints our wedding photos at walgreens is probably not the best.

[23:24] She doesn't Care Dorothy, Dorothy, we got them in there. They're really tiny. I mean she appreciates it, but now I know what you mean. And I think that like, um, maybe if we were kind of like in this, if I wasn't in this and I wouldn't mind kind of looking at our photos and whatever. I mean I look at, I think I one, ours is like my email signature and that's about all I wanted to see if myself on there. But I think that's cool that kind of like be able to, to fill even though someone's home with uh, you know, with our they have of themselves and like you said, more like a timeless too where if you're, you know, you printed it today and then 20 years from now. Right.

[24:02] And I kind of cringe looking at it. Well, it's interesting that you say that because as, as people in this industry, like I actually have already booked my photographer because that was one stressful thing that I wanted to get in the way for my wedding is we're not going to wait until 20, 20, so we have two years because I'm not cutting corners. But uh, but I booked my photography right away because it's someone I've worked with before. Her name's, she's super amazing. Um, but I told her, I'm like, look, you're, you're gonna have a really stressful day because I don't want a ton of pictures of myself. I met him. I'm the one behind the camera. So here, like the 10 photos that I'm going to end up printing the other, what we're getting and then otherwise relaxed and just capture whatever you want. And I find that's really common with what the wedding vendors is that you don't put a lot of stake in those things because you, you've lived that. So,

[24:53] uh, yeah. So I wanted to talk about that. So you're recently engaged now. I forget sometimes and I looked at him, I rang them like, oh yeah, it's my turn. Well congratulations, uh, what was a GimMe Gimme? A little backstory here. What's going on and how long have you guys been together and what was the proposal like? So

[25:12] we met and sort of my online, you know, it's, it's not a super cool story, but I was like really sick one night and woke up at like three in the morning with the flu in 2013. He had come out here from Connecticut for work. He works at the port of Tacoma and so he's up, he's working night shifts. So he's like on lunch or whatever, and scrolling through like Okcupid and, and I literally just have a picture of myself up there and I'm filling out my profile. He's the first person who messaged me and I'm like, this guy, like I don't even have any info up here. He's just messaging every single girl that pops up, you know, you just copy pasting. So I kind of just brushed them off and we kept talking for like a month, but it was like, Eh, whatever, you know, he just.

[25:56] And so I go on a couple of other dates and then like in January he finally asked me out to dinner and I'm like, oh, I feel like I have to, you know, he's so nice. He's so nice, most polite, wonderful person. And so I was like, well, if he's going to want to pay for dinner, I'm gonna. I don't wanna I don't want to be expensive. So I was like, let's go to Applebee's two for 20 microwaved food. Yeah. And, and it's um, we spent every Tuesday get, well he's off Tuesday, Wednesday, and since that day we've spent every single Tuesday together. So it just kind of caught me by surprise and he's such, he's such a gentleman. He's so nice. He's a little bit of a slow mover, romantically speaking. Um, he didn't tell me he loved me until we'd already been living together, that kind of thing.

[26:44] And so I kind of figured the proposal would be a long time coming. It took almost five years, but you know, he got there and it was perfect. And small business, it's super important to me and he knows that I see a ton of wedding rings so he, I'm sure the stress level for him was high because I see the same ring every single year. Like it's the same whatever is in style at the moment, you know, that, you know what they look like. I don't want to shade anybody but. So he found a nice little local shop because he knows I didn't want to go to a big chain and he like pick and chose like I want this band with these stones and this, you know, and he made this beautiful ring for me, any he proposed in the ferris wheel on pier 57 and it was just this beautiful, perfect thing and I was, because he's now all the stress begins and I was like, are you kidding?

[27:34] Like I had been dying to do that. Like I am, I am made to plan weddings. And I was like, I already know who's going to do our. KC has gone into our flowers. Like being in the business, you know, one of, one of my oldest high school friends, she's a wonderful Baker. My one of my best friend's mother as a Flores. Like shout out to ordering floral and greenhouse. Like, you know, like I have all these like personal connections. Even beyond just the professional ones, you know. And I've known since I was like 10 and this was, this was before they were even a wedding venue that I was going to get married at northwest trek. So Lo and behold, my 24 year old self, however many years ago finds out there now a wedding venue. I'm like, Hey, northwest track, here we come. So enjoy there is amazing. So I've already booked that. So we're two years out and within a month I have got our photographer and our venue and our caterer taken care of. And so I'm like, Jermaine, seriously, like, like you don't have to worry about it.

[28:30] Well that's good now. And I mean, Dorothy was the same with us where I said, you know, I know who I want to use. You mean? I think the day after our engagement I just texted, you know, whoever I wanted and uh, you know, then we obviously made some decisions with other people, but um, you know, it has to make it a lot easier for him too to kind of know our, what's it been like, kind of like, obviously you've known a lot of the people but still like kind of like planning the wedding, you know, in 2018 and it hasn't been easier with all the modern staff or harder or whether you kind of think about that, hey

[29:05] ain't I've noticed there's some vendors that have their prices on their websites and some that don't. And it's, it's frustrating for me. Like I, I have my prices, my packages right there. I'm very transparent to avoid any sort of awkward conversations if like something's like over budget. Like I get that, you know, it's times are tight and thus buying a house next year. We're not trying to get married next year so I don't want to be closing and planning at the same time. And so just see certain things and, and that's, that's the next thing is are trying to find a videographer them. Okay, this is, this is probably about what it would cost you if they don't have a price in their website. Like I'm moving on, like I'm onto the next one because I just don't have time for that. Like I, I get why they do what they want to start that conversation, get people in their inbox.

[29:50] But I don't want to waste anyone's time. I don't want my time wasted, you know? So what, what I provide isn't like what you're looking for or it's not in your budget. Like you know, that's just, that's the way it is. And I try to offer smaller packages too for people that love my work but maybe don't want the full, you know, eight, 10, 12 hour day I'll still like, you know, I'm booked up, you know, do allotments and stuff, but also down to like four hour segments. Even. So, you know, I try to stay affordable, but you're still trying to find other vendors like that. I, you know, if I have to message you, it's like, you know, get your, get your pricing information. Like the introvert in me, it's just kind of like, oh come on, I don't want to do this because then it's going to be like a weird.

[30:29] I'm going to go to when it's not like the price point that I want. So that's been my biggest frustration and it's been nice for me because Jermaine, no one, no one's married and his family as, he's the first one that goes through this whole wedding process and he's gotten me so it's going to be a fall wedding. And so he's got all these misconceptions who's like, oh man, like what in case you're kind of boring. And I was like, what do you mean is like, well it's just, it's like vanilla cake, it's all white and I'm like, you can, you're going to have any kind of wedding gig you want. And he's like, like I could have a carrot cake wedding cake. And I was like, yes, we have a carrot cake. I was like, anything you want? And so he's just been like, his eyes are opened up to this whole new world of like, it's, I don't have to wear a Tux. And I was like, no, we can get you a suit, like whatever you want. Just don't show up. And like Nike's like, that's my only like,

[31:20] oh my gosh. Yeah, no, we did have carrot cake because Dorothy is still to this day believes that because it has nuts in it, it's healthy for you even though it's carrot cake. And Yeah, I talked to Juliet on the podcast a couple of weeks ago. She runs everly and we had quite a discussion about pricing on websites and you will never convince me that is not a good idea. I've, I've sat at the wedding mba for an hour and a half with people in forums debating, you know, pricing on and off. And you will never convince me that at least having a starting or range on your site is not. I still think that's a bad idea because I think starting at scares people because then they might think like, oh, well if it's. Sorry it's it. Yeah. No, that's like for an hour and nothing, but uh, I think starting out is worse, but yeah, you will never convince me that it's not a good idea to have pricing on your site because like, and when I didn't like when I, because I didn't know, I didn't know anything when I started and I don't think I had anything, you know, and you get emails every day like, hey did and you're like, oh this is awesome.

[32:18] We're manly, like I'm blowing up and then you know, you book one out of 100 because you know, the people that were emailing you the second they saw and not that like we were even expensive then, but you know, you see it and then you're like, oh I can't afford this. And then also being like, you're embarrassed because then you're like, you're reaching out and then you're like, oh I really can't afford this. Or you know, like I have no idea. I, I'm, it's like, I was a, and I'm rambling now, but I went to a ups yesterday because I'm selling stuff on Ebay and it's like when you go in there and you like have them pack something to ship it when really it could be $20 or it could be $100. Like you go in and you're like, oh, this thing's like three pounds. It's just a little, it's like a hard drive of what's this? And he's like, Oh, that would be $28 per hour. I'm like, oh my, I would never think they'd be $40 plus to ship this thing down to Texas. But you know, but it's, you know, it should be as transparent. Um, so obviously you're enjoying the wedding planning?

[33:14] Uh, yes and one for me too, like I see all the time when brides, so you know, they, they get engaged and they get married within like the same year or very soon and, and they're having to cut corners and things aren't coming together. Right. And so I was like, look, like we're going to be engaged for like two years. I just want you to know it's going to be a while. I'm there. I want things a certain way. I've seen a lot of weddings. I know how this goes, and then everyone's like, oh, it's so stressful. It's just not for me. Like I do this every weekend. Like when people go to weddings all the time, but they don't see the, the 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM that you know all the. And I know a lot of people would say like, oh, I like it. I'd like to go like Leslie likes to go with the flow.

[33:52] She's very chill, very relaxed and I am. I don't want to call my. I don't want to, don't go with the flow, but I make the flow go like I'm one of those photographers who like if you are an hour behind, that cuts into my time. Ultimately because you can't go on with your hair and makeup. Not done. You can't skip your ceremony. You can't skip your first and you're going to be cutting out of my time as a photographer and to guarantee you the products that I'm promising you. We need that time together, so obviously my first goal is to keep the bride and groom calm. They know what it's family family causes the problems. Everyone was like, do you ever grab her bride's Zilla? Like, no, I have parents that are just awful. I had one bride, she was getting married in Seattle on the waterfront.

[34:36] She's gotten this like beach view, like a friend's house. It was beautiful and we're going the beach and it was sort of rainy that day like it was drizzling. It could barely be called drizzle and her like her parents come into this, oh my God, we have to move the ceremony. It's pouring down rain and they're freaking out so she starts having a full blown panic attack and I'm just like, Brenda, get outta here. Like what are you doing? Like my first concern is making sure the bride and the groom are calm and collected and they had their. They're moving or doing the things they need to do and then behind the scenes I can be the main guy and be like, get it together, get his pants on, like what are you doing? And ultimately, if no one is ready, but my bride and groom, fine, you guys stay here, we're going to go do our thing, they're going to get beautiful pictures, get your shit together and then we'll talk like I'm a very, I turn into that sort of wedding planner coordinator because a lot of it is like working with a videographer and the DJ and the coordinator to make sure people move when they're supposed to move.

[35:36] So I'm, I'm adaptable, but I do not go with the flow. The flow goes with me.

[35:42] I like that. No, and I mean, but it's, yeah, I will, nothing will in my opinion, you know, impede on the bride and groom a email, uh, the enjoyment of their wedding day, you know, and I don't care if it's another vendor or a guest or a bridal party member where know, I will always defer to their enjoyment and their experience. Um, so kind of like going through this planning process now. Um, and maybe you were not, you know, I was pretty unaware of what my clients are going through planning the wedding and Intel iconic window. And that was like, oh wow. And now like, you know, I've, I always say like I'm a much better wedding vendor now having kind of gone through that and, and done the like 9:00 at night, like, okay we have 10 minutes right now. Like we need to figure out, you know, what we're walking down the aisle too or whatever. Like what has that been like? Do you feel like you're in it that's going to affect how you work with couples moving forward? Or did you feel like you were already pretty like empathetic towards that?

[36:39] Um, I think I had a pretty good grasp on it, but I didn't really realize how tight the timeline can get when you have things that are important because I'm always telling my, my couples like budget as much time as you can for photos. Like that's just your grittier gunning have a better product in the end. And so the problem there is that a lot of times if they don't do the first look, we're doing that after the ceremony and people are waiting around, which is part of what drew me to northwest track because I'm seeing that happened to my couples that their guests are kind of getting antsy and they're hungry and so at northwest track, after the ceremony the guests could a tram ride. So they're like they're occupied with things. And so I think that that's really going to change how I talked to my brides about their timelines, like think about your guest experience and what they're going to be doing, but also give me as much time as you can because ultimately that's, you're going to get the nicest video photo.

[37:39] The more they can spend together, the better because they're just, they're pulled in so many directions and I'm, I'm trying to keep that in the back of my mind on my wedding day. Like I'm going to have a million people trying to talk to me. And as a wedding professional, I do not like when wrenches are thrown in my gears. Like if you're derailed my plans, that's not good for anybody and so I'm trying to remember, just just know that I'm going to have a million people trying to talk to me and congratulate me and, and I'm sure that going, like actually getting to go through the wedding experience and the biggest thing for me was the pricing thing. Just reiterated like the transparency that's required there because it's so frustrating. It's like going to a restaurant and the drinks don't have prices and you're like, oh no,

[38:27] I always assumed I'm like, I'm going to drink. Because you always assume the worst, right? It's like if they just have drinks with no prices. Oh we can't afford this. Like during the holidays out there. They know we can't.

[38:37] No, no we got, we can do that later.

[38:43] Um, no, but I think it gets experience. Yes. I think that a lot of um, weddings I've been to, yes. Like if you're not in the bridal party or like the family, sometimes it's kind of like, you know, and whether it's waiting around and you know, I mean I think like cocktail hour and like pumping them full of food and stuff. But you know, I think obviously to like having a good dj kind of like letting people know what's happening and then a planner and you know, things like that kind of like letting people know. But it is tough that I do kind of like, it's a lot of different balls to kind of, to balance like as a, as someone getting married, right? Like you need to have fun, but then you also have to like know your family wants to do stuff or wanting to move the ceremony if it's raining. I mean it's a lot of stuff to balance, right?

[39:26] Yeah. One with us to where we're very limited with their ceremony space because we want to get married on the deck there on the Horseshoe Lake and they're like, well the capacity for this is like 80 people. And we're like, oh my God, like my Dad's side of the family, of the 120 people by itself, but just my dad's side and so we're just, we're so we're going to kind of cut it down to just, you know, immediate family for the ceremony. But then it's like, okay, well everyone else who gets invited to the reception for food and drinks and stuff like I want to make sure they feel like they haven't missed out on too much and so we need to extend the time and do we have enough food and so it's immuno becomes this. I'm the kind of person who I'm so used to pleasing clients and their families and making sure everyone else is taken care of that I am like Jermaine has to keep telling me like this is our wedding.

[40:13] Like if they're not happy about the orders that you picked, then who cares? They can bring chicken nuggets. We'll microwave like it doesn't matter. Like just just do what you're going to be the least stressed doing an for me being really stresses, being everyone else being happy. But I have to remember, like it's my wedding, I'm going to be paying a bunch of money for it, so I need to just do, do what I want and I think that's what so many brides get caught up in and I'm, I didn't really realize that until I had to start making those decisions myself because before I was like, oh, whatever. Like they can just do whatever, don't worry about them, but they're gonna be worried about that. And so that's been like the biggest thing I think for me too is just, oh my gosh, I'm considering all these people's feelings and I always tell my brides will, don't worry about anybody else, but it's really hard.

[41:00] Uh, and uh, I will say two things. One as someone that did get married, like I was the worst in terms of like letting go, so learn for me and let go because I was, I was very bad about that to the point that like I was trying to get the live stream going and like Rebecca, my plan there was like literally like pulling me away the sign the license so we could walk down the aisle and to. Yeah, I think it's really easy when it's, when you're working in and like even if it's like you're getting ready for our first luck, I'm like oh it's good to groom in position or whatever. And then like maybe takes you an extra 15 minutes in like oh he's there. He's fine. He'll be there. Right. And like he standing there and it's like 100 degrees outside. He's totally like, if that was me I would be really pissed off about it. And so it is really easy when you're working like oh, your grandparents could dissuade over there for a minute, but then when it's your grandparents and you're like, oh no, like I don't want him to wait. Like how long have, you know, I don't want my guests to wait, you know, so it's, it's tough, right?

[41:55] Well yeah, this thinking about like what and even to the first look is trying to tell Jermaine like Ui as you can, you need to make sure like your groomsmen are like dressed and then you need to like I'm not going to be there and doing my normal thing like snapping at people like get it together and put your suspenders on who was, why isn't your tide tide. And so I think my struggle is going to be like you said, letting go and being like, you know what? I have to trust them that they can put their pants on without someone telling them too. Even though everything I know as a wedding photographer is that they will not put their pants on unless someone tells them to. And so those like keeping those things like out of my mind is going to be really, really difficult.

[42:36] And that's a really good point is that like you got to remember who the important people are to the couple of the day have to. Because ultimately mom and dad, I ended up having lost all the drama comes from like mothers. I had one mother of the bride have a meltdown because she didn't have a. okay. They had gotten her a corsage but not her own book. Hey. And they actually had to take apart the bridesmaids. Okay. So they could make her one to get her to stop freaking out. And so, and even even with that being said, even though these are the important people that you have to get along with that day to get these nice pictures because they're sour and everything, it's going to look awful. And I even talking this past year, I've been like polling my brides and my friends that have been married, like what would you do different?

[43:24] What was important? And all of them, a lot of them had lost parents in the last couple of years. And then I go back to my wedding photos, there's two photos of my mom and now she's gone. And so I really have tried this year to focus on like where are those people? And like, you know, what, those are the people that are going to be putting up your decorations and things and make sure you bring them in to get these photos and to be with you and delegate to other people, you know. And so my mom's going to be that person who's setting tables and things for me and I'm going to have to be like no, so that down like, come be with me. So that's probably something I've learned for my own wedding and that sense of seeing everyone's parents being so absent for photos and during the day I'm going to have to like wrangle them in and I've seen too many officiants this year, but your names and get them wrong.

[44:18] But I was like, you know what, I'm going to just get my dad to do it. So He's, he's gonna get ordained and, and you know that I've, I've had this weird, maybe I shouldn't call it weird. It was like feminist ideal that I'm going to walk myself down the island. No one's giving me away and I'm my own person and my dad's very traditional. Of course he would love that, but I was like, you know what, this is where we'll meet in the middle because what better gift to my extroverted father than to let him talk to the host. So that's kind of, that's a concession I've made there. But

[44:48] um, I did have a and I child, I would challenge my brides this year, that flying, I did have one ceremony this year where the efficient and got the bride's name wrong. Uh, I don't know if I didn't, you know, it wasn't like anybody knows, but then, um, I ended up having to like pull it from later in the ceremony when they set it and Kinda like dumb it back in and so, but like, you know, the video starts out and it would be like, it was not, it was, it was not. And I had to play it to Dorothy. I'm like, am I carrying this reddish that, oh no, that's definitely not the right name. So I would challenge anybody to find that on the videos this year. But yeah. No, it's, that's great that your dad's going to do that. I've had a lot of family members and stuff officiate. That'd be crazy. Excited for that. Is he nervous?

[45:31] Yeah. Um, I think everyone else is nervous and he's excited. We're gonna try to give him at least a structure of a script. I know there's going to be a lot of ad libbing. That's just kind of what he does. He's a very good public speaker. Um, but I think everyone's a little bit nervous about giving him just free rein up there. So we'll probably have a sit down and be like, okay, here's how would the direction we'd like it to go. Let's work within this, this construct here. Uh, but yeah, my mom I think is the most. Just like, you're really gonna let your father get up there with a microphone. He's, yeah, he's been, he's excited and he's gonna have his own like Brittany spears, microphone, you know, on the side there.

[46:13] And then did you. So then you go and you guys are going to meet then and walk down.

[46:17] Mainly be up there and then I'm just going to watch on the album because I'm a strong independent woman.

[46:23] Exactly. So, uh, the best that I just thought about this, the best one we ever had was the dab, you know, walked, he walked her down the aisle and they say, oh, like, you know, who gives this a way? And he said, well, you know, we raised our daughter to be strong and independent and like, you know, so she gives herself away today and he said I'm just here to be arm candy. And he, because he was a solo cloud, but it was great because it was like, you know, you don't necessarily need to like, I think that's awesome. I think it's good. Um, so moving now kind of into next season, uh, and continuing to kind of like grow and develop your brand and business kind of, how is that going to, what are your goals for that?

[47:03] You know, I think I actually just redid my website and I don't know why I took this on in the spring because I was like, oh, I don't, I don't have anything booked in like April. Like I have this whole month to do this. And then suddenly I'm getting like last minute calls. Like, Hey, we're getting ready to the courthouse here, and like suddenly I have four weddings in April and I'm like oh my gosh, and my website is down and so it was like a month of me like going home after your wedding and like frantically I'm working on my website and I had just updated like my logo and things and then for new business cards all in the middle of like preparing them for wedding season, I was like the worst thing I could've done, but I'm really happy with just the clean sort of like I just really love a clean sort of timeless look.

[47:46] Very Square, black and white kind of other than the photos obviously. And then I just, again, I stress stress, stress, the timeless quality of pictures because I just, I really, I want you to look at them forever and be able to be happy about them and, and they're not going to look dated and things like that. I try to stay just really true. Skin tones are like the bread and butter. If my skin tones are right and everything else is a little off, like I can deal with that, but I can't, I can't, I, I don't like the really high contrast look with like yellow. We skin tones. It's like really popular now too. And I just, it doesn't look real. It was just too much, too much contriving. Have an image there. And don't get me wrong. I Love Photoshop. I will be the first person to like take 10 pictures of like the leaf throwing, you know, um, photoshop all the leafs.

[48:40] Then for one nice photo because they're always just in one big clump, you know? And so, you know, I, I, I absolutely I'm down to do that. But for me that's realism in the sense that you're capturing like the magic of that moment and you know, not necessarily just like amping up your contrast and like putting some instagram you filter. I mean that's why pinterest and instagram are like awesome, but they've kind of created this, I don't know, this, this lonely and for like hyper trendy things like always barnes, barnes or like the thing right now. And you know, especially in Pierce County, the rustic look is very popular. Everyone loves barnes and I'm just like, so we go to a silicone, these huge, you know, red barns, people love and we'll spend 10 minutes there. But like I promise, let me take you around the lake, let me take you through the field and the trees, like your favorite pictures are not going to be the barn second, I promise you'll have them and you'll love them. But let me, let me pull you away from these and go other places too.

[49:44] Have you seen that guy on facebook that like makes fun of the girl getting proposed to. I'm like staging the photo and then he does the one with the barn where he's like why are we in front of the bar? And like I. no I lived in the city. Let's come out here. Where's my flannel shirt? Just bought these categories is today? Yeah. No, but you know it's. Yeah. I don't know, I never get too much sick because I kinda gotta do whatever, whatever they want. And especially kind of whatever the photographer, watts, I'm usually just like, I don't know if I would have them standing here, but we'll make it look, you know, we'll make it look good. Uh, so you, and you'd say you do a lot of weddings in antelope mints. Do you have a strong preference for one or the other? Do you know? Really, really,

[50:28] really loved courthouse ceremonies, you know, and um, obviously they don't make as much money, but it's nice because then on the weekdays when the courthouse was open, so I usually don't have anything going on in those days. Uh, and it's just, it's so, it's so nice and intimate because my favorite part of the wedding day is just being with the couple during their first look photos just doing their, their, their portraits together. Um, and for me everything is just everything else is kind of extra other than my immediate family is of course really important. But the most important of those two people and the commitment they're making to each other. And so like elopements and like local courthouse ceremony is, are they really are my favorite just for that reason, obviously they're not my wallet's favorite, you know, because a two hour thing isn't gonna bring in as much as much money.

[51:18] Um, but really I try to not take on weddings that have that are too big because it just becomes too much and it's too much stress. It requires just too much everything. And so I kind of aim for their weddings that are kind of in that, you know, 50 to 150 guests range instead of like the big 200, 300, 400 guests. Like that's, it's a lot. And then this year too, I'm being more selective. I had a great year this last year. I had some weekends where I had a wedding Friday, Saturday and Sunday and it just killed me, like it really did. And so I was like, you know what, one wedding, a weekend this year, I'm gonna, I'm gonna. Really try to stick to my guns on that. And it would take a really special couple to like make me double book a weekend at this point because it's just, it was too much to do, like 10 hour days, three days in a row and I just, you know, go home and download everything and then like try to get some sleep for the next day.

[52:16] Yeah. That's because it's not only, you know, it's a 10 hour day, but it's like, it's an intent, you know, it's a different kind of towers. Then, um, you know, this isn't normal and I know you made it about what do we have a wedding a couple years ago. And we had auctioned it off as part of a fundraiser and it wasn't kind of our normal clientele and like I knew the photographer but to the people there and I was like, this is really not my, this is not like. Or like we, I put retainer jokes and our wedding videos like this is really not kind of the. I mean we can do it. You're not happy to do it. And, and, and ray the DA and, and really kind of amp up the class. But a little bit more like casual, I think, uh, I think that's good.

[52:59] I thing I'm doing that, I've never seen anybody do. Um, my vendors are very important to me. I know them, I work with them. They're obviously going to spend the most time with my vendors that they have more money than anybody and they will have a spot at a real table to sit and eat food. Like I, you know, I can't stress enough like think about your vendors and the fact that they're there and that they need to eat something and drink something and the 15 minutes they take to shovel food into their mouth and like a corner of the venue away from everybody, they still have people coming up to them like, hey, you take our picture is unlike swallowing like fried rice. I'm like, I will be here for like six more hours. I promise. Like, just let me eat this small plate in the corner, standing up like.

[53:47] And so my vendors. Um, and to make sure that they're going to go through the buffet line before everybody else, like my vendors are going to go through. And get food, sit at their table that is just for them and eat a meal like a real person. Like that was something I told you remain we're going to be paying for this buffet for all these extra people because they're going to get to eat and sit down and brave because I find that I don't, I don't take those moments to like be a regular person when I'm working. I'm just, I'm on all the time and I'm in my extroverted mode and I'm calling people here and there. And I just. Sometimes people don't treat vendors like a person or an. I mean normally it's, it's the, it's the venue is, it's never, um, I've always, you know, I've told her a couple of like, it's never been a couple that goes a willingness to get fed.

[54:38] It's always a venue and it's unfortunately, it's usually, um, a lot of bit nicer venues or what would be considered kind of quote unquote. The nicer is usually where we have, you know, I wouldn't, uh, I wouldn't throw any specifics under the bus, but I mean, there's like consistently, like certain places. And you're like, why is this? Because we got married that salty, so like when they gave us like our initial budget, you know, we said 150 people or whatever and then they have like 20 vendor meals or like just added on and it was just like, and I am at the time I thought oh this must be what everybody does because I had never planned a wedding and then gotten the budget. And I was like, oh no, that's definitely not. They don't know. I've had venues where, you know, they'll flag us down, it will be happier meals in the kitchen and they'll have like a whole meal for us.

[55:22] And it's wonderful. And I think it's just something that couples maybe don't realize that like you know, your kid or might not care about your vendors necessarily, you know. So make sure that something you think about and like [inaudible] really like the couples that I work with, I'm sure they wouldn't like purposefully, like not planned for me to eat. And so at this point I now mentioned it like I'm to need like 20 minutes and if you don't want to provide them, that's okay. Like I just needed to be able to plan and that sort of thing. But it's just, um, I feel like they just don't realize how hard it is sometimes for us to sneak in like 10 minute quickly eaten meal and we still have people like, hey, come over here. And I'm like, I need to pee. I had one bride get really upset because she couldn't finally for five minutes while I was peeing. And I was like, oh, I'm sorry. I just really had to go above. I, uh, our friends got married and I won't say which friends are which wedding, but um, they, I, you know, I was doing their video and

[56:24] I had a them find their photographer and everything. And so, uh, I have a seat with my wife and I look over because we're like, you know, table too, because my wife's in the bridal party and then they're like standing in the back and I'm like, well, f this, you know, so I go over and I said, man, are you guys all know, you know, we haven't gotten any food yet. And so, you know, they're bringing out, bringing that, bringing it out and it's a must. It was played and it wasn't buffet. And I said, hey, I said, you know, just curious, you know, they need to feel, oh we don't, you know, we got to get all these plates out. And I said, well, but it's obviously you guys know how many people were here, right? If it's not like 150 people in 10 vendors, he knows 160 points.

[57:02] Like it doesn't matter if they get plates 10, 11, 12 or one, you know, 55, six and seven. And she was like, well, you know, we're, we're busy taking care of the guests right now. So we will deal with you. You guys will ever. And I said, well I, I'm a guest and I'm a vendor, but I'm a guest of the bride and groom. And so I said, you know, we need to eat. Oh. So they ended up bringing out to play. It's a piece for all of them to eat. They came over, they have like a tray with like six plates. I was like, man, I said this, you know, because they would have just random, you know, if I hadn't been there as, as a guest to. And if I listen, man, I'm sitting with the, you know, with the writing room right now, they wouldn't have been, it wouldn't have been good. So really to, it's, it's best for those vendors to eat first so they can finish first and then be there with their writing room when they're done because no one wants their picture taken while they're eating. So no, they don't.

[58:02] If they want to, I'll film it. But yeah, it's always like, ah, have like spaghetti hanging out of their mouth. Like, why are you filming me the best is when you want them to go to the one side of the table to like, you know, oh, we got to do like a lot like Chinese and Asian weddings and they want to do like you do it with the games and things. Well or like just get them on, you know, they go table to table, uh, and, but then like there'll be like, afraid to like leave their play. Like they won't want to go to the other. It's like you're going to be back in 30 seconds. Like this plate. Your food's not going anywhere, but it's like once you get your food and you're very defensive about that as well as we were trailing off.

[58:38] I want to thank you so much for coming in today. Uh, and, and saving me and uh, getting this, this going and taking the time today. And we had just emailed yesterday about this and this morning. So I want to thank you so much and your dedication and making the time. Uh, if people want to learn more about you, your photography company, see all your images, what would you have them do? My website is It's j, a, e, d, a that extra extra vowel and reed as r-e-e-d. Um, you can also find it Very cool. Hip Hash or a web url there, will also take you there. And then on Instagram you can find me @jaedareedphotography too, same on Facebook.

[59:21] It's kind of all one uniform thing and you know, I'm so bad at social media because I'm not the kind of person who's like on it all my personal life, but I told myself like, this year I'm going to, I'm going to post more. So that's what I'm doing this winter. Prepping for engagement season, just like I'm going to be social media. Good word for it. Oh God, I love it. Well, thank you so much. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much.

Lessie McFarlane - Lessie Blue Photography

[00:08] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®, we are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington. And today I am joined by one of my good friends, Lessie McFarland of Lessie Blue Photography and we actually had the pleasure of working together earlier this year and probably one of my favorite weddings of the year. And we can talk about that with Tyler and Chloe, uh, down in, uh, Enumclaw so thank you so much for coming in. Why don't you say hi. Introduce yourself and tell us about your company.

[00:42] Hi. Um, my name is Lessie and I, um, I run Lessie Blue Photography. Um, so I basically just specialize in weddings.

[00:49] And so, uh, what is it about weddings kind of in particular that you enjoy? What is it the part that part of the day or what do you enjoy about weddings and why they do that?

[00:59] Um, so I guess thing I love most about weddings is I just love seeing two couples in love. So I, I love, um, I love photographing the emotion. Um, everything that unfolds throughout the day in the interactions with the bride and groom, I would say my favorite, favorite time to capture, um, throughout the wedding is the first look because I feel like it's such an intimate and beautiful moment shared between the bride and groom and I feel like a lot of times is the only time they get to spend with each other in that intimate setting before everything gets, you know, all crazy with the day of the wedding and the cast and in everything.

[01:37] Yeah, it's tough. It's like so much of the wedding, you know, you're trying to capture it, but you're also trying to get portraits and things and moments together, but then they obviously are being turned around a thousand different ways. Uh, and so you had just come off work today to come over here. I appreciate. Uh, it's busy. I've talked about what do you do when you're not photographing weddings?

[01:55] Okay. So when I'm photographing, I work part time at Children's Therapy Center it is a nonprofit organization that helps children that have developmental delays. Um, and so I just take care of the billing portion of that, so I just make sure that children are good to go for billing and billing purposes and be able to be seen for speech therapy services, occupational therapy, physical therapy. So how'd you get involved in that? Um, so I started a long story, so, um, I started working in that field working as a phlebotomy, so I was taking people's blood, so vampire, which is what a lot of people like to say. And so I was doing that, I did that for like four years and then eventually I wanted to make my way to the office. So, um, I um, got in contact with one of the office managers at Mary Bridge Pediatrics and um, she hired me on there as a receptionist and so I was the receptionist there for maybe like a month or two. And then I moved on and I got hired as a referral coordinator at a pain clinic. And then from the pain clinic I went to a family clinic as referral accordingly as well. And then I started taking on more billing stuff and then now I'm at children's therapy center and so I love it there and I don't plan to go anywhere and I'm only part time so I have a really great schedule.

[03:04] Yeah. I think we had even talked about that at the wedding that we worked at because you know, everyone's like, well you got to like, are you going to do photography full time? He said, well no, I actually really liked what I do, you know, I enjoy kind of having to split schedule and being able to talk about that.

[03:17] Well I enjoy the school schedule because I feel like I'm still in the job that I do daily even though I don't have daily interaction with children. Um, our families, if I'm not talking about billing, but I feel like I'm still making a big difference in these children's lives and you know, helping them and assisting them when it comes to their billing and if I'm in everything that entails and being able to be seen for the developmental delays. But I do, I just love having the part time job because I feel like it's just, it gives me balance in the sense and that's something I'm always trying to seek. Um, and then with weddings I feel like I could be a little bit more selective with who, um, who, you know, who I take on as a bride and groom or you blue photography, um, couple, um, because I don't have to worry about it being full time and you know, and try to get a lot of weddings because I only tried to do like 10, 10 a year.

[04:13] But that's so good. I mean I think there's still a good number and it's a good diversity. Talk about what kinds of clients do you find, uh, you know, are attracted you and that you attract, you know, what do you, who do you like to work with? I mean obviously like Tyler and Chloe, you know, you can talk about them through.

[04:26] So I'm really, I'm really chilled. I'm really laid back and um, I feel like a lot of my clients are usually really laid back. Really chill, Kinda go with the it go with the flow type thing. I'm just like Chloe and Tyler, they were um, there were amazing and you know, as you're saying, I felt like there was one of the best weddings of the year for me because they were just go with the flow easy laid back. Um, I mean and I mean and they didn't really have like expectations are like, oh, I want you to do this specifically. It was just kinda like, oh, whatever you feel is best, you know, totally. You know, clients, I just totally believe in you and your vision and you know, and love your work. And so they trust you and fully and completely. Yeah,

[05:05] I think it's important as a photographer they're fine, you know, clients that trust you and your process. And it was funny because I think that they had said numerous times during the day like we've never had like any sort of like any sort of a professional photo of them. So like, I think you were even showing them like stuff on the back of the camera, just, you know, and it was, it was a gorgeous day and like with the storm clouds and everything, but they were like, I mean they were just losing their minds because like their expectations were so low, which I mean obviously like they shouldn't have to hire experts you want, like it's going to be, you know, they should expect something good. But they were just like, I think, you know, their mom could have taken the cell phone. I mean they were just so not exactly. Um, so um, so you, you attract a laid back couples. Um, and so, uh, talk about Kinda what, what is your process when

[05:58] You're approaching the wedding and in like, do you like to really kind of have everything planned out ahead of time or do you kind of let the day flow out or how do you, how do you approach that? So I guess it really kind of depends on the couple. So usually when it comes to the day I do like to have a timeline and like to have an idea of when we'll be taken certain photos, family photos, when dinner will be and, and etc. But I do also realize that it's very rare that a timeline ever gets followed. Exactly Because thIngs run behind time and that's totally normal. so I just try to, I like to have an initial timeline just for my reference just so I can know, okay, we should be doing this around this time or if this doesn't go as planned, we need to do this and squish, squish us into a different time or whatnot.

[06:45] Um, because I feel like as photographers, and even I'm sure you can say it as a videographer, you're kind of in charge of keeping the time and kind of having things go along and moving along as best as you can and, and also calming the bride and groom, letting them know, you know, if something's not running on time, that it's normal and that it will be fine, you know, just trying to just make sure everything stays calm. And, and you know, as you know, and as long time, as much as possible, I guess it's always a tough balance because I don't think we would ever like try the free cup rather than group out. It'd be like, oh, it's really behind schedule, but it is kind of a thing because like somebody's job like five minutes behind and they'll ask you like, oh, is everything okay?

[07:25] And you'll say, oh no, it's, you know, it's fine. But then sometimes it would be like an hour and a half, but you still have to tell them like, oh no, it's totally fine for like in your head you're like, oh my gosh, that's a tough balancing act because you do have to kind of keep like the um, the strong front no matter what to them, you know, if you might be freaking out a. So like have you always taken photos? Like when did you find out that that was something that you wanted to do? So I was, I found out if I wanted to start doing photography when I was planning my own wedding. And so my mother in law, she actually does photography, so I always had my, my camera, but it wasn't a full frame at time of just a, um, you know, uh, um, oh, I don't remember what to call it because I don't know if it's like a crop sensor.

[08:07] Yeah, the crop sensor camera. And so I was always taking pictures with her landscape type pitches when we would go on vacation or we would go do a little hike or go to the waterfalls and take pictures. So I always loved photography innocence and I've had my first camera since maybe about when I was maybe 19, 20. I'm 29 now. So, um, but as I was planning my own wedding and I was looking for a photographer and um, that's when I realized that, you know, I think I will want to try out this on my own. So that's when I got in contact with some other photographers and I got my feet dirty and started doing like families shoes, sand senior photos. And then I finally got my first wedding and then I started second cheating. And that's where I found my true love is, um, was when I started doing weddings because they're just beautiful, just seeing couples share the love and just seeing people in a lab, it's just beautiful. Um, but I've always had a thing for photography because when I was younger, like I don't have any family photos. Um, no pictures of myself. I mean I can't even tell you what I used to look like when I was younger because I don't remember because we moved so much in my lifetime that my parents never really kept any photos. So for me, you know, being able to capture memories that families and, and even kids will be able to look back on is really important to me.

[09:24] That's fascinating. So why was it because of jobs or why did you have to move around so much when you were kid?

[09:29] I'm just, um, like, um, my mom is just a really dysfunctional. So we moved a lot. Like I would be with my dad in North Carolina and sometimes our would be with my grandma in Alton. My mom in Georgia, I mean I've even been to Florida and then Washington where I was originally born here, but I don't remember much about it because I think I left here. I was young when I left here, but just, you know, lots of floating around going to her would, you know, whoever would take us in.

[09:59] Yeah. And so having those, uh, you miss having those, those memories, those photos,

[10:05] I really do. Um, and, and that's another thing, like with my family now, we make sure we get family photos every year and I'm in, you know, like I guess I did my maternity photos when I was pregnant with my four year old and you know, things like that for me are so important. So I like to be able to be able to capture those memories for other people and be able to provide that for them. Yeah,

[10:26] it's funny a, as someone that makes a living off of capturing memories, I am really a good about throwing things away and my mom is bordering on hoarding sometimes she'll have some stuff and uh, so we're, we're cleaning them out of their garage right now. We were over having dinner a couple of weeks ago and my mom was like, oh, do you want any of this stuff? And I looked at it, nope, I don't even need to look at it. I just know I throw it away and Dorothy goes to the trash and pull the stuff out and she sees like these old photos, you know, and she's like, why can't believe that you would, you know, these are your photos, why would you want? And we kind of got in an argument, so now we just did that. So we take them inside that, we show them to my mom and she goes, these aren't even, have you have our neighbor.

[11:16] I don't know why we even have these photos. These are the Fernies that lived down the street. These aren’t even us. And Dorothy was just like, we got to keep all this stuff come on. But no, I do, you know, I think it's important to have a, you know, someone like, you know, my father passed away. I think it's important to have like photos and you're like, I have a big photo of him, like in my office that he did for like advertising. So, but it's nice. So giving those memories and things that you didn't have. Right. So that is kind of where you get your motivation now.

[11:44] Yeah. Basically just being able to capture those memories for other people. Um, especially like, especially when it comes to weddings, I'm a part of a wedding so I really are the family photos, although I don't personally do family falls outside of the weddings, but I feel like the family photos for me is important and I feel like for a lot of people is also important. Um, so getting those family photos and just getting those photos of guests coming in, you know, um, I feel like is important and a lot of guests are actually. I mean I guess, well guess. And I guess maybe usually the couples are really happy that those photos are captured because they're like, I didn't even realize this was going on. Like thank you so much for capturing these photos and sometimes they turn out to be the photos they love the most. Are those photos where they didn't even realize were happening of their guests and you know, have their families and whatnot.

[12:29] Yeah. I always, you know, when we're doing video and like even like with Chloe and Tyler, I always roll video on the family photos and I know that a lot of the photographers I work with will be like, you, you're the only videographer we ever work with that rolls on because we always do like if it's usually a certain cocktail hour and I'll have jeff or whoever my assistant is go get cocktail hour because that's also important. And then I'll always roll on family photos. It might be half an hour kind of going through. But um, no, it's the same thing. Like that's the feedback I get to his people. So having those shots of like my grandma and grandpa or things because you don't know, just kind of capturing those moments and I do think like a lot of like other videographers or like even even like some photographers even like with cocktail hour guests and things like they'll focus on like detail detail detail is not the actual people. Do you ever, do you know that? Do you find that

[13:20] um, you know, I have seen that working with some people I have seen that sometimes the focus is more on like little details. Um, but I also have worked with photographers on the focus is on the guests and so especially when it comes to like cocktail hour and whatnot. And so I'm like some photographer I've worked with, they, it's like, oh go get the cocktail hour and make sure you get into guest interaction then. And sometimes it's a time where there's not much going on. It's just kind of detailed time. And for me, if there is a cocktail hour, I do like to focus and get pictures of the um, the guest interactions and whatnot.

[13:53] Um, so you said you kind of got into photography when you were planning your wedding and I kinda remember what all this was going on. So talk about kind of what was, uh, what was the process like of planning your wedding? I mean, you guys got married somewhat recently, a couple of years ago, right? Yes, yes. So kind of talk about what was that whole experience like kind of in the seattle wedding community kind of planning that. yeah,

[14:11] you know, it was um, it was fun, but it was really stressful. Just, you know, trying to have, I mean have no budget and trying to stick to that budget and I'm in my now husband wasn't really much into the planning area, but it would have come to, I would like find vendors that I'd won and I would tell them, oh, I found this vendor and this is that. And then he will be like, oh, well no, we can't do that because of it's not in our budget or whatnot. So it was um, you know, a lot of reaching out to people. A lot of people, um, you know, a lot of times you would find someone and it's like, oh, I can't really afford them, or stuff like that, so you wouldn't want to offend them. You have to kind of not talk to them or whatever like that, or little things like that.

[14:51] And um, I mean, but I guess overall it was really fun. Um, I mean once everything seen everything come to frutation I guess is what really made it everything. But we would plan in it for like a year and a half. So we did start early because we were just saving up within that timeframe of planning the wedding. Um, but I guess overall it was really fun. It was fun meeting a lot of the vendors and talking to a lot of different vendors and um, and just seeing how people operate and how people's communication is and whatnot. So there was a lot of um, you know, seeing that so and seeing how a lot of vendors just work so differently. It was just, I mean, everyone's workflow and how they do things or just completely different. So that was something, um, but I mean, I don't know, I guess if I had to do it again, um, because we ended up inviting a lot of people because my husband, he wanted to invite all his family, like all 150 something of them and I have a really tiny family so was just my, my siblings basically and a couple of my coworkers because I invited some of my coworkers because I don't really know that many people and I figured a lot of them when it come, but you know, majority of the people that we invited didn't come, you know, majority of my husband's family.

[16:01] So I feel like if we were to do it again we would just make sure we just invite it, you know, those closest to us instead of trying to invite the invite extended family and whatnot and saving a little bit more money because the money that we spent on like the food and everything like that could have been filmed else elsewhere if we didn't invite so many people. So I guess that is something that I would do differently.

[16:23] I think there's a couple different takeaways from that surprised me. I think that you having gone through the planning process here trying to be on, you know, on a budget whIch everybody is, um, you, you can relate now, right when you're talking to brides and grooms because I think like, you know, some people that like haven't been married or were married 20 years ago and it was like way different or whatever. Like it very much is like a different way of planning now. Right. And like in terms of like being able to email people are either way and talk online and kind of do all these things. So you kind of gone through that as like that modern kind of bride?

[16:56] Yeah. Yeah, I have, I guess I never even thought about it in that way because I guess it was different back in the day.

[17:03] But yeah, I mean like I'll, I'll even have people come on the podcast and then, you know, they've been married for 30 years and it's like, well you're not, you know, I mean you're seeing it now and then, but you're not seeing it on the side that a lot of brides and grooms and so far now. And then also having like seeing how like other vendors work. I think there's also like really interesting too. I'm talking about your photography because I think you had one of my dear friends to your photography for your wedding and if I'm not okay

[17:29] jane photography. So alex and rebecca. And so, um, we were only expecting to get alex and then at the last minute we decided to add a second photographer because, um, after like reading the questionnaire and, and stuff, it was like, oh, well, you know, you might want to have a second photographer. And so we got really lucky and we had both of them. And originally we were only supposed to have alex than someone else. But we got alex and rebecca and they are so amazing. I mean our photos are beautiful. I mean, we love them so much. You did a fantastic job. I mean, they were so calm throughout the day. I mean, and they were always right there capturing, um, in the capture shots that I didn't even know that. I mean I didn't even know I was doing things I didn't know I was doing.

[18:09] I just saw all types of stuff. They're magnIficent. They really are. Great. And I think I saw you posted some lately on facebook. were you updating some things? I was actually finally getting my photos online because there's a lot of people asking me about them because there was a lot of photos that they know that, you know, rebecca and alex took. So I finally uploaded them. Mean I love how facebook does kinds, kinds of automatically tax people. So I finally got all those uploaded and it's nice going through, um, you know, um, memory lane and looking at all the photos and having interactions with guests and family members that were there. Um, because they, you know, they're enjoying them just as much as I have enjoyed them. It was going to say what's it like that. because it's been what we may have 20, may 20, first 2015.

[18:54] How has it been? Kind of going back through and seeing all that stuff. It's been fun. I mean just looking at the little things and you know, lots of laughs, you know, lots of and lots of laughs, lots of mixed feelings. And I'm an emotional person so I find myself looking at these, you know, like oh. So she, the first look photos. I really love those because seeing, you know, my husband, how he was so surprised to see me and I remember our conversation because he wasn't expecting me to wear the dress that I wore so he was just so shocked, you know, and it, it's a lot of fun. Uh, where'd you guys get rid of that? We got married at the gibson house event center. So basically it's an irish pub. I'm on top of. Um, so excuse me, it's, it was, it's a center on top of irish pub, so it's irish pub and then they have this little event center that people can use for like events and whatnot on top of it.

[19:44] And it was like in centralia, so, um, because ryan, he's from toledo, so he's like in that area and allow his family is in that area. And my family, I was like, oh, my siblings still come because like I said, I have a really small family. So we decided to find something in that area and we found the gibson house event center and it was perfect. lots of lights. Big. The food was, the food was really good. Yeah. So I'm really good. I'm really good place. Yeah. Cool. Uh, and so I'm talking about kind of your, when you're not photographing and now that you're married, talk about kinda your, your family now it's alive. What do you do when you're not working and things have you had you stayed busy? oh man. So I have a 13 year old and um, I have a four year old and so they pretty much keeps me busy, especially the four year old.

[20:32] so, so usually if I'm not photography or do even work, I'm, I'm maybe at a park with this weather right now where we haven't been really going to the park that much. But um, but usually at the park or just doing something inside my daughter, um, she has a bike so she loves going to ride her and my 13 year old, she's usually occupied at a friend's house lately or her friends coming over so I don't see much of her, but when she is, you know, not having friends over or are not busy, then we're, we've been watching like sabrina, I'm the chilling adventures of sabrina on netflix, so that's something else I do. Um, and just, you know, um, keeping keeping, I mean taking care of the house and the kids and working and school functions. Um, my daughter, um, my youngest is in gymnastics, um, and both of my girls are in swim lessons right now, so that's been something we're doing a lot of lately. Um, and so I mean I guess that's just pretty much just running around, staying busy, having, you know, dinner. I'm occasionally going to check the t's with kids, you know. So a lot of mom's stuff I guess.

[21:34] Do you find it challenging between working and, and your family then to balance photography or do you kind of enjoy that creative outlet? They've done it brings,

[21:42] you know, I do enjoy the creative outlet that it brings. Um, I don't feel like I have too much to balance since I, you know, I am part time and I have the job and in the photography part time. So I feel like I have a lot more time with my family than someone that's doing full time may have. I mean depending on their organization, but I'm like, um, I mean like my last wedding was, was it, it was october. Yeah, that was my last wedding. And so I don't have any more weddings for year. So, and now I have all my time. All my galleries have been submitted and sent out to the, to my clients. Um, and um, and now I have nothing but time, so now it's just pretty much just whatever, you know and just getting prepared for engagement season. So that is something that I'm doing now. But I guess I, I guess I just, I feel like I have good balance. I feel like, um, yeah, I, I liked the outlet, um, I'm a big planner so I try to plan things out as much as I can, like a plan my mom's out and um, and I feel like that helps me a lot.

[22:44] Do you ever rely on your husband to help you do anything or are you kind of running the show and just kind of figuring things out?

[22:50] My husband, he works a lot, so he's usually always at work and he gets home late. He'll get home anywhere between six, seven, sometimes 8:00 at night time. So I'm using, you know, running the show, taking care of everything, you know, on the weekends. That's when we, that's when we plan a lot of our times together and time with the family and the girls. Um, but yeah, it's usually just me running, running everything, making the shot. So, um,

[23:15] so I want to go back now to you kind of getting into photography and like you said, you were planning your wedding and you started second shooting. Did you enjoy that, you

[23:23] know, process kind of working with different photographers and kind of balancing that to kind of find your voice as a photographer? How did that work? Definitely, um, you know, it's, I enjoy, um, second shooting and I still second shoot now. Um, but it's always nice because some, um, some of the photographers that I second shot when, you know, they're, they're so willing to share and explain what they're doing during the process. So I felt like I learned a lot from second shooting. Um, and then you're able to be a little creative as well as far as angles in which you're getting because they want you to focus on different angles and, and more of like, you know, stuff that they can't do. Um, and so I thought, you know, it was really good, really helpful. Um, for some photographer, I mean for some of the photographers that I worked for as far as second shooting, um, there were some experiences where it was probably wasn't the best experience in a sense, different personalities and everything. But for the most part I've had a really, really fun. I mean, a lot of fun. Second shooting, I've second shoot with a lot of different photographers. Um, I know I've second shot a few times with rebecca jane photography with alex. Um, and so those are always a lot of fun. I mean, there's full of information and there's so great at what they do. So I feel like it's always a learning experience usually when I'm second shooting.

[24:46] So talk about when you doing this and kind of getting your business off the ground and then when you did that first wedding that was yours, a, was that stressful? What was that wedding like? You remember that? Do you remember any specific funny stories or moments from that wedding?

[25:02] I do remember that wedding and I'm almost certain it was 2015. Um, when I did that winning and um, you know, it was fun. Um, the clients, they were really sweet and they knew that I was new, never done a wedding before. So, um, so, you know, they were really, really chill, really sweet. I do remember it because it wasn't really stressful as a sense because there was so much time and things kind of float on time and um, they didn't really want that many photos. Um, so um, I guess it was mainly, it was more of like me kind of like being behind the scenes, just capturing moments as they unfold it throughout the day. There wasn't that many posts, photos or anything like that. I guess there were some stressful moments when it came to like first dances and whatnot, but for the most part I think it was pretty good and I really loved it. I enjoyed it and I couldn't wait to do another one basically.

[25:53] Uh, it's funny. I was having word to be now and even sitting here listening to you now, I think you have such a laid back personality that I think even if it was stressful that you would still like make it work and kind of be. I mean other than that, I just think the kind of person that like kind of radiates that calmness, this. And so even if maybe, maybe even if it was a little stressful, you'd be like, no, it was totally fine.

[26:20] It's all good. And um, and you know, and like I said, balance is a big part of my life. Like I'm, I'm very spiritual, you know, I'm into hot yoga. Um, I'm into um, you know, meditation and all that type of stuff. So I just feel like, you know, if you can remain calm even throughout stressful situations, um, that they usually always end up working out for the best. Like if you're stressing about something, usually you don't even have to about it because I mean the usually the brides and grooms love it, you know, if your chest inhale and are there, they were totally okay with it. So

[26:52] it is think a part of the videos is my background of news where I would like have a, like a newsroom full of people that will yell at me if I was gonna like miss something or you know, or whatever. And it's taken me years to kind of get out of that now and kind of be more on your level of like, well, maybe we're going to make everything work. Like, you know, it's, I don't know, it's been a learning process for me over the last couple of years now, kind of getting to that point because I really did have to, like, obviously you still want to be like on, like capture everything about really didn't have to like unlearn though that like fear of failure or I don't know what, I didn't even know what the right word is, but I'm just, just from my early on time and dues, I just feel like.

[27:38] I remember early on there was a story and I had um, hit the record button like two seconds later than I thought. And so I was telling my boss on the phone like, oh yeah, like they arrested this guy and I got him a coming off the bus and he's like, you sure you got to come in and say, oh yeah, you know, like I was pointing the camera, got to fend off the bus. And then we get back to the station and like I said, I like hit the button like two seconds later than I thought. And so what I thought I had captured, I hadn't or you know, and like, but it was like, I mean, I think I limited the station like a couple of weeks. You can just like, you could never have that happen again. Was like this fear, you know. So it's taken me a long time to get, to get to that point. But, uh, I think it's important to kind of look at it the way that you do. Do you find that you have a soothing personality that helps with the couples to. Do you find that they kind of.

[28:26] Yes. And so that is another thing I feel like I do, um, especially like if, you know, if things are getting a little rough or not even rough per se, but if know if the bride is feeling like things aren't going the way they're planned or if something's happening wrong or something like that. I usually find myself always trying to sue them. And um, and you know, it's going to be good, I'll check on it, you know, and I'll try and be as helpful as possible to just, to kind of take off that stress for them from the couples as well. But I definitely do feel like I kind of assumed and kind of and make things maybe go a little easier throughout the wedding day. I like to because I, you know, I tell, I tell my clients because mainly I'm always, I'm with the bride more than I am with the groom, but I let them know like, no, I'm not only your wedding photographer but I'm going to be like your best friend on that day. I'm going to be right there by your side. Pretty much taken care of anything that you need and making sure you look great, you know, whatever, you know, whatever you need. I'm there. Yeah.

[29:17] Um, so as some of those kinds of like a, you go, you got married, you wanted that, you got into photography, you've kind of like built this kind of over the last three or four years kind of this, uh, you know, have you worked with other photographers, been married, kinda gone through both sides and every other thing putting together your business, like what did you want your focus to be or like your, when you're trying to attract clients, like what did you, you know, if similar with your website and looked at like what do you want them to know? What do you want the kind of that message terranea that?

[29:52] Um, so basically, um, just, you know, I, you know, service like tacoma area. I live in seminar and I guess when they go to my website and with him to see that I can, um, that, you know, I take, I do wedding photography and that I, um, I provide, um, romantic, romantic, um, in timeless, authentic wedding photography for, you know, madly in love couples, couples that have whimsical souls. Are you just all, you know, just really laid back, chilled that couples that want to have fun because I'm very passionate about what I do and um, and I really love to connect with, um, with people that would bride and groom that I'll be, you know, photography for the day. So I really love to connect and get to know them, especially as the day goes on. So I just want them. I hope that by looking at my website they can see that I'm very passionate about what I do, um, in, in that, um, in the data lake to get to know the couples that answered that.

[30:48] I'm also, you know, the, you have a strong sense of like family support too and, and, you know, work ethic and things like that. You know, you, you have your business. What are some things maybe you wish you knew now that you would, that you know now that you wish you would've known, you know, starting out?

[31:06] Oh man. Um, I guess mainly, um, I guess maybe more so of building, um, of, of the importance of building a brand, I guess. I guess when I first started out, I really didn't realize the importance of building your brand and I was so kinda, I'm stumped on what I want my brand to be, um, and you know, what, um, kinds of brides and grooms I wanted to attract my colors, you know, my, my, my style as far as editing and whatnot. So I guess those were really big things. Things that's something that I wish I knew back then that I kind of know now and I'm like, I'm in the middle right now of actually rebranding because I feel like I've finally found my voice when it comes to my brand and who I'm trying to attract and in, um, in everything that I guess goes with that.

[31:53] Oh, so talk about that, whether what brought that on and, and how is that going and where are you trying to move that to now?

[31:59] So, um, so I guess what mainly brought it on is I started taking a course. Um, it's actually, um, Kyle Goldie, he's actually a wedding photographer. He also does other things, but he's also an educator. And so I've started taking his course, um, although I bought the course a while ago, but I just finally started committing myself to it. I'm finishing up his course, um, and um, in his course, it's been amazing. It's been very helpful. And basically he, um, he, um, he, he expresses the importance of finding yourself, finding your brand, um, and um, you know, and finding what I mean and finding your ideal clientele, attracting the clients that you want. And so I'm in that chapter now, what he's talking about, you know, your brand and I'm attracting your ideal clientele and um, you know, in, in, in like colors, branding styles, logos, websites, and in just all of that stuff right now.

[32:53] So I guess mainly that's what's really brought that on as I'm going through his course, I'm realizing, oh, you know, those are the things that I really need to pin down and get, you know, and, and, and have shown. So when people go to my website, they automatically know, oh, you know, this might be, you know, the photographer that I want to work with, you know, like we're on the same frequency, same level type stuff. But I mean, I guess pretty much that's what's been really shifting my gears and making me. I'm finally spruce up my social media. It was trying to start putting out more content and I'm in just trying to attract my ideal clientele.

[33:28] Is that exciting or is that overwhelming?

[33:31] Scary? You know, it was actually a really exciting and see, I'm very indecisive. I'm one of those people where I see something. I'm like, oh, I love that. But then I keep looking. I'm like, oh, I love that even more. And so, um, and so I have a hard time making my mind up on certain things. And so, so for me it's really exciting. Um, I, but I guess the main thing is, um, it is, it's actually helping me, you know, come to a decision about stuff and being like, I have to stick with this and this is it. And this is, you know, and this is me, this is the message I'm trying to convey and this is what I want people to see when they're looking for a photographer and all that fun great stuff

[34:13] because it's, it's, I think it used to be a little bit more like, you know, if you just took good photos, um, maybe you would stand out and I think that there's, especially in seattle, you know, I don't know, I mean I haven't worked, you know, weddings and in many other communities. But uh, it's so hard now, like just having good photos. Like it doesn't necessarily make you stand out, you know, it is about like building that brand and having that personality. I'm talking about, uh, you were talking about kind like refining your editing style and kind of your, your logo. How would you describe that? What do you use to kinda describe that to clients?

[34:52] I guess I'm mainly going back again to timeless. Um, um, what I try to portray his photos that will stay on time. So I'm never go out of town. So photos that you can look back on two years from now, 10 years from now, and it's in, they'll still be installed. I guess they're just timeless. I don't do heavy editing or anything like that. I, um, I love light so I look for light, um, and I'm just trying to have colors as you know, as I'm consistent with, you know, I guess real colors I guess so. But I, but I also like brightness too, but not to brightness to where it's over, you know, overdoing it. So I guess, um, I guess I would say that my photos are more timeless but they're also light. Um, um, but not too much bright. Um, yeah, I guess.

[35:44] No, no, I understand and stuff because I do think, you know, nowadays with video and photo there's a heavy emphasis on color gradient, kind of any kind, whether it's really blown out highlights or whether it's even with video, like, you know, it's like really dark, like dark, dark, dark, dark, dark. Like it's so dark, like we can't even see, you know, you're like, wait, what's going on here? It's like you're watching like game of thrones or something that's going on here. Uh, and I do because I, I also gravitate more towards just kind of that like I'm true to life kind of whether it was, I mean if you got married and I'm like an overcast day, it's going to be overcast, but you know, there's like people were, it was like you wouldn't even know there was a club there, you know. So it's interesting that. And I don't, uh, I don't know. I don't know if that'll, if that trend is gonna is gonna stay on or not? I don't, I don't know. Uh, I hope at least for video we get a little bit away from just the murky murky. But um, you know, it's interesting and I think I tried to find your voice and now what do you think?

[36:46] I mean, I, I do think it's interesting. I don't know, I, I, you know, I feel like I feel like trends or things that can, like, I feel like a lot of things that are trending right now have been trending before in the past. I feel like it's like continuation of trends that are continuously trending and they're being tweaked just a little bit, but I feel like for the most part they're all kind of consistent throughout. So I feel like I'm like, like I guess right now you have the dark and moody and then you have the bright. Um, and I guess that maybe with trim right now, but I don't really know. I feel like I feel like everyone just has a different style and I feel like whatever your cell is, um, then you'll find the right clientele for you and the clientele that will love your style photography.

[37:29] Um, so this class a year taking a, I missed the name of it was the gentleman's name

[37:34] Kyle Goldie and I cannot think of the name of the course, um, for whatever reason, but is amazing course is, it's a six week course, um, and I believe the course will be actually closing soon, but I think, um, um, he will be doing like a really nice black friday deal for it. And then after that the course will close for awhile. But Kyle Goldie is an educator. Um, he's also a photographer with luma weddings and yes, he is local in seattle and I cannot express how amazing is and how much is of course has been helping me find my voice, find my style primary brand and I'm, I'm already seen, um, more inquiries coming in, a less bounce rate as far as, you know, when it comes to my website and my marketing, my advertising. But um, I mean I can't recommend him enough as far as, you know, his education course.

[38:32] Um, and I wish I can find the name of it, elevate his podcast actually. Um, but what is the course name? Okay. So the course is wedding, the wedding business rockstars, um, by um, kyle godi. Um, and so, like I said, it's a really great course and the course is about to close here soon and he's going to be running a really great promotion for it on black friday. So any photographer is interested in, you know, learning your style and really, um, helping with your marketing. You find your ideal clientele. I would definitely recommend it for sure. Talking about the motivation behind trend to take this further develop now. I mean, do you feel like, I think a lot of people I kinda get their stuff going and then they don't take the time to go back and reflect and figure out like, okay, now how can I refine that?

[39:21] I mean, what kind of spurred this now to go through and kind of like obviously listening to the course and do it by like why now? And like what was the motivation behind like really trying to get your stuff in order? I guess once I was finished up my last wedding, um, for this year I felt like, you know, um, I have learned so much more, um, in that continue. Um, I'm a work in progress in a sense. I think I always will be a work in progress, but I feel like I've learned so much more and my work, um, has as much better than um, and just contInuously growth. And I felt like now since I'm, I kind of know who I want to work with now I know what weddings I like. I know what styles I like. I know what couples I like and I felt like that was mainly the, mainly the biggest motivation was knowing that, you know, I can, um, I can, I guess I can elevate my work even more.

[40:10] Um, and I'm currently going through this journey in life, like the spiritual journey. So I'm trying to do anything and everything that I can to, um, push myself to motivate myself to do better. And that's with everything in life, every aspect in life. So my business, um, my, my fitness, my health, my marriage, uh, you know, being a mother, just everything in life. I'm just right now at that point to where I'm like, you know, I want to be the best person that I can possibly be and I know that I have more in me. I know I can do more than what I'm doing. I can be better, you know? Um, um, you know, not perfect, you know, I mean striving for it, but I know that's impossible, but as long as contInuously striving to be, I guess my higher self, knowing that I can continuously push myself and strive further, I guess that's pretty much my main motivation.

[41:02] so you said you've always kind of been this spiritual person. Where does that come from or how is that kind of affected your life in that? Um, well, I guess late, um, recently I've been on this, like I said, I've been on this journey and so I've always kind of been a spiritual person. I'm, I'm always reading, um, you know, spiritual guidance books or books on finding your higher self and whatnot. Um, but, um, I recently met some new people, um, about, well almost a year now and beginning of the year and they're all for like, you know, they're, they're vegans and um, they, you know, we're trying to encourage me to see the light in terms of that are being a begin and whatnot. And um, um, and kind of off the story, but I tried that for five days, no meat and, you know, it was great.

[41:45] I had more energy, but I love my meat to know so, but they've also, you know, showed me more things as far as, you know, spiritual illness. Um, you know, I'm an, I've been doing hot yoga, like I've been doing that for awhile, but um, I'm just, I'm doing that. And um, and then I'm finding people like on social media that are like, oh, you should read this book, you should read this book. Oh, you should try meditation. You should try to reach into your higher self, tap into that. Um, and it just, I mean, I guess that's basically it, just meeting that couple and then meeting different people, social media that are recommending books to me because I'm a huge reader. I love reading. I'm like right now I'm reading the alchemist, which, that not really much of a spiritual thing, but great book.

[42:24] I recommend it to everyone. Um, but I guess that's pretty much it. That's what's been pushing me to want to, um, to want to go further into the spiritual journey of finding myself. I'm finding just trying to find that, um, that piece, that everlasting peace that I know every site somewhere because I feel like I need it. I need that piece. I want to find it, I want to search for it. I, I just want everything to be peaceful. I wanted to do everything with love, be love and just radiate that to people and I in, you know, and I feel like energies, absolutely everything. So, you know, I just want to um, you know, find that, that piece and just be love to everyone, you know, and hopefully I can, you know, show love and be loved to everyone in an help. People inspire people, motivate people, uplift people every path I crossed, that's all I can do with it.

[43:16] I mean, that's all I want to do is just help people motivate people. And so I guess that's mainly, that's my main motivation. Um, but that's what we're pretty much originated from. And so now, like you meditate and things regularly. Yes, yes. Um, nightly. Yeah, so I meditate nightly on the weekdays, on the weekends I don't because I usually can't. There's no bedtime with the kids. Talk about that. Talk about. I've never been one to meditate. I probably could benefit from it. I would think so. Um, you know, it's really amazing experience. Um, the first few times I started trying to meditate it was hard, you know, I couldn't find that I couldn't relax, you know, um, because I used to have a really hard time relaxing, but I couldn't relax, I couldn't focus, you know, but um, as I continued to try to do it, it just got easier for me.

[44:01] Um, and then um, and now I'm able to just, um, because I started with an app on my iphone and there's apps to where they kind of help you and they guide you through the meditation. So I started doing that way and then eventually I was able to just do it myself. So now I'm able to just find that time, complete silence, find the most comfortable spot for me and just go into that deep trance to where I'm, you know, I feel like I'm, and the gala in this galaxy far away floating, you know, and I'm trying to find myself and I feel like sometimes I can find myself like my higher self. But then sometimes I can. It's, it's, it's really, it's amazing. It's um, it's bliss is, it's pure bliss is, um, it's an amazing experience. honestly. I even tried hypnosis, which hypnosis really helped me take it to the next level.

[44:50] So I did hypnosis like this 21 day course with tamara westwood. She's located in written. She's amazing. Um, but, um, I did a 21 day course with her where I was listening to the hypnosis from her every night. And after doing that for 21 days, I feel like my meditation has completely elevated and I'm able to even get more deeper into that trans and trying to put more things into my subconscious, you know, things in my life that I want to change and that I want to be more aware of. Um, and, you know, and just putting some things in the past behind and, and like I said, just trying to continuously strive to be a better person in which each and every day that, you know, we're blessed to be here because, you know, life is a blessing.

[45:36] It is funny because I, I'm thinking back now about, about working together this summer and I do think that, uh, that relates well to the wedding day and kind of like going in with that like fresh start because I am self admittedly like a pretty frantic kind of worker sometimes when I'm like, I gotta go here and here. But I think that having that, that energy, uh, you know, bringing that energy to the wedding day I think is, I think is nice. And I think that that kind of, um, not only, uh, would, would rub off on the couple, but also like on the other vendors and things like working with you, it was like, I'm not, we'll get that now. Like, hey, do you think, do you think we should have him go stand over there? Like, yeah, okay, let's go do that. And then it was like, you know, like sometimes you're working your, we got that. So do you find yourself meditating before weddings are bringing that on?

[46:25] I have a couple of times, not all the time, but if I am not able to do it in the morning I try to make sure I do it at nighttime because I feel like it makes a huge difference. And if I'm unable to meditate I just try to make sure I listen to some really good music, some uplifting motivational music. Um, are I read a good book or you know, a part of a book tour. I'm like, you can do this. I'm like, I've been reading, I can't say, I mean, it's not a good word, but I've been reading, I'm an f yourself. Um, who's arthur, um, I can't think of offer, um, but, um, that's an audio book that I like constantly listened to, especially if I'm finna get into like a wedding. I listened to that before the wedding and it's like telling you what you need to do and what you need not to do and it's just lost motivation. What's it called? I'm on f yourself.

[47:12] That's awesome. It's really great. It's audio like so.

[47:16] So that is something that I find myself listening to before wayne. Um, but there has been times where I had been able to meditate beforehand and it really, it really helps. Really helps.

[47:26] Awesome. Uh, and so now just kind, kinda wrapping your rebate, brandy now, kind of kind of like a pinpointing down kind of where you want to be a, what's your kind of goals now in terms of like, you know, couples in business and things the next year to five years out. Where do you kind of see

[47:44] growing now? Um, you know, basically just still kind of, you know, being around my area, um, hopefully, um, maybe even maybe reaching a little bit more weddings per year. I'm not reaching but doing more weddings per year, um, you know, having a more definite um, marketing stragedy, um, you know, um, hopefully not having to morgan as much because word of mouth is coming in more so than anything. Um, you know, and I guess, I mean, I don't, I mean I, I just hope to be, I guess more established I guess within the area. More well known. I guess that's pretty much it. I know that's not a lot.

[48:23] No, I think it's good. I think in, like I said, I think kinda keeping that balance that you have and kind of kind of working towards that I think is I think is really important than awesome. Um, I want to thank you so much for coming in today and doing this. It was great to catch up with you again. I know we chat online from time to time and especially like with the wedding that we did and you had got a feature a bunch of places and so I was like, awesome. Uh, so thAt was great. You know, it was obviously great to see you and to connecting into that. I want to thank you so much for coming in. If people want to learn more about you and your photography company, uh, where would you have them go and check out?

[49:00] Um, they can check out my website is, And you can also find me on Instagram at Lessie Blue Photography and you're also pretty busy on Facebook and things like that on Facebook. My facebook is also Um, so yeah, I am on Facebook. Um, but right now my thing is trying to get a hang of Instagram so you can find me on Instagram if you want to reach me right away. Let's be photography. Um, but you know, I'm also like, I'm a, I'm one of those photographers that text, like you can always call me or shoot me a text. I honestly prefer texting, um, you know, once, you know, I mean, if you have a quick question, you can always shoot me a text. My number is 206-854-1208, text me anytime I'm a night. Um, uh, what, what'd you call it? Night owl. so it up.

[49:49] I think I was hitting you up late. We need to connect again because I knew, I knew I wanted to have you come in and talk and so I really appreciate it. Thanks for having me. It's been a blast. Awesome. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thank you so much.

Reneille Velez - Cake and Lace Events

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington and I'm here today with Reneille Velez, of Cake and Lace Events and I wanted to thank you so much for coming in today Reneille, why don't you introduce yourself, tell us a little bit about who you are and what your company is.

[00:28] Yeah, thanks. I'm really excited to be here as well. Um, I am the owner and lead planner for Cake and Lace Events. I'm located in the Tacoma area, so it's a south sound of Washington, but my team is all over, so I have a team of wedding planners and we, gosh, I've traveled all over this past wedding season. Uh, we specialize and a bunch of different things. We can go over here shortly, but I'm excited to be here for us and a offer and just any questions and answers for wedding planning.

[00:57] And uh, so you guys still busy right now or do you feel like you're whining the season down? How's it going for you guys?

[01:02] Super busy. So we just had a wedding at the edge water on Saturday. We have a couple more of the year and just a couple more constant actually have a consultation after this podcast for a December wedding. So yeah, I like a lot of people say that wedding season is over in the summer for Washington, but I just feel like that's not the case sometimes though.

[01:20] Well I find like at least now where people aren't doing as much video for, you know, inside a winter weddings put like, yeah. Then the consults pick back up again and that's everybody for next summer. So um, well great. So uh, you guys were at a wedding and event planning company, um, uh, you guys handle all aspects of a talking about the kind of the different specific services people.

[01:42] Yeah, absolutely. So my company focuses on wedding and events as far as design coordination and full and partial service planning. So I'd say for the last year of business for us, we've done a good amount of weddings but also special events as well that I can speak to from birthday parties to a bridal showers to baby showers. And we focus on that all throughout Seattle and the Tacoma area as well as kitsap. Uh, so I have about six girls in my team as we come from planners to assistance, uh, to a intern. So at six month intern from the University of Washington to offer a really great program there, but we specialize and a bunch of different types of events and not just weddings.

[02:22] Yeah. And it's been, I remember, uh, I feel like I've been in this long enough now in Seattle where I remember you guys coming in and, and soon to start and, you know, because it's been over the last couple of years. And so what has that been like, kind of the growth in the last couple of years in like more specifically like the kind of the entering the Seattle wedding community and kind of like learning the ropes and figuring that out.

[02:45] Yeah. So I started in the event industry, uh, about six, seven years ago for corporate event planning and then transitioned into weddings I bought a couple years ago. And, uh, it's, it's been a lot of fun. I would say. So, um, I want to highlight that, you know, everyone in Seattle has been very welcoming, um, very a lot of networking here, a lot of collaborations. So we've done a number of styled shoots just during the first couple of years of being open, um, and a lot of weddings. So in September we did just this last September, last month we did 11 events and totally kicked our butts, but we survived. Um, but I would say it's just, it's, it's been a lot of fun, you know, at the very beginning, uh, there's a lot of learning. So I think, you know, we did some weddings that, you know, they weren't our ideal client but we wanted to gain that experience and probably maybe less than half of what we priced today just to, you know, get those weddings on the books at that marketing and from looking at actually found my old timeline.

[03:41] So as a planner, you know, you're looking at your old timelines and itineraries that you give out to the vendors. And I was like, oh, I created this and it was crap. Can I say that word? But then now looking at the growth of my company, we went from, you know, myself and a business partner at the very beginning and now growing to a total of six planners and assistance on our team, um, we're able to handle just this past, you know, past 12 months, we've done, I would say over 30 events. And so we've grown just dramatically. Um, and I think a lot of is just the, you know, the stuff that we advertise as well. Um, but just the hard work that we've been putting in for the past couple of years is really paying off now. So

[04:20] yeah, as a rule, I don't look at any video I've done over because it's always a, it's always scary to go back and you see and you go, wow, that was what I was doing then. That's uh, that's good. Um, what were the biggest kind of like, um, do you have any like, misconceptions when you started, did you think it was going to be a lot easier? Did you think it was going to be a lot harder, did you think?

[04:40] Yeah, no, that's a great question. Um, so I come from a world of corporate event planning, so, uh, just production and lights and uplights and um, but mostly a background in sales, so, you know, are my goal when I was putting on a lot of the events was either to communicate to sales channels or to sell a product. Um, so yes, to answer your question, it's been very different. Um, you know, doing a wedding, right? So now you're, it's more of a celebration than, you know, a sales achievement or more process that you need to roll out. Um, so my background is in communications as well, so when I stepped into the wedding world, um, I think because I'm not very myself, so just really understanding, you know, the ins and outs of the first couple of weddings that my team put together. It was probably the challenge. It's the little things like, uh, the what ifs, right? So trying to be a couple steps ahead of the bride and groom and just learning that from the first couple of weddings we did. Um, I remember like one point I was like, oh, I got to put the bride's gifts in her car and we just forgot to put that in the timeline. So, uh, little things like that, I think over the first couple of weddings we were able to iron out and now included in every single timeline that we put together. So

[05:45] it's always learning early on that kind of helps you kind of figure out how to, how to refi to do step brother. Um, so what, what, what's your background? Did you go to school? Did you, what were you doing? You said corporate before. So let's go back to, to the beginning of this journey. We'll, we'll figure out kind of our journey as we go.

[06:01] Yeah. So my experience, I have about 12 years of telecommunications and operations experience. I'm in that industry, so I have supported a iphone launches for our retail channels. Um, I've, you know, I work in the wireless departments, uh, for different org for two different carriers in the past. And um, yeah, I had to put together some pretty big events, both internal and external for the companies I worked for and uh, so I started that in 2008. So I would say I've been in sales my whole life. Uh, did actually, you know, why I love managing the team of planners that I have. I love the business side of it and the development side of it for the team. Um, but I started, yeah, I worked for a and t back then. I was with them for about nine years and um, I started my business because I was actually let go from a t and t, uh, about two years ago and really wanted to, um, you know, focus on event planning.

[06:52] I, when I went to the University of Washington, I took drama [inaudible] my favorite class by far. And uh, the, you know, the role that I played wasn't necessarily the actress or the costume designer. Um, I actually played the role of the director and so that really, I'm just looking back after he and I lost my job back that I was like, you know, what do I want to do? And it hit me. I've always been a fan of logistics, uh, you know, uh, the back end stuff and being really behind the scenes and not necessarily, you know, the star of the show and um, I thought back over to that class that you dub that I took and I was like, you know what this is, this is what I want to do. And to really put a creative, you know, spit on it and enter the, you know, the wedding industry. So.

[07:29] Great answer. Uh, so you went to the University of Washington? Yeah. Are you from Seattle?

[07:35] I am, yeah. Well I was born in La and then, so I moved up here when I was young and I actually lived in Tacoma my whole life and then, um, seattle when I went to school. Yeah.

[07:43] And so what'd you go to school for? What was your, your goal kind of entering college or did you know?

[07:48] Uh, no, well I actually want it to be a nurse first. So my mom, um, you know, very typical Filipino tradition is um, everyone's at, gets into the medical field. My whole entire family is in the medical field, so, um, but obviously I did not go that route so, um, and then just kind of ended up working, you know, a lot. So for the two companies I've worked for in the past 12 years though,

[08:09] uh, was it, uh, why didn't you want to go into the medical field? Is it just wanting to kind of go out on your own or you just felt like your skills are better suited there?

[08:17] I, yeah, I feel like my family in a very traditional Filipino family ritual things that they want me in the medical field, but I, I love interacting with people in sales. My first job really was uh, working at circuit city back in the day. So I just love that, you know, the customer interaction and client interaction and as I've been in that industry since I was 16 and surrounded by tech so that definitely, you know, has interested me more and the which really correlates now into the business that we have. So just really great funnel management, client management and customer success, you know, is a really big point of my business too. That's fine.

[08:56] I don't even know if circuit city was like my first at one of my first jobs was a blockbuster, which is also kind of like a, um, you know, kind of a, it's gone. It's a relic of another time. Uh, so kind of leaving college and getting into the telecommunications and all of that. What was that process like? I mean, that seems like you're going to work for 18 and tea and like managing all these events, like get. Was there kind of a buildup there? How did that go?

[09:22] Yeah, I was a part time sales rep, so I actually started in the retail channels, so I'm very familiar with just handling all types of different clients. Um, I held a number of different positions with a t and t from a floating area manager type of role to a sales execution lead role, um, so managing, you know, the retail stores and just the execution of that. Um, I'm certified in project management, which was a very helpful and you know, the position I held and the position I hold today in my nine to five because it's a lot of projects and I think, um, and that's something I look for when hiring for my team as well as, you know, do they have any project management experience, uh, to translate into the wedding industry. So.

[10:00] Wow, when you say you're certified in project management, what does that mean?

[10:03] I took a course so comp Tia for a project management and then I've done a number of projects and um, my career as well, so down to store remodels for the retail channel. Um, and then technology roll outs as well for the companies I've worked for. So,

[10:21] uh, yeah, so you, uh, I've been having a horrendous. I fell into today when you came, but you were able to at least give me some suggestions. So it proves though that like, you know, obviously you have that kind of, that act and that, that knowledge, um, did you, when you were doing the events and things for your other companies, did you feel as much ownership over that as you do now that you know, did you enjoy kind of putting that together for somebody else or do you kind of like spearheading that now with your own company?

[10:52] Um, I like doing it more now just because I have full control. So I think I was more so of a part of a team that would put those events together and they of course let me have my own voice and what I felt like, uh, you know, uh, translate to a better experience just because I was closer to the audience than some of the production team was. But now, yeah, I mean I love putting together and designing, you know, a really great vendor team designing what the wedding looks like. Working with my girls now just to produce these beautiful weddings that we can say, you know, it was a full reflection of our hard work. So,

[11:27] um, so then talk about, you know, you've been working at att for a long time. Um, you got laid off, you know, you decided to start this company. Was there a lot of, you know, was there fear there? Was there excitement? Was there, what kind of emotions, you know, what were you kind of.

[11:41] Yeah, no, as a it, it was super shocking to me. I was, I think I like laid in bed for a couple of days. I was like, what do I do? And that's what I really started thinking about what am good at, because it was just an opportunity for me to jump into an industry that I was really passionate about. Um, that, you know, I didn't necessarily like I couldn't do, you know, in the nine to five world that I like. And um, then, you know, I, I love the technology field, but, you know, you can't, uh, you can't really mix, you know, technology and weddings as, as much as I'd want to. Um, but no, I was super scared. I think I like went out all the time with my friends just to get it off my mind. I think every weekend I went out until I'm, I really created a plan of, you know, what I wanted to do, how much income I wanted to make the next following year. Um, so really put together a good business plan to get me out of that Rut of I just lost my job. Right. So, because, you know, I woke up everyday for nine years thinking I love this, you know, left the company and then it just died. But yeah, I think a lot of people go through that though. And I think the biggest thing is just, you know, just accepting it and um, and just being motivated to, to build what you're passionate about.

[12:46] I was 20 years and saying, uh, you came up with a business plan and how much money you wanted to make. I think, uh, I think when I was getting ready to quit I had, you know, had kind of started the best, the videos and we were going and I think I went to lunch with my mom one day and I said, you know, I really think, uh, I feel like I'm, I'm ready to kind of make that leap. And she said, well, you know, okay, then that sounds good. And that was enough for me at that. Well, if she says my mom approves it because worst case, then I can always go back to her and I could say, hey, you were the one that said that you did, you had anybody else. You said your family medical and things. Did you know anybody that was entrepreneurial? Is that something you had been around a lot or was that kind of a new.

[13:29] No, it was completely new and not I think about it, you know, I, I did a lot of research. I mean, I didn't, I did reach out to a couple like real estate agents and um, a couple of friends who had like a side hustle per se, um, and got, you know, some of the logistical items out of the way, right? Like, so, you know, what type of business do you want, you know, what's the first step you should I get a business checking account, you know, the little one on one things. I'm just. And, and had just worked with a lot of my friends who I guess did have that entrepreneur experience. Um, and then when I felt comfortable, um, you know, I really just took the experience I've had over the past nine to 12 years or so and brought that into starting up my own business and just jumping right into the weddings. I think, you know, the first month that we announced, I announced on facebook and I opened up my own business. We got actually, I would say three weddings, so within the first week, which is ironic, but it was all through word of mouth and networking and just people that were like really supportive. And, and uh, so, but yeah, it was crazy within seven days we had three bookings for an upcoming wedding, so.

[14:27] Oh, but I also think though, you know, it speaks to like give it where you were specifically doing weddings before, you know, you were doing other events. Right. So, I mean at least there's somewhat of a confidence in that familiar. Like I had shot video for a long time before I specifically did like a wedding, right? Where it was like I was a baker and then you have go into event planning or whatever. Uh, I mean, are you someone like the, had you gone to a lot of weddings, did you have all the girlfriends and got married? Like were you really familiar with kind of that thing or did you kind of figure it out as you went?

[14:59] A little bit of both? Yeah. So a lot of my friends, you know, have a, I've helped a lot of weddings. Just I would say not so much that the design part, but the logistics part. Um, and then I was really big on networking. So a lot of the vendors that I work with today, I've actually used for, you know, when I worked at and t, um, in the past, so I had a lot of event experience, I would say that really translates into weddings and um, it just had to learn as I, as I go, you know, so taking on that first couple of weddings and just saying, okay, this is what, you know, this is what this really looks like, you know, I'm putting those timelines together. Um, and I did, you know, help out with a friend at her wedding just as just as a day.

[15:36] I've really observed it from that aspect. Not running the show, but just being an assistant, um, a few times really helps as well. And I have a lot of those add people to that reach out and they're like, can I just assist at a wedding because I really want to see what it's like, you know, because I have some experience very similar to mine, no project management and sales. Um, and, but they, you know, maybe they haven't been married before. I haven't gone to a lot of weddings, so they just want to reach out and assessed as well, which I think is a great starting point.

[16:00] Talking about a, you say, so you decided to start Kagan lace, you know, you're getting your team together. What was that first wedding like you said? Walk me through that. What was that experience like? That

[16:12] process? Yeah, so our first wedding was interesting because they actually booked us 10 days before their wedding. Yeah, of course. Right. So it was like last minute coordination. We gave them a killer deal obviously. And um, it's, I don't even know where to start. It was, it was a disaster. The bride and groom are very happy, you know, but it was really bumpy along the wave. So it was myself and another unit. I'm and my business partner at the time and we were just trying to stay on the same page. We're like, wait, we forgot this part. I was like, wait, what time does the flora flora survive? You know, so we were, we were a little bumpy along the way, but we learned so much from that first wedding. And luckily it was a little smaller, you know, so uh, it wasn't, we weren't controlling like a 300 guests count like week we can't today.

[16:55] Um, but yeah, I think we know there's some things that we forgot, like I didn't realize the to tailor the needs of vendors I think was our biggest mess. So for instance, for photographers, they would want all the detail shots by a certain time and provide them like the dress and the rings that we, you know, we've learned to do today. Right. And really tailored to not only the bride and groom which left happy. Um, but I think we do a much better job now. Tailoring to vendors which overall helps that entire wedding experience. So, um,

[17:22] when you go through the process now and you're working with different couples, do you find whether it's like some of the biggest misconceptions or things like things that you find yourself educating couples with or things that you wish that people do more when it comes to like approaching you guys is like wedding planners and that could be like mentors too. But like things, you know, they use kind of day to day or the same things, you know, month over month.

[17:43] Yeah. So when I do consultations with brides today, um, I see the biggest mistake of brides wanting to plan their entire gorgeous wedding and the first 30 days of being engaged. And I just, I feel like that's just not the right thing to do. Um, you know, it really comes down to. So we offer it, you know, a monthly checklist, so a lot of our packages just to space out, you know, what needs to be done with each client. So for instance, one month you might be focusing on the cake tasting, the other month you might be focusing on getting the suits for the groomsmen and the groom and just really alleviating that stress from the client to let them think you're right. I don't need to plan, you know, my cake tasting 12 months. Um, but to really lock down the priority vendors like a photographer or videographer, I'm a venue. Right? And within the first couple months, so, uh, but we tailor a, you know, a complete monthly checklists. I told my checklists typically for any of our full service planning and if you're getting married in six months and you have nothing planned and you hire us for, you know, six months down the road, um, we'll, you know, create a six month to a checklist for them as well. That way they don't, you know, they don't feel stressed out, like they have to plan their whole wedding within 30 days. So,

[18:48] but a cake tasting is way more, way more interested in that. I much rather want to go to his cake and figuring out the tailoring for my suit and it's a lot of like, um, we just thought I'd talk about the time of the podcast about how like people have never done it before. Right. And so they think like, oh, I have to do all this at once. We have all these different decisions to make. And like even I think when I, when we got engaged and I was like, Oh my God, I'm like, I gotta get all this stuff pinned down right away. And like, I mean, there's definitely stuff like your venue or whatever that you need to figure out, but then yeah, you can let some stuff go. Um, so then, uh, talk about Kinda like putting this team together that you have and kind of growing you have from that first wedding now over the last. It's been like two years, right? Oh Gosh. I really want to think about that one again.

[19:31] You know, I'm, I'm happy with the bride and groom are happy. Um, but just looking back at like the chaos behind the scenes of like, ah, I'm so putting together the team. Yeah. So I started, I had, so Diana, she's our company manager now as her one year is actually today with me. So ironically I'm here and she dmt and slid in my dms on instagram and she was like, Hey, I'm a, I'm an event planner from New York. I'm relocating to Seattle. And um, I was wondering pending any internal opportunities. I was like, you know what, sure, why not? And so she interned with me for a few months and um, you know, she had experienced in the past, which was great. And then I just transitioned her onto the team and she started taking the weddings when I couldn't take them right. And so, and she, she lives in the kitsap area, so she's able to do weddings out there as well as in Seattle.

[20:17] And what I've noticed is, you know, our marketing was just really good, really good word of mouth or does networking, um, I try to network with a bunch of different vendors as well and just get added to the Seattle community on facebook and instagram and stuff. Um, but Diana was kind of the start of the business would really as far as growth goes. And then from there, you know, as we started doing more and more weddings together, I realized that we were getting booked for a lot of specialty weddings, um, particular like Asian weddings. Um, so I had this vision to hire, you know, there's a really untapped market here in the Seattle area. I felt, um, that's just through friends, friends and word of mouth. And so to hire a lot of bilingual planners. So currently today we have six team members on my team and what was, all of them are bilingual in some type of dialect.

[21:04] So, uh, we have Karen who specializes in Korean weddings and events, so, uh, she's getting booked like crazy for just a dull ceremonies, Dole celebrations, which is the first birthday of a Korean green baby. Um, and then we partner with Seattle, Korean weddings to use, I don't know, bluebox bakery. So Christine, she's amazing. Um, she has know Korean rentals that we use for our events as well to partner with her. So um, as time went on I saw that we really specialize in, you know, a lot of different like Asian, just ceremonies and events. So it's not just weddings as well too.

[21:38] Yeah. But I do think that there's, um, makes people feel more comfortable knowing, right? Like if you've gone through that, you know, when you get the same kind of questions, have you filled this kind of thing? And I always say like, well we can figure it out, but it is. I do think that there's like a certain, like a comfortableness or whatever, the comfort in knowing that like uh, you know, you have somebody that could help, you know, like if my mother isn't super fluent in English or if we have some family or whatever. I remember when we, uh, my, I think it was my second year, I was still by myself and we did a Cambodian wedding and it was like one of those like four and a half hour, um, ceremony like in the house and like she, you know, they come downstairs and they did some stuff and then they go upstairs and change and then come down to do some stuff.

[22:21] And like I have like no idea. I'm like luckily, you know, there was like a cousin or a nephew or somebody translate. Yeah. And he's standing by me and I'm like, you cannot move this whole time. Like you gotta tell me what's going on, but you know, but it is nice like, you know, looking back like it would have been nice if I would have done some research or at least watch some youtube videos. But. So you think that you guys are really going to be able to like, is that like analogy expansion now obviously you guys are going to continue to kind of build that out or are you going to add more people or more specialties or whether you think about that.

[22:53] I don't know if we're going to grow more. It's a lot, you know, maybe in the summertime, but. So we have, you know, Karen, especially Karen and Rosa actually will specialize, you know, in the Korean events. And then um, I have, you know, Annie and Linda that specialize in Vietnamese weddings and then Diana actually as, as a has a Jewish wedding this upcoming summer. So there's a lot of different specialty. Um, it's nothing, you know, marketing wise that we will, you know, post everyday on Instagram, but it is available on our website for clients, you know, to find us and they find us that way as well. Um, you know, it's one thing for it. We've had, you know, I've been amused wedding this past summer where they had 400 people, you know, and just how to manage that and just. Yeah, and to your point, uh, you know, talking to the communication barrier, it does go down.

[23:34] So just working with the families in regards to the food or even the, you know, the venues. We have a lot of clients who um, you know, they're, they're bilingual, but they would prefer, you know, bilingual vendors just because it's easier to work with the elderly parents or whatnot as well. And just the two, you're probably talking about the tea ceremony for some of the weddings that you, you've been at where they, you know, it is, it has to happen in the morning, you know, for like the Vietnamese culture and a lot of outfit changes. I'm sure you've recorded while doing video and um, but you know, our role is really to take down that, that language barrier but also just help out the vendors as well. To your point. Um, it's a nice one. We can kind of give the vendor like a video or a photographer, a heads up like, hey, this is about to happen, you know, like be here, you know, that they're going in for the third costume, change our costumes. But their dress change, you know, so um, they'll come back in about 10 minutes at a different outfits to make sure that's photographed. Um, so just working through those little details I think make a huge difference. So

[24:26] yeah. So, and I do find that too, or like it's not even necessarily like important for the bride and groom, but like to their parents or the grandparents or like the families really want it. And so, you know, by Osmosis it's important to the bride and groom and then obviously it's important to us, but you know, that, that making sure that everything goes correctly and that it's in the right, you know, because we have one this summer and the bride was Vietnamese and the groom was African American and like he didn't use like, I don't know any of this, but he want you. He goes, I want it, you know, whatever we need to do. I want this to be respected. I either the exact way it needs to go and you know, I've luckily, you know, they're planning or had experience with that. And so, you know, we did like the walkthrough and kind of saw how everything would go because, you know, her mom was like, no, this is, you know, this is how we're doing it. So it's good to kind of have that. So do you find with your role as a planner that you have to deal a lot with different parents and request that they have are helping kind of manage those expectations?

[25:25] Oh my gosh. Yes. So especially with modern brides today, maybe millennial brides per se. Um, they, they want to respect, you know, they're the culture, right? So I have, um, and sometimes it's all last minute too, like you're getting pressure from, you know, your grandparents, like why aren't you doing a money dance? So I did, I did have a Vietnamese Filipino wedding this past summer and you know, the, the night of the wedding they did their rehearsal dinner and half the family was like, you're doing a money dance. Right? And you know, that's where the bride and groom, you know, they're, they're doing their dance together and people come and pin cash onto the bride's dress and the grim suit and incorporating that into their timeline last minute. So I do find that family definitely plays a part in that, but I, you know, a lot of the brides and grooms are very open to changing their timeline and incorporating that in the wedding.

[26:11] So I picked up some pins, you know, from the store on the way to the wedding. We had a pillow ready, um, and then people just lined up to pin cash on the bride and made, you know, the bride very happy. I'm sure they made a good amount of money, but the family was very, very pleased as well. Um, and then our role also is really just, you know, letting the videographer and photographer that day. No, like, hey, there's a one last minute change. It's very important to the family. Let's make sure that gets in there, you know. So yeah.

[26:37] That's all right. Yeah, no, I totally agree. I was just laughing in my habit when I did that Cambodian one and I had spent so long trying to put together that video because I knew like, okay, this has got to be like I did and after it, after I had filmed it, like I did go on and you know, watching youtube videos, I'm like, okay, what does this mean and what does that mean? And put it all together. And so I had sent them like their highlight and then I send them there. You have the full kind of thing and um, dorothy's like, well, yeah, what do you think? I'm on my call. I'm sure they're going to, I'm sure I did something wrong or I'm sure that like, it's not because I wanted it to be correct and I'm sure they're going to come back and ask him.

[27:10] Like they were just like that whatever. It looks good because it was, it was what the parents wanted. Yeah, they just, they just wanted the flashy kind of music and stuff and they're like, oh yeah, that's fine. That's like, oh no, I spent so long on this. But, uh, no, I mean, you want it to be correct and you want it to be, you know, uh, getting married isn't just, you know, for the bride and groom, unfortunately it is a lot of kind of what the families want and you know, parents and stuff. Um, do you have any other funny stories about that or anything kind of incorporating that? Oh Gosh, what are we?

[27:40] Yeah, I think um, there's a fairly large Vietnamese wedding. I was 400 something guest and I'm the bride, you know, wanted to do a seating chart for it. And you know, I was kind of nervous because we're at the last minute seating chart mass. And so, um, you know, the, the reality was, you know, an uncle was telling everyone, oh, don't listen to the seating chart, you know, just sit wherever you guys want. But he was saying it in um, in Cambodian. So I had. But luckily my assistant that day was able to translate it for me and I was like, Hey, just Fyi, we might have to add, you know, another table to the layout last minute because we're not really following the seating chart, you know, so it's just funny how everything works out. But you know, I was able to give the brides a heads up and she was very comedy, like, yeah, you know, more where my family showed up and they're not really following the seating chart so

[28:28] you can just sit wherever. So, uh, I do. I remember we've done a bunch of those down at that t palace in rented. And it's like this massive room. We know it fits for to people. I've always thought it was a funding there because we, there was this series where we did a bunch of them, I was down there a lot and we'd always know this, there would be like lots of tables that were empty. And I was like, why? Like why are they not? Like I would talk with the photographer, some people did they like, what is going on here? And she's like, well no, like, um, you know, in this culture, like they'll rsu either the RSVP thing is in as, right. So like they might even buy it for 100 people and so they have to plan for 400 people, right. Because, you know, heaven forbid somebody, you know, if your uncle shows up and you don't have a spot for him. So yeah. So we'd always go around and beg man, there's like 100 people didn't show up and said, well, no, it's, it's just that they don't. It's

[29:17] definitely the culture. Um, and it's something we've, you know, we are aware of. I leaned on my team, she's very familiar with the tea ceremony is, and then the large weddings because weddings as well. And um, she's done a great job this past summer as well too. But yeah, the seating chart, RSCP lists isn't real. Um, sometimes. Um, and that's, you know, we're totally used to that as well. And, you know, another aspect too of the weddings is, and I'm sure you've dealt with us as Viagra is when the bride and groom of their bridal party, they go to every single table, you know, and they take a photo or a video with every guest, you know. And that's something that, um, you know, as planners from a planner perspective, we make sure we ask the bride and groom, Hey, is this something that you'd be interested in incorporating into your timeline now? So we're familiar with just those little little details for, you know, Asian weddings just because we've been through a lot of as well, but just grew up in the culture too. And just being bilingual definitely helps, you know, in those aspects. But yeah, I mean sometimes they go from table to table, they'd take a shot of Hennessy and I know they make their, you make your way as a videographer, photographer, planner. I'm with them, right? It's 30, 40 table.

[30:19] It is like the longest because it's almost like near the end of the night though. But it's always like, oh this is like an hour of just going around. But it's, it is, it's really important that because everybody that comes, even though they're guests at the wedding and then they would kind of want to have their moment of Emo, like they give them the, the, um, the staff that made you the shot and it's, you know, they'll do. It's like, you know, but to them it's new, right. Even though we've done it for five, 10 tables in a row for that table, that's new.

[30:49] Yeah. So, and you know, as far from a planner's point of view too, I had a ride and she didn't put it in her timeline, but I actually like, you know, I set up the timeline to have an emergency backup in case it was incorporated last minute and uh, her parents and her family was like, you're doing, you're going around. Right. And she was, you know, she wasn't, she didn't want to do it. And, but luckily I was able to maneuver the timeline around. I had some, you know, a 45 minutes of buffer room and then I was able to just navigate the vendors last minute, say, hey, we're doing it, you know, so, um, so that was a lot of fun too. So

[31:22] yeah, because that's a big change. That's a difference between not doing that at all and going around, uh, how do you. So with you working now in, in managing this team, how do you do that? It seems like it's a lot of coordination on your part. Talk about kind of just managing and, and I guess obviously your past project manager Ariel experience, but talking about that.

[31:44] Yeah, no, it's a lot of work. Um, I think, uh, it, it requires a lot of coffee. So No. Um, I, you know, I love the girls in my team. We just had our annual business meeting not too long ago at Cedar Brook Lodge and it was, it was so much fun. So we had, I have Diane on my team and she really handles the day to day operations, a lot of the social media marketing. Um, and then just a lot of networking and training, you know, we have one girl who just started, so just training her to get her experience that, you know, before summer hits. Um, but how do I do it? Gosh, I don't know. I think maybe I just don't sleep, I don't know. Um, but so for myself, I still do weddings. I have kept myself out to five weddings a year, um, and then just allowing the girls to, you know, to take on.

[32:25] I mean they average anywhere from three to six weddings. I just, depending on their availability as well. So, um, and that really correlates with, you know, the goals I have as far as how many weddings do we can we take a year who is our ideal client and you know, communicating it down to them. Um, but I think, you know, just a lot of structure for like a work life, work, work life balance. I guess I really helped. So, um, my, I have two iphones that you saw earlier. I stay super organized. I have calendar invites for everything. I think I've made myself a counter invite when we scheduled this right. And so, um, I even have calendar invites or my personal life, like I'm going to happy hour later on tonight, so it's in my calendar if I'm, if it's really happening. So, um, I think just a lot of organization on a Sunday night to plan out the rest of the week as really key to managing, you know, for those that wanted to pursue a nine to five because they love their job, um, but still want to have that, you know, entrepreneur, um, or you know, or creative outlet for another business is definitely doable.

[33:21] So

[33:21] do you think having that kind of mindset of organization then helps you kind of relate and keep your clients in your other employees and stuff kind of on track?

[33:31] Yes. Yeah. So we, um, gosh, we're very, very organized individuals. I, you know, I, and I, um, I have a lot of direct report experience as well from my past to work life. So when I, you know, interviewed the girls, I make sure that they are anyone who wants to join the team, you know, that they have an idea of organization down to the hour, you know, just making sure that they understand, you know, when I don't have to teach them the calendar management side of, you know, being a wedding planner or um, they also had really great suggestions for me when they started, like how we organize our data. So we use really great crm tool and we collaborate with our brides and also, um, one another so I can attach, you know, two planners to one event. We have a birthday party coming up. Um, and uh, there's two planners working on that so I can visually see it online as well. So, um, aisle planner, which I'm sure I'll be planning pro as is fully aware of. Um, so we use that religiously. Um, and really stay organized with all the events that we have in there.

[34:24] Yeah, I, uh, I, I have a lot of, hey, I've tried to go into that kind of stuff. I have like a web now have google and it's people people telling me it seems pretty good, but yeah, it is. I've definitely, every year this time of year I always entertain. I'm kind of migrating everything to one of those.

[34:44] Yeah, a io planner or like Todd Bay or a bike or something like 20 hats or 17 or whatever though. So, uh, but you, do you obviously find that that's beneficial to the client experience too? Yes. And when I, when I first started, you know, I, I had google drives and folders and everything and I was like, Oh yeah, I really organized. But then I really noticed that, you know, one step ahead that we can offer our clients, you know, even for like our day of coordination package, which is really like a month of coordination, right. Um, they can have their free online account, you know, so they can go in and um, and I can see their wedding being built in front of my eyes too if they didn't hire us to plan. But um, I, you know, at first I was doing like a lot of google, google folders and stuff, but as the team grew I knew I needed to invest in more of a premium type of software because, you know, there might be two of my planners working on one wedding or two of them, one work on the design of one's more of her. I'm working on something else. So yeah, I would, I would highly recommend it. Um, if you, if you're, if you have a lot of events for the year. So we ended with over 30 events in the past 12 months. So it helps a lot.

[35:50] That's good in there. Plus obviously with your other work and personal and everything to keeping that. Yeah, I remember when I was kind of doing my interview a couple years ago for assistance in, my big thing was just like,

[36:01] yeah, if I text you like second you can, you need to let me know.

[36:07] And it's, you know, there's not like everything else, you know, emails and stuff. Like if I got to get ahold of you, if I text you the second you get that, we got to know what's going on because a lot of the time it'll be like, hey, are you available? Like, I got somebody on the phone like we need to know, you know, uh, do you feel like you do a good job kind of communicating with your team? And that works out.

[36:26] Yeah. So we had, um, you know, a, a bride fill out a form last night and I just posted it. We have a really cool group chat and one of the girls took it. So, um, but they're, yeah, they're hungry, they're, they love, they're really passionate about weddings as well. And so, um, I think that type of open communication, I'm really big on just making sure that they're taken care of. They're developed and employee engagement overall is really just big to me. And just over that, not even before my life and the wedding industry, I'm making sure that they feel supported as you know, as employees. And um, and I also tell them, you know, this is really a chance to build your portfolio so, you know, I had someone leave my team and she started her own company, which is great, but she had a lot of portfolio experience, you know, from my company, which is awesome to see her develop. So, um, but yeah, no, I think it's been a lot of fun having the girls on the team and growing us so far.

[37:13] Tell you about the marketing. Do you guys do, do you do, is it mostly just online, you know, how are you continuing to get the word out, you know, where you find the benefits here in Seattle specifically? You know?

[37:24] Yeah. So marketing, that's always a fun subject for any Andrea Seattle today. We're so tech savvy up here. So I'm mostly facebook. Um, I don't do a sponsored ads every now and I've tested it, but sometimes I just can't keep up with the analytics so I try to limit myself to, you know, using the different forums and being tagged. And the Seattle wedding community is huge for us. Um, but word of mouth is really big too. Um, you know, we just, and you know, I don't know if the number of followers you have on instagram equates to your success in the industry, you know, and there's big companies out there that have like 200 followers. Right. And then, you know, we just had a thousand so I'm happy about that, but I think it's a mixture of, you know, just connecting with the clients I'm over. Instagram is our biggest thing.

[38:08] So, um, you know, I'll respond to almost every single comment that comes onto our photos any day. I try my best to respond to it right away and just really connect with either the vendor or the client. You know, I had a photographer this morning reach out for a styled shoot, um, and just being really responsive I think on social media is really appealing to the audience along with, you know, word of mouth as well. So, um, but as far as paid types of stuff, we were listed on Seattle bride. So I'm a huge fan of Seattle bride, Michelle over there. Phenomenal. Which is supporting, you know, my business and um, and you know, we had, we hosted a brunch for brides last summer and we're going to do it again this summer. I'm over at 10 degrees, so Michelle helped a lot with sponsoring that event, giving us magazines and everything we needed. So um, I would say a more local type of marketing really tailored towards, you know, um, events or just being really in contact with the clients is more so our style versus a lot of the sponsored stuff, you know. So

[39:04] I'm going to throw, I'm Allen who is a, has been on this podcast already, my friend and a DJ, a puget sound Dj. Um, his instagram when I was researching with his, I think he has like 300 5,400 followers, which is like whatever, but just like one post, I think it's just people just like tag him and stuff. And so like everyone adds him and I'm like Alan is absolutely killing the instagram game to have one post and then like 400 followers or whatever the, I don't know, whatever it was really like, I mean, yeah, whatever. He's doing, I'm talking about Kinda like what is your ideal client, what you, what do you find that you guys, people are attracted to you and who do you guys like to work with, you know, as, as a team?

[39:45] Yeah. No, that's a great question. So aside from, you know, the Asian event culture specialty that we spoke about earlier, I would say our ideal client is more the modern, romantic, fun type of client and uh, to get into the, you know, the details, I would say that millennial type of bride, right? So 25 to 35 or so and um, you know, maybe getting married for the first time kind of thing just in today's day and age. But uh, and not so much of the budget. I think we were pretty sound like our packages and pricing. We don't really do too many custom packages unless it's a one off. But um, I, yeah, I would definitely say like that modern Brian, right? So someone who, um, we have a role at Kagan lace events where we don't do cookie cutter wedding. So like, sometimes I'll see like one of the girls would put together a design plan and I'll be like, so like how personal is this one to 10?

[40:34] Like can we really see the bride and groom through the details that you selected? So we check each other every now and then when it comes to weddings, but you know, for the bride who wants that modern, you know, a wedding that's really about them and wants a team that focuses because we have a really set a planning process at our company that all of us follow. Um, and that structure and organization is really a mesh with. I mean, I had, you know, I have turned on Brian's because it just wasn't the right mix for us. So the other months someone reached out and said, hey, I really want to Lord of the rings themed wedding. And I literally threw that on our group chat, you know, for the planners I have. And we were, were, were just like, I don't, I don't know, I don't feel it. I'm not feeling it, you know. So, um, it was lord of the rings wedding wasn't us, so, you know, sometimes we turned down some weddings that you just doesn't feel like we're the right, you know, planners for them. So

[41:25] yeah, when you speak of like that you have that modern bride, like are there some trends you see coming or different things? I know a lot of customization, but like is there any like, kind of specifics you can speak on that?

[41:37] Um, when I think modern, I think yeah, I mean the design aspect, you know, there's a lot of geometric stuff on there. I mean it was, you know, we're limited to not so many outdoors. The outdoors, these style events ran us out here in Washington. Right. But um, yeah, I would say that but also their personality too, so something that might attract them is going to be the crm tool that they really like where we really focus on personalizing that planning experience. Um, all of our packages also have accustomed snapchat filter and sometimes that just really excites the bride. So, you know, and I tell them, you know, the second you walked down the aisle, there's going to be a snapchat filter that pops up on, you know, on your wedding day and that's just, you know, complimentary of, you know, from, from us to them. And that really attracts the bride is just how, um, you know, in tune we are with modern day trends and technology and collaboration tools and you know, we offer a bunch of different ways they can communicate with us, et cetera. So,

[42:28] um, and so then you're kind of continuing on now. I think it's been a good two years and then, you know, continuing kind of being in the Clo and the community. Where do you kind of see you guys maturing and evolving here in the next little while?

[42:41] Oh Wow. Yeah, I haven't really thought of that. You know, I think we're still recovering from the summer, so I'm not, I, I'm excited. I think um, what we really liked to do was a network with a lot of vendors. I think, you know, one, for every wedding we have, um, I always keep the other vendors and mind as well and what experiences, you know, not only the bride and groom and their friends and family experiencing, um, but you know, are the vendors eating, you know, as the photographer getting a solid 20 minutes a month munch down a meal. Um, so I think as far as our future goes for Kagan lease events, it's definitely staying, you know, that very modern, a wedding planning company, you know, in the Seattle area, we are expanding to kitsap quite a bit more. So Diana's I located over there and she's working with a ton of venues and the kitsap area just to switch over some of the marketing.

[43:26] So I would say that is also going to be launching this upcoming summer. Um, and then our second annual brunch or brides event. So I team up with a suite j catering, so jamie and her team to put on these events. I'm in Seattle and it was so much fun last year. I think we had over 200 people attend and we just marketed it through, you know, a lot of social media. But um, I would say yeah, a lot of specialty types of events, um, you know, expanding the kitsap area and just really focusing on making sure that, you know, where the planners for the client. So

[43:55] one thing too, I would be upset if I didn't ask you about is this virtual planning now I know I saw you post something online about it. I told myself I was going to touch on that before we left.

[44:04] Yeah, I'm, I'm sorry, I forgot to know, you know, we're launching that in 2019 and ironic. So it's on our website now. It says coming soon, but we actually just booked a bride last night who is interested in that and one reason is because she lives in la so she hired us for day of coordination. Um, but she wants to make sure that, you know, she has the right consultants to walk her through, you know, the nine months of wedding planning, shales lap, so she was able to book for the day of packaged but then add on three planning sessions and we offer that for a lot of the modern Brian's just because they're very big into planning and designing their own wedding, right? So there they can pinterest up a storm and know exactly what they want, but they just need that industry guidance, which is really what people are booking that virtual planning session for what that looks like.

[44:50] It's, you know, it's over facetime, it's over, you know, google, Google video or skype or whatnot. And uh, it just allows them to plan and my plan is to plan from the comfort of their own couch, their on home, but it really connect with the bride along the way until the day of coordination. So, um, and I don't know if anyone else is offering that in industry, but I feel that, you know, a lot of the millennial brides, they may not have, you know, the knack of, you know, looking over contracts or uh, how to space out, you know, when to do a k tasting or how to word their invitations, but they want that guidance several times a year. Um, but they know exactly what they want their wedding to look like, what the trends are. Um, so it's a really great add on package for that stuff.

[45:28] It's tough. Yeah. I find I'm constantly trying to figure out the right balance between, like I'm talking online on the phone or skype or whatever versus like in person kind of like sit down consultations and like, I don't know if anybody really knows what the right answer is. I mean I know like I drove quite a ways last week for a, for a meeting, you know, and then I found out like they're going to meet with a couple of other vendors, which is great. But like, man, that would've been really nice just to do 20 minutes on skype versus, you know, it was like ended up being two hours for both of us by the time we were driving around in seventh. Do you find like with planning and consulting with clients and things, are more of the millennials kind of just moving district on line or, or what do you think? A little bit.

[46:11] Yeah. I would say um, I'm always looking for new ways to infuse technology into my business given my background. And so, um, whether it's conference calls and stuff like that. Um, but yeah, no, to answer your question, I think it's, it's definitely going to be a trend. I think that a lot of the planning sessions being virtual is huge just because there's a lot of people that just can't get out of that Amazon traffic that can meet you at, you know, in the evening and um, but just for them to have a 60 to 90 minutes with you, um, you know, over skype or something is huge. I mean, you look at the other industries, I mean you can talk to a nurse by pressing a button on an app and then you have a live nurse telling you your symptoms or something, you know, it's like, that's really where, you know, technology has taken us now. I mean, you can go shopping on Amazon and not even have to pay. It just checks out, you know, when you walk out the door. Um, so I think, you know, a little waste infused. I just modern and not design them more so planning, you know, into our packages, like the virtual planning sessions or complementary snapchat filter. Um, because it's, it's fun, it's fun, it's convenient. Um, and I just think that it's definitely going to be the future, you know, for uh, just the vet industry soon. So,

[47:16] so continuing with kind of like trying to offer a new or different things. Like do you have anything else that you're working on in terms of like things for your clients or future brides?

[47:24] Yeah, so I'm excited to announce that we will be bringing back brunch for brides this upcoming. So sweetj catering and myself will be hosting it. Um, last year it was extremely successful. Um, a lot of great giveaways, a lot of great networking for both vendors and for clients and just, um, anyone in the wedding industry and I'm excited. So it was more so a, a fun party, you know, over brunch with a lot of the brides in the room. There's over 200 people that showed up last year. Um, so we're getting a much bigger venue this year and it's gonna be a lot of fun. So that's going to be during the summertime, so just keep an eye out for an invitation for that, um, or on social media. But uh, it's definitely fun. A fun event

[48:03] and that's like people that are working with you like brides and things to kind of get together. What kind of, what's the thought process behind that?

[48:09] Is anyone, anyone, if you're getting married, show up, you know, I'd like to say it's a, you know, a smaller boutique version of the Seattle wedding show, like way smaller, but, you know, not 10,000 people. Um, but it allows you to really have that intimate time with vendors and then that way you're not feeling like you have to chase through a 30 aisles of vendors, you know, like other wedding expos and stuff, but we throw it off for a lot of fun. I think the vibe in there is just more to throw a party and celebrate your marriage, but then also talk to vendors and get advice, uh, you know, for planning your upcoming wedding. So, but brides, um, they can come in and win a bunch of stuff. I think we had so many, so many giveaways and only, you know, we only had an audience about 200 people and they saw a lot of people walked away with a free, a free wedding cakes, free calligraphy. Um, you know, we had a really great special for 50 percent off your wedding planner, so I'm just more to come on that. But I would say yeah, definitely check it out. It's open to anyone you know, in the industry or our brides to be as well. So.

[49:05] Well, uh, I really appreciate you coming in today. I'm glad that I know you're really busy and I'm glad that we could kind of finally get this pinned down. Um, if people want to learn more about you and your company and kind of the services you provide, what would you have them checkout?

[49:17] Yeah, I think our website's first. So Um, and then our Instagram, we're really responsive on Instagram. So whether you a slide in our DMs. So for, for mine it's @reneille or our company one is

[49:36] Perfect. Well this has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thank you so much.

Juliet Horton, Everly

[00:08] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington and I am joined today by my friend Juliet Horton of Everly and Juliet and I met, I won't say which wedding show, but we met at a wedding show that was probably didn't have the attendance that anybody was helping and then we were a booth next to each other and we sat for two days kind of getting to know each other and catching up a while. We were not talking to couples, so it's good to see you again. Thank you so much for coming in. Why don't you introduce yourself and tell us who you are and what you do.

[00:45] Good to see you and thank you so much for having me. As Reid mentioned, my name is Juliet Horton and I am the founder of Everly and I've been in the wedding business here in Seattle for the last few years, but launched Everly in its current state in January of this year and it's really a new approach to wedding planning. Really intended to be kind of a mid tier solution in between the full service wedding planner and the full on DIY approach. A wedding planners are fantastic. I know many of them here in Seattle and many of them are good friends and a lot of people just can't afford what they do. Um, and then the other extreme you have the DIY approach, which if you have the time and energy and enthusiasm to throw yourself into wedding planning, that can be great too, but there seems to be a lot of couples somewhere in the middle there who could use some professional support but don't have thousands of dollars to, to play around with or don't have every weekend to become a wedding planning expert to. So that's really where we come in. We work with couples all throughout the planning process and provide a lot of that same personalized support. But under that thousand dollar price point, that can be a lot more approachable for, for many couples out there.

[01:48] Yeah, I mean, I think it's great. You know, when Dorothy and I got engaged, like that was the first thing that, you know, I wanted to get with some sort of, you know, planning and, and it was a tough sell even to my wife now wife, but as a, you know, wedding vendor myself, I'm like, no, we need this. And she's like, well, but it's so much money for this and whether we do. And so yeah, talk about like just your own philosophy, like the importance of having that professional expert to kind of help guide couples through.

[02:13] Yeah. I think what we're trying to do is what so many of us do in other areas of our lives, like if you're an Amazon prime member and you get your groceries delivered, it's like we all sort of know what we're good at and where we can add value and then how can we efficiently bring in experts to do other things that make our lives easier. And that's really what we're doing. And that's what wedding planners do in general. But like I said, it's not really approachable or a real option for many people. Um, so that's really our philosophy there to say we do this day in and day out, those sort of things that you absolutely could do yourself and you could figure out yourself, but they'll just take you many hours and that's what becomes, you know, when you come home after work or on free weekends, you absolutely complained your own wedding.

[02:51] I'm not gonna say we're the only service out there that will get you down the aisle, but it's really the opportunity to speed up the process, spent the time that you do on wedding planning, doing the things that you really want to do, whether that's trying to address those or tasting cakes are seeing some of your most exciting venues that you're looking forward to visiting and then coming to us as a trusted resource for things like budget questions or I've called a bunch of photographers and I don't know what things cost. I just need some quick answers. We can really speed up the process. So that's a lot of the value that we add. Know like when we were just talking, when we bought this house back, there was another house down the road that was, um, I a way more a fixer upper and my real, there was like, you know, if you buy that house, this is your thing every weekend for the next three years and it's the same with what might be like and you could do it and you can save a ton of money and you can do it yourself and you could customize it to the way you want it to be.

[03:46] But are you really going to do that for the next three years with your home renovation? Maybe not. Yeah. And it's, you know, it's the same with weddings where like you said, so then you, you kind of alleviate, you know, the, the trouble spots and then yeah, if somebody really wants to focus on the florals or they want to figure out, you know, their ceremony and readings and stuff, you know, that they can focus on kind of fine tuning those things. Right. Uh, so where did this idea come about? Because I think it's great. You know, we've connected for a long time now about this, so talk to me kind of about how this all came about. Yeah. I got this idea of actually while I was in business school, and this always sounds kind of funny talking about it, but because it sounds a little like junior high class elections, but we had a student board and I was social chair and it was the best job I ever had until this job and I ran a large social event every weekend along with a team.

[04:33] A few of my classmates and those included one big formal event every term and I used to jokingly call them my practice weddings because it was a couple of hundred people and an open bar and a band and a sit down dinner and some of them including hotel blocks and weekend getaways. And that was really my first foray into this world and saw how unbelievably inefficient it was. Where I would have to find venues or caterers and would pick up the phone and start calling. Because you couldn't find any information online. And I'd call some of the hotels and they would say, oh, thanks for your interest, you have to talk to Sherry, our events manager. It's like, okay, well can I talk to her while she's on vacation? And she won't be back for another week and saying, well, I haven't done this before. Can you just tell me quickly if this is a $5,000 thing or a $50,000 thing because I really don't know and no one could give you that information.

[05:19] And that's really what we're trying to bring this sort of technology bent to it, the efficiency, the ease of use and upfront information that all of us have become very accustomed to and the rest of our lives when we book a plane ticket or a hotel, having that information at your fingertips that the wedding industry just hasn't evolved into yet. Uh, and I guess before we go too much further, we should really clarify this. So what you guys are, you're an online portal that people use, right? Yeah. We're an online planning service and so it's still very personalized because I don't think we'll ever get to a point with technology where people just want to push a button and have their wedding pop up. It's still a personalized experience where people have a lot of input there, but we're making it much more efficient again, where you can spend your time on those things that you are excited about and not just the things that have to get done.

[06:04] So couples get started with our online profile and they answer a series of questions really about their, their style, their budget, their priorities. It's not the like pie in the sky find your wedding style quiz of like, tell us your dream vision because I don't think as many people know. The answer to that is the wedding industry seems to think that they do. I talked to a lot of women in their early thirties have demanding jobs and they really put off, I think by a lot of the wedding industry, staying in the like, this is the most important thing that will ever happen to you. Tell me your dream, and there's a lot of women who are saying, I'm excited to get married, but this is not the most important thing that I will ever do. Um, so we stay away from that. We don't have a pinterest board upload or a, you know, tell us, paint us a picture of your dream wedding.

[06:47] It's much more of who are you and what do you guys do on the weekends and how much time do you have to spend planning? What are you most excited about, what are you willing to scale back on if needed? And then we're able to take that information and come back to couples with their budget. They are very curated, personalized vendor recommendations and uh, a monthly planning checklist of what they need to do when. And that's different than those sort of free templates out there because a lot of those things on there don't apply to you or maybe they're not in your budget and you really shouldn't even have to waste brain space considering those things. So that's what we do right up front. And then couples work with us throughout the process. Um, to really as, as much as they need us, they can schedule a video phone calls with us or call email chat or text unlimited times throughout the process. And then yeah, prior to the wedding we're pulling all those details together.

[07:34] Yeah, I think it's great and I think it's awesome where, you know, people there, they're able to kind of plan on their, you know, their time. Right. And when they have it, like I even know like if I'm trying to schedule client stuff with like planners or whatever, and they'll be like, well, you know, we can meet from like 11 to one on Tuesday or after seven on Friday or something. And I'm like, even the, I can't do that. And let alone like the couple were having this service I think is awesome because it really does allow that flexibility that I think like most people want nowadays. You know, I just had a bride a contact, it was like 11, 15 night before last, you know, she's like, Hey, this is, you know,

[08:14] this is what I'm afraid I need to talk now. Yeah, yeah. You're totally right. And I think that we as an industry need to be more understanding of that because for a lot of us we think, well this is our full time job and so I want to talk to you during work hours so that I can go have my personal life. Well, everyone else has a fulltime job in wedding planning is happening during their personal life. And so with those video phone calls, that couple schedule with us, we offer 7:00 AM slots. We offer eight PM slots. That unlimited communication. You can text us on a Saturday morning when you're in the depths of wedding planning, when that's when you have a couple of hours to make some progress on that and you're getting stuck on a few things. You can fire off a few text messages and we'll respond.

[08:48] Yeah, because I didn't know that. Like if I'm talking with couples, like even though it might be 7:00 night or whatever am, I will ping back and forth five times and then

[08:56] I won't hear from him for another two days because that was the time. That was the time that they had to do wedding planning and then they have to get back to their jobs and the rest of their life and yeah, we noticed that too. They'll always be a flurry of activity and then we won't hear from people for a few weeks and then they'll pop up again and be like, okay, so you, you have a little bit more time in your schedule or some calendar time blocked off today. Awesome. So, um, so you kind of view, you were planning the events in business school. Talk about Kinda your background because I had pulled up the site and I was looking at you. You seem very knowledgeable and the you of business background and so, so talking about Kinda like your background schooling and kind of how, how you became who you are.

[09:31] Yeah. My background's in finance, uh, originally. So I studied business undergrad and spent a few years in the banking industry out of Undergrad and then went to business school at Dartmouth and came out to Seattle originally for a finance job with Amazon. So not exactly a ton of overlap there, but spent a few years that Amazon and sort of had this idea in the back of my mind for some time and, and got into the wedding industry originally as many people do, is kind of a side business of nights and weekends while working full time and started out as a traditional wedding planner relate to learn the ropes, meet vendors, work with couples throughout the process and really understand what about this industry was working for couples, what wasn't and where people could potentially need support. So I started a day of coordination business originally and worked with about 30 couples prior to launching this business in its current form.

[10:22] Yeah. I think it's fascinating. I'm the backgrounds that people have kind of in their previous lives before they, you know, what you learned and kind of what gets added onto you as you go. And so like, you know, obviously like Amazon and finance and you know, specific things and planning and you know, um, a efficiency, uh, either. What kinds of skills did you learn that you are now bringing to, to ever leave? I think I can build people up pretty mean excel budget, uh, so that's probably the easiest answer there, uh, to say that's the part that I don't think anyone likes about planning their wedding and we can do that first and foremost when we go through their profile and that's actually where we always start to say, okay, let's kind of Orient Ourselves here of what are we working with. We need to understand this before we kind of hand select vendors, but that's probably the part that I totally geek out on.

[11:10] And uh, we try to make it so that you can't really even figure out how complicated it is in the background so that you're seeing kind of the front tabs that make sense and clearly lay everything out with a bunch of hidden tabs with formulas that hopefully no one ever finds because that would be, that's the scary part that no one ever needs to see how the sausage is made a. was it tough kind of been putting all that together and figuring all that out. I mean, or did you just kind of come naturally to you that. No, I mean it took some time certainly and that's where that kind of initial expertise in the wedding industry certainly helped to say what are these reasonable expectations. One of the things that sort of pushed me over the edge and wanting to start this business was I was going through one of the many directory sites out there and you know, for the wedding pros out there, we all know that they make their money off paid advertising but they create all this sort of fluff content to drive people to their paid advertising.

[12:02] And a lot of that fluff content is download your free budget template here. But the problem is obviously it's free. I mean you have some sense that like they're doing this in their own best interest, but the problem is they just sort of assume everyone is the same. And I had a time where I was kind of breaking down one of those budget templates and thinking, okay, how do they do this? What categories are our most important? And I was playing around with it and I typed into a $20,000 wedding budget and it broke it down a certain way. And then I said, okay, well just for fun, I'm going to type in $100,000 budget and see how they break it down. And it was just everything in the $25,000 budget multiplied by four. It was like, I got to start this business, this is absolutely absurd.

[12:40] It was the $25,000 budget, you have $50 for the flower girls, flower pedals, right? Well, in $100,000 when you have $200, that's a fixed cost. That is not something that like needs to be adjusted based on your guest count or based on your budget. And so it was seeing things like that in the industry that really kind of riles me up and pushed me over the edge and wanting to create something better. But to answer your original question, I would say it's probably that finance background. And that gets me excited about those things. Yeah. So the, it goes, uh, we, uh, when we were planning our wedding, we sign up for the, not to like because we needed a website so people could register whatever. And um, yeah, like they had all these timelines and things and you know, they're like, oh wait, you know, four months out you need.

[13:23] And I'm like, we do, you know, when it's not right, it's not relevant and it's a perfectly fine jumping off point. Now if you've got engaged last week, it's a perfectly fine place to sort of Orient Yourself. But one example on that that really reminds me that like we're bringing value to couples is we had a couple that we were working with just recently and they had this beautiful outdoor like Brunch Garden party wedding and the bride texted us a few weeks before the wedding and she said, I'm looking through the checklist on the knot. And they asked, uh, you know, they have these things on there about like custom lighting schemes. So we go back to her and say a couple things here. Like one, don't look at the knots generic checklist too, because this is giving you like a panic attack a few weeks before your wedding. But let's talk this through.

[14:07] So custom lighting, you haven't crunched wedding, it will be light out. There is no custom lighting scheme here and that's the thing that we don't even want you to see if it doesn't apply to you because it just gives everyone this sort of like Fomo, anxiety. Um, and that's what we try to talk couples out of to say, if you're really excited about having a photo booth, let's make space in your budget for that and we will make it happen, but we're not going to put it on there. If you're saying, well, my last friends who got married had one. Is that something that I'm supposed to have instead of sort of divvying up the budget into a bunch of little things that you're going to do kind of halfway. Let's talk about what's most important to you and go all in on a couple of things. But those generic templates I think give everyone that's like they leave you with the gimmes they make you think that you have to have absolutely everything and they're not really that to people's expectations.

[14:54] Yeah. I think that's actually a good point that people either look at their friends and say, well what did they have? I need to have that or what did they not have? And I have to not have that. I've do that everyday with video where people have people that did, oh my friend didn't do video or all my friends did video, but like, yeah, really kind of customizing it for them and kind of their preferences and stuff which like I think even couples, you know what, when they start planning don't realize like what they really care about until it's time to kind of, you know what I mean? And that's what we try to get people to stop and pause and when they're completing that profile, the answer those questions before they see anything. And I will tell you that most of the time we, we ask all couples to select their top three things.

[15:36] What are we going to go all in on and what are the three things that you could be willing to scale back on if needed, and the secret is everyone will have to scale back on something. I mean you could have a million dollar budget and at some point you will hit a breaking point to say, okay, we've hit our limit, we got to ratchet down the fireworks or something. So. But most people will come back with those surveys and a lot of people, one of the things we're willing to cut back on his stationary, we sometimes have couples who want to go all in and we have love recommending the high end boutiques where you can go in and touch and feel everything and work with someone to customize it. But for a lot of couples they've gotten used to receiving safe the dates over email for example, or relatively.

[16:10] I'm just sort of straightforward, nicely designed, nice paper stock, but nothing crazy elaborate and that's a perfect example to say, okay, then we're going to adjust the budget accordingly. We're going to recommend you to really high quality vendors, maybe like a minted online that will be perfectly sufficient. It'll give you a good option, but we're not going to send you to a stationary store where you come out of there going, oh my God, I need double envelopes. I need an envelope liner. I need to hire a calligrapher if that's what you want, we'll make money in the budget for that, but we don't want you to even know that those things exist. If it's not a priority to you, let's make those decisions first and then you're never tempted to overspend. Yeah, I actually think that that's, uh, that's great. I think that's a really smart way to look at that.

[16:50] Um, so talk about, um, so you were doing the wedding planning either you have this brewing, so how did that kind of transition work from, you know, onsite planner to this online portal? Yeah, there was a little bit of an overlap because with the wedding industry, there is such a long lead time. So as I mentioned, we launched in January of this year, but even this last summer I still had another dozen or so weddings that I was seeing through the whole process and those couples, you know, their experience didn't change at all. We were still meeting in person and doing sort of the traditional model to get them over the finish line. Um, but there was a little bit of overlap there just given with how long things take to get going because when we launched it was sort of busy engagement season so some of the couples that were hiring ever lay in its current form are getting married this year, but most of them, especially the bookings we're getting now are for next spring and summer as similarly with you. Uh, and so then, um, what was kind of the reaction when you launched and what kind of, did you feel like it was warmly

[17:50] accepted? I mean, what, what was that experience kind of like?

[17:52] I think it depends entirely on who we ask. So there's a couple of different camps and I think wedding vendors get this immediately and they think it's a cool concept to say when we recommend couples to you, they'll understand what your service costs, we'll make sure that we're only sending them to you because they can afford you. And so our intention there is to really be a good service for vendors just to give you high quality leads. We don't charge for anything like that. We do not monetize any side of the business other than the couples. Um, so that allows us to stay very impartial and say we're recommending people to you because you do great work, not for any other reason. And so I think vendors get it immediately. And with couples, it's very interesting. Married couples, whether it's friends of mine or friends of friends or our team members, they get it immediately and say, Oh my God, I love this idea.

[18:41] Yes, I would have used it. Yes, I would have paid money for it. I wish this had existed when I got married and I will say that there's been a little bit of a little bit of a challenge in convincing like newly engaged couples. And what's really interesting with that is to see now that we're, we're really taking off and seeing this volume of who's coming in the door at what stage of planning to couples find this most valuable. And when we had launched my initial hypothesis and hope was that when I saw you in January at all, the big wedding shows that people are going to get all our marketing material and run home and sign up for this and think, oh, this is perfect. This is exactly what we needed. And that didn't happen. A lot of those people popped up a few months later to say, okay, well we went to the wedding show.

[19:20] This was great. We have some decisions to make. But a lot of the ethos and very early stages of planning from couples that we talked to is still how hard could this possibly be? Um, and I think, you know, you know, the reputation in the industry, you know, you have friends who said, oh, it was stressful, it was overwhelming, it was time consuming, but I think all of us think that we're like a little better, faster, smarter than everybody else out there and think, okay, well we'll figure it out. We won't let it take that long, we won't overspend. And then you get a few months into the planning process and realize that, like I said, you absolutely can do this yourself, but it could easily pay for itself to outsource some expert help along the way. So to answer your question, I think it Kinda depends on who you ask. And our customers of course, who are newly engaged couples, most of them are signing up a few months into their engagement. We would love it if they were coming in the door, you know, they get engaged and run home and sign up with us. Um, but I think it usually takes them a few weeks or months to realize they could use some help.

[20:15] Yeah, I do think a lot of different things in terms of wedding do come from like not either like regret or like realization a few months down the line. Um, because I do think that we want to think that we are, like you said the best of everything or could kind of figure that out and you know, we constantly have to tell our couples, you know, for video, like, you know, we've done this a lot, you know, why you haven't. And that's fine, you know like people I think like and especially like vendors think take it for granted. Like what they know and they assume that like couples know that like are a couple on Saturday, you know, like we're, we're all set up for them. Like to go cut the cake and like they don't know what knife to use or what, you know, like obviously like oh well it's either use a knife and then you use the thing to dig the thing out. But like they don't know that. And like that's like point. Oh one percent of the wedding. Like how to stand. They cut the cake. Like let alone all these other things that like people assume that couples now or don't and so yeah, I think like um, whether it takes them like day one or a couple months and like I do think it's important that you get people and hopefully they can get on before it's too late and they realize, you know, that they do need some help.

[21:31] Yeah. And I think most of those couples who, and we can tell you that they'll create a profile one week and they'll, they'll sign up two months later or so because it is a big decision and it is a long process for a lot of couples. And so I think in many cases they're, they're becoming aware of us going out and seeing what else they can do on their own. And with any other service I probably would do the same thing to say, good to know. I'm going to kind of keep that in my back pocket that's there. If we need it, I'm going to go give it a shot myself, see how far I can get. And then ultimately maybe come back to that pro when I realized how time consuming that process might be.

[22:05] Yeah. Um, so it sounds to me, cause you know, when this kind of came about and I think we connected online or on instagram or something and then I met you and I was like, oh, like this is like your real and these are real people and this is a real service and we're doing this, you know, it seems to me like with inquiries and stuff, like you run this like anybody would like a wedding. Like if I get emails from people and then like, you know, you're trying to fall back and stuff. Like you run it that way like you did when you were a wedding planner. Like where you're approaching it that way.

[22:33] Do we do. Because I do think it's important that there's a face of the company and the people know that these are real people. Um, when I had started kind of early stages of ideas of this business, I was kind of mapping out, okay, how far could we get with like what the startup world calls a minimum viable product? Like what can we get out there to just validate that this is going to work for couples? And what we do right now is when you complete that profile and you hit submit, we say we'll be back in touch within three days with your budget, your checklist, and all your vendor recommendations. And I had come into this business initially thinking if we could spend the money, we can automate all of that. You just click the button and everything pops up immediately. And what's been really interesting in going this path that's much more economical and kind of conservative, is that the feedback that we've gotten from a lot of people is that they like that it's actually people building that they don't mind waiting three days to say we're a team of wedding planning experts who actually know these vendors and we're going to say, okay, you're going to be a great fit for your really going to like read.

[23:29] You are going to be a great fit for this photographer. This venue is going to be perfect for your style. Um, I do think longer term as we scale to other markets will try to bring some efficiencies to that. And certainly we want to value getting customers their information as fast as possible. But I think that's a big part of this because it's such an important event to people. It's such a personal experience. They do want to know that we are real people behind it. And um, you know, these are the trusted relationships that we have that we're sharing with them. And so I think that's actually worked out sort of, well that we didn't overbuild on the tech side too early.

[24:01] Um, so kind of back to school and everything. So like this knowledge that you have in, in, in going into business was like what, what was your motivation for going to school or what was your dream or was it to work at financing Amazon or what was your initial kind of drink?

[24:18] My childhood dream was to work at a bank, um, so that I was able to do out of college and I'm really kind of ridiculous childhood dream. I don't think I ever want it to be like a dolphin trainer or a firefighter or a what are the other popular professional astronaut, things like that. Yeah, I'm big into monopoly and, and had my longterm vision of working at a bank, so not a lot of overlap there. Um, and like I said, did that out of college, but I did go to business school with the intention of returning to that world. And then as I think has become so popular in the last minute years, got sort of more interested in the tech world and the speed with which things move there outside of more kind of traditional finance, which is a little bit more of like, come and follow the rules, do what you're told and you'll get promoted and if you stick it out long enough you'll be reasonably successful and the tech world is a little bit more compelling and that you can take things apart and figure out how to make them better and things move a lot faster.

[25:15] And so that was sort of my, my foray into Amazon and in that space. And then my kind of ongoing interest in the event planning space along with the ethos I think at the tech world was what brought me here.

[25:27] Was it scary to leave Amazon

[25:30] a little? A little. And I think with any business, whether it's, you know, you're planning to run it as a side business or a small business or a startup that you're planning to scale. I mean there's always good and bad things about it. Um, it's funny talking to friends who are still there of like, yeah, I missed the highly subsidized health insurance and regular paycheck and Stock and Oh yeah, there's all sorts of great things about having a, a traditional job, um, but there's also all sorts of challenging things to have sitting there and saying, well, if this was really my thing, this is how I would do it. Um, and I think there's no substitute for how much interest in passion you can bring to something that you feel like you really have a stake in. And so I looked at at that job and any other kind of similar roles and thinking, how far can I get in a job that my heart and soul isn't in?

[26:18] What was it about weddings that kind of attracted you in the first place?

[26:22] Yeah, I think this is a space that's so interesting. It's so important. It's so expensive and stressful and I think it was sort of a twofold perspective. One from the couple's perspective to say this is important. This is a high stakes situation for people. Um, and then from the business side to say this is a massively underserved market, there's absolutely no reason that there should be the immediate reaction when you ask someone how's wedding planning going? And it's an immediate sort of eye roll and uh, it's going okay, we found a photographer, but that took much longer than I thought and I had no idea that everything costs as much money and that sort of a response. Um, so it was sort of twofold I think from, yeah, thinking that we could help couples and also from a business opportunity to say none of us are willing to put up with is sort of the inefficiency in any other part of our lives.

[27:08] I liken it to booking a hotel. Like if you had to spend one night in Chicago and you had to call Hilton and Marriott and they said, give us a call, tell us like, what do you want for your one night in Chicago? Tell us your vision, what's it going to be like? And you're like, I don't care. Like, I just need a hotel in Chicago for one night and I need to know exactly what it costs and I need to know it right now and I just want to book it. And I think for some people there's certain aspects of wedding planning where they do want to have that conversation. They want to talk about their vision, they really care about that sort of thing. Um, and those are usually two or three important things. Everything else to them just needs to get done.

[27:41] And I don't think that the industry really appreciates that. Like I mentioned, we still have this sort of ethos as a larger industry of like, Oh, you must have dreamed about this your entire life. You must be okay spending a year of your life planning this because it's the most important thing that will ever happen to you. And when we're talking to to customers or in user testing or market research, everyone we're talking to is saying, please build something where we can move through this process faster where I don't have to pick up the phone where I have pricing transparency and can just book people quickly. Um, so that's really what we're moving towards.

[28:12] Yeah. And it's funny because, yeah, even like with some of my couples, some of them like really care about like their video and it's like really important. And then some people it's like, okay, we've got that. Like were, you know, and like it's great. Like it's all, it's all shapes and sizes. You just need to be. Yeah, really aware of that. That some people, like I send them. I remember, um, we did, uh, a bar Mitzvah video a couple of years ago and I had really thought like, oh, this is going to be like our new, we're really going to like get into this market. And uh, you know, we send them the video and uh, you know, I was like, I didn't know, um, you know, it was any good. I had never done one and never heard back, never heard back and never heard back. But their, their planner that they had done the, everything kind of kept referring other couples to me. And so I finally reached out to her and I said, I'm sitting there, you know, do you know, like, did they, like, she is like, oh yeah, but like they next thing, you know, onto the next thing. Like that was, that was that day. But, you know, meanwhile me, I'm sitting here thinking like, well this is the most important thing. Like you said, like,

[29:11] right, right. And you're probably sitting there thinking, oh my God, they must have hated it. Like why didn't they call me and just say this is the best thing we've ever seen. And yeah, they probably really liked it. It obviously was well done and it was sort of a check the box and, and moved on. And I think everyone has those couple things that they care about. And the couple of things that they really don't, and it's interesting seeing people's profiles of what people choose to select as those top three in the bottom three. And there's certainly trends there, but everybody is different. And so we're always really interested to see what people select their. And I know what my opinion be, but that's not relevant. And so we don't have to come into those conversations without lens to say, Oh, of course this is the one thing that you're passionate about.

[29:49] It's like, you know, we have couples who even on a, you know, kind of average budget might spend five or $6,000 on plurals and they do big installations and it looks spectacular because that's what they chose to really double down on. And then we've had couples who, we've asked about that on our check in calls of light, have you booked up floors? They're like, we're not going to have a florist snow flowers like the bride's not gonna have a flower, is the bridesmaids are going to have to. We're just not doing flowers. I'm like, okay, fine. So anything works in that world. Um, but it's just kind of being open to letting people make those, those decisions.

[30:21] So you were talking to me about like a user, a user experience like market research and like these are things that like I don't hear a lot when I'm talking to other wedding vendors. Do you want me to elaborate on that a little bit or kind of like using your knowledge

[30:35] and I think that's just sort of a little bit of my background that I can bring to this business. Um, and that's not a lot of things that come up in the wedding industry a lot. I think we've over indexed as an industry on very talented creative people who are very, very good at running their kind of passion area and what they're talented at. But I think that's a challenge for a lot of wedding vendors because I think most people get into this business for a particular passion to say I love photography. Um, but there's a lot of things about running a business that are not just getting to is, you know, you know, what percentage of time you're actually spent filming or editing or what you really care about and how much of it is just running a business that you have to run on. And I think I'm sort of on the other extreme to say I don't really have any marketable talents. I can't arrange flowers. I can't take photos, but I can run a business that's talking about those things,

[31:23] uh, because I feel the same way. You know, like I've always said like, I don't know if I'm like the most talented videographer in the world, but like I know that I can give you like an eight class, you know, experience and like be really, you know, do the best that we can and you'll give you a good customer service. And I do think like doing this podcast, even in like talking to different vendors and researching different companies and things and people run their businesses like very differently and they're, like you said, there's a lot more like this passion of like, Oh, I want to be a forest versus like, oh, I want to run a successful company. So it's a tough balance.

[31:57] There's definitely a balance there. And, and I think as an industry, the one thing that we don't do particularly well for our customers is that sort of customer service side of, um, you know, having couples have to wait on response times and things like that. Or even just the transparency in pricing. I do think that the industry for a number of reasons has sort of operated apart from the way a lot of other industries operate in. I could talk forever on my hypotheses as to why that is, but for a number of reasons that the industry sort of gets away with things that I don't think customers tolerate in other industries. And unfortunately, I think that leads to a lot of frustration on the customer side to say, I'm not allowed to wait three days to respond to an email at work. Why is this my experience when I'm looking to hire someone like I want to give you my money, can you respond faster?

[32:44] Or can you be more upfront about pricing and things like that. And I know that's always kind of a pet peeve with vendors to say I'm kind of turned off when people ask about pricing upfront. Obviously this is an art and it's my passion and things and I do think there's a big disconnect between, well, if that's what the customer wants, that's what you need to. You need to give them that transparency. You need to give them that information. They need to make informed decisions. Whether or not you think that that's kind of your ideal state. And I think we're seeing that with a lot of people moving towards Dj's I think have done the best job of this, of having like an online availability check to say let's not even waste our time emailing back and forth and trying to set up a phone call if I am already booked for your wedding date. Um, so I think we're moving in that direction in kind of fits and starts. But that's definitely what we're trying to, to bring to this, to bring a lot more of that efficiency and customer experience.

[33:32] Yeah. There's nothing more frustrating for me than listening to the debate of people saying that, oh, we don't need to put pricing on our website. And I, you know, I went to the wedding Mba last year and I sat for however it was like hour and a half forum or whatever role they debated putting the price on the site versus not. And I, I, you will never convince me that at least not having a range on your site, I'm studying ranges. Is, is worse that I think that ideally you would have your packages. I mean that's, I just have our packages out there better is to put a range and then worse is to just have a starting at, which I think is also terrifying for couples because if you started in that $3,500, so what does that mean? That could be, I get one percent of whatever you're selling you, you will never convince me of that.

[34:19] And I do think it's like so interesting. Like you said, like you go on Expedia, I need to book a hotel and there's, you know, 10,000 different places and these are the, this is the exact price for your day. Then this time and all these things. And then yeah, you'd go like these wedding websites, you have vendors of any kind and like there'll be no pricing at all or like, oh, just email me for information or like the best wine. Uh, I see as like email us and we'll send you our pricing guide. Well, I don't want to do that because then you're going to have my email and then you're going to follow up with me 10,000 times and I might not even have been able to afford you in the first place.

[34:51] Right? And that's something that I similarly don't understand and I think it's perfectly fine for the industry to continue debating and I know people feel very passionate about this in one way or another, but everyone we talked to an end user testing there or customer interview says please build something, right, don't have to call someone. And so I, I do worry that that might be an outdated way of thinking to say, and I think it comes from the place that a lot of vendors think if I can get you on the phone, I can convince you because I know what I'm talking. And they do. They know what they're talking about there. They run successful businesses, but so many consumers just aren't interested in even getting that far. Um, so yes, we are a big proponent of pricing transparency and letting people kind of make informed decisions with that information at their fingertips and I suspect that the industry will continue going in that direction.

[35:36] When I had started the business as that day of coordination business that I had mentioned earlier, I had a function on there that it was one flat rate and it was like no questions asked. It had to be in the greater Seattle area, but assuming okay, it's gonna be a 14 or 16 hour day, you know that going in and, and with a set radius you have some expectation of how long of a day it will be, how long the drive will be. And then I had one flat rate, no questions asked in an online booking system and of the 30 or so couples that I worked with over that process, like for booked me just sight unseen. They never emailed, we never had a phone call. I just got an email saying okay, you're booked for August fourth. It's like okay great. And I think so many people are surprised by that, especially for something like a wedding planner that it does seem like somebody you have to click with. But I think for the more established vendors, once you have tons of reviews to vouch for, you have some testimonials on your site, you have a large portfolio of your previous work for those couples that that's something that they want. But maybe it isn't the one thing they really care about. Like we definitely want a good videographer. You have great testimonials, you have your pricing package. Let's go. This is one thing off my list.

[36:38] Yeah, no, I agree. I mean, I, I always tell couples it's up to them however they want to play on and I can do it, you know, I'd rather drive to a meeting tonight. I had the phone call last night. Sometimes it's just email, but like, yeah, you'll never convince me that not having a pricing is um, uh, and just one last thought on this and then we'll continue. I people thinking that like, oh, um, but I get so many more inquiries when I don't have my pricing listed. But then it's like none of those pan out, you know, if you just wanted to spend all day responding to you,

[37:09] how well, how many of them, if you're looking at your website metrics, how many of, how many users bounce, like how many people land on your site, don't quickly find a price and immediately move on and my guess is a lot of people aren't measuring that number. And then the second thing is how many inquiries are you were like, inquiries is not the metric that we're working towards saying I had a thousand inquiries. This here doesn't translate into any money. So I suspect people would have a, be running a more efficient business if they were more transparent about that information.

[37:38] Um, so launching January, so now you're kind of like, we've got through parish part of the, you know, clients, you know, kind of this first summer now moving it like what is the experience been like so far? What are you learning whether a couples you know, enjoying.

[37:53] Yeah. It's been a great experience so far and we've gotten really positive feedback from the couples who have already had their wedding day. We have a number of them coming up this fall, so great to get input from them. Um, and some of the ones we had this early spring and summer were where user testing Beta testers and things that we're able to give us kind of rapid feedback on a lot of that so we can ensure that all our customers who were getting married this summer, this past summer, we had worked out all the kinks and everything throughout that process. So really positive feedback. So far. I'm, like I said, I think once couples land with us, they're very happy to have that ongoing support. It's the biggest challenge I think for us is just helping couples sort of understand what they're, what the roadmap looks like over the next couple of months and how we can provide some support and then what their other options are there.

[38:40] And sometimes we do get inquiries from people who we refer to full service wedding planners to say, you have the budget for this. You have the design needs and the complexity where this is really going to be money well spent and we aren't the right service for you. Or we get inquiries from people. Sometimes we'll get questions to say what's the smallest budget you can work on? And we'll say anything like, we're not going to to limit anyone who can sign up for us, but I also understand that our fee of $750 is a pretty big part of your budget if you're working under $10,000 or so. Um, so we'll get inquiries from couples too who say they want to use our service but just can't quite make it work in their budget and you know, we offer a free one hour phone call when people sign up just through their profile.

[39:21] They don't have to pay or anything like that. Um, and sometimes we hop on those calls and say, we'll give you an hour's worth of free wedding planning advice and I think you should save your $750 so that you can buy a bunch of beer and wine at Costco. Like, this is not the area that you should be spending your money on, so we're not the right service for everyone, but I think for a lot of people somewhere in the middle there and we can be a really a really helpful provider throughout that process. Um, yeah. And I've gotten a lot of good feedback from people who've gone through the process so far and as well as those in the early stages of planning for next summer weddings.

[39:54] Yeah. I think, uh, you know, being very self aware of where, you know, all vendor types, you know, where you are in terms of like that. Like I know what kind of product we provide versus like you said, you know, you can refer up or down or say it's not the right fit. But I do think having that self awareness in any business but especially like weddings where it is like a very personal thing for, you know, some clients, I think it's really important. Um, so yeah, when people get on the site you have kind of a team of people that help talk to them and talking about kind of how that structure works and if, if I, if I'm reading it, if I'm on the site now and if I'm working on this at work,

[40:35] yeah, that's right. So they would get started with our profile and they can kind of poke around the site and learn about what we do and see previous weddings and go through photos of previous couples. And then that first really call to action would be creating that profile. And like I mentioned, that's the opportunity to say what do you care about, what are you most excited about, what's your style? And then when they finished that profile, they have the opportunity to immediately sign up with us and that's when we say we'll get everything back to you custom built within three days. Or they can schedule that free one hour phone call with us. And sometimes those phone calls are just questions about how exactly does your service work? What about this, what about this? And some of it is, you know, can you give me real planning help, do you know, a good photographer in this price range, that sort of thing.

[41:18] Uh, so then once they're signed up, I'm talking about that because I just want to make sure we kind of walk through.

[41:24] Yeah. So we immediately get to work, um, and, and get back to them with all their personalized planning tools within those three days. And then they have the opportunity to start scheduling video, check in calls with us. And so that's the time where we would open all those documents together, get on a video call and say, okay, let's go through this. What did you think of those venue recommendations? Or if they already have a venue photographer or cater or recommendations and start going through the process, they can sort of update us on where things stand and we can jump in with advice or questions or like, have you thought about this? Have you talked to this person yet? Those sorts of things. So a lot of times we're problem solving a lot of things on those calls. And then we're sending out an email afterwards saying, here's the action items we have from that call, we have a few things that we need to follow up with you on and then here are kind of our recommended next steps for where you should spend your planning time.

[42:09] And so if I sign up on there and I get matched with whoever, then you kind of work with that person throughout. Is that how that works?

[42:18] Yeah. So let's say for videography and if a couple had the budget for that, they wanted a videographer, we would recommend two or three videographers for them because we know they still want to make that final decision. We're not going to say here's your videographer. It's still a pretty personal, um, personal decision. They want to make sure that they liked their vendors. So we're really filtering the universe down from, if you Google Seattle videographers from the thousands of hits, you're going to get down to the, here are the two or three that we know really well. We trust them, they do great work. We've worked with them before. They are in your budget. We've built your budget in such a way that you can afford this here, the ones that we recommend reaching out to and then they're still having the conversation with you as another vendor because if we get, we can be involved, but sometimes it's too many cooks in the kitchen and sometimes the two of you can sort of hash it out easier. Um, but then we can be looped back into the process at any time. And then prior to the wedding, once they tell us that they fucked, you were reaching out to you to say, here's the timeline, here's the floor plan, here's all the details that you need.

[43:13] Yeah, I love this. I had planned her client a conference, phone calls not, don't like that. Um, and so, but then in terms of like, you guys know from Everly, so if I'm working with you, it's you that I see kind of throughout

[43:28] the check ins. That's right. That's right. So we know that that's kind of a big thing for people. And so what will. We do have a team of wedding planning pros. We know that it's nice to be able to have a call with someone consistently throughout the process and so once you're talking to somebody on those initial calls, that can be your goto person throughout the process for those video calls for things like text messages and chat messages. If it's something that someone can respond to really quickly to say how much does this cost, do I need this will respond immediately, um, based on kind of whoever is available. But for those sort of things like video calls, I think it's nice to be able to build up a rapport with someone, especially when you get into things if like, remember that whole thing I explained about my parents. I don't want to have to get into this again. That sort of thing. It's nice to have some consistency. Yes.

[44:13] Insights to have kind of a familiar face along the way. Uh, and so then I was reading on the site too, so like if somebody thought that they needed like an actual day, a person, then you guys work, right? You have preferred.

[44:24] That's right, yeah. So our process sort of ends a little bit before the wedding. It can be two days before if needed. Can we try to wrap everything up a few weeks beforehand so everyone feels comfortable and not stressed, but we can be as involved as we need to be up to the wedding day and then some of our couples do choose to hire a day of coordinator and some don't. We don't require it as part of our package and the interest of keeping prices as low as possible because not everyone needs it or there's sort of three different approaches. Your venue may have a kind of baked in day of coordinator that you've already paid for and we don't want you paying for that twice. Um, your budget might not allow for it, in which case we'll say, all right, you have to designate a friend or family member to be the goto person.

[45:04] Vendors are going to have that person's phone number. Someone is going to be the point person that's not you or your mom. Um, or they can hire a, what we call our partner coordinators. And those are coordinators who are wedding planners and the Greater Pacific northwest wedding market and they're running their own independent businesses the same way a photographer's running an independent business. Um, but we do have partnerships with them that basically means we've had the conversation to say, look, we're going to do all the prep work. You don't have to do the timelines, the floorplans confirm any of the details. If all that's done and you get this packet three weeks ahead of time and you show up and just follow the directions, would you be willing to give our couples of discount? And so the cup, the coordinators that we refer, give about 50 percent off to Everly couples to say they know that by the time they show up, everything is going to be thought through. It's gonna be an easy day and they're willing to give pretty big discounts there. So that's how we solve for that day of, um, it kind of depends on what the couple needs, what their budget can accommodate and sort of the complexity of the day on what we would recommend.

[46:07] Perfect. Uh, and so then in terms of, uh, you know, you guys started in Seattle, like you said, you're a, I think you'd said off Mike at the beginning, you know, you're expanding now of to the San Juans and out to Washington. So talking about kind of that future vision and where you kind of see this going in the next five years.

[46:24] Yeah, we are in the kind of larger Pacific northwest market and honestly we've expanded to sort of opportunistically originally based on couples desires to look at other markets. So we have a number of couples next summer who were getting married in the San Juan Islands in Victoria. I'm a few hours east of Seattle and so our future plans are really a market by market rollout because there's so many vendors that are very local. We do partner with national brands when we can to do anything online. Like I mentioned earlier, we have a partnership with them where our couples get 25 percent off and that can be a really good option. And so when we go to a different city that still relevant, uh, but so many vendors are local. I'm from caterers to photographers, anything like that, and so we'll be looking to expand into Nova city by city rollout. Why?

[47:10] I think it's a great idea. I felt that it was a good idea, um, when I first heard about it and when I met you back in January. I think especially nowadays with the way that I see couples moving and clients and, you know, just like the millennial or whatever you want to call it, but I think it's a good idea. I think, um, you know, it's a good even roll out

[47:30] to other cities I think is really smart, you know, I wish I would have thought of it, but no, I really appreciate it and I think it's good to kind of get your face behind, you know, in, in a voice in this is who we are and these are real people and we're going to kind of help you work through that. So I really appreciate you coming in today and taking part in the podcast. If people want to learn more about your company and your services, what you guys do, what would you have them check out?

[47:54] Yeah, thanks so much for having me and for anyone interested, uh, would encourage them to go on our site, fill out their profile, and they can schedule a phone call with us and the website is

[48:05] and you guys were also on social media.

[48:07] Oh yes. We spent a ton of time on instagram, so come see us there too. Thank you. So @everlywedding.

[48:13] Perfect. Well this has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thank you so much. Thank you.

Markie Jones & Tiffany Matthews, Wink Wedding Collective

[00:09] Hey everybody, welcome to Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. My name is Reid with Best Made Videos®. We are a wedding videography company based out of West Seattle, Washington, and I'm here today with Markie and Tiffany of Wink Wedding Collective and I want to thank you guys so much for coming in today. Taking time early on a Sunday when we could be doing lots of other fun things to come in and talk and let you guys introduce yourselves and tell us who you are. What'd you guys do?

[00:34] Oh, okay. Wait, do I get to go first? Tiffany likes to throw me under the bus and put me on the stand right away. So I'm Marcie. I am one of the two lead photographers at Wink wedding collective. I also happened to own my own, my own business, Marquis Jones photography as well as I shoot boudoir when I'm not shooting weddings for. Give me a Wink Boudoir.

[00:58] Um, I love that name, right? It kind of all flowed in together. When we came up with Wink Wedding Collective and there was like, hey, this is cool, I can do this. So, oh my gosh, I'm about me. I didn't rehearse any of this, so I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to talk about. Um, I am currently engaged. I get married on October 31st, which is Halloween wedding, so I'm definitely not wearing white as dark as I can go. And I have two kids, eight and four and two very large dogs. My small average sized pit bull turned out to be 75 pounds and taller than my chocolate lab. So that's me

[01:42] and I'm Tiffany. So the other half of Wink, I am the enforcer. Essentially. Markie is the creative. I'm the enforcer and my other photography business outside of shooting weddings with Wink is Sashem photography named after my, five of my six kids. I have five girls and one boy. So my kids, Sam, Alaina, Shalan, Eliza and Madison, their initials together, created the word Sashem. So that's where I started. And basically mom of six wedding photographer. That's awesome. Yeah, just insanely busy.

[02:20] Yeah, right. I couldn't imagine we, uh, I was working with a photography team on Friday and they had two kids and I couldn't imagine this. We have no kids, so I couldn't imagine having any kids. Six. That's it. That's the enforcer. Yes. Awesome. Well thank you guys for coming in. Uh, why don't you tell us kind of what got you guys into photography. Maybe we will start with Tiffany and just kind of where that started and then, and then we'll move on from there.

[02:45] So my photography journey as they like to say, started because of those six kids and hideous school pictures. I thought after getting our kids' school pictures back one year, I'm like, I just spent lot of money and these are terrible. So I bought a camera and decided I was going to teach myself how to take pictures of my kids and I started taking pictures of my kids and after a year or so people started offering me money, which I could not believe. I was like, what? You want to pay me for this? Oh Wow. Okay, well this is interesting. So that led to getting a business license and you know, upgrading gear and lots of education and after a couple more years somebody said, will you shoot my wedding? And I was overeager and uneducated and had no idea what that entailed, but like all things in my life, I do nothing halfway.

[03:37] And I said, of course I can. She's not joking. She does nothing happen, nothing halfway. And I jumped in with both feet and I learned on the go and figured it out, which I don't recommend, but somehow things always seem to work out. And after a couple years of weddings I met up with Marcie, so she was actually our family photographer and I met her. I picked her because she had pink hair at the time. That is how we met. I took pictures of our kids and I needed somebody who was a dedicated second shooter for a wedding so that I had planned the following year and we joined up joined forces.

[04:17] And how about you Markie, how did you get into photography? My, uh, my story is a little more involved in that, which is kind of surprising since that was really long explanation there, Tiffany. Um, I actually had, I didn't want anything to do with photography. I was growing up. I was not artsy at all. I really just, it wasn't my thing, my mom was the super creative person and I was just like, nope, I'm going to go into medicine. Well, I went from being a straight a student in high school, graduating with honors and all of those fancy cords they used to give us. I don't know if they do that anymore, but I went to college and in the first quarter I had a d minus average. So my mom's bright idea was that she was going to go through the core college course catalog and she was going to find me a way to bring my grade up.

[05:17] So she puts me in a photography class because she just so happened to have a Pentax k 1000 that still worked from 1970 something. And that's what we needed for this college course. Well, I still barely graduated college, however it was because I was spending all of my time in the dark room editing photos and doing the, like, this was all by hand too. So this was super involved with the trying to burn and dodge and fancy stuff. So I still barely graduated. But um, I ended up with a degree in fine art film and from there my ex husband actually offered me up as a sports photographer, which I had no idea what I was doing. He hands me a canon rebel Xti, which was like, you know, oh, four megapixels was what I had and you know, the Nice Kit, 70 to 300 or whatever.

[06:21] And I shot a sports photography for a pop warner football team for two years with that camera before somebody decided, oh, we want you to shoot our family Christmas photos. And it was just from there. I was like, Oh yeah, sure I can do that. That was the, I look at that session and I still go, I can't believe they paid me. It was only $35. But oh my gosh, he wasn't worth it. So when I got divorced I decided that I was like, really gonna make this a thing and, and it kind of became my side hobby. So eventually it got to the point where I'm like, oh no, this is gonna end up being a full time Gig for me. And so right now I'm phasing out, I'm usually mechanical engineer nine to five, but I'm phasing that out to go into full time photography. So, and I just kind of ended up here. That's how it happened. It just kind of like one thing after another. I just ended up here. I got handed a camera 14 years ago and here we are attending. Here we are.

[07:27] Uh, and then Tiffany, you had said that you also have another family business? We do,

[07:32] we do, yes. My, uh, we own a business called rem flex. My Dad invented it, invented a product and automotive exhaust gasket about 20 years ago and they say they're retired but they're not really go away, won't. So yeah, they're, they're trying to phase out. My husband and I are taking that over so I spend a lot of time, you know, doing taxes and payroll and administering health insurance and non creative things.

[08:03] And then obviously the Wink is, is a great outlet for their creativity.

[08:07] It is, it is. And you've met all of those small business skills that I had that I had acquired before I started becoming a photographer. I think that's kind of what's made the difference for me in terms of actually making money because the small business side of being a photographer definitely cannot be overlooked. The importance of that.

[08:27] Yeah, I think that's true. I mean I joke with Dorothy, my wife a lot, but like if when the robots take over and edit video or whatever like this, you know, the tangible skills of running a business I think will always apply to various different fields. He and I joked about I'll just start like a moving company or something and then just kind of universal. Yeah.

[08:47] And how to find a client and market to them and meet their needs and pay your bills and your taxes. I mean those things are kind of so. Oh, the taxes.

[08:58] Um, so then how did you guys come together? You said that you needed her, that someone to do photos for your family. Yes.

[09:05] So I was specifically looking for somebody who was good at wrangling children because as I said, I have six of them and I found actually, yeah, I had actually just shot a, I'm a viking wedding of all things with.

[09:20] Oh, I think there were like eight groomsmen and eight bridesmaids and the drinking started at 6:00 AM when everybody got up and the flashing photos ended the reception. So there was that.

[09:36] But excuse me. Yeah. So we like when she was looking for somebody good at wrangling kids, one of the photographers that had worked with me for this Viking wedding, which was just a, it was kind of scary when you have eight very huge viking men that um, we weren't talking, we were talking mussels the size of my head and, but I apparently somehow managed to wrangle that entire wedding and they still tell me they loved me. So I obviously did something right. Yeah. I figured if you can handle vikings you can handle my six kids. Her six kids were much easier. Yeah. So very random. Yeah. I had posted in a photography for him that I was looking, you know, looking for a photographer of my own and people kind of throw their names in the hat and I looked everybody over and went with Marcie and that's how we met.

[10:36] And you said, so you were doing photography kind of on your own, needing a dedicated second and I do think that that's because I think photographers do it one of two ways, right? Either you find somebody new, a new second each time or work with kind of a collective of people collection that people or else then you find somebody and kind of partnered together, right?

[10:55] Yes. I think that's for me and my personality, I really am a planner. I really like knowing ahead of time who I'm working with, what their style is, whether I can depend on getting good images from them, how we're going to work together. She's such a

[11:13] planner that she doesn't actually trust my workflow, so I haven't all automated workflow for brides that everything goes out at a specific time leading up to the wedding and she's over here going three days before the email goes out. Did you send this email? I'm like, no, Tiffany, you're too soon.

[11:32] Never too soon.

[11:36] Um, so then when you guys joined forces, let's say it's like an avengers me that bright. Um, is that when you guys kind started either Wink or was that kind of an idea or how did that come about?

[11:46] We shot for one season. We did one season of just back and forth where I was her second, whenever she booked weddings as the primary and she was my second one. I booked weddings as a primary under our individual businesses. And at the end of that year we said this is working really well. And we were, we were talking one evening, I remember I was sitting on the couch and we're talking about an evening and we were talking about how we would love to have a collective and idea of not just to each other that we like to work with, but Dj's, florists, cake bakers, officiants people we've worked with that we trust so that when our couples come to us and say, Hey, I need a recommendation for fill in the blank, we can say, you know, with a lot of assurance, these are good vendors, these are quality vendors. We trust them, we've worked with them, we know they're going to show up the day of. And, and that's pretty much what our goal has been, you know, it's basically to network with vendors, the quality vendors that you can trust so we can give out those names and feel good about them. And so when did it kind of Wink kind of come into existence

[13:00] essentially on our one year wedding shooting together anniversary, however you'd say that. Um, so she actually, during the family session that I shot for her, she comments that she has this vintage Halloween wedding coming up on October 27th of that year and she's telling me about all of the decor and everything else and so I'm literally going, wait, wait, can I come shoot with you? And so I was the third photographer on that wedding because her older daughter was shooting with her for it. So it was basically one of those, it was essentially a trial and then it kind of evolved from there. But it was right around October of the following year that we went, hey, yeah, let's, let's do this. We came up with, um, we kept trying to figure out that that name, picking that name, that was like perfect because it's kind of easy when you do it for your own business, but when you're doing it for multiple businesses together, you're kind of going,

[13:57] oh, and we wanted something playful. Like, we thought that the tagline, we wanted a romantic photography for fun couples. That's who we want to service. We, we like the blue hair and the tattoo. The people who are creative either by choice or by hobby like craft people who are the artisans, the indie artists and you know, people who are also self employed, you know, people will understand and kind of step outside of the box. That's who we really liked to work with. So we were thinking what we want to word that is sort of playful and sort of fun, but also, you know, wedding related or you know, something like that. And so we were just tossing out words and I had said, well what about Wink, Wink Weddings? And Markie is like instantly said, I love it. That's it. Yeah, that's it.

[14:47] And then of course upon research we found that there is already a Wink Weddings on the other side of the country and said, so it was like, well that doesn't work. So we ended up with weak wedding collective because we were like, well we can add more vendors. We want to ask vendors to do that here we have everything you need. You just pick your people type of thing. And how many years ago is that now to. Was it two as too. Because for some reason we've kind of become Halloween wedding pros. We've shot a wedding on Halloween or just days before Halloween that is Halloween themed. That's true. It's upstairs, isn't it? Teaches October. So we're coming up on that again. So it's been two years. Yes.

[15:28] That's awesome. It's funny, I, we, I've only had one halloween wedding in my time, but it was awesome and it was like, you know, we got it on like offbeat bride or whatever, just because, you know, most of, most of the time our weddings are pretty like just, you know, good standard. Like it's, it's just different. It was like she had the black dress and it was like, um, you know, they have like skulls and say. I mean it was really cool. I mean they really, she spent like a whole day in that have decorated and it was awesome.

[15:55] Gosh, that's wonderful. Yeah. I said that's our goal and we're currently looking for that 20, 19 Halloween wedding. Twenty eight. Right. Come on guys. We've, we've had Victorian gothic halloween done. Uh, the very first one we worked together. Everything was 19 thirties, so they had flickering black and white, you know, monster movies and it was very cool. Yeah. And then we have mine on this and we have years this October 31st. So, and it's