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

Christine Byrd, DT Bridal Artistry

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 the West Seattle, Washington and I'm so excited to be joined today in person. Again, we're, we're doing a couple of these in person again. I like getting face to face with everybody. Christine Byrd with DT Bridal Artistry. Thank you so much for coming on. Introduce yourself. Tell us who you are and what you do. Yeah.

00:31 Thank you so much. My name is Christine. I am the owner and lead stylist of DT Bridal Artistry. We are a team of independent stylists that come to our brides for their convenience and comfort on their wedding days and trials.

00:48 Yeah, we were trying to, we were just talking off kind of off mic about we worked together earlier this summer with Melody and James and that was awesome. And she was stunning and it was such a kind of an easy day too, cause it was just her and him and they got ready in the same hotel room and you know, it was kind of different, but it was nice.

01:04 It was cute. It was beautiful. Just gorgeous.

01:07 Yeah, we have like two and a half hours to do photos. I was like, this is a lot, cause we didn't have like, you know, we didn't have a lot of bridal party or whatever. It was. Great. So talk to me about like how's your season going? Are you ready to be going into the fall?

01:20 Yeah, I mean season's been action packed. So 2019 was definitely successful for us. We've been up and running for about two years now, so, you know, we're just up on the uphill for the time going. And finally, you know, being here in Washington, we definitely have a down season for weddings. So we've been, you know, pushing to be more consistent through the fallen winter. But during these times we like to do a lot of bridal trials, so make sure that everybody's booking on time and are able to reserve their dates.

01:52 Yeah, that's the thing too, because I see a lot of people that post online. I mean, you obviously a recommend like having a trial with, you know, whoever [inaudible] talking about that. If someone isn't sure why or if they think we'll do I need the trial? [inaudible]

02:03 Yeah, trials are so important. I mean nowadays, thank goodness for Pinterest, there's so much inspiration, but you really kind of want to lock down and nail what kind of look you're going for. And we always recommend having a few different looks and styles. And trials are great to make sure that you have the comfort of knowing what you're going to get the day of. So yeah, that's why we kind of recommend doing trials before the weddings usually a couple months beforehand. That way we're able to kind of communicate via email and just make sure you're on the same page and make sure we're all on the same page.

02:40 And it's so funny cause my my wife Dorothy, when we got married, like she's so like I'm just kind of laissez Faire about some stuff and you know, even makeup, I mean she doesn't make up, but that was like such a process and flow going through like trials and stuff and trying to find somebody and I just couldn't believe that you know, it's, and not that she was like a syllabi, you know, it's trying to find the right look and right are this and the right, you know, if you're not used to kind of, you know, people don't really, aren't usually used to like putting on mountains.

03:08 Totally not in all honesty here in Washington too, we do have a more natural dynamic of brides, which is great. But every once in a while we definitely get a glam bride and that's always exciting to kind of mix it up. But definitely nailing down your glam squad is high priority. I mean you've got to look good for your, your wedding pictures and your videography. So we're pretty,

03:34 Yeah. What, whether some of the kind of trends right now in terms of makeup and stuff, whether girls looking for like he said, you know, and that could be specific to Seattle, but what's kind of, what's the trend right now?

03:44 Definitely Bohemian and I don't think that it's going out for quite some time. We have so many barnyard weddings and farmhouse style weddings that the Bohemian feel kind of goes, it's more laid back, give hairs down, more natural makeup, nude lips. And I don't think that that trend is going to be falling for a while. So

04:03 It's so funny. The barn, I just, I tell you, yes, it's like every other weekend. Right now it's we are on the golf course last week and that was nice cause that's,

04:12 We just did one at Edgewater. I was like, Oh this is so refreshing to have like a Seattle wedding is kind of what I felt like when you bring it back downtown and

04:21 Oh I love the ads rather. Yeah, that's a great, that's a good space in there. So how did you kind of get involved in this? Did you, have you always been, you know kind of in this field, but then also, you know, we can later transition into kind of getting this team and stuff together, but how did you kind of get involved with your start?

04:36 Yeah, actually I'm, so I've been in the industry for 12 years. Started out salon based, specialized in cutting hair actually in styling hair and kind of wanted to mix it up. It kind of turned more into a routine. And I started losing a little bit of passion, so dug deep and decided to take on the brides, which is always kind of scary to start with. But you know, just kind of eventually turned into a passion again. And being a part of women's biggest days of their lives is so spectacular and rewarding that I don't think it's ever going to stop. So,

05:16 Yeah, it's, it's different, you know, when you're in the salon and do you feel like it's a little, little bit more, you know, you're there and people are coming in or now you're having to kind of go out and attract clients. Is that, was that kind of a flood?

05:29 Definitely attracting clients but not, I don't know, not feeling like you're in a grocery store. And it's, it's just a completely different dynamic. I mean, in the salon you're doing your colors and cuts it's kind of off trend now to kind of go into the salon and get your hairstyle for the big day. Which is why I think it's so great that so many people offer that onsite. Comfortability of having somebody come to you rather than relying on an appointment. Does that kind of,

06:01 Absolutely. Do you enjoy kind of being a part of that atmosphere? Getting ready and being with the, you know, talking about that cause he, I mean it is hair and makeup and it's such a part of the day and really sets the tone. You guys are the first ones there with, you know, the bridal party. So talk about just kind of being a part of that world.

06:18 Yeah, I mean it's so much fun. We get to be your best friends for four hours. So we get to see the, the S the quiet. I just woke up at six o'clock in the morning too. It all of a sudden it turning into an adrenaline rush when the photographer arrives and it's go time, you know, you get to see the progression of just somebody already being so beautiful turning into the, the princess that they envisioned and you know, being this woman that is so excited and happy and it's the best day of her life. So yeah, I'd say it's pretty exciting being a part of that and seeing the progression from beginning to end.

06:57 What kinds of brides do you find you know, want to work with you guys and woo woo. Do you like to work?

07:03 You know, we definitely attract the more easygoing brights. I always get asked that question day of honestly, by at least three people in the bridal party, you know, do you have any Brian Zilla stories? And in all honesty, I haven't come across any brides Ellis at all. It's a hundred percent honest. Okay. I'm not sugarcoating anything. But it's definitely just more laid back and easygoing. Just people who usually don't wear makeup. So you're, you're their biggest advice for the day and you guide them to transform them into something that they've always dreamed of. So,

07:40 Yeah, I mean it really is a remarkable, you know, cause I'll see for good and bad, you know, I'll see brides most of the day kind of you know, made up and then you look back at them and you're like, Oh, that's what I like, but you know, but it is, it is, you know, this enhancing, like you said, I think it's just like having the idealistic kind of, is it tough to balance between wanting to make them look, you know, the best they can and also making them look like them. Right.

08:06 So that's kind of what we stand by. Standby, excuse me. We enhance, we don't hide. I think a lot of people hide behind makeup and I don't think that that's the correct answer. I mean, makeup is there to enhance the best features on a woman's face. Her eyes, her lips, her cheekbones and we always eat, especially during trials, let them know, like, I want you to look back on your photos 10, 20 years from now and still recognize yourself rather than regret putting on a full face of makeup because it's just one day out of your entire life that you get to be made up.

08:41 Yeah. But then there's also, it's that balance too, because you get people that, Oh, you know, I don't want to you know, wear a lot to make or whatever. But like, even some guys scared of benefit from all the little powder or whether, you know, just touch up because when it's photos and light and reflection, I mean it's just not, yeah, they that, but we've had guys where you know, like they're bald or whatever and it's like, you need to go a little bit of stuff on that

09:04 Going dad joke, when's dad's turn? You know,

09:08 Is that a thing now? Are you guys doing,

09:10 We definitely offer men's touch up soon. Groom touch-ups and stuff like that. Of course. It's always a battle. They're very scared when you come with them at it with a powder brush. But you know, we have to let them know that it's the bride's day, you know? So

09:24 Yeah, we did a, a a corporate, some corporate sheet and they needed, they wanted to have just some touch up stuff and there was some like 16 year old boys that came in and they were like more than five. It's like, buddy, you know, you wanna, you gotta look good. Yeah. You want to, you get, you get that reflection and stuff. It's good to clean up. So what what was it like, so talk about the transition from, you know, doing the salon work to really kind of getting into the wedding and so, you know, starting your company kind of doing that.

09:52 What was that process like? Oh, it was scary. It was horrifying. I actually hopped on board with another bridal team for a while and help them for awhile and kind of realize it wasn't the perfect fit for myself. And I had a goal of that. I wanted to have strong independent women and yes, men can join our team too. I'm not saying no to that. But it was really important for me. I'm, I'm a mother of two, so it was really important for me to show these women that they could still do what they love while raising their families. Which is how my team blossomed. So we have an amazing team of nine girls or women and majority of them are mothers and this is what they do on their weekends. And they are able to still Oh, what's the word they're able to provide for their families. But getting people on board for bridal parties and weddings was definitely a really big transition from a salon. So they, you know, they were used to step-by-step on what they were supposed to do and I needed to prepare them for what could come on a wedding day. Cause it's very unpredictable. But everybody loves what they do and they're, my team is amazing. So

11:14 Yeah, talking about that, I mean that's fascinating to just that education of people just aren't wedding. You just aren't used to kind of that world.

11:23 It's a completely different vibe. I mean it's, it's go time, it's four hours, fast paced service after service. Cause we wanna make sure that we have everybody on time and glamorize before the photographers come. I mean we're kind of the key to making sure a timeline stays on track. So we, I offer extended classes for hair makeup so that we're all on the same page. And I'm also a able to answer everybody's questions on the, of I, you know, as far as what they need for a kit makeup, product lines and, you know, little tips and tricks, make sure we stay on schedule.

12:02 Yeah. And just, it's just, you know, even like big chaos and, and you know, you're in the room when it's to shovel, then there's stuff, you know, and like we had one of the last ones we were at and you know, we had to do photos in one way and so then they had the move and then we had the move something now, you know, and then they end up and you're like in the corner of the thing and like this is, you know, it's way different than a salon, but still having the like deliver that, you know, product. And it is, it just, you have to be very skilled to then kind of, yeah.

12:31 You have to be flexible. And as long as we have an outlet in a table, we can literally do hair makeup everywhere. So on that note, if you need to be put into a corner and we'll go there. And I think that's really nice that we're able to have the flexibility of being able to literally do our service anywhere. A lot of people definitely think that we just need a box or a salon and that's not true. So [inaudible]

12:56 What was it like a, you know, establishing and, and really kind of saying like, I'm going to go ahead and, and make this go on my own. What were some of the challenges that you kind of thought maybe it would be easier or things that you've struggled with, you know, just in terms of like as an entrepreneur?

13:10 Oh, that's a good question. I'd say challenge wise is just mind over matter. For me personally, I think I've put myself in a different high mindset of just really going and getting, and I just see divine touch just blossoming, huge as just what I see. I don't want it to be small and compact. I want us to be able to take care of every kind of bright out there and their bridal party. And we can literally travel anywhere around Washington, which is really nice. I mean, even the San Juan islands we have had a few weddings out there and Spokane. Thank goodness that it wasn't snowing during the time that we went there. But I don't really see, I don't look at them as challenges. I suppose I just look at it as steps on where I want the company to go.

14:07 Where do you think that motivation comes from?

14:11 Probably my family. I'd say. I know it's so, so stereotypical for the family, but I want to create a legacy for my family and a security and a name for myself. I never pictured myself just being average. So that's kind of where it is.

14:29 That's awesome. Go big or go home. So what was it about this that, how did you kind of get into salons to begin with? What was it? I mean, were you like a girl that grew up like always doing stuff? It was

14:38 Such a tomboy, such a tomboy. I grew up being a competitive swimmer, I thought I was going to go to college and swim for university and plans changed. I had my daughter at young age and I needed to step up to the plate and I was a lifeguard and swim instructor. And I told myself like, Hey, you need a career, not just a job. And I put myself through school. Nobody helped me with that. And cosmetology just really took off for me. I loved it. And I worked for G Rez for quite some time and kind of thought that that was the best place for me at that time. And I just knew I needed more. So I also dabbled in the editorial world and still do that every once in a while. But weddings is, is where I thrive.

15:28 That's fascinating. The, the swimming must've been challenging to say the least.

15:33 Oh, yeah. I mean, I did that since I was like six. So grew up competitive with swimming and when the course changed that I wasn't going to go swim for university, I knew that I needed to find a passion elsewhere. So yeah.

15:49 They in a lot of those same lessons though in terms of discipline and drive and stuff, obviously have to [inaudible]

15:54 I do. I think that that kind of comes from the background of growing up athletic and having knowing where I wanted to go with things, goal setting for sure that thanks mom always knew that, that, guess what, that would come handy one day. But definitely it's just a different mindset. Can't get down on yourself. You got to keep going.

16:15 What was kinda a re reactions when you said, Hey, I'm gonna, you know, go into weddings and kind of start this company and

16:22 Well, you know, a lot of people can't jump on board with having a vision so grand when they only see the necessary steps. So explaining people what I want to do with the company and how big I want it to go. I have a lot of people like, Oh, you should probably start down here, you know, and I'm like, no, no, no. We need to keep aiming and go higher. You, I mean, time is of the essence. So I'm, what's so great though is meeting great people in the industry, like yourself, then we can all support each other and move forward and we can all build a dream together. I think that that's amazing.

17:02 How do you find what do you find is the best way to attract new clients? Is it through word of mouth, you know, social media, how do you

17:10 All of it? Social media is a big one. We're on wedding wire. I actually find that I have a, I find a lot of my brides through wedding wire, wedding wire and the the Facebook, the Seattle wedding Facebook page, that's miraculous as well. Instagram is okay, but you find a lot of outside brides through there. But every once in awhile you'll get the Washington bride that's Insta stocking you. So that's always exciting. But yeah, I'd, I'd say it's all word of mouth, social media, websites, web pages, things like that.

17:50 Do you find that there's when you find that you are having to educate clients about in terms of like, you know, the process of hiring somebody, is there, you know, questions that you feel like you're always answering in terms of like the process, like we kind of talked about how getting your trials and stuff, but like, what do you wish that more people knew about, you know, booking the, you know, hair and makeup artists and, and they asked,

18:10 Oh, that's a good question. Definitely I have to let people know that they need to reserve their glam team earlier rather than later. They always assume that somebody's going to be available. I mean, I've had, sadly, I've had so many brides towards the end of our wedding season that are reaching out two weeks in advance, like we're already booked. In fact, we've been booked for six to nine months. I have noted that like on the when they have their wedding timelines of when you should reserve their vendors reserving your bright, your beauty team is like four weeks in advance. And that's not long enough at all. So I always have to let people know like you can ponder back and forth between vendors. That's totally fair, but just know like it's really, really competitive and people are booking as of right now years in advance. So

19:07 Yeah, it's tough to come to educate people about that. And I think that even if it's something where maybe it's not as much a priority to them, like with like with video, you know, kill movement, that's not as much a priority, but like that is a priority that somebody else and that you guys are all shopping the same vendors. Right? Cause. Yeah, I mean I see all the time online, you know, weeks out next week to you know, and I, and I don't always know except talking to you guys, but I'm like that seems like that's kinda crazy that you should have that figured out yet.

19:40 Even you don't even have to book your trials, you know 'em right away. Just reserving your date is priority because then from there you have your trials already set in stone with the bridal package. So you're guaranteed that trial regardless of whenever you want to book it. But just making sure that your wedding date is scheduled is just such a big priority obviously through all vendors. But I don't know why people take it for granted with hair and makeup artist. I have no idea. You would think that that's one of the biggest, you know, most important ones. You want to look good for your day. I

20:13 Mean I always think so just cause it's kind of the foundation of like, you know, all the photos and video and everything else and you know, you get up in the morning, first thing you do is makeup. You know, it's such a part of your day anyway. And I think, I guess the other thing, and maybe, I mean, you know way more about this, but like I always see, you know, people wanting to book things and I don't, is it one of those things where if someone's trying to do like, well, Hey, like I just need hair and makeup as the bride or I need it for three people or 10 people or Fort like, isn't there like minimums or a number of people that you need to go? Cause I see these people like, well, all, I have the most popular wedding day in the year and it's four hours away, but I just need hair and makeup. And it's like, well, you need to make that worthwhile, right. For the artist to reserve the day.

20:57 I definitely think that that's something that stands out about our company. We actually don't have a minimum. And I did that because there are people who like to elope. Like port Angeles is so popular to go a loop and it's just the bride and she doesn't have a bridal party. And there's not a, maybe a slow salon that they're interested in port Angeles, that they want to come do their hair makeup. So now what? Now they either have to do their own hair and makeup or they're going to have to beg for an artist to come and travel three hours away. So what's so great with my team is that I actually check in with them to check on their availability rather than just giving somebody a wedding. And, you know, let them know where the distance is. And our team is just so happy to make people feel good and feel beautiful that they will literally, you know, traveled to port Angeles for just one person. So yeah, no minimums. I think that that is what makes us stand apart with the flexibility. Yeah,

22:06 No, that's good to know. Cause I always see that and I just, I always have no idea. And it's like, you know, cause like we'll get called, you know, Hey, I just need a 30 minute ceremony filmed, you know, the most popular day of the year. And you're like, well I can't, you know, so I mean that is good to know what the flexibility, cause I don't know how anybody else out. Yeah.

22:23 That's interesting to know because sometimes brides do start out with just wanting their own hair and makeup services. We always, you know, are able to update their, you know, proposals and things like that. When all of a sudden the, the bridal party is like, Oh no, I need my hair makeup done. And also now you have like 12 services that need to get done. That's also something that's really great is I ask, you know, to know at least two months in advance as far as who needs all hair and makeups so that way we are scheduled appropriately. We have to get everything done in four hours. So we might need two or three stylists that day for the brides depending on services.

23:04 Yeah. Cause there's always seems, yeah, there's like a thing of Oh yeah man, you know, mom and then aunt Betty and then, Oh, you know, my grandma also needs a touch up.

23:12 Well I have a twin sister too is just come in town. It's like, Oh, okay. Yeah.

23:16 So I mean is it is, so obviously you have a system down to kind of manage that sort of stuff.

23:21 We do actually. It's a pretty good one. Pretty good system at this year has been so great that I've kind of figured out, you know, what works and what doesn't work and we're getting closer and closer to what works and being able to schedule and make sure all the bridal parties are getting taken care of. Just to make it just so much more convenient. We just know how it is especially I've talked to a lot of brides who, you know, don't have wedding planners. Everybody's kind of doing it by themselves and they don't realize how much hard, how, how hard of work it is to, to do a wedding. So anything that I can do to make it easier for them and not have to stress about looking good on their big day, I'm going to do it.

24:05 Yeah. I don't know how, I mean just having someone to kind of keep track of just, you know, who you got to hire. Yeah. Whether you have a, you know, a checklist or whatever is, is weight, you know, is, I would rather have a human checklist that's kind of keeping me accountable. So how do you guys kind of either di, do you ever find just how do you keep things fresh in terms of like, you know, doing the weddings? Is it, is it getting to know the brides? Is it getting to know those people? How do you kind of keep it fresh every weekend where it could be a little more monotonous?

24:34 I'm keeping it fresh. I mean, that's why the trials are so important. You know, that's kind of something that we, we have our trials can take up to two hours. So that way we're able to kind of collect a whole bunch of information of what's going on for the day of, you know, their background, how they met their fiance and, and whatnot. So we're able to kind of connect with them on a whole other level that maybe not a lot of other vendors are able to. Which is why I said in the very beginning, you know, that we're your best friends for four hours. So I, I wouldn't necessarily say like keeping it fresh, we're definitely all up to date on the new styles and we recommend and kind of sway people certain ways with what's possible and what's impossible, if that's kind of what you mean by keeping it fresh.

25:21 Yeah. Do you find the [inaudible], you know, and, and even like education and stuff and keeping up on techniques, I mean, obviously I think that stuff changes a lot in terms of like, what is

25:32 What is hot or what is whatever. I mean, how do you guys kind of keep up on that? Well, it drives my husband nuts, but literally watching our reality TV, watching ETV sadly I like to, I'm a really big Kardashians fan. And they are like the trendsetters of our generation right now. So whatever they're doing, you can expect to be big and trickle down into our wedding industry. As of right now, I mean, I could literally tell you what is coming back. You know, you have your Victoria secret curls, big volume hair, you have your hair clips, so your hair pieces are coming back. Maybe a little bit more glitz, but I don't see it being full on glam for Washington, but definitely a little bit more glitter on the eye. And hopefully we're, we're swaying away from the nude lip. Yeah. Add a little color back into the lips. I hope so. I'm pushing for it. Yeah, the is the hair.

26:32 No, there's this summer that you have the clips and the hair and the extensions, is that making a big comeback?

26:37 I'd say it's always been there. I think it's definitely just getting more glamorized in regards to kind of Bohemian is always going to be there, but everybody wants more of that thicker beach wave and people aren't really doing vales too often anymore unless you're doing maybe a church wedding. But definitely the hair pieces and the flower crowns. Those are really big right now. Eucalyptus forever. And you can look to spill, that's for sure. Cause like a melody, you know, like she or he sheer huge headache. She had the glam, the glam hair. She wanted that volume of big curl. It was beautiful. It was so funny too cause I think her mom was like a little more reserved and we were like, no, he was so glam. Where's he, I felt like there was someone that, there was a question of like, is this too big?

27:27 And we were like, no man, but you got to make this like that was groom's mom. Cause her Melody's mom. She was so cute. No, she, she wanted the full face of makeup. She had her two dresses. She was ready to go. You know, melody sewed her own wedding dress. Yeah. Remarkable. Yeah, I was excited to, yeah, we hung out outside of the hotel. I was a proud that that was a proud videography moment. No. But I do remember, yeah, it was very glam and it was very yeah, just the elegant with the dress. That's what it was elegant cause I wouldn't say full on glam cause their makeup was very natural. It was just the hair. It just pulled it all together to be very elegant and classy. It was very classy. Do you guys feel like when people want makeup from you guys that they trust your opinion, you know, and how do you kind of balance, cause if they're like, why I want this in your life or I don't know about maybe 80% of that or how do you kind of balance out?

28:23 When a bride wears her hair down 90% of the time and wants to go up on her wedding day, we definitely make sure that we, we ask like, are you going to be comfortable with your hair, not on your shoulders. And usually they'll revert back to, Oh maybe I should do like a half up, half down because then you know, best of both worlds. But it's all about being comfortable. Just like what we had talked about. When they look back 10 years from now, are they going to say, wow, why did I do a top not on the top of my head when I wear my hair down every single day of my life. So yeah, I think that's, that's a great advice cause that was the same thing Dorothy went through the day she went and did all these tribal trials and stuff and then she ended up like just kinda doing, I mean like career everyday but but nicer. Yeah, just a little bit more enhanced. That's what, you know, it's definitely kind of what we sway everybody to do. Cause you just after a trial you want to feel confident and happy, not questioning like two hours later like, Oh do I actually really like this color lipstick. I don't ever wear a deep burgundy in my life and I decided to go dark. You know, you don't want to regret those decisions cause it's the biggest day of your life. So talk about, you know trustworthiness and vendor

29:42 Relations and how can people know, you know, that they have found like hair and makeup team that that's good. You know, how do you guys make sure that people know that you guys are, you know, whatever. Cause just cause I see. And it's the same with video too. I mean I fight against it all the time, but there are kind of the fly by night makeup people just like video. I'm fine with, you know, people running off. And how do you guys educate and make sure that people know that they're finding good people?

30:06 You know I've actually heard from quite a few brides lately just speaking on my own behalf. That they F they clicked, they, they heard the excitement while talking to me about building the dream of what they wanted. They just being able to hold a conversation. Definitely sounding confident with everything that you're telling the bride. Just, I don't know, I guess it's just personality. You know, whoever you mesh with, there's been a few people that, you know, they just didn't feel the click with me and that's okay. There's going to be another person out there that will make them feel so beautiful and happy on the day of. So it's definitely just reassuring that bride that we're going to be able to achieve what she wants and together we will be able to collaborate on a look that she is wanting to achieve.

31:00 You said you're married. What was your, what was your guys' wedding like? How was that?

31:04 Well, my husband's from Tennessee, so we did the Tennessee wedding, you know, just very, we had barbecue. We, we actually didn't have whiskey. A girlfriend of mine, she is Greek and she brought a sangria. It was like a, you know, a mixture of all sorts of things. But we had like the twinkling lights that looked like the light bugs in Tennessee and Bohemian. So everything that I was saying that I want to change is what I had for my wedding. No, it was beautiful. It was very laid back and he's military and so we had a whole bunch of his soldier brothers there and it was great. It was a lot of fun. How did you handle your hair and makeup? It was down and natural. Did you have a friend who is or, I know I did it of course. I don't know what I was thinking. One of my best friends, she also works with divine touch. She helped with the hair and makeup as well. Of course I pushed the timeline back cause I was late and just everything was reverse of what I talk about all the time. So funny. But yeah, it was one of those things I was like, man, I should've hired hair and makeup but I waited last minute to do that. So

32:34 It's funny, I did the same thing and I had someone do the video and I edited but I was trying to do like a live stream from my grandpa cause he was he was in Oregon. He can travel and like I'm running around like a vendor, you know. And it was what I tell people nowadays all the time, like just have fun and relax and like I was definitely not too, isn't it funny how that is,

32:56 I've talked to numerous vendors that are the same thing. Like, Oh, I decided to do it myself and probably should have hired somebody to do that. It's like the last thing that we want to worry about but we're worrying about it. So funny. Yeah, it is tough

33:07 Though cause I, I do feel like I struggled with the, you know, when people know you're a vendor and the way, you know, it's like a, if you're an accountant and you're helping your kids with your math homework or something like either, it's like a different level of stress.

33:20 There is, there is and I have so many girlfriends getting married and there's always the question of, Oh, can you do my hair and makeup? But deep down I just want to like just celebrate the wedding with them. But of course I'm always honored to do the hair and makeup. So I'm always going to be there for them. But it's definitely, I'm sure it's the same thing for you. It's like, no, I just wanna I just wanna like be a supporter, not the support T

33:46 Yeah. I I have a tough time balancing that cause yeah, I like to be involved. So it's hard for me to not be involved. It's hard for me to just to attend the wedding cause I'm sitting there kind of looking around like, Oh wonder what's going on there. How are you, so, you know, you talk about you know, big growth and lofty goals and so where do you kind of see this go, you know, where do you want to be in the next year or two years? You know, where are you trying to expand? Where are you trying to grow and, and how are you trying to do that?

34:12 Yeah. so I ultimately want divine touch to be an agency. So offering the hair and makeup, we're actually going to be adding eyelash extensions this season. The permanent eyelash extensions, which is going to be exciting and nice. Cause I have a lot of brides who you know, want the eyelash extensions but not the temporary. So offering that service is going to be great. Eventually want to do spray tans. You just kinda want to just do it all. So gotta keep building the team and just take over Washington. That's what we need to do.

34:49 So how do you, you know, cause I struggle with you know, I have been a subcontractors and stuff too and you know, and finding people that really just speak to your vision and speak to your ethics. How do you make sure that you're finding people? Cause I, that's something I work through too, is trying to find people that you know, can represent and you know, carry on as a brand that this isn't necessarily theirs. You know, it's yours, you're kind of in partying. Yeah.

35:12 Yeah. You know, I think, I don't, I've never looked at myself as like a manager of sorts. I don't know that that was always kind of weird to be an owner of something, I suppose. Because, you know, being on the opposite side for so many years, it's like, Oh, I could never be a quote unquote boss. So I think I just kind of give off different vibes. You know, I, I love team. They do such amazing work. And I think if you have a really big support system behind what you do, everybody's gonna flourish. You know, and as of right now, we're five stars, so let's just keep it going and nobody wants to get the one star. So, you know, once again, maybe it's the competing competitive that maybe that's what it is. But I just see not only attracting amazing brides, but attracting amazing artists as well to beautify those beautiful brides. And that's kind of where I stand with building a team. People reaching out and making sure you're doing the appropriate interviews and making sure that they're confident with doing the bride and taking over a bridal party. It's confidence level cause you can, you can teach people anything, but they have to have the desire to succeed and watch a company grow as well

36:31 Because it's more than just, you know, skill. It's it's know dependability and it's, it's you know, ethics or whatever, but you know, it's, you know, you can find lots of people that know how to do makeup and it's find the people that can connect with the Brian's like you want to connect.

36:44 It's being personable. Yeah. And because we don't have a salon or a studio right now, you know, you definitely have to hope that people make it there on time and don't call out sick last minute cause they're there in, in control of that bride and are not controlled. But you know what I mean?

37:02 Well, no. Yeah, it's up to them. Yeah. They got no, I know what you mean. Yeah. It's on them to get it. Yeah. You know? Yeah. Same with me. You know, something, it's like you gotta get there, man. You got to figure it out.

37:12 Yeah. If you're on your death bed, that bride does not care because that show is still going on. So get it together. But yeah, also to touch base you know, next couple of years a studio is that in the cards I want to do a studio for trials. You know, sometimes it's convenient when you do have somebody coming from Everett or super far and they don't want to sit through that Seattle traffic. Cause typically sometimes trials end on work workdays, not necessarily weekends because that's for weddings. You know, a studio is nice. It's right in the middle of Seattle, no travel fees, things like that. So that's in the works to have a studio,

37:53 Lofty goals, lofty goals. What do you wish more people knew about you personally? What do you do when you're not, you know, running the show and trying to grow?

38:02 Well, you'll see me not wearing heels. That's a good one. Working out, being a mom, just, you know, supporting my husband with his goals and dreams. He's going to school for film right now, which is amazing. And you know, I just think we want to be a power house household. So just pushing each other, knowing that I'm in the back still grinding when I'm not in front doing hair and makeup. So

38:28 Yeah. Talking about your kids real quick before I let you go, what do you got going on with those munchkins? All those munchkins. I have an 11 old little girl

38:36 Named Alexa and she's a middle school. Oh my goodness. Sixth grade. And she does two sports, so she's out here being super active in softball and cross country. And then I have a wonderful little boy named Bo who's to little Spitfire. So yeah, that's kind of where we're at. We like to bake cookies and watch. Curious George,

39:01 What's it like balancing you know, working and, and being a mom and being a wife and you know, your husband and how does that I, you know, I talk all the time with vendors that have kids that you, we don't have kids yet and it's like trying to find that balance. How do you,

39:15 I think it just kinda comes natural. It's just a routine. It just, you've got to make things work and people have to know that when you're not reaching out to them or they might not hear from you as often, that you know, you're doing things for your family, you gotta step it up to the plate. If you want to be traveling, like what we want to do within the next five years. We got to make sacrifices. But the sacrifices don't seem like sacrifices when you do it together. So

39:46 That's a great answer. Thank you. Well this has been great. Thank you so much for coming in and you know, getting to catch up again face to face and I got to send you a melody and James has been excited to see it. And yeah, it's, it's great to catch up again and like I said, getting just other voices on the podcasts are so great to, to kind of feature different vendor types. [inaudible] Getting to, you know, chat with hair and makeup people. It's always awesome.

40:12 Come and talk about DT Bridal Artistry. This was amazing. So

40:16 If people want to learn more about you guys and your team and, and you know all the different services you offer where would you have them check out where's the best places? Yeah.

40:23 So our website, which is

40:32 Yeah. Or just a, you know, and obviously on Instagram and everything, Facebook, it's all under the same name. And you, you, you guys are like super active on there. I mean, is that a, is that something that you really strive to come to him all the time?

40:49 Absolutely. If you're not active is when people kind of strive away to other places. So as long as I'm in everybody's face, 24/7, then we will be good.

41:00 That was perfect. Thank you. This has been so fun. If you're like Christine and you are interested in coming on the podcast, you can go to And that's a great and easy a questionnaire to fill out to come on. And if I haven't worked with you before so I know who you are. And a. Thank you again. This has been so fun. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro®. Check back next week for another wedding vendor. Interview so much.

41:26 Bye.

Zoe Burchard, Zoe Burchard Studio

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 so excited today to be joined at my house for a change. We, we do a lot of these online anymore with a Zoe Burchard with Zoe Burchard Studio Photography. Thank you so much for coming in. We've been trying to kind of remember where we met the first time and it was an interesting wedding years ago and I was still getting started. And why don't you introduce yourself, tell us who you are and what you do.

00:40 Hi, I'm Zoe Burchard and I'm an intimate wedding and elopement photographer. Reid and I met at a tiny wedding in Kent a long time ago when we were both at the beginning.

00:53 You always kind of look back. We had Paul Maranan. He is like a photographer. We, he's like, we've done like weddings lately together and you know, he is pretty good cat. I was looking back he, we had actually shot the first wedding we had ever done together and I had no idea. And I was like, Holy God, like, we as like that is like, that's hurting together. Yeah. It sounds like cause you're like "where the hell did we meet" like what's going on. So. Awesome. Well, what why don't you just kind of describe your style, what you like to do and what, you know, kind of motivates you to be a photographer in terms of like style and that sort of thing.

01:26 All right. So I started shooting personally like 13 or 14 years ago. And I've grown a lot. I didn't even use to photograph people. I started photographing clouds and flowers like every other like 12 year old. And now I've come to realize that my favorite thing is to work with couples mostly exclusively. I don't really do children photography or anything like that. I'm not great with kids as most people know. But yeah, I like to shoot a little bit more on the moody side, but still true to life colors and yeah, that's my style. More or less than kind of a relaxed and I don't like to be overly posy with things like to go out and like have a lot of fun and adventure. Like this weekend we did an engagement session out in Leavenworth and we just got in the car and drove around and hung out and started the day off with ice cream and it was great. And it was just like hanging out with friends. It wasn't like a production

02:31 Pretty much. Yeah. And I mean in, in looking at your site, you know, I mean it just screams kind of like you said, that kind of Pacific Northwest. Cause I think, you know, talk about the, you know, building those connections with clients. I mean, it's so hard nowadays and I always think it's kind of undersold, like it just, how much a connection you should have with like all of your vendors. But I mean, especially photographer, you know, you're going through the engagement, you know, everything leading up, you know, all these intimate details. So talking about kind of like having that friendship and like you said, like grabbing ice cream with a or what, you know, what inspires you with that?

03:01 Yeah. well I think it's super important to feel comfortable with the person who is photographing you and to have that connection at the beginning. Cause if you don't have that, you're gonna feel awkward in the photos, you're gonna just act awkward, you're not really gonna enjoy yourself and the, the discomfort is going to show. So I make an effort to try and meet all my couples as much as possible before we ever shoot together. And in that meeting we talk to each other, get to know each other. We don't just talk about weddings or whatever. We talk about like, what are your favorite TV shows, what kind of animals do you like? And I was bringing up my cats biscuit and turnip and my chinchillas potato and tomato cause I like food obviously. Yeah. But the having that connection is like, it's great. It makes it more fun for me. It makes it more fun for you guys. It, it's it's just better to get to know people on a personal level before you start shooting. And honestly one of the favorite parts of every engagement session is driving for hours together. I think we spent probably six hours just driving around on Saturday and in that time you get to talk to each other and you really get to become friends with your couples and get to know what's important to them.

04:20 Yeah. That really is kind of my biggest lament as a videographer is not having that engagement session and not being able to, cause I think videographers should come to the engagement session, you know, I, and I be so fun. I know. I think it will be because he and I do mean that where, you know, it's, we gotta build that, the connection that you guys are able to kind of establish over months of doing it. You know, we got, I got 10 minutes walking in the door, you know, but it is, I just, I think it's so great. And just, you know, over the years of doing this and like, you know, you have, you know, growing just really, I'm just appreciating that connection that like, you know, I never used to do or I think like a lot of you know, people try to get into weddings and, and don't really appreciate that kind of thing and don't think that that matters because it is, we're still like a service based business, but it's way more personal, you know.

05:12 Yeah. So I think that's the struggle with when you're starting out is you don't realize, you don't realize. And also couples don't realize like how much of a personality goes into a business like ours, like videography, photography. I mean, even like the cake bakers, like you want to have that, that fun, like relax, experience and helpfulness from your vendors the entire time. And when you're starting out as a wedding vendor, you don't always realize that you have to put in the effort to like build that connection and like make people comfortable. And it's not something that you start out with most of the time.

05:51 Yeah. No, and it just was interesting the other day, they're a, a videographer posted online, you the, they were moving up here from LA and we tried to, you know, get business and break in and basically they were offering like a finder's fee, you know, if you, if you refer them and they'll pay or whatever. And you know, it didn't, it didn't so much strike me just, you know, cause that's, that is typical in, in markets that I don't think as much in Seattle, but you know, like East coast and stuff, I've heard about that. But it was more just that, like that was their first go to was like, well how do I, how am I going to build connections here? And it's not, you know, meeting other vendors or talking to venues or, you know, trying to find couples and, and connecting that way. It was more just a monetary thing and it just really struck me and I was like, that is like definitely not like, you know, how I prioritize and, and I think how you do just in terms of, you know, with like social media and online and your website, then just kind of putting yourself out there, you know?

06:44 Yeah. If money is the first thing, it's not a good thing. I think what makes us good at what we do maybe is that it comes from a place of passion to start with. If you don't start out loving what you're doing, if you start out thinking, Oh, I'm gonna make a ton of money in the wedding industry, it's not going to go well for you. And people probably aren't gonna like you cause you're not coming at it with the right heart. Oh, absolutely.

07:10 So, you know, in terms of, you know, talking about motivation, so see, like you say you grew up, grew up kind of, you know, taking photos of clouds and stuff. Where did that, you know, inspiration come from back in the day, you know, how did you really get invested in photography?

07:23 So on my, the, the earliest I can remember really being in photography is when I was in second grade, we took a family trip to Turkey. My family, my mother is from Turkey, so we go there a lot now. But anyways, our first trip, second grade, I had a tiny little Olympus film camera that was pretty much a point and shoot, but with film and I documented the entire trip. Those photos are long gone. Unfortunately. I wish I could find them to see if I was good back then. But I started then and I didn't really realize that I had a love of photography yet, but I had a love of art. I was always drawing and painting and coloring things and all that kind of stuff. And then I wanted to be a singer and middle school and my mom's like, this is not the most stable career path for you, but we'll support you. And then I picked up her camera and started having so much fun with it. I was like, mom, I've got a backup plan. And she's like slightly better than singing I guess. So that's where it all started. And then it grew.

08:26 So are you self taught then? Did you take classes or how did [inaudible]

08:31 At the beginning it was self taught. In middle school I just did everything on my own. I tried to figure out how to work a manual camera, kind of failed. I remember getting my first camera with detachable lenses and I was like, I'm never going to take a bad photo ever again. This is amazing. And then I realized about like motion blur. I grew a lot. And then in high school I took every photo classic [inaudible] and every other art class that I can because still at the heart of everything is art. And then I went to a photography summer program at the school of the art Institute of Chicago, which I fell in love with Chicago and decided then to go to school for photography in the school of artists of Chicago.

09:13 What was that experience like? So where did you grow up?

09:15 I grew up in Kenton, Washington, so born and raised Washingtonian.

09:19 So that's a huge leap to go talk about that. What was that like to go and, and go through that?

09:24 It wasn't as scary as it probably would've been cause my brother had just gotten accepted to Illinois and Stu technology, so he was already there and I moved in with him when I went to Chicago. And art school is a whole other thing. I feel like I didn't go to college because it was so much fun and everyone else tells about like, you know, the drunken nights and like, like crazy stories of college. And for me it was just a hundred percent art all the time. I didn't have math class, I didn't really have English class. We had philosophy classes. But that was all stuff you can pick up on your own whatever. Yeah, art school was amazing. It was just constant art all the time. And I wish I had some of the guidance now that I had back then. Or they're like pushing you to do something cause personal projects definitely fall by the wayside now. Right?

10:10 Yeah. What, what do you think? Because people, a a for a video and photo and everything, you know, go through, you know, people are self-taught. People go to film school, people take photography classes in college. You know, I have like journalism that doesn't have it really. I mean I guess what to do with telling stories now. But what were some things specifically that you feel like film school, you know, really helped and it could be like values instilled in you or skills that you learned or technical me. What was, what defines kind of you in terms of going through that experience?

10:41 So my school is not a school that teaches skills so much. The schools of art of Chicago is a highly conceptual school. So if you come in there not knowing how to work a camera, you're probably gonna leave more or less not knowing how to work your camera. But I guess the most technical classes I ever had were the lighting classes when we did like fashion photography. But I think I learned how to build a concept and then think about things a lot and then expand on a concept and then figure out how to make it come to life. I took a break from photography in school and did fashion where I actually learned how to make garments and learned how to make conceptual garments participated in the school fashion show, which was amazing. And then went back to photography after that with the knowledge of like what it takes to make a garment. Because back in school I wanted it to be a fashion photographer as we all do. And yeah. So I think that helped me realize that the work, even if you're doing like wedding photography, it's more powerful when it has like some kind of a concept and like a story behind it. Not just here's a pretty photograph of a girl in the trees.

11:53 So, but you feel

11:54 Like I always say I have no know people that can do other technical arts skills. Like I have no tangible skills at all except like putting something in front of the camera. Right. And making zap skills other than photography, you know, but I mean, you know, like you said, you, you grew up your drawing and things, you do everything else. I mean, I couldn't, I couldn't draw a stick figure if I, if I, if you paid me. So I mean, but taught you, but I mean, you really do, you enjoy art kind of from all those different sides in? Yeah. I love painting. I did a study trip study abroad in college where I went to Ireland and I did watercolor painting where I would make anthropomorphic sheep. And that's totally like super far apart from photography. But I came from a photography based I suppose, cause we went to an aerial show where there was dancers doing aerial things on big hoops and all that kind of stuff.

12:48 And I took lots of photos of that. And from there I used those images to then paint sheep. Cause Ireland is full of sheep obviously. Yeah. but I, I don't know that I'm good at all of the other arts, the drawing and the painting. But it's fun and it's, so it's a way to release and like get out of photography sometimes. Cause if you just stay in one thing constantly, I think you burn out faster. And having other methods of getting my creativity out helps me still love photography even though I do it constantly.

13:22 That's, I think that that's interesting. I think that it sharpens, you know, all different sides and being, you know, in front of the camera. And then in doing, like I said, I wish I just don't have, I just don't have that. It just start

13:33 Drawing. That's all you gotta do. You don't have to be good at it. I'm not saying I'm good at it, you just do it.

13:39 So, so you're in school, you know, you're studying photography and everything. So then, you know, leaving school, the school,

13:45 Was that the first plan? What, what, what were we doing after school? Oh, so the plan was to move to New York with my boyfriend and become a fashion photographer. But I had mad Bunyan's on both sides of both feet, which is like super personal information, but whatever. So standing for long periods of time was awful. And I was like, if I'm going to be a photographer, I have to be able to stand for long periods of time. You don't really get to sit on a set. So I moved back home and got my feet though with which put me off my feet for six weeks at a time for each foot. So it was 12 weeks of not really being able to walk like a, you know, normal able body, human being. And so I had a knee cane at the time which helped me kind of hobble around and I was sitting there with my boyfriend who was a photo editor at the time and I was like, John, I don't know what I'm going to do with my life. What am I going to do? And he's like, Zoe, be a photographer of like, Oh, you can just be a photographer. So then I became a photographer. We signed up, got the business license and all that stuff and got myself set up sort of a plan in place and became a photographer.

15:00 What was it like kinda going through that process, you know, did you, I always ask like, you know, did you have family members that were entrepreneurs or did you have any sort of semblance of what it looks like to start the business? Or was it

15:11 I'm starting, not so much. My parents own their own business and they have my entire, well it was my grandpa's and a pass down to them. So they run a successful business that was failing before they owned it. So I have sort of a business sense from them, but I don't consider myself a math person or anything like that. I'm I'm an artistic minded person. I can't do math and all that. So starting the business was a little weird, but John helped me through it a lot. Cause at the same time he was starting his own editing business. So between the two of us we found a way to make it happen. And then from there it was just finding clients and figuring out what it meant to be a photographer. And like we talked about, I don't think at the beginning I knew how to provide a good experience for people or the connection was so important but figured it out.

16:08 Right. So what was it like kind of either of those early? Like I always, I always used to joke cause we've had to Rosie our dog the whole time that I've had the business and you know, that first year like we took a lot of like really long walks and it was a lot of like trying to fill time after I quit. My job, you know, what was it like kind of starting now that and finding those clients and finding your voice?

16:33 It was a lot of crying. Lots and lots of crying, too much crying and constantly going to John and being like, I'm not good enough for this. How is anyone going to hire me? My photography's not good enough cause like I'm comparing myself to, you know, like Tim Walker and I'm not Tim Walker. And I wasn't, definitely wasn't back then. So it was really scary process. But at the same time I didn't come from a place where I was quitting a job like a lot of people do when they start their creative business. I just dove right in. So I think it was less scary. I still had six months before my student loans were gonna kick in, so I didn't really have any bills. I was living at my parents house, so I was, I was very fortunate that I had all the support around me that I could just dive in and not really have to worry about paying money for anything. In the process,

17:23 You were saying you were in a pretty ground for level, there was a little way to go with up.

17:27 Yeah, exactly, exactly. I think I was starting out in a very good spot and yeah, I, yeah,

17:36 That's good. What was some things that you struggled through early on, you know, that maybe you thought you didn't think you were going to struggle through or that you, you know, knew and, and, and how you kinda got, like I always talk about like taxes and all that

17:50 Kind of stuff, but that means, you know, talking about, you know, coming up with a website, coming up with a voice, coming up with a client. Yeah. What were some of the things like that? The first one that got me the most and which is the many, the reason for all the crying was like constant rejection and nobody prepares you for that and nobody tells you how much rejection is involved in our business. Like, I don't even know how to compare it to a job that's not in our field, but you got to think about like, we get 10 inquiries, maybe one person even responds to us when we send out an email. And that it's just like, it drags you down and that's why you're like, I'm not good enough because no one's responding to me. So it was a lot of figuring out how to write emails that people actually wanted to respond to.

18:38 What was the question again? Oh no, I was on a tangent. No, and, and I do think, I think that rejection is so hard and I think, you know, there's just even a, just during this year, you know, lots of posts about, you know, couples go Steen and, and, you know, not letting people know and just, I think forgetting that there's you know, people behind everything, even though on the me and, and it's not just an email. Yeah. And I just see it's yeah, I mean, even now, you know, six, whatever and half years and you know, you still like, it's still hard. It's still hard to find, you know, out there, you know, people are going in a different direction or over here and so yeah I think it, not expecting that early on I think it would be very difficult.

19:21 Yeah. I think just down the line you stop taking it personally at the beginning it's just like you think it's a personal attack. You think it's because you're not good enough and it's really not that. I think about a year and a half ago I think is when I really decided to pick a niche cause before, like every other photographer, I was taking everything that came through my door, which I highly recommend to all photographers out there. Don't do that. It's not good for the clients. It's not good for you cause you're doing stuff that one you might not be good at and two that you hate, which is going to make your photos bad. That's why I don't photograph children. I'm not good at it. I can tell you a million people that are great at it and they'll do super well for you, but I won't. So I don't do it.

20:06 So I think picking a niche and like picking what you love doesn't mean that you exclusively have to shoot that. But if that's what you're marketing to the world, that's what you're going to get the most of and you're going to love your job a lot more. And that's what I found. I loved my job so much more when I realized that I like working with couples my entire life. I've been a romantic person, love romance, love people kissing, I'm super and all that. So it was the perfect thing for me to do with myself. And I'm learning that the like corporate headshots and stuff just drained me. So it's super important I think to pick something that you love and just do that and don't say, Oh, I love photography. Well there's a million types of photography to love. So pick the one that makes

20:48 You the happiest and do that most. No, it's hard. And I do think when people ask are people that are outside of the field and ask, well, why don't you do that? Or don't you do that? You know? And you almost feel like it's like a lacking that like maybe you should do that. Like, you know, we give out all the time, you know with videography, you know, the drone shit is just huge and everybody went, well, you know, I have three or four guys that are all, you know, licensed and whatever. And then if we need a drone we can hire them and they go do it. And I'm like, I could spend a thousand hours trying to do all that stuff and it still wouldn't make me be as good of a drone pilot. You know what I mean? Like, and that's hard. That was like, it's been years of trying to like struggle with that for me. And I'm like, you know, why would I spend so much? I dunno that much time, you know, going through all that and I'm still not going to be good at it or as good as they are that have, you know, why not spend your energy doing stuff that you want to do and then let you know, settling that wants to do babies or wants to do whatever do. But it's hard because I do think the people think you're a photographer. You used to do all that stuff.

21:55 Well there's huge pressure from our clients or maybe a perceived pressure from them that we should be Jack of all trades, but that's not, it's not beneficial for them. It's not beneficial for us. I think as a photographer, a lot of people expect that I do video. I don't touch that with a 10 foot pole. I like, I make my way through my photo editing. I can't even imagine editing a video that's hours of watching the same thing over and over and over again. I, you know, I'm good with stills. And the same as you said with drones, like a lot of photographers are getting into the drone photography, which looks like a lot of fun. And I'm super interested in trying it out personally. But I want to give my clients like the best of what I have to offer and not be like, here's the sorta, you know, I tried this. It might not be good, but I dunno, they shouldn't try new things cause you should. But

22:44 It is, no, I think it's a tough balance. I think it's tough wanting to expand and then also, yeah, I don't know. I mean the, the drone photographer thing, it's like, so if you have an hour engagement session and you're going to spend 25 minutes of that, so needed to drawn up to get four shots, is it worth it? I mean, I know, I mean I, you know, I guess it is and I guess if that's what you want to do, but that's one way I look at that and I look at some photographers, you know, even now where like our timelines wedding day are so tight, right? You have like, yeah we got 10 minutes to do the dress, we got 10 minutes. And then you're like, so where are they times you get 10 minutes to do the whole bridal portraits. Yeah. Like what?

23:21 And so then it's like, where the hell are you going to fit in? Okay. So then, then you're going to go fly a drone for 45, you know, when you're idle. You know, that's why like when we do it, I just hire it out and then they can do that either before or after we're there or yeah. Or while we're doing everything else. But I just, our timelines, especially this summer have been so tight, so tight and packed and overwhelming really for the couple of really overwhelming this year. But I just don't get where all that time is going to come from that people think they have. But that's a total tangent. Right,

23:53 Right. No, I totally get you. I get you. And I think if I, I don't know how couples come up with their timelines. I love it when they consult me ahead of time. And I'm sure you, I don't know if you get consulted as a videographer about the timeline, but if couples talk to their vendors more, each of them, like, what is a timeline that makes sense for this? Then you'd come up with a better plan altogether. But I think sometimes the photographer and the videographer get a little left out of that conversation. Even if I'm like, Hey, giving me an hour and a half, and they're like, here's five minutes and I'm like, S solid. This was gonna go great.

24:28 No, we had our wedding one of our weddings this weekend. I was talking with the planner and I said, Oh, you know, they extended that and we're gonna stay until 10 o'clock. That would be the accident. She goes, no, the exits at 1130. And I said, Oh, well, the timeline that we have, I said, here, it's got your name on it. She goes, Oh, that's not what they had gone in. And like bonafide. And so she's like, Oh, I should really know that. So keep all your vendors in the loop. Yeah. Super important. So what do you love most about doing what you do now and, and we are working for yourself, having, you know, your name on everything. I mean, is that something you take pride in and talking about kind of furthering that brand and getting your name out there?

25:13 Yes, definitely take pride in my work and I want to make sure that everyone, like all the vendors I recommend and stuff and all that, they all help to further my vision I guess of like making a relaxing comfortable day for people. I don't, I don't like to work with people that are really high, strong cause it stresses other people out. And keeping the couple is stress free as possible is super important to me. I want to take away all of their pain so they can just enjoy their day. Furthering my brand. That's a hard question cause it's,

25:48 It's always, it's one thing when you're, you know, taking photos in college or in high school, but then when it's like, this is my thing, this is what I do, this is me. You know, it's just, it's a, it's a big leap there, you know?

26:00 Right, right. And I guess like everyone's brand is themselves and if it's not themselves, then maybe they're not quite doing it right. Or maybe they are, I don't know. I'm not a branding expert by any means, but mine is myself. And so it's, I, it's just like about being relaxed and like having fun. Cause that's all I want to do. I just want to have fun. I used to, when people ask me, what do you photograph? I was like, I photograph anything that sounds like fun, which is what I've always tried to do. And I guess furthering that going for the to the future. I don't know. I don't know how to answer that. It's a hard question, question, but I think we

26:44 Got, I think we got some good insights on there. So yeah. Talk about in terms of, you know, your experience on the wedding date. What are the things, like you said you, you look for fun things, what are your favorite parts of a wedding day? That photograph and you can't just say fine, but why are those things your favorite to photograph? To expand on that?

27:02 I love working directly with a couple. I like when the bride's getting ready and we just get to kinda hang out and document that process, which is a weird process to be documented I think, cause you don't normally have yourself getting your hair and makeup done and putting a dress on documented. So that's kind of a fun thing to do. And of course I love working with the couple directly because it's finally there. It's finally the wedding day. They've been waiting this for this. They've been planning for it and it's finally happening. And when they get to see each other the first time, it's that really special moment. And sometimes it's just like a funny moment because it doesn't necessarily go how you imagined it to go, but it's still exciting for them. And let's see, my other favorite parts of the wedding day, the first dances specifically the father, daughter dance. That one always gets me. I'm really close to my dad, so that one just makes me cry every time I'm sitting there behind the camera. Like, thank God I got a camera in front of my face so nobody can see me weeping in the corner. Yeah, I like the really emotional parts of the day. I, I, as much as I love dancing, like photographing the actual party. Dancing isn't my favorite, but, but I, I liked the bits with the most emotion, I suppose.

28:23 Yeah. I get I, I've gotten emotional again this year and that entity and I think a, a couple of weeks ago was a little more tired than the last couple, you know? It's not so much there, but definitely when we get home it's a little more, you know, when you get the, you know, the music and stuff, it's a little more, but I mean, it is, do you get, do you find yourself getting really caught up in those emotions? Oh yeah. You say you're a romantic.

28:45 Oh, yeah. Hardcore. I cry almost every wedding if I'm not crying, it's because I'm super focused. If they have their own vows and usually cry a lot, I'm just like, make good photos, stop crying. Yeah. I, I've been a romantic since child since childhood. And so I, there's always that like, you know, idea of like that person loving you so much, they want to be with you forever and it's really special.

29:15 So you grew up like watching like romantic comedies and stuff or way

29:19 A lot of everything. I mean, I think the first movie I really remember that wasn't a cartoon was Titanic. And my first love was Jack after falling in love with Leonardo DiCaprio and like his beautiful romance in that film. It just escalated from there.

29:38 He's still, he's still, I mean, it's been what, years later and he's still is a charming as he ever was

29:44 For charming and an activist, which is great.

29:49 But so just, yeah, just really getting caught up in those moments. Oh, I was gonna say yeah, the, the planning and like you said, yeah, wanting people to enjoy their day. And that was something that we were talking about with our photographer this week was

30:03 So many of our weddings this year have had like so much time

30:07 Put into it. And I don't know, it just happened that like our August had a lot of weddings. They had just been on the books for a long time. And it is, it's so hard. And that's my advice for couples. Moving forward is really the try to enjoy your day. But there's just been so many lately where there's certain parts of the day and I'm like, are we, are they happy and fun? Like you know, cause it is supposed to be and it is a step balance and you're juggling everything and you have families and money and time and everything. But you know like are a couple of this weekend really, you know, took a point to really enjoy everything and talk to everybody and it's like, you know, do you want to go do photos now or do you want to say, no, we want to spend 20 minutes sock. You know, we want to make sure we see everybody. It's like making those decisions to make sure that you can enjoy it. I mean, do you know that?

30:52 Oh absolutely. I make a point when I do have the timeline conversation, whether I'm super involved or not, I tell them every couple and some of them listen to me like plan 20 minutes before the ceremony and after for you guys to just sit together alone and like talk and be married and be excited about this and think about like this is happening and enjoy it. Cause it makes me really sad. One of my, one of my clients who became a really good friend of mine I got to attend her wedding after I was done shooting as a guest, which was great. And afterwards she told me like, I don't really remember most of the day and I was like that that kills me cause it, it's like it should be nice and slow that you can enjoy it. And I've I've been doing business coaching lately and a huge thing that my business coach has instilled in me is to slow down.

31:46 Cause when we just try and like get through everything really fast, no one's enjoying or I mean maybe you're enjoying it a little bit, but you don't remember it. And I took take photos sometimes on those fast weddings and then go back and like, I don't even remember taking this photo. Which is crazy cause I usually have very vivid memories of every photo I take. So I think that that slowing down needs to happen in the wedding world. I think the slowing down means things cost more money, which is the, the reason people probably don't and they want to like shove everything into a three hour time period. But slowing down benefits everybody, it makes the whole experience better for everybody, especially in a couple.

32:27 Yeah, it's tough. Because we we were having this conversation that you know, if you're like, if you're stressed doing family photos or if you're stressed or whatever and like you're gonna remember those feelings later. Right? Like if you, if we have a really crappy whatever, tried to try to get through stuff. And that was like, we were talking with the venue manager on Saturday and she's so a man, like you guys are really putting in your hours here. And I said, well no, we're only here for eight hours. I said normally we'd normally do a 10 hour a day because we do like, you know the have a little bit of that time. Cause when you try this, like you said, it's that cost cutting and trying to like get everything into fiber. I mean that's why I prefer to do those cause it is because it's going to be, it's like a wham bam. Thank you ma'am.

33:15 Yeah. Yup, yup. I think I tend to shoot shorter weddings because of the clientele I market to, which is people with smaller weddings. I like under 50 guests if possible. But even then like a through our wedding can be a really nice and slow wedding. Or a four hour wedding can be a really nice and slow wedding. It just, depending on how you schedule it and like what's important to you, like you said, like, does the couple actually want to take these photos or is this the, the photo team pressuring them like, Oh, we want these for our portfolio, so let's go take these photos. And if there's a beautiful sunset and my couples don't want to shoot, I let them dance and talk to people and party. It's not about, it's not about us, it's about them. So I'm letting them live their day the way they want to. This really important tangent. Sorry.

34:05 No, and I don't know, I think it's totally valid and it's tough because and it's not, it's not a bad thing where, cause I, you know, it used to be, you know, when you started out and like every wedding you do has to be the best one ever for your website. It has to be and not, and because I talk with Dorothy all the time about it, like not every wedding is a website wedding, but that's not a bad thing. Like people think like, Oh well that's not, it's like, well, no like you. It's just not, you know, I need more complete videos to Mark it on my site. But that doesn't mean if you don't want to go do all that stuff that it's not, you know, you're going to have tons of, I have tons of videos of stuff where it's, we didn't go do Epic, whatever, but you know, we are a visual medium and I gotta, I gotta have a couple of those to market. But I mean that doesn't necessarily mean that your day was, it just meant that you spent stuff maybe on a, so at time on stuff that wasn't as visually stimulating, but that does not mean that it wasn't. You know what I mean?

35:05 I was talking to my buddy yesterday, she's getting married and photographing her wedding this weekend and she's scared that her wedding, she's looking at all of these pictures and videos of weddings and she's scared that it's not going to be as good. And I was like, look, some of my favorite weddings that I've shot aren't necessarily, like you said, website weddings. They're not the most beautiful wedding in the world, but they were so emotional and the couple had so much fun and like we're so in love and like that's what it's about. It's not about, you know, the Pinterest of it all, like having perfect centerpiece and the perfectly like was Steria dangling from the ceiling and the fireworks at the end or whatever. And that's, that's not what a wedding should be. It's wedding. It's about love coming back to the romantic side of me.

35:49 It's 100% about love. And if the love isn't there, the most beautiful wedding in the world shouldn't be a website wedding because it's, you know, there's, there's no emotion in it. And I think in my, throughout my career, that's the one thing that has been really important to me is when people say, I hired you because you had real people on your website and we could see like the emotion in your photos that that trumps everything for me. It doesn't matter if I haven't shot on the top of Mount Rainier or you know, in like chili or something. I, it doesn't matter. Cause if I've actually captured the emotion and they feel something looking at my photos, then I've succeeded. So it doesn't matter how beautiful the wedding is. You can get that at any wedding. That's great. That was good. No,

36:36 But, and because I, and I can't remember one of the one of these podcasts lately. We were talking about, you know, Instagram and, and like, I don't think a lot of the video stuff that we do is really like Instagram friendly cause it is a lot more of those moments. And like the wedding that we just delivered yesterday, like you know, that we're walking around that he's got three guys helping him tie his tie, you know, she's dancing put, you know, like, but it's it's more like you said, like these real moments, but it's not like does that translate to like a beautiful Instagram video? Like no, but that doesn't matter. Right. It's, it's more of their, so it's, it's, you know, it's focusing on the things that matter and like you said, kind of capturing those real tangible things. And even if it is just like a quiet moment in the corner and she's sitting there with her grandma or whatever, you know, it's, it's more real stuff. Right?

37:26 Yeah. Yeah. I wish that Instagram was more actually real. I saw a really good picture today and it was an, or yesterday it was an Apple looking in a mirror and in the mirror it was a perfect Apple. And in the back it was a bunt, like had a giant bite out of it. And it was like, this is basically what Instagram is. It's this fake, beautiful facade. But really we're, we're all a mess in the back. I saw that same phone. Yes. It's a good one. And I mean it's, it's really true. As cheesy as it might be. And I mean I'm, I'm getting the criminal whatever. What am I trying to say? I've done it. Yeah. I'm guilty too. I, you know, you post the, like the really pretty ones. I try to get in there once in awhile and post like a silly one or something or something that's more real. But it's, it's hard cause you feel like you have to compete with all those people like the Hearns and Henry too. I don't know how to say his name. He's amazing, but like their photos are so grand and I'm like, I don't, it's not always grand. How do I compete with that? I don't know. It's hard. No, it's alright. It was real.

38:36 So you said, so you your main focus is, is more, you know, smaller, more intimate things. Talk about kind of as a couples that like to work with you and that you resonate with.

38:47 I had a friend asked me why we never crossed paths and that's because she does big fancy weddings for brides. Villas and I work with chill people that are really relaxed and half the time don't even like to wear makeup. I'm a really relaxed human being. I'm, I try to be real with people. I try to be like a person. I don't really hide who I am. I don't think I'm pretty much an open book. And that attracts people that are also very chill and open and calm. I, everyone asked me, Oh, like what's your craziest wedding story? I don't have one. All of my brides have been super chill. They've been super nice. I haven't had a single bride Zillow in the four and a half years I've been doing this cause my personality doesn't attract that kind of person. I don't spend time with those kinds of people in real life. Not that those kinds of people are bad. I just don't get along with them as well as people that do want to go on a hike or want to play board games in a cute shop in Seattle or, you know, want to go on a Ferris wheel. But those are the kinds of people that are attracted to me that I'm also attracted to. So

39:55 How do you find like you're talking about like being engaged with sessions and I've seen like other portrait sessions is now there. How do you find those locations? Is that a collaboration with them or are those your ideas or those there's, I mean, it's just

40:07 Everything. Yeah. some of it is stuff I've found accidentally on other engagement sessions or hiking. Sometimes they have really specific locations that are special to them. Pardon me? Yeah, it's, it's a mix. And then sometimes I just wander out into the wild and I'm like, Oh, this is really pretty, I should bring somebody here. Like Palouse falls, I figured out how to get to the bottom and I really want to take somebody down there, but gotta find someone that wants to drive four hours each way and go out there. But yeah. Yeah, it's a, it's a collaboration really to find locations.

40:44 How do you you kind of keep growing now? How do you keep bettering yourself? You know, is it hard? Just to, you know, it's hard to not be complacent. And how do you continue to kind of just expand kind of what you're doing in your skillset and everything else?

41:00 And true artists form, I never think I'm good enough. So and the goal is to always keep growing and never feel like I've made it. I think he wants you feel like you've made it. That's when you become super complacent. And I definitely don't feel like I've made it. So I try to read books especially more lately. I try to read books about creativity cause that's a huge insecurity of mine. I worry that I'm not as creative as I could be. I think a lot of us worry about that and I look at other art, not just photography because that just, you know, sends me in a spiral down into like sad world. If you just look at other people doing the same thing you're doing, I'm constantly comparing yourself. So I look at like painting and drawing and I try to watch lots of movies and TV and even like the bad TV, Riverdale for all those who know me well, it's inspiring in some way. You can, you can pull something out of everything you interact with. And then of course, traveling super inspiring for helping you grow and like seeing how other people live in their world and interact with people is great. Like in Turkey, people are really affectionate and here they're not. And so the affection there like just between friends is inspiring.

42:17 So you travel a lot now still. I try, we're not just possibly talk about, you know, the inspiration where you, like you say you a fair way from Turkey, but where do you like to go and explore?

42:27 I think my favorite place I've ever been is Ireland. It's beautiful. The people were nice. It just was a really relaxed atmosphere. I don't know how exactly true my next statement is going to be, but it's like the land isn't owned by people. You can just kind of go wherever you want as long as you're not bothering anyone's sheep or like breaking somebody. It's field or fence or whatever. They're pretty chill about you just exploring. And that's a really beautiful thing here. It's just like no trespassing signs everywhere. It's like I've seen yesterday, gorgeous forest wanted to go there desperately, couldn't no trespassing signs everywhere and you're like, I don't want a guy with a gun to come out and kill me trying to take a photo. Yeah. So Ireland is huge. Turkey obviously. I love going back there and actually traveling around the country is stumbles amazing. It's not scary like the news makes it out to be guys. Turkey's not a scary place. Everyone should go and check it out and they're super welcoming and loving. They just want to show you how amazing their countries and it really is.

43:29 Cause I was going to ask you about that. Like when you were, had brought up earlier that you're pro, cause I'm like, isn't that kind of like a treacherous, probably such a out,

43:35 Not treacherous. No, it's, it's perfectly safe. My brother was there during the coup cause he lives out there and it was basically a joke. I mean obviously a lot of bad things happen, but it was all in the political realm. It wasn't to the ordinary folks on the street pretty much, unless they're super political. So Alex stopped being political. That's my brother. He maybe talks more than he should. But yeah, it's, it's pretty safe. And like I said, the Turkish people are super welcoming and open and they just, they just want to show you how wonderful Turkey is,

44:11 But you find it and you find a lot of inspiration from traveling and you've seen, I mean, just different, even just different, like feel like different textures and colors and lights. And I mean

44:21 That I hated the desert and then I went to Utah and I was like, ah, damn, I don't hate the desert anymore. This is act. I granted the first time I saw Utah was in the snow, which made me like it probably than I would if it was just, you know, just like dead stuff. Like I'm being mean to Utah. Utah is great. But so not even internationally traveling just in the United States. I've grown a lot more in the types of landscapes that I enjoy and it's forced me to try and shoot different ways cause you know, if you're in the South and it's super sunny, you can't necessarily shoot as dark as you can here in Washington where it's dark all the time.

45:06 What do you wish more people asked her, you know, in terms of like weddings and booking? What do you wish more people like asked about it in the, in the, in the booking process and thought about photography, like, you know, we kinda talked about like timelines and stuff. Like what do you wish you knew that you find your educating clients about, you know, at time management or getting their shot lists? I don't know whether you, what do you find you're having to educate more people with? Just in terms of photography?

45:33 Probably the timeline is a huge one. People don't think about how long things take or how long. Like I was, we talked, things should take when you slow down, better things can happen. So I, I wish that they'd, I guess maybe it's on me. I should reach out more about the timeline and encourage people, like, this is the way we should do it. If you have to do it that way, that's fine, but we, this was the best way. So timeline and then something that I see a lot online, maybe not necessarily my clients, but people feeling like they have to hire someone that's worked at their venue before. That one gets me just a little bit because if you're talented vendor, whether you're a photographer, videographer, cake maker, whatever you can make good work anywhere. Half the time on an engagement session, we end up somewhere I've never been before.

46:29 That's the best kind of engagement session. Cause otherwise I'm just, you know, making the same stuff over and over, which I try not to do. So when you, when you're in a new place, you can see it with totally new eyes. If you're somebody who shoots in the same venue every single week, you're gonna like get into a routine of just doing the same thing every week. Which isn't great for you and isn't great for your clients, although they, they're gonna love their photos regardless cause it's them. But yeah, that's, I guess the two things timeline. And then you don't have to have somebody that's worked in your venue before to, to work at again.

47:05 Yeah, no. And, and the whole like I go back and forth cause they people wanting to do like walkthroughs and stuff and you walkthroughs and you know, I mean I do think it's helpful to like, have like at least have some frame of reference of like what this space is, but also like, you know, you could do a walk through today and then tomorrow it's rainy or it's sunny or it's different or you know, the, the, the thing that always me is I'll be like, I'm going to go outside, I'm going to figure out like where we're going to do the first look. And you're like, okay. And then like an hour and a half later we go outside and they're like, Oh, the lights totally different. We can't use this. I'm like, yeah, that's why I didn't come with you and try to have to go look and figure out what we're going to do the first leg because it, because it does, it just changes.

47:45 But you know, I'm also like doing the walkthrough. Like we had this we had a a bride and a couple of years ago that we just couldn't, she wanted us to do a walk through. We just couldn't, we couldn't do it. It was like a Friday night late. We just couldn't accommodate it. And then there was like problems with her ceremony and it was really dark and you know, our cameras did fine, but she just wasn't happy with kind of the lighting just in general of the, you know, whether photo, video just in general, she wasn't happy with a lot of these as well. It wouldn't have changed anything if we were to come down there anyway the night before. Like it's still going to be the same route. Like spotlights. Yeah, right. Unless you hire the lighting package overnight, like it's not gonna change anything, whether I see it or not, you know? So it starts to kind of make those balances to them, that expectation.

48:30 Yeah. Yeah. And I, at least for me, I always show up to every wedding early and I do my own walkthrough. So I'm going to see it before you get married regardless. And I don't, I don't need months to plan all, I'm happy to do walk throughs. Not a problem, but it's not like 100% yes.

48:48 And every situation. Yeah. Cause you get that question all the time. Like, Whoa, I need somebody that shot here. And like you said, like, all right, I can probably figure it out. I will 100% figure it out. It's not a problem. Yeah. I always like, yeah, show I'm up in the, in the back on this, this, yeah. This is the first time I've done this. Like whatever you're doing, you know, it's like obviously not, you know, you have some, some frame of reference of what you're going to do. All good. I, you know, we're starting to wind down here. What, what's your you know, goals either. We're kinda, it's October, we're kind of getting hopefully done with wedding season. Like I said, we, we have similar amounts of weddings left this year. What are you looking forward to in the off season and what are you trying to do for next year? In 2020,

49:29 I'm stoked to revamp my website with all the stuff I've shot this summer. I'm hoping to travel a lot more in 2020 for work, not just for fun. I get to go to Texas this year, which is kind of exciting. Then 2020. Yeah, for a wedding. I want to do more fashion, like personal projects a lot. Cause I realized this year that I miss fashion a lot. It was a lot of fun doing that really fantastical storytelling that well, weddings are, have that fashion element to them. It's not the same kind of over the top. Like this world doesn't exist, but I wish it did. I'm sort of storytelling that fashion has. So I want to get more into that. And I, I, I dream of having more time for painting as well. But with photography I just want to keep working with couples that like want to get out in the wild and like go do fun things and explore with me and move slowly. Really take the time to really enjoy themselves. And so we can all like have a great time together and I want to meet more people. Yeah, that's, that's the goal. Keep enjoying life,

50:44 Keep enjoying life. Those are good goals. Meeting new people and enjoying life and traveling, traveling. I'll have this been, you know, so great. You know, catching up with you. Thanks again for coming in. Like I said, I do, I mean, I try to make it easy. I do think it's, you know, it's a better experience to come in and see things more fun in person and see Rosie, Rosie was high on pain meds right now from her dental appointment. She's called cuddled up in her bed. She is a high as a kite kind of animal. Well, again, they do so much. If people want to learn more about you and your photography, see your website, Instagram, all that, where would you have them checkout?

51:24 My website is just And my Instagram is at Zoe Burchard and keeping it simple.

51:30 I like that it's easy. I vendors this year tagging people. Oh. And, and Facebook, especially if there is 16 different Joe's kitchen shop or whatever. And you are the one in Seattle. And it's really hard for me to find out that struggle. Oh, I meet but like I don't care what it is, but it's got to be something that I can.

51:51 Yup. And then some of my favorite vendors, they have such long names for their businesses. I'm like, I don't know what, I know their first name and their last name. I have no idea what their business is called.

52:01 No, I the, the Facebook thing this year is a death in me and trying to find the right you know, if there's 16 different ones of the same name, I would, I would give it a different name, you know, the, the pages. So anyway, that's a tangent for another day. Thank you so much for coming on. If you, yeah, if you're, if you're like Zoe and you want to come on the podcast, or if you're interested in coming on, you can go to And that's a nice, easy questionnaire. I have set up you know, that kind of get some info and get you in the system and that, thanks again, you know, making the drive and whether we today, Tuesday, and again, we're getting through it, the sun, that era, the rain doesn't come in yet. So, yeah, making it this has been in other episodes of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro®. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview, you thank so much.

Amanda Howse, Amanda Howse 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 the West Seattle, Washington. I'm so excited to be joined today by Amanda and I think I've been hounding you. We've gone back and forth for the better part of a year of trying to find time to get you on. I'm so excited. You're, you know, busy and the wedding season and things are kind of slowing down and we're trying to get more people on the podcast. Thank you so much for taking time on a Friday to come in and a chat. Why don't you introduce yourself, tell us who you are, what you do.

00:42 Awesome. My pleasure. I'm Amanda Howse of Amanda Howse Photography. I have been a wedding photographer for 16 years now. This is going into my 17th wedding season for 2020 and I'm also a studio owner. I have a studio down in Tacoma and I currently am shooting high school senior girls for the past few years and that keeps me plenty busy this time of year. Yeah.

01:08 Really kind of one of the reasons I wanted you to come on as a, you know, we know each other, we've worked together in the past, but also just how long you been doing everything, you know, the fact that you have a studio that you do, you know, things besides weight. And so there's just, you just have a wide range kind of acknowledging experiences and I think that's great. And just for having been in the game so long, I mean, you know anybody on the podcast that's, you know, five, six years plus is, is long and it just the knowledge that you have and of having done this is really exciting. So thank you for coming on. Thanks for having me. So how has, how has your season gone? Are you, are you happy to be wining into fall or like you said, you do a lot of other things. How has it gone for you this year?

01:48 It has been a great year. I have cut back just a little bit on weddings. So I only take between 10 and 20 a year. And then I mostly do high school seniors, which right now is the busy time because they all need their photos for the yearbook.

02:02 Is that we just, I just delivered a wedding the other day and we were doing the family photos and the it was the grooms nephew must've been, you know, high school age, looked like the most unhappy kid in the entire world. I never saw them smile the whole day. Never smiled in any photos. Is it hard to do the seniors, is it hard to get 'em kind of loosened up?

02:25 It depends. So I do 98% of girls for senior photos. I find that girls are just a little bit more fun cause you do the full professional hair and makeup. We have a sort of very awesome experience we have for hair and makeup artists on staff. So you come into the studio, you get pampered for two hours and so that kind of loosens them up a little and then we go out and shoot for a couple hours. The boys are definitely a little bit harder, which is why I only do like 2% of them. And plus when mom is along with the boys, it makes it even harder cause mom's trying to be like just smile and pose like this and the boys are like, mom, leave me alone. So it's very interesting. It's an interesting dynamic between the two.

03:05 Yeah. My mom had the, our I guess it would have been my high school photos and then my brother's eighth grade photos hanging in our hallway forever and it just, I hated, you know, I just looking back on both times it's, it certainly makes you realize how far you've come.

03:23 Definitely. And the senior part term experience now is so different than when say we were in high school and a, but you used to go to a studio and like just sit there and kind of do a little pose with your arms and you know, get a couple exposures. Now it's actually an experience. Like we go to different locations. We have a stylist that comes along and she does your hair and makeup changes between the different outfits. We preplan your outfits with the fashion consultation. Then afterward you come into the studio and when you're all done, you to come see your photos on a big huge TV and it's set to music. So totally awesome. Experience is probably the biggest photos, like a session you're going to have all by yourself until you get married.

04:06 Oh, absolutely. I mean, it's like you said, besides the necessity of having to have it for a yearbook, I mean, it does just kind of Mark that life in me. And I said, I know my mom still has those photos, you know, framed and up on a big thing and you know, I mean, even though I don't like him anymore, you know, she'll hold onto them forever, so,

04:25 Oh, that's awesome. You need to post those on Instagram. We all want to see,

04:28 Oh my gosh, that would be a, yeah, that would be a scary a, that was my bandana wearing phase, we'll call it. And I had a lot of clothes with a lot of bandanas and that was pretty cool, I thought at the time.

04:41 Yeah, definitely need to see that. So talk to me, it kinda

04:47 Give me a little backstory that you've been doing, you know, photography all sorts forever. You know, is this something you grew up wanting to do? How did the inspiration come about?

04:56 So I graduated high school early. I grew up in Hawaii and after three years I thought I've had enough of this. So I graduated what to school at university of Nevada in Reno, and was just taking my basic classes, not knowing what I'm going to do. I was only 17 I had to do an elective and I took a photography class. So I really liked it. It was back in the day of film, a black and white, and we would actually go with a dark room and I spent hours upon hours in the dark room developing photos, watching all that magic happen. So that led me onto decide that my degree in English, which was going to go towards the teaching degree probably wasn't gonna happen. So I started researching photography schools. At the time there was this really amazing private college called Brooks Institute of photography. Sadly it has closed since then, but it is pretty much world renowned.

05:49 It was the D school to be, it's like top of the line, the best photography school at the time. They took 50 people per year. You had to apply actually pass all these different things. So I applied and I got in. So I went to Santa Barbara in California, which is where the school's located. The guy that formed it, his name was Ernest Brooks and he actually has some ties up here in Seattle. There's like an earnest Brooks museum or something on like with the Island. So anyway, I went down there and Santa Barbara, I studied photography primarily and got my second BA, this one in photography. And since then I have been doing photography. I jumped right into weddings cause I decided to intern with a girl and I just fell in love with it. Like the best thing ever. I'm very, very well versed with people. I'm a people person. I like to talk. I'm an extrovert. I love being around people. That's where I get my energy. And one thing led to another that was in 2004 and here I am starting wedding season numbers 17

06:52 That's not an, you know it's, it's changed so much over the years in, you know, having done, I mean I think having done anything for 1617 years now is, is a lot kind of in 2019 standards just with switching jobs and careers and people, you know, these millennials and everything. But you know, especially doing photography that long is, is truly remarkable.

07:15 Thank you. It is. It's, it's been really interesting because I started off in film, I shot weddings in 35 millimeter and medium format, which was hilarious cause then you had to have someone there to help you, like switch your film, backs out and everything. And you only had like 20, I think it was like 20 something shots on medium format and then you'd have color in one in black and white and another. So when you actually wanted to shoot black and white, you had to sync. This is black and white. You couldn't just take the photo like we do now go into light room or Photoshop and change the black and white. So it was quite, quite different. And you would shoot stuff and you would have your fingers crossed that it actually turned out cause you couldn't see after you took a photo, you couldn't look at the back. There were no LCDs, no champing, none of that kind of stuff. So, and then now here we are with digital and going to mirrorless now and all the cool new stuff.

08:02 Yeah, I could imagine. And I, you know, we just with video, I just, I was talking the other day with one of the photographers I was working with and just how much more forgiving it is. You know, I tried to snap like a photo during the day just so I have something like the thumbnail or whatever. But even if I snap off like six or seven shots after time, none of them were even good anyway. And I couldn't imagine that being that, you know, the sole thing where I can, you know, I can have a video wall for 30 seconds and I have plenty of stuff go on by that. Especially when you got film and you got, you know, 20 takes or whatever on the one roll, it's gotta be crazy.

08:37 Oh. And it's so nice now too, like I am a total shipper. I don't care what other photographers say. And that means when you take the picture, you look at the back to see that it came out. Like I think that's awesome. It's like a learning thing where you can actually look at the photo and see what you just did. I mean, that's so cool. And plus if say you go from inside to outside, you forget to change your exposure, I can save your butt man. And that way you can look and go, Oh, I forgot to change my temperature and my shutter seed.

09:06 No, I remember, I'm just thinking back when I first started in, in TV, so this was back in like, Oh eight the cameras that we had didn't, the view finder was in black and white. It was like gray scale. So you wouldn't actually know if your color balance was right until you back to the stations that shot. Yeah. So yeah, you just had to be diligent and you know, always, you know, set 32,000 or whatever. You're right, if you're inside, whatever. But like yeah, you can get back to the station and like, you'd be like, Oh crap, like everything's blue. Like I then, you know, I tell him that said that. But now, like he said, you, you know, you have everything in color ready to see. I mean you can fricking fly a drone up in the air and get a stream to your phone and what it's shooting. I mean it's just crazy how far where things changed in the years.

09:53 Oh, I know. It's amazing. I just got the new iPhone 11 pro. Yeah. Let me tell you what those three cameras on that it's going to be so cool. I can now just make little videos and my seniors and do everything right there. Cause it's just, the quality is just so much better.

10:08 Oh, it's nuts. It sounds, I mean I don't, I still don't think, you know, I you know, I don't think it, if you blew that up, I don't think it would hold together and you're [inaudible] but I think, but you know, cause I was again talking with the guy, the wedding this weekend and when he was like a grandparent or something and he was asking us, yeah, it looks, it looks great on your phone or it looks great on Instagram, but you couldn't blow that up and hanging on the wall like you would something that, you know, the photographer we're working with in the shoot, you know, totally different thing. What was it like growing up in Hawaii? How did that kind of develop who you are and then how, how is that?

10:46 It was interesting. I am not a big sun and beach person, especially being a red head. Where you, Bernie Z my dad moved us over there cause he was in the mortgage banking business and I mean it was okay. There's only so much to do. And when you're in high school and you're stuck on a rock that you drive two hours and you're on the other side of it, you know, it gets a little boring. There's not any malls. I grew up on the big Island. There weren't any malls, so if you wanted to go to the mall and go shopping, you had to actually fly over to Oahu. So stuff like that just kind of weird. It's a great place to go back and visit, but I don't think I ever live there again.

11:24 So you were anxious to get away?

11:26 Yeah, I like seasons. I like snow and fall and in Hawaii is 85 degrees every day and the sun sets at the same time every day.

11:38 Wow. Did you, do you feel like a little bit more, I don't know, people always the, you know, the Island time and all of that. Was that something that never rubbed off on you or kind of be it a little more laissez Faire? Easygoing,

11:52 Right, for sure. Is done with Aloha. And it's just like when you drive, you drive with a low high, you learn to slow down and actually let people in. Whereas people in Washington don't quite do that as much. So when I stopped actually let people in, my husband yells at me, he's like, what are you doing? Cause he grew up here in Washington. So definitely, and I, I do miss the food. My dad had a deep sea fishing business and we would eat fish, literally like fresh out of the ocean. And we finished like every night like AHI and Maki Maki and as a kid and you don't realize that or how nice that is or how spoiled I was until now I'm an adult and I do not just get three super expensive fish all the time. So I missed that part of it. And you know, like I said, I love to visit. We go visit all the time. We got a [inaudible], that's my favorite, my family under condo there. And so we go back to that condo all the time. That's awesome.

12:42 So, you know, you said you went and you applied to be a, in this, you know, photography school. What was it about, you know, doing that with it, that excited you? Was it, you know, seeing people, was it capturing moments? Who, what was it that kind of drew you to that?

12:56 I was still super young when I was when I got my first degree and I did not really know what I wanted to do and I like school, so that's why I decided I'm just gonna keep going to school. So after getting one BA, I moved to get the second one, no idea what I would like in photography. I just do, I liked it in general. And so they had three different, I think it was three different major. She could do portraiture, architecture or fashion. Fashion is like cut throat, but in LA or New York, all that. So I had no interest in that. Architecture, I don't like things that don't talk back to me. So like when I'm shooting, that's why I love weddings and seniors, like people that actually I can interact with them shooting still life and houses and real estate and that just has no interest whatsoever to me.

13:41 So I chose portraiture and we really, they didn't have a wedding back then and they, they kind of touched on weddings. Weddings are a little bit of portraiture, but not 100%. I learned actually more in the field and by doing that I actually did at school. But at school we learned all the basics, like we learned like what filters work when and how to do this. Computers were just starting to kind of come up. I think we had, gosh, I want to say our max where something like G threes or even before that, or even know what they were called. And then we had these these discs I think they're called zip disks. They weren't the floppies they were after the floppy, Oh my God. So funny. So we would go to the computer room and sit there. And then when Mac had those ones that were all the color they, they look like they were blue see-through or orange see-through and they were kind of shaped like a dome.

14:28 Yeah, back in the day. And then they got the G five room right before I graduated. So that was super high tech. So we learned all that kind of stuff, like how to edit things, how to use Photoshop, which back then was probably like so other shop five or six or something. Slight roof didn't even exist, which is one of the programs we use. So I really didn't know what I wanted to do. And then I decided I'm going to turn with the wedding photographer and I reached out to her the old school way. This was before we had smartphones actually cold called her and just said, hi, I am going to be moving to the Lake Tahoe area and I see you're a very popular photographer or do you need an intern or can I come shoot with you? And she interviewed me and said yes. And so there you go. That's moved up the top and started by wedding seasons.

15:14 So what, what was the like is kind of a young intern getting into that? Was it scary? Did you feel, you know, comfortable? Were you confident?

15:22 No. The first wedding, I'll never forget it. It was so scary. The bride and groom, their names were Jen and Ben, which is so funny cause it's like Jennifer Aniston and bene or Brad Pitt kind of. Anyway, it just reminded me of that whole thing and it was somewhere in California and I was brand new and she handed me her digital camera and I only have film and she's like here, just go sit in the aisle. As they walked down the aisle, take pictures of them coming down the aisle. I had no idea what I was doing. I did not know how to use digital. I didn't know how to use the flash because we'd never really learned how to use speed lights. I'm sure the photos were horrendous, but she said she liked me cause I did stuff, like I brought her drink, I made sure that her bag was carried. I watched her stuff, I helped pose people. So she really liked me and she kept me on and we worked together for two years. So that was awesome.

16:12 Yeah. Well that's the stuff too. Cause I mean even if you hand a Canon user, a Sony camera or whatever, you know, yeah. It might take you 15 minutes to figure out how to do whatever. You know, my I was shooting the money with one of my other guys the other day. I'm like, he had this buttons programs differently and I was like, I don't even know, like how to do this. So let alone like the in hand in the digital camera and trying to figure that out. I mean, it hadn't been scary.

16:37 Oh, it was. Yeah. I'm the same way. I'm an icon user. I've just always had an icon and I pick up a cannon and I'm just like, okay, I don't even think I could make an image. I don't even know where to turn it on. Like it's, everything's backward. It's so different. It's amazing. But no, I love my gear. That leads me into my gear. I, I don't care if it's candidate or an icon, as long as you know how to use it and I know how to use my stuff. So that's what helps.

17:05 So you started doing the weddings you know, wasn't a complete disaster. So then how did, how did you kind of progress from there? Did you, did you stay on with, with them for awhile or did you start branching out or how did that work?

17:16 Yeah, I worked with that same girl for the first two years and then we decided to move back to Washington. So after my husband grew up here, so after we moved to Washington, we I had to start all over again. And so I actually sat in an ad, I think it was either inline or online or in a newspaper. I don't really remember, honestly. Someone was looking for an associate shooter or what's called a lead shooter. So basically they hire you and you work for their company and you go and lead shoot, quote unquote for their, so you're still doing your own stuff and you are the only shooter at the wedding, but you're not working under your own business name. And so I did that, met this couple, and then that kind of just branched out. And I used to work for anywhere up to like five or six different companies as a lead shooter. And then I started getting my own business because I was new to the area and had to break into it. And I was a lead shooter for, gosh, probably like a decade for multiple companies plus myself. And that led to shooting events in Seattle. And I spent over a decade shooting all kinds of social networking of women's events and working just for pretty much anyone that would give me photography work. So I have a very huge array of experience with all different kinds of genres. Okay.

18:30 What was it like then to kind of, you know, make your own thing, you know, and, and really focused on kind of building your own brand. What was it like to kind of make that switch?

18:40 It was definitely hard. I know worked a full time job for the first 10 years that I was here on top of my photography and I actually just went full time just for myself two years ago and I just opened my studio. I think we've been open now for a year and a half, so it definitely took a long time to get here and it's been totally worth it and I wish I had done it years ago. Okay.

19:08 It's, it's hard. It's really hard to kind of make that balance because you mean you don't want to S

19:13 Okay.

19:14 You don't want to just make a leap, but also like if you give yourself time to fill, right, then you end up filling it right. Where if you're worried about kinda, you know, working on other things, it's a hard, really kind of a hard time to kind of find that perfect balance. You know what I mean?

19:28 Oh for sure it is. And there's always the fear in the what if and what if no one hires me or what if I don't have, you know, like a day job, you have a steady paycheck cause you'd go there 40 hours a week. But my one favorite thing is my new saying is jump sooner. You wish you would have and the fear wouldn't hold you back. Cause if I had jumped sooner I would have been doing what I love longer versus working two jobs cause I am so busy now that I book up months in advance. It's just amazing.

19:59 Well then, you know, obviously it was just a long time coming then, but it is

20:04 Okay.

20:04 Ah, scary. What, what of finally made you take that leap or what kind of that finally made you decide that now? Is it

20:12 After sitting at the same job for 10 years and having the, realizing that you're just a person, there's a warm body at a job that they didn't care about. You finally said, you know what, I don't want to live like this. And I don't care if I have to go do, who knows what, I, I just quit. And then sure enough, my lovely day job I gave them two weeks notice trying to be a nice person and they just said, don't just leave today. Nevermind. And I was like, thanks. After 10 years, that's awesome to be treated that way. And I left. And that was that. I haven't looked back and you just, whatever your manifest and whatever you put out there seems to come. So it has been coming and it's pretty awesome.

20:56 Yeah, no, I definitely agree with that. And just having kind of that mindset of, you know, just not taking no is just kind of not, I just, I believe in a lot of that stuff. And I I talked with Dorothy a lot that we I fill in a lot of, you know, motivational speakers and stuff and, and I do think some of it's kind of, you know, hubbub or whatever, but I do think that at the core, and they do have some ideas where, you know, wanting things and kind of manifesting that for yourself. You know, is possible. If you work hard, you know, I paid $1,000 to sit and listen to somebody talk. It probably isn't what's going to do it. But I do think they have some good ideas when it comes to kind of like going out on your own and doing stuff that you want to do. You know what I mean?

21:41 Yes, definitely. It's it's awesome. I jumped in and I did a smart way to, I hired coaches and I've had a coach for the last two years, a different one, each part. And I take what I can from them and they helped further my business and then when I don't need them anymore, I find a coach for a different area and it's just been amazing. I highly, highly recommend getting a coach to help you do something that normally you had never done before. Like most people have not been an entrepreneur until you decided to be one. So if you take advice from someone who's actually doing it, it really helps in your business and helps you to learn how to basically just do everything. So I'm constantly learning and I'm sure by this time next year everything will be more professional, like even better than it is right now.

22:26 What were some of the biggest areas that you've found that you wanted to work on or that you wanted to strengthen?

22:32 Marketing is always an interesting one. Especially when you're in a business where you don't usually have repeat clients. So for weddings usually they don't get right. Again, for seniors, they definitely are not in high school. Again, you will get an occasional, maybe like a baby in the future or maybe you'll get a family session out of it, but you definitely don't have this thing where you're going to be getting the same person that come back year after year and buy your services. Yes, there's a few but very rarely with weddings and seniors. So you're constantly marketing looking for the new client. It's always new, new, new. And then of course technology changes because Instagram didn't even exist a few years ago and now I get 95% of my business procedures from Instagram.

23:14 Yeah, it's funny. I always, the hardest thing with video, you know, like you said, same as that repeat client and how often are you going to need a videographer. And this season I had two wedding clients so that I had actually known, you know, from a previous life in doing corporate stuff and I thought both of them were going to be like slam dunk bookings and I ended up having to work just as hard to kind of get up and it didn't even help me out that I had known them for years. You know, they still wanted to play the field. I thought, man, you know, I've known you for years. Like this shouldn't be, but you know, people want to make

23:46 Sure they find the right fit. Oh yeah. It happens. I have, I assume that all my brides are going to get, you know, make a baby and connect with me. Nope. Does not happen. That's okay though. I honestly shooting babies, which is the worst sentence in the world of sale, loud shooting babies, shooting babies with my camera is not what I like to do. I'm, it's not my thing. I don't do babies and kids that much and now I know that so I don't take whatever comes my way. So honestly I'm fine with that. I am, they can go to a baby photographer and do newborn post photos cause that's not where my passion is. My passion right now is heavily in high school seniors and weddings. What was it like kind of establishing you a studio and kind of having that more kind of of a tangible, you know, space in the area where like I just kind of work out of the house and it doesn't, you have a cover girl, but what was it like kind of doing that, going through that whole process?

24:41 It was pretty awesome. So I learned early on with seniors that I needed a place for them to get their hair and makeup then. And most of the hair and makeup artists travel. So like they, they're like us where they work out of their home. So they'll either go to the client's house and do the hair and makeup or you have to find a location. And I wasn't going to be inviting people to my house cause I wanted more of a fancy kind of high end place. So I was shelling out all this money renting studios and locations just for two people to sit there and get their hair and makeup done. And I was like, this is silly. So then I started looking around for the location and the studio I found I believe came to me for a reason. A good friend of mine in Tacoma, she had had the space for five years.

25:23 It's a 2000 square foot. We have about eight or 10 different offices plus the actual studio or the shooting space. She had it as a massage business and so it has a front lobby area. It has all the different rooms, but she used as a massage. Each room had massage and then the big room she used for yoga cause it has all the windows and it just has a great feel to it. And I remember going to her place skosh seven or eight years ago and I walked in and I was just enthralled. I was like, wow, this is gorgeous. All hardwood floors, a hundred year old building. I said I would just dream of having a space like this Sunday, never in a million years thought I would actually have her literal space. She was there five years. Her life took her on a different path. It went for lease, another yoga place slash massage took.

26:10 It didn't even, I didn't even think about it one day I'm walking along and it just came to me, Oh my gosh, we should totally figure out if that place is for rent. It sure enough, turns out that people had Oh, what did they do? I think they stopped paying on their something. And so basically it was up for rent and they wanted someone in it. Cause obviously if they just broke their lease and I went and did a tour and it was the exact same space with the same paint. She had painted it, it was all burnt, orange colored because that was her colors. It was horrendous. Every room was burnt orange, like bright, burnt orange. So I partnered with another local photographer and we took over the space and year and a half ago, my entire family came and spent a whole weekend painting it to get rid of the burnt orange.

26:53 So now it's a gorgeous gray and it has white and all this stuff. There's tours of it online. It's really cool. And so that I don't have to pay to actually have my girls get their hair and makeup done and it just keeps evolving. It's evolved now to where I also rent the space and I'm very big into giving back in the community. And so I love that we rent it, not too expensive. So others starting to photographers or just any photographers in the area who need a space for when it rains or if they want to do meetings, they can use our space now. So it makes it really fun. And it's also a dual purpose space. So, for example, I had a client there the other day, renting the studio, she's doing her product shoot for whatever product we have seen her getting her hair and makeup done and the hair and makeup room. We also have an office, the lobby, and then I'm in the client lounge or I'm giving a presentation and doing a galley re, excuse me, a gallery roof feel to clients. So we have three people using this same space, so it's like a coast face. So it just, it feels so good and so nice to be able to do that and use the space without just having us sit there like that.

27:56 That's awesome. I mean that's just incredible. And something that obviously came along at the perfect time for you to kind of take advantage of it. I mean, that just seems like it wasn't it to be.

28:06 That's totally what I think. And I still can't believe it. Some days I walk in there and I'm just like, wow, it's really cool.

28:14 You talked about your family kind of coming down and helping out. Yeah. Why don't you tell us a little bit about your home life and what kind of makes it, you know, rounds out the other side of your world.

28:22 Yeah, for sure. So my husband's from here. He grew up in Washington. He went to school in Kent, Thomas Jefferson. I did not, my, one of my best friends from Hawaii, we went to a private high school where we have 30 kids per grade, so not too many of us. She wound up coming up here to go to UDaB for school, fell in love with a guy and she wound up living here and then she met this guy at work and I was like, Hey, you should come visit. I bet you two would hit it off. And I came to visit about 18 years ago, I think it was. And we definitely hit it off and I actually wound up dropping out of college to come up here and chase him. And I got him and I took him back with me and finish college. And then since then we've kind of lived everywhere. But we've now technically been back in Washington. I think about 14 years, so it's just me and him. Our 13 year wedding anniversary is actually coming up in about a week or so, so super cool. And his whole family's here. So he has siblings, family, everything. And they're all very supportive and they all came and put in the fun time of painting an entire studio, which if you've ever painted is not as fun as it sounds.

29:42 What was your guys', why do you like, Oh, it was, it was pretty good for the time. So this was back in Oh six, so things were a little different back then. We had nothing, there was no Pinterest, so you didn't have any of this fancy stuff. There weren't like fancy details to photograph or any of that fun stuff. Our DJ actually had these huge boxes with CDs in them where you actually put the CDN every time you want to listen to a song. It's pretty awesome. But the venue was quite gorgeous. It was in South Lake Tahoe on the California side of the golf course. So like all golf course weddings. It was perfect. You had a view of the Lake, you watched the sunset, it was a destination wedding, so people came from everywhere to watch it. It was an October, so it was kind of fall really pretty.

30:29 Everything was great. My photographer was a friend from school who'd never done a wedding. So the photos are okay, but you know, it is what it is. We were young and outta college and couldn't afford much. The favors to this day still make me laugh. We got these little mesh bags and we put M&Ms in them and you tied the M and M's up, put that on everyone's plate because that was what was in style back in 2006. So that was quite funny. But everything else went great. The wedding was great. We got married and went off to Hawaii the next day for anyone. That's awesome.

31:05 Well the one thing I was curious to ask you about is, you know, having done this and weddings for so long and what some of the biggest differences in terms of like what people really focused on, like you said, the favors and that was important like that people wanted you to photograph, you know, 14, 15, 16 years ago versus now. Is there a big difference in that? Has things shifted that way? And you can say no too.

31:29 Yeah, I everything, especially since Pinterest came out people spend so much more money and time and effort on the details because like for example, when our parents got married, you didn't take 2000 plus images, you took maybe a hundred and you definitely, except for the cake, you did not take a picture of here's the place, cares what I'm giving people. Cause I don't think you even gave people gifts or favors back then. Of course you took the cake but very rarely did you take it by itself. It was more just like here they are cutting the cake or standing by the cake. So that's definitely different. Is all the details. And then most of these weddings, especially higher end ones these days, they just looked like something out of a magazine. Like they're phenomenal. The amount of money spent on florists and lighting and DJs.

32:19 Definitely the wedding, wedding industry. I'd say the cost of a wedding nowadays compared to when I got married has doubled or tripled easily. It's, yeah, it's quite interesting. Of course being a visual person and being a photographer, it's awesome. I love going to weddings where if they've spent every sense on details and I can get like these photos that look like they belong in the best Martha Stewart magazine or the highest not wedding or whatever it is. So yeah, it's, it's been interesting and it's funny you don't follow the trends. You know, you go from the 80s with a poofy sleeve dresses to the 90s. Then when I started shooting, everyone had the dress like this with nothing on your arms. And so it's definitely quite interesting to watch all the trends and you can see it, you can tell by the cakes to like what like roughly what year it was from. Cause you'd be like, Oh that was that when that was popular or that's what we did the chocolate drip down the side or that's when this was popular. Oh then cupcakes became popular. So it's kind of fun to watch.

33:18 Has it been challenging? The cup is stay, you know, up on everything and just having done this so long, do you just like, I kind of feel like, you know, with video it doesn't, a lot of the wedding stuff, if it's in style, it's there and that kind of capture it. Right. I mean obviously like techniques and stuff changed. But in terms of like the, and you know, photographing a wedding that, you know, continued, I mean, how do you kind of stay on top of things?

33:46 You know, I don't actually have to stay on top of things as much cause I'm not a wedding planner. So being the photographer, I just show up and everything looks perfect, which is totally fine. The only stuff I really stay on top of is making sure that my images reflect similar things to what's going on in similar trends. But also on that note, I do not keep up with trends as an editing trends. I am one of those people that edits things the way they actually look. So for example, long, long time ago spot coloring was a trend, which is a thing where you turn the whole photo black and white except maybe the bouquet and you had like red roses. So I did it once or twice just because I was cool to do it, but I never actually did that. I didn't do all the sepia tones.

34:30 Light and airy or Pacific Northwest moody is in style right now where you'd make everything dark and whatever. I don't go with those trends because when you look back 20 years from now, the photo should look like the photo I think in your skin colors should actually be skin color and not green or yellow because that was the trend cause it kind of dates a photo. But that's my opinion. And then I do definitely keep up though with cameras. The new technology is amazing. You can almost see in the dark with some of these cameras and it's, so that part I definitely keep up on. That's pretty cool.

35:01 Yeah, the editing thing and I never really know. I mean I think with video people kind of want it kind of the way it looks. I mean, you know, we don't have as much control. If you're in a yellow room, let's go look a little more yellow. I mean you can kind of adjust, but yeah, I've, yeah, even just the summer, I mean I see a lot of images posted for weddings. Ima, yeah. I mean it's like a lot of these like greens and stuff and I'm like, that wasn't even really what it, I don't know. I never know like what the whole decision behind it is. But yeah, definitely the greens right now seems to be really like really heavy green.

35:34 Yeah. It's it's been my, our little joke, we like to call it the dark and moody or the Pacific Northwest version because someone started it. I don't know. And if you've got a certain photographers, it just went crazy and like I said, that's fine, but when you look back, you're going to look back maybe and just go, Hm, that's an interesting look.

35:53 Yeah. I just see people complaining about things, you know, you don't want them to be green and that might be a co, you know, like don't want things to be purple or don't want things to be green. And then when it's, I don't know, I'd never know that that's above my pay grade when it comes to doing the video, but I just, I have noticed that a lot this summer. You know, seeing galleries that had been posted from photography.

36:13 Yeah. It's interesting. And especially when it looks all dark and gloomy and you're like, that was a sunny day in July. How did you make it look like that?

36:22 I get the opposite. I get the the overcast and that looks like it was the middle of summer. We get that a lot. It'll be like, that wasn't even, were we at the same wedding? Like it doesn't even look, they don't be, you know, a totally gloomy day and it's just like, you know, highlights and you're like, wow,

36:38 Oh yes. Lightened area is very popular right now, especially with newer photographers because some of them definitely aren't quite aware of their settings and it's trendy and it's just easy to move the slider over and blow out the highlights and which is great, but you know, every now and then you want to see that dress that you dropped five to $2,000 on. You might want to actually see the details in it, but you know, you just don't, I'm not, everyone has their own style and that's totally fine. So yeah.

37:08 You kind of you know, continue to bargain for this long that you said you get a lot of seniors now on Instagram, but how do you kind of stay up on that whole thing and, and like you said, you've done some self you know, growth with coaching. It's about how do you keep the marketing fresh and going.

37:25 I definitely do a little bit everything I do research so that I see what's out there and what looks good. Because like anything in life, you kind of have to stay up with trends, especially in an industry where you have younger, younger people because high school people and young brides are very into trends. So for example, it's not wedding related, but high school seniors right now, the 90s has come back hardcore. So all their outfits are the 90s, which is really funny cause I went to high school than I do. So it's like watching myself all over again. The same everything. They have scrunchies they have mom jeans. So it's very interesting. But you have to learn to just go with the trend. Like, I just thought a Fanny pack the other day and I wear it to shoes because guess what? They're trendy right now, which is hilarious cause five years ago I wouldn't be caught dead in a Fanny pack.

38:14 But by keeping up with what's cool, you kind of fit in and then they, your clients will kind of gravitate towards you and book you just based on how you are. Like if you're an outdoors hiking kind of photographer, you will attract outdoors-y hiking people. That's not me. I do not hike up to the top of rattlesnake and shoot sunrise engagement. So I know that I thought I would try it one time when everyone started doing it, but that's just not for me. So you kind of like attracts like, so what you put out there attracts it. So I definitely do what makes you you and what makes you happy? That's what I have to say. And when you market and just put yourself out there the way you're supposed to be, the correct people will come to you.

39:01 That's funny. Yeah, totally. The styling things. We I just, I, we watch period where I watched your brother every summer and the really like, that's like you were saying like the nineties and like really like you could take them sitting in the house and put it, you know, it season 21 now and you can put it back to like season two or three and you couldn't tell the difference except for the, the fidelity of the cameras. So I was like this is crazy that this is all back again. And like the denim jackets are like the denim on denim and the flannel and it is, it is of nuts.

39:35 Yep. It is. So it's very interesting to see weddings are the same. Like right now the, Oh, what's that called? The pipe, the copper pipes, like copper is really in, and then someone made a trend where you make those little circles, things that you hang up with, like flowers on one side. Yeah, those are huge too right now. But it's funny cause that'll just in a few years the next thing will come and you know, you just, you just look at magazines and we all for some reason love to be popular and trendy. It's a very American thing from what I've gathered. So

40:07 You just keep, yeah, just keep your book handy and then you could just flip back a couple of years and I'll look to see, you know, I've,

40:14 I don't, I just do this photo luck. Yeah. We all know this. So was exactly what I want. Yeah. This one. It. Okay.

40:21 Do you, do you still, you know, I enjoy doing weddings and events. I mean, how do you keep it fresh? Just having done that for so long, is it, is it the connections with the clients? I mean the same with seniors. I mean, how do you just having done this for, for,

40:34 You know, a decade and a half, how do you kind of keep it fresh for you? Yeah, I still love doing weddings. During my high point I shot between 50 and a hundred a year. I do not do that anymore. I shoot between 10 and 20, which is how I keep it fresh. By only doing so few of them, it's kinda like, I think of it like drinking eggnog. If you have eggnog year round, it gets very boring. You don't want a dog, but because we only get it for a month or two, it's exciting and it, you'd look forward to your Starbucks. I had not drank or whatever it is that you like. So I kinda did that with weddings when I was starting to get a little burnt out as I cut them back drastically. And then I found other ways to make myself happy, which the high school Cedars was doing and still is doing.

41:16 And I, she events that I'm very particular on my events, I only shoot events that have meaning to me or I have a cause that I want to support or something along those lines. Cause I don't need to do it. That's for sure. I don't need the experience. I don't, I don't need it. Or like if I'm shooting any event, someone who I've known for awhile or I've known their events, I'm very picky with the things that I do. And I've been very into I've always been into women stuff, so women, social networking, uplifting other women. And then of course now with all that me too and all that women's stuff, it's just makes it even more easy. So she lots of women businesses, women entrepreneurs. I do a lot of headshots for women on businesses, always collaborating with other people, like hair salons, clothing places.

42:02 So it's pretty fun. I kinda just I have to say variety is what helps keep it all fresh and keep you excited. And then plus, I mean, after 10 years of the desk job and driving in the commute an hour each way, let me tell you that this is thousand times better than that. So I always remind that on days when I'm kinda like whatever or I'm not feeling it. I'm just like, Hey, you know, you can be sitting in an hour traffic on one 67 drive into a job where you worked for some old white guy that treats you like crap.

42:34 What would be your advice for, you know, other entrepreneurs are wannabes, the email are, are starting the business or thinking about stories in there. They're thinking about making that leap or what, what would be your advice? My advice is, like I said earlier, my little quote, which I don't have the exact quote, but leap sooner or jump sooner because trust me, if you don't jump and you just sit there and wait, it'll never come to you. Or it'll come to you way longer after it should have and then definitely invest in yourself. It seems really hard. I'm not saying go get like into the super huge debt, but you do have to spend money to make money. And that's really hard to understand. Like when I first started, that was always my excuse was, Oh well I'll quit when I get a computer or when I get the next best camera or I need one more lens.

43:22 I don't feel safe or I need this. And so finally, after a while when I had everything and then some and I had all the things, it was like, okay, well what excuse now what's holding me back from doing the thing I want? Basically I was holding myself back so I finally just learned, you know, just jump, just do it. But also you don't do it. Do it a little bit responsibly. Like you know, if you can have a little bit of money on the side or a little bit of, you know, six months of pay, so that way if it doesn't work out, you can figure that out. And definitely, definitely hire a coach or a mentor because they can see things outside of your business that you can't see. You have your own view because you're actually in it and you're surrounded by it.

44:00 They come from a third party perspective and they're able to actually see things. And point stuff out to you and you go, Oh, I didn't see it or think of it that way. And it's amazing to have that clarity and have someone say here do this or give you homework and then you do it and you're like, Oh, why didn't I think of that? So it's pretty cool. Well especially with, it's your business. It's something that's so cool. You know you are in that forest from the trees kind of thing. Right? Yeah. It's, it's harder I think as an entrepreneur because they always say like, don't take it personally at your business, but how do you not take it personally when someone doesn't book with you when it's literally just a person not booking you as a person is a little harder.

44:37 Well, yeah, no, absolutely. That's something that I think that, you know, I still rap, you know, still try to deal with them. It's hard, you know, cause it is and people don't always get that, you know, it's not going to burger King versus McDonald's. It's, it's you know, talking to you and then either letting you know that they don't want to go with you or sometimes not even letting you know anything and just disappearing and then you're like, what happened?

45:00 Yeah. Then the best is you see their wedding photos on Facebook and you're like, okay, thanks. That was awesome. I thought, wait. Yeah. Okay. Yup.

45:09 Yeah. No, that's tough. Well good. This has been a, it's been so fun kind of getting to catch up with you and I, I'm excited to hear about your new studio that's are all, not new now, but newer. I mean, that's so exciting.

45:21 Yeah, it's still do. That's super cool. Super original name. My partner already had the same, it's a studio two five, three

45:29 Probably. Yeah. Well that works for them in the down in the two, five, three I think there's

45:32 Exactly, which I find just hilarious cause I'm not from here, so I'm like, okay, whenever studio two five

45:38 No, I think that's a great name. I think that that works and then people know the two, five, three and it's going to work. I think that's good. What's your, what's the next step now? Is it just continuing to expand out the CDO staff? Is it to market differently or what's your next, what's going on in the next year or two?

45:56 Yeah, what we're doing is we're continuously improving. I have, I went from being just myself. I now have on my team, I have a blogger, I have a retoucher, I have for hair and makeup artists that work with me. I have a team every year. We call it the model team where girls apply and they actually spend a whole year, their senior year on a team and they get photo shoots every month. I have 20 girls on my team right now. I'm continuously thinking of new fun things to do, ways to always make it better. I'm looking to add an assistant. You're coming soon as I just keep getting busier and busier, which is a great thing. But I also realize I can't do it all. So I definitely need help, which is hard cause you know, I work like 16 plus hours a day, but it's work I love.

46:41 So it's a little different. So definitely expanding. And then we're always adding stuff. Like I have the style closet, which is basically an entire room. We call it the wardrobe room, where I have all this basically just wardrobe for the girls to come and they can pick clothes. We have like high end pieces. We have also donations. So when you have a session with us, you can come and actually pick pieces to wear, hats, accessories, all kinds of stuff. So just different ways to make this senior portrait experience fun and thinking outside the box. And then weddings. I love weddings. I'll get the wedding show in January in Seattle, which I believe I will see you at. So that'll be fun. It's always such a good show.

47:21 Oh, it's a blast. Yeah, we were sad. Just, just got hit for the one of my invoices of solvents today. So I'm definitely going to start preparing for that because they're like, Oh yeah, we're getting on that.

47:32 Oh, it's like three months away. What's today? The fourth? Yeah, it's like three months from today I think.

47:37 I know I got to start figuring out my rentals for that. I emailed you know, one of the girls trying to figure that stuff out. I know it's like the wedding seasons come late. We're doing the event show in November too. And it's like the, I feel like the wedding season's gone too late this year and now I'm not normally I would be in like show focusing time right now, but we're still finishing up weddings and so it's good. But yeah, we're, we're getting on that and we'll have to hang out here and come January in Seattle. Oh, for sure. I know, I still have, I'm refreshing this year since it's 20, 20, I'm doing a whole new boot. It's like literally everything that was in my booth last year, just totally new. So I have three months to figure that out. Well, good luck. I'll be following online and I hope to see some fun posts and stuff about it. Yes, fingers crossed. This has been so delightful. If people want to learn more about you and, and see, you know, your weddings and seniors and everything else, where would you have them

48:31 Checkout? Yep. The best place and the most current for everything is Instagram and it's all at my name was just super easy, just Amanda Howse and it's kinda like how's it? So it's H O W S E and then seniors. You just have the, we're seniors, so it's Amanda Howse seniors. And the same, same with the website and Facebook. It's all the exact same Amanda Howse and Amanda Howse Seniors. So I kind of separated them because seniors don't want to see weddings and wedding people don't want to see high school seniors. So kind of have two, two hats there.

49:00 Well perfect. Well I think that that's smart and I want to thank you again, you know, Friday afternoon and finishing, you know, the season and everything. I just want to thank you so much for coming on and taking the time today to chat. It's been a long time coming and I think it's been a definitely delivered.

49:14 Yes, for sure. I'm excited. Thanks for having me.

49:17 Perfect. Well, if you're like Amanda and you're interested in coming on the podcast, you can go to That's a nice, easy a link to a question. Now I have set up and yeah, this has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro®. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much.

Danielle Caldwell, Danielle Caldwell Events

00:00:08 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 Danielle Caldwell of Danielle Caldwell Events late on a Wednesday. I appreciate you taking the time and you know, anybody that just kind of goes above and beyond scheduling and finding time to do this. I do really appreciate that and I do think it speaks volumes for yeah, just people's dedication and really trying to make things work. So thank you so much for coming on. Why don't you introduce yourself, tell us who you are and what you do.

00:00:41 Hi, thank you so much for having me. I am Danielle Caldwell. I am the woman behind Danielle Caldwell Events. I am the boutique wedding and event planning company. I've been in the industry for well over 10 years and started my company about three years ago. After I had one of my kids and Concetta had another one. So, yeah, I I specialize in weddings, special events, corporate events but mainly weddings and corporate events

00:01:13 And that, how have you been doing that this year? Are you ready for the summer to be over or are you glutton for punishment?

00:01:21 So the crazy thing about my company is I am a boutique and I am also AHCA side which is funny cause some people a stay at home moms who might do kids. So I actually only take on anywhere from eight to 10 clients a year and typically only one event per month. Because I have a few other things to do. And I also, when I work with my clients, I really have that one on one relationship with them. And I want them to know that I can be there whenever they need, within w realistic expectations of course. And so I find that if I just do one per month, that I can give them that one on one attention that they need and not that that elude too much into my kids' life and my husband's life. So yeah, I try to have a nice balancing act. So actually I'm still going strong. Everybody I know and the industry is mostly like the big fees and some of us have are. And for me actually November and December are some of my biggest events. I had a few during the summer, but I'm also already helping bridegrooms and corporations plan events for 2020, so a never go moment.

00:02:46 That's funny. Yeah, I mean it is that fine line between, you know, wanting to be a planner and you know, kind of be at the back and call and then, you know, we're kind of gets saliva. We were at a, we had an open house here on last week and the that put it on, this woman came in and probably talked to her for about 45 minutes and the four hours we were there and I said, are you, you know, is she your client yet or are you talking? And she goes, no, she's not. My client said, well that might be a red flag if she's sitting here for an hour. Cause you know, like you said, you kind of want to walk that line. So, but that's great. So what, what kinds of clients do you find that are trying to do you and kind of your style, like you said you really do focus on that one on one, but what, what kinds of events and clients you like to work with?

00:03:30 A lot of my clients have really been going after my partial package, which is me helping them with lentils and floral and not that I do for all. I only do planning. I am not that talented. I mean I am, but I know that there's plenty of planners out there that try to do both and I just would never be able to do that. So all props to them. But as far as the clientele that I am attracting, I mean, I would say, are you talking like Adrian? I mean it's kind of all over the board. They really like my aesthetic. And what they see on my Instagram, they're looking really looking for someone to guide them through the process and kind of allow them to think outside of the box. And a lot of the ones that tend to gravitate towards me are having these bigger weddings.

00:04:22 You know, it's, I actually love a small wedding too, and I have one client who's having a smaller wedding of 80 next year, but a lot of my clients have anywhere from 122, sometimes 300 people. Even some of my corporate clients I've been corporate parties last year for 404 a thousand. And the funny thing is, is the size of you scare me at all? I know sometimes I tell people about it be like, Oh my God, that's a lot. It's really just making sure you have all the details, you know, and that's really what planners and coordinators do is planners more or less bring together the details after they help them plan it, but really coordinating all of these different vendors, whether it be videographers, photographers, the caterers, the Flores. You know, people like letters and just or crave who do stationary and signage.

00:05:19 I mean there's so many different vendors that go into it. Especially with my clients, they're looking, they're not wanting a one stop shop. They are wanting to gravitate to like sometimes three or four different rental companies, which I know that rental companies would rather them get everything from them. But honestly, sometimes that's just not possible from what what they carry. And just the different items then, you know, some like to collaborate with other rental companies and some don't. So yeah, I mean one of my upcoming weddings, I think we have five different rental companies we're working with. There's like 16 vendors total that I'm for meeting with. So, but I love what I do and my clients can tell because I'm always super excited for their ideas when they bring them to me. And I think that's really a huge portion of why I started my company because I really do enjoy that design aspect of it and the customer service aspect of it. And honestly, collaborating with vendors is just so much fun. So seeing something come to life on the day of the wedding or day of the event is really pretty cool.

00:06:36 That's awesome. Yeah. No, I mean it really is, you know, weddings and you know, kind of whatever field you're in, your specialty you're in, in weddings. I mean, I do think it lends itself to more of a personal relationship. You know what I mean? Like we're we're trying to coordinate the wedding for Saturday. I'm the, you know, the groom's texting me cause he's trying to figure out stuff and you know, and you're like, well, I don't know, you know, are you texting the plumber at 10 o'clock at night? Or you, you know, but you might be texting your videographer, your planner and saying, Hey, you know, we got a question about this or what are you thinking? You just, you know, he, the first time he said, I'm really sorry, you know, this email comes across super casual. And I said, no man. I said, you know, it's 10 o'clock. I said, I get it. You've worked all day. Like I, you know, I understand, but it is weird just how we, you know, the clients do feel and I have to assume, especially as a planner coordinator, that they just definitely feel that connection with you.

00:07:27 Yeah. I mean, I tell my clients once they find me that I, I guess, so I'm from New York originally. I don't know if you know that. I was born and raised right outside of New York city in Westchester County and I've only been in Portland for eight years. Yeah, it was eight years. This past August we moved here because my husband worked for Intel and I love it here. But with that being said, New York is a very high powered place. I mean, I started my career in New York city at institutional investor doing a high end corporate conferences and Gallas for asset managers, hedge fund and bringing them together with their clients. So for me, I used to super fast paced environment. And it's funny because when I moved here, I started working for Lewis and Clark college as their event coordinator. And made my way up to associate director of before I left. And my boss who I absolutely love, I actually still keep in touch with her was like, you just need to go to your group or on them, like pick up the pace.

00:08:47 And that's great. I do find a love the people that reach out to me love the fact that I am high impact to a I have definitely softened over the eight years and having two kids has definitely often that. But it's still there. Even my husband will laugh at me and say, you're still like, you know, you could totally still fit into New York. Do you want it to? But because of that, you know, the positives and negatives of it is I work, you know, I'm used to, if a client needs me at nine o'clock at night and I'm still awake, you know, I still enter my email. If I see it, you know, sometimes I put my phone away and that's super healthy too. But for me, you know, I'm, I'm up by 6:00 AM every day and if I see an urgent email from a client or a vendor, I'm going to respond to it.

00:09:40 I am not the person who's going to happen. I have the five hours because I just can't, I, as I said, I have two kids. I have coverage for them. My oldest does actually in preschool one morning I believe. But my youngest son, I only have coverage for four, two mornings a week. And then I had sitters and nights and weekends, which is a great time for weddings. You know, to meet with brides and grooms because that's when they are, you know, available and I go to them I work out of my house, so they like the fact that I'm coming to them where we can meet either a coffee shop or at like some of them when they really get to know me, bring them into their apartment or house. You know, an Indian wedding I worked with in the clients they actually loved coming to my house at like eight o'clock at night and we would talk for two to three hours and I'm really okay with that.

00:10:34 So I think having that flexibility for my lines, knowing they are getting that one on one service. And yeah, I mean they know that if I'm not available, I'm not going to answer, but the majority of them, I get back to them within a couple of hours of their email and they always let them know if I'm going to travel and they're like, Hey, like I could be going to the West coast or the East coast, I should say. And I may not have your email right away because number one, the three hour time difference to like probably just got off a plane for five hours with two kids and need some base. But they completely, all of them for the most part really respect the boundaries of it and just love the fact that if they needed something at eight 30 at night at the one that opinion that they can send me a message on Instagram or email or text message and I will get that to them most likely right away.

00:11:31 No, it is good to be you know, that vendor, I try to be pretty responsive to, you know, where they expect that. You know, and then they almost see things like something's wrong if like you don't respond, you know, they're like, Oh, something must be going on. But it does kind of set you up thing. Cause yeah, I always feel like now like, Oh crap, I gotta get yo, I gotta get right back. You know, cause he, they just get used to that and then they just, it, but, you know, I guess it's a, it's a good problem to have, but then they do kind of expect that, you know, once you, once you hit them with that from the beginning and they kind of expect that.

00:12:03 Yeah, I mean, I think that's the great thing about the model I have set up is that I only take on a certain amount of clients. So, you know, when I hear some planners saying like, Oh, I have like my team has four weddings that like weekends, you know, never mind that month. And if I ever had taken on that many, there's no way I could have that kind of response rate because, well, let's face it, I mean that there's just no way. So by having only eight, 10 clients a year, by doing it once a month, even if they're trying to contact me like that a few times, I mean, it's really, it doesn't get overwhelming. Which is nice. And I'm also going after I do charge a premium price. I mean, I'm not the sound, you know, crazy or anything, but for me, I, when I look at weddings and their budgets, I'm looking at minimum to work with clients that have like a budget of 250 to $300 per person.

00:13:00 And I mean, that's like if you're having like, you know, 200 people, you know, you divide that out by your biggest slides, the biggest amount that you could put towards your wedding and not everybody can afford that. But, you know, I really tried to be crystal clear with my clients during our consultations and all my consultations happen either in person or Skype or face time so I can see their faces and you know, really understanding who they are, where they're from, what they're all about, like what brought them together with, you know, their fiance and really just forming that relationship with them. But this way, you know, if I can, if I'm able to tell that the budget's gonna be too tight and, you know, by having a few weddings, you know, I'm already that, you know, I've gone through with the company, it's, you learn more and more.

00:13:55 But I've learned that it's honestly like, as much as I want to work with certain clients because they're so fabulous. On the initial consult, if their budget just seems too tight for me, I actually tell them that I'm not a great fit. Cause it would be a disservice to them for me to be picking, you know, a certain part of their budget to use for me when they really could be using it toward something else. That is truly their vision. I mean, as planners we do or magic but we are not Mary Poppins.

00:14:27 Yeah. It's interesting cause I was thinking, yeah we've just, I've worked with a multitude of the planners kind of over the last, you know, month or so and you know, does seeing different styles and like you said, you tend to be a little more, you know, impactful, which, which I think is good cause I, you know, I do think that's the role sometimes is the planner is to kind of be the heavy and if something, you know, we had a we were in the venue last week and they had this big fountain in and I had asked the demanded Tremat I said, Hey, you know, this might be kind of weird. Like, has anybody ever asked you like, can we turn that off during the ceremony cause it's really loud and you know, turn the record everything. And she said, why don't know, you know, you're going to have to talk to the planner, you're going to have to ask me.

00:15:06 I said, okay. So I went up to Katie and I said, Hey, you know, can you just let the bride kind of know, you know, my concern is there, she goes, don't worry, I'll take care of it. And she comes back five minutes. I was like, yeah, the sounds going to be off perfect. Like, yeah, I say, not that we, you know, and it would've been fine either way, but I'm like, I'm glad that you can just kind of take that on and you know, you can kind of figure that out because you know, a lot of other planners and I said, well, you know, I don't know, or what do you think or we don't, you know, and sometimes it's like you just got two minutes and you just need to kind of make a decision and you know, figure it out. And, you know, I'm sure she told the bride, you know, Hey, if you trust your videographer, he wants it off. I think we need to have it off. Like, okay, but you know, we can take care of it and move on as opposed to, you know, having to be stressed later on.

00:15:51 Yeah, I mean, I think one of the biggest roles for people like me is really, you know, to be an advocate for the couple but also to make sure that the vendors are, you know, have what they need because you know, the client is hiring you for a reason. They know that you're really good at what you do. And so we want to provide you the best setting to do your job really well so that you can just deliver everything that the client expects from you within the agreed upon Hunter. And so yes, definitely that is super important for us to be on top of. And sometimes it does actually mean making executive decisions for the client. Bang. Like, Hey, like, you know, you wanted, you want a certain look and feel and you're having it, the videos or even just if they weren't having video.

00:16:41 And I mean stuff like that. Those are the small details that you know, all of us really have to be on top of. And that means sometimes having one or two extra people on your team, on site with you so that you can notice those details or taking the extra time to do walkthroughs of the actual venue. And that's something that I really tried to do with my client even the week before. So that, you know, details like a fountain or detail of like how the gun is coming in with natural lighting and everything else. All those things can be addressed to make sure that everything is pretty much set up. And not that you're ever going to get every single detail you're always going to be trouble shooting the day of. But you know, that's why you hire people.

00:17:26 Yeah. No, I mean cause I'm always, you know, it's like as you said, you know, you're always trying to be an advocate for what's best and yeah, you know, it is kind of making those exec decisions or asking people to do stuff or you know, we need to move out or this can't be here or that can't be or you know, and sometimes I'm sure even other people were like, wow, this, you know, reads being insane or whatever. But you know, you do ultimately, like you said, you're being hired and you want them to have that vision and if it's, you know, like we, I hadn't tracked down that we were doing all these family formals and stuff last weekend. They had all these candles and stuff and I said, Hey, you know, do you think we can get all this stuff lit here and that you know the venue?

00:18:04 Well, you know, we don't know cause we know I don't like that. I said, well you know, we're going to do about 45 minutes for the photos here. All their family photos that are going to hang on their wall for the next 30 years. Like [inaudible], we could get that, you know, be nice if we could get that lit form and it's supposed to having 50, I'm like candles behind them, you know, but you know, but it's like, yeah, you could, you totally could just say, Oh, whatever, you know, let's, it doesn't matter. But it's like, you know, you just, it's tough for me to kind of, you know, not, not do that. And they, they did not, you know, have a plan or so of course the photographer is not, you know, we're kinda trying to figure out all that stuff on the fly and the other trying to take the portraits as well. So,

00:18:41 Yeah. You know, that that is a struggle. And I feel so bad for vendors when I find out, like they did not hire a planner. Because I feel like it's honestly just about education as far as educating the client, what, what role people have and the fact that, you know, we want them to have this perfect day. And you know, sometimes when, you know, then you managers are great. They're super important. I have some, all my closest friends are venue managers. But their role is not ours. I know that there is a few venues out here that do have that extra support, but again, it's not the same person as the venue manager. It's an additional support. And I don't think that when brides and grooms are viewing these places that they really understand the difference. Yes. I mean those people are going to be making sure that the heat is on if it's in the middle of winter where the AC and they're going to be making sure that the restrooms are stocked and everything else then that the room is set, you know, to what the venue is responsible for.

00:19:48 I mean, I remember one of my first weddings for my company you know, go by right after her first dance, got red wine, spilled all over her, like out. And I had an assistant on site with me and literally the maid of honor came down and grabbed my wrist. Like not mean or anything. Just like, you know, she needs you right away. And I'm like, okay. And like, okay, well you go do this. So I know that this is ready to go. And she's just like, we are so glad that you were here because they got with any manager, I mean the person who was doing what they were supposed to be done, but they're sitting in an office. Whereas I'm grabbing it every single like wipe, I have 'em I always bring a shot lights with me. I provide that to baskets for all my clients for, and then so then, then the Bible sweet.

00:20:39 And so I'm like grabbing literally every shot, like w the thing it came out of the dress, which is like, Oh my God, like if you want here, like I don't even know what we would've done. I'm like, you would've figured it out. I mean somebody would have gotten so the water or something, I mean you would've, you would've made do, but yes, like these are the things that we're here for it like one of my last five, her dresses courtship but still heavy. And I had literally like can, I mean her maid of honor slash her sister was amazing, add Butlins and dress like as the two of us, we're doing it together. But that thing came apart like 15 times because it was so heavy and just not muffled. It wasn't set up to the buffaloes properly. And I mean her mother even like went to the extent of like making the videos, like actually studied how examples of stress before they got it did.

00:21:28 Cause that was literally bustling all my, every time she sat down with a cop out. But again, like those are the things that brides and grooms don't realize that what we do, those little little details whether it's, you know, making sure that all the escort cards are placed out properly or that everything straight on the table or that, you know, the chairs are clean. So many times I show up to some of these places and I literally cleaning the chairs with wet ones because there's like sane about it being in storage. All those little details, we make sure that we take care of. And on top of it, making sure that the bride and the groom and their wedding party, you know what to buy and buy and groom group. I mean the couple in general and their families are always taken care of. I'm going that extra step. Then you know, unfortunately when they don't hire a wedding planner it normally tends to fall to the videographer and photographer and sometimes the caterer and then you can't do it. You really do that because you're focused, you're trying to, you know, double focus on,

00:22:35 No. Yeah. Well you know, we got married at our venue had, you know, same kind of deal. How to hello I guess onsite manager, whatever you want to call it. And you know, cause I advocated in one, you know, to the decision to hire a planner and I remember talking to my wife about it and I said no cause for the most I he said certain, you know, some of needs are different, but yeah, for the most part, like they're wanting like their main concern is like, is the food served on time? You know, are the tables moved for, you know, cocktail hour, not, you know, is a marriage license onsite, you know, do you, is your dress bustle correctly? Are everybody aligned up for this? Is, you know, did the rings make it from wherever, you know, all these other thing, you know, they're just focused on like the physical logistics of their, you know, I'm like RV, you know, our side person, you know, the second dinner was served. They're like, all right, you know, we're, we're, you know, they're that with that role now. And then, you know, you don't have a plan or a coordinator, you know, who the hell figures out the rest of the night.

00:23:33 Yeah. And I mean if stuff needs to shift because it was raining during her photo time and you wanted to get outside and do something or you know, toast ran late or you decided that the last minute distance, the order, who communicated that? Everybody. I mean there's a lot of stuff that we're always, you know, timelines, verb, we're in, you know, we always tried to stick with them, but I mean it's the wedding and the celebration, like you're sometimes going to be five or 10 minutes late. So who's going to be texting? You know, especially if you're having a plated meal who's texting your caterer to make sure or on the radio with him more or less. That's what I typically do. To make sure like, Hey, like hold up five minutes, you know hold up 10 minutes or just an extra, not the last thing or two or, you know, they snuck out, they were a little late because I had to say hi, that this table or that table and now they're coming back in. And so even though those were supposed to be like 10 minutes ago, they're probably going to be another 10 minutes. So just keep it lively and everything else and we'll be in and all will be well. And normally it does really run pretty fee more than but again, like you do need that communication. It's really hard when you don't have somebody who is literally in charge to make sure that communication happens.

00:24:46 Yeah, this is my last store and then we'll move on. I just laughed our wedding on set. I was at this, we had two back to back at the same venue. I can't remember which one it was, but we moved everything up by like half an hour because there, there was a smaller guest count and cocktail hour just they talked to everybody. And so, you know, I go up to the DJ and I said, Hey man, so you know, I know that toast originally a 15 but you know, we're half an hour ahead. So you know, am I safe to say that they're going to be at seven 45? What were you thinking? You know, what he does is he goes, you know, I really have no idea. I just kind of play it. Like, he goes, I'm just going to kind of see what they want to do. And I'm like, this not, that's not an answer right now at seven 30. I don't find that an acceptable answer. Like, I don't, I don't accept what you're telling me right now because you know, we do have a timeline. It is here and it was moved up. And so I, you can either say, yes you are correct or no you're not. But just saying like, well, I don't really know. Now that's not, I said, that just doesn't work for me.

00:25:48 That was bothering me a little bit. But you know, everybody, that's the thing about, you know, these things though. I mean, because every client is different in every vibe. And that's why they do a higher vendor teams that are, you know, really chosen them by their vision and by their style. And you know, maybe that works for some people personally. That does not work for me. That would drive me a little nuts. It's like, it sounds like it did for you. But do you know that they did that? Certain clients and that's great.

00:26:22 So let's talk about yelling at your, about how you got into, in the, all this, you know, you said you, you grew up in New York, you're working over there. So how did you how, how did that go? And then you said you moved, you know, the transition out here, but talk about getting into weddings and events and kind of wanting that to be your focus.

00:26:39 So I am that person who people don't like because I kind of had an idea of what I wanted from a really early age. And I remember when picking out colleges, I had told my parents, I'm like, I kind of want to go to school for hospitality because I really like event planning. And my parents who are amazing by the way we're like, well that's really a niche kind of thing. And you know, my, my father is the oldest of 13 on my mom's the middle of five and I am like one of 28 first cousins. So like I come from a huge family, they've, you know and my mom was like, you know, I just feel like you need something a little bit bottled, like a business degree or something. This way you can do whatever you want when you get older.

00:27:30 But I know that, you know, if the economy ever crashed again or whatnot, that, you know, I would know that you're okay. Cause that's my mom. My mom is the planner, which wonder where I got that from. Even though she's a school teacher, she's an English teacher and she's great at what she does and she is literally, my mom's ridiculous. I love her though. She's one of my best friends, even though she would always say, I'm not your friend, I'm your mother. Anyway, so I went to UNC Charlotte for undergrad and as per them went into their business program and did the concentrating in marketing. But throughout the my college years, I did a ton of different internships, which I'm a huge advocate for people doing because you really don't know what you're getting into until you start working in it. So I did internships for people like UVS and a triple creative group.

00:28:22 And a few other people soccer soccer team out there. It was the, my professional and you know, just dabbled in a bunch of stuff. And I honestly realize I truly did love what I was doing. I loved everything about the events world and when I graduated cause you know, it's all about who you know and networking. One of my father's really good friends who still, one of his good friends who's even at my wedding had a connection to institutional master in New York city and that he actually did all the printing for their programs for their conferences. And so when he got news that one of their people was leaving, he got my resume right in. And I happened to be interviewing with a wedding planner who was flying me to New York while living in North Carolina.

00:29:19 And so I went and I interviewed with bull and got both jobs and were like, well, I think the corporate job is probably like more of my style is also more money. And when you're at a college, you need more money. And so I did that and started the commute to union square for about four years. Some from my parents' house has been in the city. But I learned a ton about conferences, about selling conferences because I was always bringing asset managers and hedge funds together with their people. But I also got the dabble in corporate gala through that. It was, I traveled a ton. I mean, all of these things were at like five star resorts. And as glamorous as that sounds, when you are a corporate planner, you don't get to enjoy the five star resort for maybe an hour.

00:30:10 And that is like the probably like the five hours you slept in the bed, which at that point you're like, fine sleeping in the ballroom foyer. And, but they, I mean the people there, they were awesome. I honestly, I loved that job. And there was a of me when I left it that it was like, I'm really gonna miss this. But I could never do that with our lifestyle right now. So anyway, I met my husband during that time we actually met online on the harmony. So that was kind of cool. And he was moving to Arizona. He was finishing up his PhD and so I I took a leap of faith. Everybody thought I was nuts, moved to Arizona with him and I got a job at the Fairmont Scottsdale princess, which is a five star five diamond and I was their competence come their supervisor and basically what that was was a, a coordinator or their people, but like I would take all the notes that their event managers would do and basically make it happen.

00:31:10 From the venue side and working for a resort is exhausting. It is a large resort. There is tons of people and I only had two people under me and I would be in my 5:00 AM every day and wouldn't leave till about six o'clock at night and we'd be adjusting the tee and they were all about customer service and you know, never disappointing people. I just making the action happen. And I worked under conferences for awhile and then got moved to they're director of the DMC there, the destination management company. So I not only did their conferences, but also helped with the weddings and some of the corporate outings. I just, I did everything and learned at time. I mean, they, these people submersed me and really got me to learn during that time. And actually it started in New York. I, when I was in New York, I went to NYU and got assertion.

00:32:05 You get special events, meetings, weddings and events. And so when I was in Arizona, I drove out to Vegas with my boyfriend at the time. Bob, who was the one who me and ended up taking the CMP tests because I thought I was going to say in one meeting planning and passed it, which was awesome because not everybody else does. And right when I passed it and when I started getting more promotion at the Fairmont, my husband and Intel hired him and I had to say goodbye to that job too because we were moving to Portland this time with a ring on my finger and I could prove to everybody that it wasn't, that's where moving was that one. But yeah, so when we moved here, they, I mentioned before I started working for Lewis and Clark college and I was doing mostly their internal events.

00:33:03 And then one of our one of the assistant directors left and they saw that I was way overqualified for the job I had and promoted me right away. And I took over their summer conference program, which is their biggest moneymaker from an event standpoint and was able to grow that from like $130,000 profit to over 800,000, like in the year and a half. And so they thought what I did with that and they're like, wow, like, you know, we haven't had weddings here in awhile. Let's you be interested in helping us create the wedding business here. And I was like, sure, let's do this. And so I spent about two years helping them with that and really got to work with some amazing wedding planners there. One of which these are the worse. She's had a California, but she is pretty much a celebrity wedding planner.

00:34:03 And it wasn't even about the celebrity. This woman has impeccable taste. She just knows how to run one event, a high end event, knows how to take care of our clients and those hadn't talked to vendors and really just bring everybody together as a team. And after doing that wedding and obviously bunches of other wedding and even getting to know the vendors out here more and more because we had to bring on, you know, people I'd probably played and West coast event production then we had worked with w food and vibrant table and art petering and a whole bunch of amazing people and that just learning really from them more from a venue standpoint than from a coordinator standpoint. And it was, it was amazing. And so w after I had my first child so SIA my husband heard me, he's like, you know, the amount of hours that you work.

00:34:59 I just don't know if we can do it with my dog because Intel engineers just are crazy hours. And I was like, Oh, like we don't have any family out here. Like literally we would be paying more in childcare than, you know, it's worth. And so I actually resigned and then I learned about four months and see like it being born that I'm like, no, of being a stay at home mom is really my jam. I love my kids that I wanted to be around her as much as I can, but like they're just like this section of my brain that is like, feed me, feed me, feed me stuff. And so I went back to Lewis and Clark college unlike like, so funny story. I know I resigned, but, and they actually are, they're like, you know, well, we really need your, your ideas and your brains still a little bit.

00:35:50 And we live up to try to make something work. So they hired me back basically as like a part time, almost like a contractor type thing. It was, I forget, I think it was like an event assistant position that they made, but it was really like, I was working from home helping with all the contracts that I had started with all these other people way back when and work from home and then was in the office one day a week. And as all those fellow moms out there, part Thai work, when you have kids is amazing. You need that. You need a balance. If that's your thing, you are really happy with the, the stay at home mom and that's your jam. I love it. But that's not me. And and then we knew that we wanted to have a second and I'm like, you know what?

00:36:36 I always thought I wanted to set my own company, so why don't I just do it? And I was just so naive. Oh my God. And I've loved everything about building my company. And honestly all the different jobs I've had throughout my career even like working ridiculous hours on the Fairmont or like building, like rebuilding the conference business that Lewis and Clark or we were actually building their wedding business, all of those pieces were hugely beneficial for me. So, you know, if you're, you're worried that you're not on this right track. I mean it, I mean people change jobs at all different times in their life. I mean my husband just went from being an engineering manager to being supply chain it until which is similar in certain respects, completely different and a lot of other respects and he's so much happier.

00:37:34 I mean he always loved the job at Intel, but I mean just, it's just a different thing for him and it's just something that he never even knew. Anyway, getting back onto me. Yeah, I mean I, I was so naive when I started my company, I thought that because I had known all these people at Lewis and Clark college and because I had all of these like corporate connections need or yada yada yada, cause everybody has connections. That like I would create a website like proposals and prospects would be just pulling in. Yeah, that doesn't happen. When you create a company. It takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of networking as you probably know. And but you, you meet so many amazing people throughout the way. And honestly, all those people I met when I was working at [inaudible] college you know, people like to be a lagoon at Bridgewood and Angela at party place and Eric at art of catering.

00:38:32 And there's so many others. I, it's hard to name everybody, but like all those people kind of were like, you should come in and we should talk and you know, let's let it help you in some way. Like, let's do some styled shoots. Let's, you know, let's get you into this network. Let's allow you to meet all these people and find your vendor group and get you clients. And even with all that help, it still takes a lot of work. But three years in, you know, I'm about halfway filled out for next year which is awesome. They still have plenty of black people. Please inquire. But you know, I've been features now a few times, which is super exciting. And I just met so many amazing people in this industry and honestly just working with new clients and real, I mean, I know it's a cliche to say thinking outside the box, but like you really do have to think outside the box with every new client and really pick on their vision. And it's, it's been awesome, you know, and they all know that I have two kids at home and you know, that I have a husband that now traveled, which has been a, that's been one of the negatives that my husband's and the job that you love is the fact that you traveled, but we make it work. But yeah, I mean, I, I love everything about this company, so yeah, I hope I, that's the long version of what you were asking for, I think.

00:40:02 No, that's perfect. And so funny, like you said, just to kind of be a naive starting now. Like I don't know if I remember, can't remember if I'm told the story on the podcast, but when we, we, the first wedding show we ever did was just like like a new venue opened up and you know, like 12 bedrooms went, you know, and I remember thinking like, Oh man, I gotta like I got printed out contracts, you know, so people can, we can fill them out and people can sign them. And like, I remember thinking like how others have printed out enough contracts, you know, from all the weddings, you know, that we're going to bug. And then I think like four people came through the whole day, you know, like we were there like five hours and title, like four a vehicle. And I just, you know, just, yeah, like you said, God just put up a website and they just, they start coming.

00:40:44 And when we, I remember putting up my site and something was up or I needed to tweak something and I was like, Oh, I gotta get home and I gotta fix it. Cause all these, everybody in the world's looking at the website right now, I gotta make sure it's all, I'm sure I got 10 hits in the first, you know, three months. You know, it wasn't like, but it is just funny what you, what you think about early on and then, and then you look back and you think, yeah, that doesn't, you know, I how naive, what was maybe something, you know, cause a lot of vendors listen to this, you know, maybe something that you thought would be easier, the, that ended up being more challenging as a business owner or the something that maybe you thought was going to be more challenging and then you ended up having to knock for, I mean, just in terms of like kind of getting the ball roll and figuring that stuff out.

00:41:29 Yeah. for me, I think something that I was surprised by was the design aspect because there's just so I feel like there's a lot of people that come into it. Especially, you know, some of the wedding planners I'd do like early design. I feel like a lot of them kind of went to school for it too. And I didn't. And so I remember like being on my first cell shoot and be like, Hey, like I gotta act like they know what I'm doing here about what, what do I do? Like I got all these vendors together, like I did the coordination part, but you know, like, why do I, where do I want the Magnum? Like, why do I care about like, you know, and I mean this was like way in the very beginning. And I remember like finishing it, you know, and I think it was Cindy who is there to, if I should like pick out like, this is awesome.

00:42:25 And I'm like, Oh, you're just being nice cause no, this looks really good. I'm like, Oh, okay. And I've done, one of the things that I really tried to do past three years now, honestly, especially the past few years. Well let's, let's be realistic that I, I started a company in 2016 in literally immense monthly there I had, I was pregnant with Isabelle and for those of you who have been pregnant and have a toddler and are working part time, and not to mention that I used to do a ton of nonprofit work. I was on the management team for a big nonprofit out here for two years. This being the first year that I'm not I was a little like over my head. And so I didn't really do anything with the company until after Isabel started after his belt was four.

00:43:16 So you know, the last two years I have spent, if I don't have a wedding that month, I try to do that shoot. And even my family is like, why would you do so too? Cause I'll choose our amazing because one, you get to practice at things that you think you really think at and you find out what you're actually really good at. And then you also find out what you think at Julie, you find out like what awesome vendors, you know, what they really are really good at. And you find out if they really do fit, you know, your vision and your aesthetic and as they don't but are still awesome to recommend because not every client is getting our vision or aesthetic. So and three, it's great marketing material. I mean that was, I think my biggest challenge, which I didn't realize was the fact that although I had all of this great event experience, cause you know, everybody goes to your website and goes immediately to your bio with this.

00:44:12 Oh they have 12 years of experience and that's what I'm hiring. Oh, she doesn't have a portfolio, but yet 12 years, we're good. Yet nobody does that. And so, you know, those things are great for my portfolio building. But I digress. I thought I was going to have a huge issue, the whole design. And I actually, one of the things that I truly love and it's actually one of the things that a lot of buyers have hired me for and they have been very, very happy which made me very happy. Yeah, of course. I mean like every good designer. And I wouldn't even necessarily call myself a designer, but every, you know, person who was trying to get to the next level in their career, you know, you have to help, you know, there's a thing out there that if you're the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room.

00:45:01 Well, that is so true. I mean, I remember going to, you know, all different people and saying like, I have this budget or this corporate event, how do I make the bigger thing? They're like, well, why didn't they know? Of course. And so I'm like, Oh, I never even thought about that. But you just ask people, you know and not to say you should be asking people for every direction for every single thing. That is not what I'm saying. If you're doing that, you don't belong in the company or you really should just go for like, you know, get into a company that knows what they're doing and learn from it. Not to say that you shouldn't do something about it later on. But yes, so that's one thing that like, I was like, Oh man, like it's going be a real struggle.

00:45:40 I turned out to be something amazing. I think the other really trying to figure out how to get to couples, get to the right target market. And I think that's what everybody's been struggling with lately. I don't think that's just me precisely. Because you know, you have your Instagram and you have Facebook and let's say Facebook has a bunch of, I love you and you connect me to like the rest of the world. Like I don't know really where these groups are fighting us. You know, plant who, I mean I love magazines and everything else, but I don't know who is really picking up these magazines, you know, what sites are they going to, what are they truly looking for? What are they truly searching for? You know, I, you know, you can say you have like 12 million followers on Instagram where somebody like me who I think is about 800 but you know, like is that like, are the posts that we're putting on there really making an impact?

00:46:42 Is that why I'm getting these clients? So I think that's something that I didn't realize I would struggle with. But you know, finding the right avenues. And to me, in all honesty, 90% of the clients that I have signed up or that has hired me, I should say have all been through referral basis. And so, and they know that's a lot, that's a big part of the business. But you know, I don't have a brick or mortar, so like I can't necessarily show what I do and the other, you have my portfolio, but you know, and that's growing. But yeah, like how do you reach that, right, that white person. So I think that's something that I thought was going to be a lot easier. You know, and as I said, I think everybody has that same struggle though.

00:47:31 Oh yeah. I mean, especially, you know, with and investing in certain, you know, ways to find people and you know, if you were all in on Facebook and then Facebook, you know, messes everything up or you're all in on Instagram or you know, even now I don't know about down in Portland, but there's a big thing right now with wedding wire and the knot where, you know, they're merging and they're really jacking up like the CLO pricing and the, we're kind of relating that, I guess even over the, like Spokane. And I though we, you know, we just had a photographer that moved to Idaho and they're trying to charge as much as here, you know, and it's, it's all this, you know, the, if you were someone that spent the last six years only doing your wedding wire profile and then you might be Sol or if you've got, you know, 10,000 whatever on Facebook and then they changed the algorithm.

00:48:20 You know, it's so hard to kinda, yeah. I just like, I always say just kind of diversify cause he, it is hard to figure out, you know, maybe you get two from this and one from this and one from this and one from the, you know, you don't, you know, we have the, we have the wedding show up here and I know that you know, people used to sit, man, I go to the wedding show, I get 1520 you know, if I'm a DJ, I, I get 1520 clients, no problem. And then, you know, those same people now are saying, Hey, I'm not going to do it again next year because, you know, it's just not worth it. Or, or, you know, stuff changes and suddenly this, it's so hard and to figure that out. And like I said, I just always say, you gotta make sure you diversify because you never know when one stream is going to go belly up. And then it's,

00:49:03 Yeah, I mean, I've done the online wedding wire's, I never did the not, and I've done wedding shows before. And as much as I love meeting people in person and I'll add the wedding shows, I find that it's, it really depends upon which ones you choose to do. And yeah, it's just, it's hard because, you know, it also depends upon the type of client you're trying to reach. You know, I find for my business because I am a little bit higher priced than some other people. You know, it's those that really hear about me. Because I mean, for a lot of people, you go on the website and you see a price and you're like, well, you know, that's totally out of my percentage, not realizing until you have that conversation, what that price truly means. Because with a lot of my packages too, I had to crystallize, you know, stuff.

00:49:54 So, you know, I've actually taken down some of the pricing for my left side because I'm like, well, this is the starting point. Obviously that complete package is not this price because I have two other packages below that. But let's have a discussion, you know. But at the same time, you know, it's one of the things where you want to make sure that you do get the right clients. And my clients could mean something different today than it could mean two years from now. But really finding out where that right target market that you're going after is hitting. And some of them are not going to viral shows. Some of them are getting referrals from their friends who have been married or are going out to Oregon by that calm or going on the night and finding their planet men going with our plants to the Bible shows, you know, just to kind of see like different visions of what these other people have because we all do our own set up and then like say like, Oh Hey, like I really liked the fact that they had like these like, fuck, is there something, let's do that.

00:51:01 And they, they take your car, but that means that you're probably never getting a phone call from that anyway. You know, are also using it to find out what you really don't like. So I mean it's, it's a challenge for everybody. You know, when Facebook first came out, you know, and it really became like, that was where like a lot of people got their stuff and now they've already built up that clientele. So it's already easy for, for them. So they like me where Facebook, I've never gotten a can quote inquiry fun there. I think I just have it because everybody has a Facebook page. I think I have maybe like at most 250 followers on their Instagram. You know, I've never gotten the inquiries you insert out, but I've had people come and see me and say, Oh, I've seen your work on Instagram.

00:51:46 I really like it. So it brought me into your website and that's why I filled out before. But yeah, that's, I would say that's been my biggest thing I'm getting to those people. But I would also say that it's encouraged me, which is hugely important in this industry for anybody who's interested in getting into it is networking. One thing I really took a lot of time to do was scour Instagram at some of the top planners, especially in this area that I love their work on and literally went through, I wouldn't say all of their posts because there's no way. I mean like vital bliss. I would still be looking at this three years later. Cause they do so many weddings and they're all gorgeous. But like, you know, a good chunk of them. And literally writing down every single vendor that they've worked with and then making a spreadsheet on Google drive goblets, Google drive, cause you could take it everywhere.

00:52:41 I like videographers and photographers and caterers and squats and you name it, they're on there and literally just, you know, Hey can you know, sending them an email, Hey I'm this person, this is my website. Like let me buy you a cup of coffee and let me do that. And honestly, like all last year for the most part my calendar was literally sold in the mornings, but I had my kids coverage at night and on weekends when people are willing to do it, I'm meeting with these people and just having chats with them. And you know, at first these people say, Oh no, I don't have this all today. But when they really get to know you and see like, Oh like you are like kind of legit maybe we should give you a shot. Like sometimes you can get them to actually do this, that with shoes and then they'll, they will make you work for it.

00:53:29 And it's totally worth it because you learn so much. And you know, sometimes it'll get on the phone with you and they will like, what about this piece and this piece and duh, duh, duh, duh. And again, that's how you learn. And that's how you grow and that's how you network. And then, you know, they may not like how a South she goes at all. But for me it was like, okay, you know, I'm good with this. I can start referring you to my car. So that, you know, but it takes a lot of hard work. But you can do it. So. Yeah.

00:54:05 No, I think that's great. I think that's just, you know, in talking to different vendor types and figuring out, you know, what, what information can they give you that you can better inform, you know, if you're a photographer and, you know, what should people know or if you're a forest, which people that, you know, just you as the planner, you really do. You kind of have to be the ringleader of all that and kind of knowing enough about each vendor type to figure out like, you know, what do we know here? And I mean, like the last couple of weddings I've had, it's been I don't blind spot in terms of like DJs and logistics of that, we, I just have, I've had a lot of coordinators lately that that whole aspect of it does just seem to be a blind spot.

00:54:47 Like, well, no, we actually need this and the, you know, as a videographer, I even know that, but they don't. And so, yeah, it's, it's, I would just say, like you said, you know, reaching out and kind of like figuring out like all the different types and, and getting to know these people because, you know, DJ, although not as sexy as the, you know, florals or the table things or the flight, you know, all that is, is just as important to the logistics. And so just kind of being well-rounded like that and knowing enough about everything I think is incredibly important.

00:55:18 No, it, it really is. As I said, like, as you can probably tell from me talking, you know, my, my background is truly operations and so I'm used to coordinating with, you know, even at Lewis and Clark, so many different teams. Even to put it on the simplest thing, nevermind like a huge wedding. And so, and I had done in a weddings in the past for family members and friends and stuff like that. You know, just on my own time. So it's not like when I began my career, you know, it was just the weddings I had done in illiterate, loosen Clark, Fairmont. I mean, I had a good background in it, but I think that, you know, I, it's also about, especially when you're looking at these vendors and this goes back to your target market finding the vendors that charge the certain amounts because I find that, you know, somebody who is going to hire a photographer that is a lower cost.

00:56:10 Not to say that doesn't have first and good, but that's, you know, that's what they're comfortable charging. Those are not the people who are going to even look at me because I'm going to be completely out of their budget. And you know, sometimes it's so hard for me to, because you really do want to, you know, do a salad shoe or work with that photographer, but you just know that the market is not going to be the same for you. Whereas, you know, the higher end photographers, you know, there are already established though, you know, or some of them is like, Oh, I hate doing style juice. Like, you know, I just so busy as it is. So Julie fighting, you know, that those people that like, you know, are just game for it all. And that her, there are, they are out there.

00:56:51 I will say that cause I've had discussions with them and I've worked with them and I will hopefully work with even more of them. But really finding those vendors that you know, hit that and not to say like, even from a planner coordinator standpoint that you shouldn't have different vendors on your list that come in all different price lines. You know, because I think that is important because, you know, one of the things I talked about with all my clients, especially during our consultation is what are the most important elements to have this wedding? Like it could be the food, it could be having the best, like an amazing to the OG, rougher. It could be the floral. And the thing is, is that they come back at the end, say like, I want the spectacular floral arrangement that like, Ooh, is an odd as all of this.

00:57:37 And I really do want a videographer, but that's really not where like my large truck, my budget's going. You know, I mean, I love the a good, you know, video from moving pictures, but I know I'm not sending them there because they will look at the website and they'll be like, no, this is not for me. When I look at somebody like North telco, Brian or some other, the others and I'm like, you're not as expensive as in the other one, so you have amazing work. And that's where I needed to be sending that client to. You know, and I, I get with the floral, like, you know, some of them may just say like, I want, I do allow us this, that is not like where I really want to put my focus does amazing for us out here. I mean, I've worked with dough bloom, I've worked with Jordan over at gloom.

00:58:26 I have worked with arrange for you. I, I worked with a lot of them and they're all really good. Some of them, you know, especially with floral and especially with video and photography, I mean there's a certain aesthetic that some of these clients are looking for within a certain budget. So you know, really just understanding what everybody can provide and having that conversation. And just getting to know people cause you just never know what vendor team you're gonna end up with and what people are, you know, what their strong points are and we all have our weaknesses that we need to go on. So just understanding that and I'm producing an amazing event and having clients super happy. The other thing that I also think is important, and I've only this kind of off topic, but it's come up so much especially in Instagram and on Facebook lately with other planners is planners and anybody else who is actually acting as the coordinator.

00:59:24 When you are done with the style shoes or you are done with an amazing event, whether it be wedding, corporate, doesn't matter. You should be sending an email who your vendor came, what all their tag and saying, Hey, thank you for, you know, everything, everything went great. Here are all our tags, we get the Dropbox or whatever. Like you get to all the photos and you want to post those, please credit those appropriately. That is exactly how to make those people happy. So they refer you to their clients. People want to, you know, be credited for all the hard work that they put in, whether it's an entire wedding or just without to and that's a great way, you know, to, you know, build that repertoire and to get more referrals your way. So I had to put that in there for a lot of people who haven't been doing that. Right. And it's driving people crazy.

01:00:18 No, no, I agree. I, I tried to do that on the front end and kind of have that all filled out, but it is so nice to even just like we've done some open houses lately in, in, in some shows and wedding shows that way. And just, yeah, having, having an appropriate list cause that saves me, you know, an hour or trying to go on that figure out. Okay. Well which, which frickin, you know, Seattle floral design something. Okay. What's the right Facebook tag. Okay. Is it this one, is it that like, you know, I'm sitting there like trying to, you know, Sherlock Holmes in like would just be really easy if I have a,

01:00:55 I don't know, I'd be able to, some people will be like, Oh screw it. This is what the tog refer. And I get it like listen, like typing and all stuff. Like, because I am a boutique company, I am the one who does all my social media. I update my website, I do all that stuff. I don't have the system. I can't afford one. Maybe you can get my four and a half year old who tries to be a mommy's helper as one. She is an amazing mommy's helper but she can not do that. But yeah, I mean there's just, it's so helpful and it allows people to say, Hey, like that email, the last email that is in that folder in my inbox from that wedding that says like, you're just copying pizza. Like all I had to do with that. And then you just, you know, put it in our Instagram or put it in our Facebook or wherever you're putting it. Like I mean some people now put the stuff on one bed which actually is great too cause you never know who's looking on LinkedIn. But yeah, people just want to be credited.

01:01:54 No, absolutely. I was just laughing cause I haven't even gotten an email from the plan there for the wedding. We have this Saturday, they love on a post esteem. I will not be holding my breath for the posts. Oh wow. I wonder when I'm going to get that email. It's now Wednesday at eight 45. So anyway [inaudible] you have been so generous with your time. I know it's late on the Wednesday and scheduling and really being really flexible about coming on and making time. I do really appreciate it. I feel like we could talk for an hour, but I want you to write

01:02:28 You ready to get back to your stuff too cause I appreciate you doing this at night. It's so much easier for me. So,

01:02:35 No, it's perfect. I, I said I think you just have so much to say and I really do appreciate your energy and just insights and coming on. I really do appreciate it. If people want to learn more about you and your company and everything else, where would you have them check out?

01:02:52 I would number one my website, I am also on Instagram at @daniellecaldwelleventsllc. It's the same thing on Facebook and those are the three main places. So yeah, but yeah, if anybody is at all interested in consultations, just go onto my website and fill out a a contact sheet. Pretty self explanatory. Yeah, so, and a big thank you to you as I said before, and because I am on a platform, I do want to say thank you to all those vendors that have helped me, you know, the last few years and grow this and especially to honestly family and friends. You know, you send your website when you first begin and my mother in law has also been a huge help in editing kinds of stuff even though she would never want the credit and she's probably gonna yell at me when teachers, but you know, it takes a village to build a company and you know, I'm just really grateful for where I have ended up and I still have tons of groups to do. I am still climbing Everest. But it's so much fun, so thank you so much for the opportunity.

01:04:09 Well, perfect. I really appreciate it. If you are like Danielle and you're interested in coming on the podcast, you can go to And that's a nice, easy questionnaire to kind of get you in the system. And again, thank you, Danielle. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro®. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much.

Chef Navi, Navi’s Catering Kitchen

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 so excited today to be joined in person again. We've done a lot of these podcasts remotely lately. A it's chef Navi with Navi's Catering Kitchen and you know, I'm just so excited you came in. I know we I met with your associate a couple of weeks ago. We did the Barn at Holly Farm Open House and so it's just so great. You know, I heard you talk that day about your story and you know, just kind of your background and you're opening the new events space and there's a lot going on. So thank you so much for coming in to why don't you introduce yourself, tell us who you are and what you do.

00:47 Thank you Reid. I really appreciate you having me here. My name is Navi. I go by Chef Navi most of the time I'm born and raised in Fiji islands. Came to states in 2002. Stayed mostly in Denver, worked for a major big companies as like hotels as Hilton Brown Palace and stayed there for three years, moved here to Seattle because most of my college soccer friends lived here. So I get to do something right. Exciting. Since I was, I'm the only person that I know myself and my family. That's about it. I didn't have no many friends and stuff, so I moved to Seattle. Since I moved to Seattle, I used to be an exec chef for the emphasis with Bellevue. Moved my plan move my ways up to downtown Seattle. Worked for a curtain.

01:39 Myers who owns the beaches, cheese helped them open a restaurant in Mercer island and the beaches. The Bennetts beautiful beach. True. after doing that, I joined Swedish medical for a little bit and then worked for restaurants on limited you know, restaurants similar owns palomino. Palisade cut his crab house, Henry's Tobin, a big chunk of their restaurant. I used to be the chef and wrote freaker sheets. I was a head shiny, a trained chef for new chefs. So I created a program for them to follow me a one month process where they followed me shared me. And then I'm like, the final inspection that I do is, are they ready for the restaurant life? If not, then I have to tell you now that we have to more, a little bit more training. After doing that restaurant is I did like three years fast paced, fine dining restaurant and having a family, kids, I barely saw them, you know, so I was, you know, always working, working, working 16 hours, 17 hours every day.

02:44 After doing that I realized like restaurants are not cut for me. I landed in hotels and the hotels have more fun for me. In 2010, I was the opening chef for the Hilton Garden Inn bottle. I did the full opening for their move my up again for the same company. They were opening a Hilton Garden and Bourne Avenue in downtown Seattle. Got there. There was nothing building up redesigned the kitchen. I was, you know, involved in making sure that all the oppression factors of the kitchen is up and running. Did a full hire of staff training bar. So I was a chef and be in, you know, by the time 2010 12 came in 2013. They were trying to figure out how they can have one person who can be fully in charge of the whole operation. So they made these two position together as a food and beverage manager and chef and called it the chef.

03:40 And B, you're in charge of the overall operation of the food and beverage. So, you know, stayed there for three years, you know, opened the full restaurant, successful restaurant and successful hotel decided to, you know, I need a little bit bigger challenge in my life. And I joined the Hilton Full Service Hilton, one of the oldest Hilton hotels in downtown Seattle that's in six 76 and you know, six 70 right there. You can see it from the freeway, the Hilton sign. So stayed there for, with them as a chef. And B also had an operation of about, you know, a five point $5 million p and l that I used to manage and also manage two m F and B managers plus a 70 people employees whole kitchen and servers and banquet staff and did events up to 5,000 people. I did a biggest event I did was in Safeco field.

04:36 It was the Bacon VFS that I did and featured some of the infusion of what I say, Polynesian infused cooking where I'm putting my background to a greater use. You know American Americans are one of those people they are willing to try, you know, and food in Seattle. Seattle is the biggest city and state a city I think, you know is great food opening restaurants. People are, there's a very, the culture, the diverse culture of people we have here. And thought about opening something that I should be featuring Fiji island food. But, and then longterm I thought, I'm like, I won't be able to sustain really be open for just the virgin style food. So I said, you know, let's put a twist on American cuisine and bring that flavor of flavors out of the island to bring it over and do in Seattle.

05:32 And that's what I started doing. One of the biggest concept that I've achieved was live cooking stations in weddings corporate events where it's not, people look at buffet right away. The message when people look at the fair they see is it's a eighties concept and it's like buffets are known to be put in places because of whatever they have leftover, whatever they can make it pretty and throw it out there. And also buffet has a concept of a plated meal. And so one of the things I did was one of the biggest thing that I accomplished in my life was putting those two things combined together and put a life cooking station where you have this induction burners, you know, coming in where you set up the room with induction burners in Manitoba as some few chefs along that bring a fresh ingredients.

06:21 Southside, have a walk, have a pasta station, have a searing station where you can on the fly, Cook some, you know, steer fries, you know, you can cook some pasta sheets and you can do some toss salads, you know, and people have the option to look at their fresh ingredients. You know, would you are cooking in front of them so it's more depth than bringing cooked food and staging it up, right. So I think it gives people a better choice of like, Hey, you know what? I see what I eat. I see the nice fine ingredients you're using. And it creates a, it creates that really, really good vibe of people believing in a cater. Like, Hey, you know what? This guy is not sourcing something out at Costco and putting a little flare on top of it and bringing in, serving my wedding days.

07:11 That's a little background of why I started, you know, doing things. And then after 17 years of being an exec chef, I decided, I said, you know what, it's about time for me to do something that I really enjoy and I'm passionate about meeting people, helping people. And I started in 2013 I started being a personal chef where I, I started cooking for people at the house, you know, like, Hey, we'll give you an experience of how a is sit down, relax meal that you has. You bring a chef inside your house, you know, and a bartender, we can, you know, shake some cocktails. I started doing this ladies night out, things where, you know, you know, and the date night events, you know. So that was really big. And a lot of people gave me a good five star reviews saying, Oh my God is the best thing I've ever ate.

08:05 And with the age gap of people I did. And there were some younger people who were just getting the food trend and there were some people older that have been around food for eight years, you know, so combining both two reviews and I'm like, you know, I have a sustainable ground to become a cater. And so, you know, personal chefs are not bringing, you know, much business to me because it's small nonmembers business, but being in the revenue line right now, so is my time worth for it. You know, those are some of the things. So, but I enjoy doing that. That part was the first part. And I enjoy interacting with people and you know, when you can make somebody happy with food, it's a big deal for a chef, you know, you know, and, and food is some things. It's a necessity, you know, we have to eat every day, you know, and good and healthy meal.

08:57 And so I started doing that. And then after that I finally you know met Carly, you know, Carly used to work for me as a server when doing events and stuff. And I kind of sat down with her, you know, I still remember we were at you know, sitting in a Starbucks in downtown Seattle and I told her, I said, I want to become a full service caterer. I want to do three tier service. I want to do in home dining. I wanted to cooking classes, I want to do event catering. I want to own an event space where I want to give that, you know, that played a dinner, that five course dinner that I can bring people and say he is a like a Polynesian night where you can do, you can feature like there's banana rep leave.

09:44 You know, halibuts, you know bring this food that the RN people we enjoy and bring it to Seattle. And she was the first person that helped me out the front of the front of the side of the business where she's like, okay, we need to do this. She was this sharing, planning a manager for me. She did. She like, chef, I'll keep your head straight. You know, because you have like 20 million ideas. It's like a chef getting an, in looking at ingredient, you go like, I can make 10 things out of one ingredient and a lot of people go, what you can you can you make that, you know, so she's like, I'm going to have your head straight. And she did a lot of work with me at groundwork where you know, business plans, we put together things together and she's big part of the business too. And you know, I told her, I said, next year, January, I want to open the restaurant. So I met her in 2018. January I said 2009, 2017, I'm sorry. And 2018 and January I want to put the restaurant and, and even space in a full service catering. I'm not going to work for any corporate people anymore. I want to be a small business owner. And finally, you know, after putting the plan stuff, I made a decision and it's happening. We are on the final stage of opening on October

11:04 18. Does that mean that's got to be exciting to go? And I mean, talking about it, it's such a long history of, you know, all the different restaurants and all the different things. I mean, is that, is that atypical for a chef to move that quickly through so many different things on the way up? Or do you feel like you just kind of accelerated that because you were motivated and worked hard? Yes.

11:25 And well, you know, when I first came from Fiji islands, I was sitting in the La Airport, you know, one of the first thing I said at the age, I said, deadlines know, I said deadlines. I said, at the age of 25, I want to have a house and I want to be an exec chef. So I worked really hard for that. I was very motivated. I career was one of the things that was first for me. And you know, my wife kind of understands now why I was so, you know, I spend a lot of time early enough with family and stuff because I was always gone. Chef life is not easy. Most of the chefs, they are there from breakfast until the dinner rush ends, you know, so it's about good, you know, 15, 16 hours a day, you know, easily. And so, you know, I was very focused.

12:12 I did a lot of volunteer work also. I did go to a lot of big chefs and say, hey, you know, what, can you help me with this? Can you teach me this? I'll do the inventory. I won't charge you. I want to share to you, you know, how do you do this? And a lot of people helped me, you know, a lot of, one of the chefs, you know he was a chef Andrew from Denver that I, I shared him for a lot of times. He was this crest chef. He taught me, said, hey, you know what, if you want to be a good chef, you're going to be as cresh chef you, you're not going to be opening bags and cans and trying to make this happen. You know, a good recipes comes from home cooking, you know, so where you have whatever ingredients you have figured out a meal and those are some things.

12:55 My Mom taught me a lot of stuff too. And mother's a head chef in the house, you know, so she, she can, you know, I compete with all the daily cooking units. She makes Fijian style food. So, you know, and I, and I, I love to eat. So, you know, I love her cooking and I also sometimes I'm like, hey, how do you make this? Like, I'm not going to give you the recipe, you know, so I'll try it as piecing up by looking at what the ingredients is. I'll taste and flavor and stuff like that and try to figure out how to correct. But yes, it's, it's a lot of work. I've put, you know, it's not normal. There's a process for becoming an exec chef. There's a process. You have to have that amount of hours. You have to be a sous chef, you have to be an executive chef, then you become exec. [inaudible] Excuse me. But overall, I did not go through all that. I jumped few of those, you know, because I was very driven and I was very highly motivated. So I hope that it has.

13:55 Yeah. so what was it like growing up in Fiji? I mean, it's gotta be different than living. I mean, I've lived in Clo most of my life. Yeah.

14:03 So we grew up in a village, you know you know, so you, Fiji island has borrowed 750,000 people. Fiji Allan has about three and 40 some islands. I grew up in the two Bain islands. It's called PT level. And the bigger one, the smaller one is one level. And based off that I have same size of event space room where I'm naming the smaller room, the small mates island and the big room, the big island. And it's scary. Yeah.

14:32 So a, and w how old were you when you moved away?

14:35 I was 19 years old.

14:37 So did you go to school in Fiji?

14:39 The culinary school and I graduated from culinary school. In, in Fiji.

14:46 What was your motivation to study food? I mean, you said your mom had a big love of cooking.

14:51 My uncle, my dad's older brother, he was a village, had Kirk and you know, I used to, you know, on the weekends you don't have school, he'll take us with them and say, Hey, let me need to peel potatoes, onions, all this stuff that, you know, a lot of chefs don't want to do, but you gotta go through it and you know, the yield percentage and on stuff, you know, how, how to do that, the waste control of those things, you know. So I used to be his you know his line crack basically, and a prep cook. I'll cut all the vegetables ready and he'll, the main guy who was cooking for good amount of time when I was 13 years old, I started like, you know, getting huge, getting a little older. And I was like, all right, I'm the chef now, you know, so you tell me, you will set, tell it'll sit down for this mar table, spit out this.

15:41 He will tell him the recipes, but I'm the one who's cooking and I'm under the still firing it up, you know. So that motivated him. I, you know, we cooked for thousands of people. There's like, you know, we don't do events up to 200 people. There's like 200 people event 10 days straight, you know, so you're going to cook and plan every day and executing it and they're not commercial kitchen that I would still say you're going to wood stove, you know, and firewoods and stuff. So it was very interesting. That also motivated me because that he will always take me around, you know, anytime there's a cooking somewhere, I'll be there. I'll be helping them coming up as a kid, I was always in that sector of work where I won't be doing anything else. I'll be in the kitchen area real helping out with doing that. I had a very a, a passion of using knives. So in knife skills came up really early. I, you know, I was very fascinated with chefs chopping in a, in a really good speed without looking at the product. They look at your face and they can still job. So I was very fascinated growing as a kid, so I had like those intends to make sure that I want to learn those things.

16:52 We're like a lot of your friends working too or were you, I mean to, you know, doing all that that you know, 13 and helping run around. I mean this not really.

16:59 Most of my friends you know, a couple of my friends, they were it right now. One is a pastry chef and the other one is also a chef, but the pool of friends I had they're more of like a mechanics building guys, you know. So out of the 10, 10 or 15 people we had friends together, only about three of them. We are in the food and beverage industry.

17:26 And then so is that something then that you guys are working to come to America to work or are you, are you wanting to leave Fiji or people wanting to stay and work there? And we've had this

17:35 People in a row, they go to college. [inaudible] Fiji is like, Fiji is a tourism hub, you know, you know, biggest one of the biggest tourism highballs or you know but like they have a lot of hotels, a lot of resorts. You know, after doing my a culinary degree, I was working in a resort, you know, and you get a job and resort, you work, you know, because based off, based off the economy, what job markets are very high food industry is a, since tourism is big, you know, so food and beverage is big. So we, you know, hotels operate about a thousand rooms, so you have a massive amount of food and beverage outlets. So that creates a job that creates the motivation of people when they are choosing what career fields they go, they want to. But for me, I was very passionate enough as the growing as a child, as a kid. And you know sheltering people, you know, always you'll see if you want to see Nabi, you'll see it around the stoves in the kitchen and, you know, I'll be doing the dirty work with the shafts, you know, so, yeah.

18:41 But I mean, it could've just, it could've been really easy just to stay in work at one of those resorts. Yeah. Right, right.

18:46 Absolutely. You know? Absolutely. It's, you know, I, one of the best experiences I've ever had in my entire life when I worked for one of the resorts, it was plantation island resort. And I worked there and it was a split shift that I worked. I worked from 7:00 AM to noon and then I worked from like 5:00 PM to 11, you know, and the daytime, you know, this is a, this is a resort with 50 acres of land surrounded by open water. And so you don't have buildings, you don't have transportation. You're in a car is a, you know, you have golf carts, that's where you're, you know, you know, drive around. But as a peace of mind, you don't see anything. It was very relaxed. You know, you have the, you know, the beaches in front, you know, you get off work, you go snorkeling, you go fishing, you do all this luxury thing that we don't get to do here very often because we are so deep in working every day. Right. So, yes, we can, you know, we can have a choice by choice. You want, you can work over there too.

19:47 But I mean to make that leap to come to the states. Right. So, and you said you originally went to Denver. What was the motivation to,

19:54 I'm married, I'm Kaja [inaudible] that's my wife, you know, and she used to live in Denver, so that's why I ended up in Denver. And then I moved from Denver to Seattle because major future crowd people are here.

20:07 Did you guys, did you meet in Fiji?

20:09 Yes, we went to school together, middle school, but she left out of the country when she was in high school, so I didn't had no contact with her at all. And back in the days, you know we didn't have like Fraserburgh you know so I'm not really, you know, in Fiji is just getting up to par where they, everything is going, we are still behind with technology and stuff. So we didn't have motor communication, you know, phone lines. That was the only way payphones you can go and call and talk to people. But like I didn't no contact but she had a contact to her best friends. So that's how we met again. And we got married, a beautiful family. I have a beautiful family. I have my parents here helping me support the business. I have a sister who lives in Australia who she is flying off to my grand opening to support what I've accomplished in my life.

21:02 So so how did you track her down? Did you find her in the states or how did you, when she came,

21:07 Bye. She came to Fiji, you know, and we we met we start talking, you know we've got phone numbers. That's when early enough, the phone lines were coming up to the villages and stuff and we got a phone and a house. So we, we start communicating. I was still in college. And then after that, you know, decided to get married it came to the states. It ended up in Denver.

21:30 Did you guys get married in Fiji or, and we got married in Fiji. I bet that was awesome. Yeah, it was awesome. Was a three day wedding. Wow.

21:37 Yeah, it's a lot of food excited and things happening, you know, there.

21:42 That's awesome. So then, so you moved to the states and you, you, you've gone through what, what was some of the biggest, you know, like you said you've worked for some, you know, really high end names. I mean, even like, you know, when you talk about getting the c suite, Spell v and the, we had weddings there and you know, we love Palominos and all that stuff. What were just some of the biggest lessons you learned being put in those, you know, high stress situations where you're making decisions and, you know, w w that obviously you take now to where you're, you know, I mean you're the exec chef, you're kind of the boss, but now you really are, you know, it's your name on the sign and you're doing everything now. So what were some lessons you learned?

22:15 You know you know, one of the, one of the biggest lessons that I've learned, you know, learned from a mentor, you know and, and, and one of the things you said, you know, Navi, everything is doable. Everything, you know, and as long as you have your head straight, as long as if you care about people, you care about your employees, you know, there's that amount of load you can pull by yourself in food and food and beverage industry and weddings and event catering. You know, you can create the food as much as you can, but the half the other pieces, not together, you can't piece up. So one of the things I do is education, food education. You know, I tell brides, I tell my employees, you know, it's not sales, it's not selling. It's, you know, your product is what it sells.

23:06 You know you know, care about people. You know, I'm not going to be telling me that, you know, one of my mentor told me, you know, really good, you know, really nicely that hey, you know what if you, when I was in the industry, he said, hey, keep your head straight. You know, be humble as a chef. I grew up in an era where I came in, I had a really bad experience. The chefs are very you know, aggressive. You know, they, they, they don't take no and announcer and is everything is time. You gotta take care of things. Right? And that was the era there was ending where the, those 80 chefs are going off emission, right. They were like really? Like, okay, the new chefs are coming and, and, and being a chef, that can also build a big ego in your head, you know, so like yourself, you know.

23:51 So one of the things that I was told that hit keep that down, you know, it is, it is art. Everybody cannot do that. So, and stay humble, you know, take care of people. They're all human beings, you know? So I, and that's what I prevailed my employment to. I, right now I'm running the show. I tell my employees that my employees, my number one goal, my clients are second. I, you know, they are not the priority. My employer is the priority for me, for my business, at least, you know, because I have a personal responsibility of my employees, you know, their income, their household, like their, you know, how they are doing, you know, I think it's, it's big for me that, you know, and my, my employees see that in me and I care about people, you know, so, and those are some of the things that got me into business and being humble, being passionate.

24:39 You can do your passion and in different ways, you know, how you relate it out. But you know, chefs, I've worked for chefs, I've been around where I see when the chefs comes, like everybody's like, alright, chef is in the house. You know, but I don't want to keep I, I'm one of those rule breakers. I rule that I bring those rules. I'm like chef in the house parties on, right. So not chef in the house where everything has to be like, you know, everybody's quiet. You know, I don't do a dictatorship of Canon. Things like, you know, and in our field in sometimes it's necessary. When I used to work for the big restaurant companies, you know, is, is a, is a big piece of execution. A big piece of accountability you have, you have financially accountable for, you have to run your food costs, you have to manage your labor.

25:25 So those are big piece of the expense where the restaurant success depends on, yes, you have to be firm and you know, you're gonna, you're going to educate your people, you're going to have a, you know, team meetings, you're gonna, you're gonna pull them and show the vision of like, why I don't want you to do this. If you tell, don't do this, people don't understand that, you know, you got to tell them why you're doing this way, what comes out of it. And if they have a better idea, we can marry this idea to care then executed. And because it's like, you know, you take somebody's idea and you know, create something else in it, but together, that's a great idea right there. You know? So I think those are some of the things. You know my mentors have usually told me like, hey, you know what?

26:09 Be Humble. That's the word. You know, be humble. Your passion will drive through you all of your life. But staying humble. And, and, and, you know when we do weddings and stuff, we, we want to make sure that they get the, they get, they can what they want, you know, and we are educated that customizes things. You know, we want to make sure that, you know, I'm not going to be a millennial and successful business if I don't have a relationship attitude, you know, I want to make sure that we are, that's a relationship. It's a big deal. I tell my clients, it is such a big deal for me to be part of your wedding. It's honor. It's not that essay and other transection that I'm like, all right, we got this wedding and get this other way. We got on the one that's not, you know, it's a long term relationship.

26:54 And I have clients that still remembers me, you know, the, they talk to me, they are my followers. They follow me through my success, you know, and they are my cheerleaders also. They're like, Hey, you know what? If somebody can tell me, I'm going to Taco bar that I, I made, I made a Taco Bravo wedding and they're like the best tacos they had. That made me think, you know, like, you know, Tacos are simple, right? You can, if you can't, if you mess up a Taco Bar, then you need to find another business that you want to do. Right? So it's, it's, it's really, those are alarming that people have. I want to give people an experience. It's more about experience. It's more about, you know, knowing me, I, I do, I don't just send proposals out. I want people to come and see me. I want to sit down, I'm going to take that time to know you, you know, to, you know, what are we gonna work out? You know, that's the biggest thing, you know. So that's how I pretty much make sure that those are some of the things that my mentors, I've already told us.

27:55 Yeah. I mean cause food, I mean, just for, you know, people in general, food is so important, you know, just with life and gathering and, you know, celebrating the events. And then, I mean, especially weddings, I mean, I, you know, I think almost to a fault sometimes the priority on food, but for the guests, I, I talk to clients all the time and like my buddy got married and he was like so concerned about what they were going to eat. I said, well man, you gotta pay that, you know, your guests is, you're going to eat for about five seconds, but your guests are going to sit there and enjoy all this stuff. And like, but he just, the whole time it's like, well, I just can't wait to sit down and have my meal. I went in and I thought, man, you better to schedule some time for that.

28:32 But my point is, you know, food is so important and it is such, you know, I mean, even in Seattle nowadays, I mean, I just think there's such an emphasis on that as like helping to kind of guide the whole wedding. Right. You know, we want to have, like we got married at saltines and have great seafood and people want to bring in, you know, specific people to do certain foods or whatever. So, I mean what kinds of events are you doing now and you know, how are you kind of adding your own spin to the, you know, to the weddings and other events that you're doing? So,

29:02 You know, one of the thing I do is I do the infusion. You know, I do the infusion of the Polynesian food. So one of the things I do is I want to make sure that the guests wreck next weekend. I have a full Polynesian menu that I'm doing in Edmonds Yacht Club. So it's a full Fujian menu that they guest was so excited because they tasted a, did a tasting. They're like, oh my God, this is this the one I want to, I don't want to do American food, but my head is, we want to make sure that, you know, I asked my Brian, what is your child [inaudible] food that you grew up with? You know, one of the question, I don't know many caters to that, but am I doing it? I want to know you in person. I'm not only here to do business.

29:48 So you know, once they tell me, then I can pair up some food together around what their budgets are and stuff. I'm trying to also, one of the reasons why I moved from Seattle to open up in north end, I wanted to take the Seattle life, Seattle food life to north end. And, and since I stayed in Seattle for such a long time and know the trend of the food, you know, I wanted to bring it up to north, north end of Seattle where, you know, Snohomish county, you know, and, and, and, and, and I think it's missing the, the, the caliber, the quality, the, the style, the stage ups, you know, this missing, you do weddings in Seattle. It's, you know, yes, it's, it's, the budgets are higher, but also you, you'll be wowed. And that's one of the things I want to do, flavor quality. And while the guests, like, hey, you know what, up north up in the, you know, those, those venues up in the words, you know, we, we, they, they need, they need their quality food. They didn't, you know I think, you know, last people, they go from Seattle to get married over there so they, they can start going all the way there too. So I want to keep the experience there of those Seattle type of food and the trends that I'm doing.

31:06 And obviously also there'll be in the event space in, in doing that. So we've kind of sorted around, but talking about to, you know, obviously just having your own space to do that. And what was the motivation behind.

31:16 So my event space is in a commercial area, so, you know, and, and, and, and one of the thing that I think is a great fit as a great rehearsal dinner, you know venue space weddings, you know, I'm open to it and not limited to it. You know but most corporate events, you know, birthdays and memorials, you know you know, you want to a fed mixer event in the evening, a corporate company wants to take their employees out. You have to go to a restaurant scenery, you know, it's busy and all that. But if you come to event space, you can have the same experience. Also having a commercial kitchen in the event space and one of the new caters, I think, I don't know any other cater in north end has a unique thing that I have mostly caters.

32:07 I'm known for catering event venues are known for venue. So I made this Combo together to better service our guests. You know, because I know how it is to travel with food you know, out of the way and you know, make sure that the temperature control the quality still, you can't travel 15 miles with a medium rare steak. By the time you know, there is going to be medium away. Right. So my event spaces for those kinds of events, you know, receptions, you know you know, I'm also doing one, make a dinner, planning into one, make dinner. They went to a well. So when sip nights, you know you know, you can do paint and sip, sorry, not once it's meant the same. They probably pen sip nights, you know, I'm also, I'm also going to be doing brown paper bag dinners.

32:52 You know, where I sell the tickets out. I want to feature, I want to like my, my whole vision is to give the infusion menus to the north end and have people try the food, you know some things where I can do like Thanksgiving pickup meals, you know, you can come in preorder, pickup, you know also trying to see the down the road that I can do ready to go pick up meals from the, from the event space and the catering kitchen. Because a lot of time, you know, look at people living in Seattle, we don't have time to come home and cook. So it's pretty much like a prep meal. You take it home, you know, it says science in there on top of this ticker with the directions of like how to put in the oven and you can still entertain in your house.

33:41 You don't have to typically come to a restaurant to you know, find that. And also, you know, single mothers who are raising kids, you know, those are one of the things that they don't get to eat a lot of good foods. You know, by the time both parents in Seattle have to work, you know, it's easy to pick up something, you know, you tenure oven on instruction, put it in there, all marinated, marked the down in temperature, put in a nice box to go and just finished it in the oven, you know those are some of the things, party platters, you know, you don't have to additionally come and bring the chef in the house. You can order like 10 party platters, your house and pick it up. Custom mate you liking. And these recipes are not something but a commercial retail store we'll give you, these are something that isn't made in house, you know. And my cooking basically is everything from scratch. I do not buy anything that is premade and make it a little bit of adjustment there. Everything is crutch clicking.

34:42 That's funny. Yeah. The pickup meals. That was because like Dorothy loves to entertain but she can't cook at all. So that would be an imperfect do you know, is like, then you, then you get to point, it just, it's, it's crazy. I mean, where do all these ideas come from and the motivation and the energy and where do you you know, just listening to you talk and, and kind of list all these things. It's a lot.

35:03 There is, there is a lot. So the need of people, I have friends, I have families, you know, I see. I meet people, I talk to people. You know, I, I spoke with one girl like about six months ago and she goes, I have never cooked. So that just like, it just kind of, it pokes me. Like, I'm like, I can crumble. I'm like, Oh my God, you, she goes, I have a beautiful kitchen, but I'm scared of cooking. So I'm like, you know, and I'm like, that's why the passion of cooking class comes in. I'm like, you know what, I love to come in and kitchen. It's very simple recipes. Something where you do not have to follow the recipe. You just have to have ingredients and throw it together is going to happen a great meal for you. And so those are the people who drive.

35:49 Then, you know, the, the excitement in me and like, Hey, you know what? There is still people that doesn't cook at their house on a daily basis. You know, that doesn't prep, that doesn't, you know, wake up and you know, just crumble some eggs for breakfast to go with them. You know, those are how we can teach them how we can have them prep everything overnight. And it doesn't mean we're not, when I say prep board, that's a scary word. A lot of people have prep, oh my God, this is going to take prep time. I don't have time. Right. So my prep time, I'm thinking, I'm saying as you know, you going to be prepping for 15 or 20 minutes Max. If you can do that before you go to bed, you have a great meal next day, right? I'm saying 15 to 20 minutes.

36:31 It doesn't have to be, you can have like a 10 pounds of chicken breasts and you can marinate, I do a mandated classing class, you know where you learn three different marinades and these are simple ingredients that you have already in house and your spice. Your pantry should have it and in one bag and three bags you can put three different kinds of chicken and you can, you know the vacuum sealer, put it in the freezer or you take it out night before and you can still get a good meal. And so every, everything has, doesn't has to be the same day your man had it. Because when you tell people like you have to go this by grocery shopping, okay, oh my God, what, how many sides? How many hours was this? That's so I want, I'm one of the chef and I'm trying to teach people the concept of let's not worry about the ounces.

37:15 Let not worry about that. Let's worry about what are you going to get a little start and then work yourself up. You know, like how do you want to, this is my base recipe now I want to tweak it a little bit. Okay, here's, you can add a little bit of this. And then the excitement, it comes out to the people too. Like I had the chicken for like three weeks, now I want to have a little bit of how work, how can I make it a little bit more, you know, so I'm like, okay, now you are about that time. You can add a little bit of this, spice it up a little bit. So I think then it keeps people motivated to do that too.

37:49 What was it like kind of starting this whole venture leaving, you know, the corporate, you know, all these, who was it? Was it scary to kind of make that leap or you just ready, like you said, with your family and stuff?

37:59 You know, a lot of people have asked me this and not till today, I'm two weeks out to open. I'm not scared. You know, I'm determined. I am focus, I have concerns. But I I tell my team, I said, hey, you know what, heads up. We're going to get this done. We're going to get this zen, you know, follow ups. You know, and, and I also tell myself, I don't, and I don't know how I'm built this way. I tell myself nothing is impossible. Nothing is impossible. You got to keep the, keep the power and you're going to give the pressure on it. Right. And you know, I, I moved out from corporate world. I was a corporate junkie. Like I, I worked for corporate hotels and restaurants for a very long time in Seattle. And, you know, things that I had a hard time, you know, adjusting was, well, few things were done by somewhere remotely from Denver, from New York, you know, and you'd make a call and say, hey, can't find this file.

39:04 Everything is uploaded, sent to me. He, I had to build it from scratch. And so that was the, a little bit of, you know, shaken up and like, Hey, oh my God, I have to get this done. All right, I can get a distance. You know, get the permits online, this, this, this. But overall, you know, I think, you know, I have a pretty good for last, you know, 10 years I was very straight with a vision of like, this is, I want to do, I had like things, I'm a very visual person, so if you, if I make a meal for you, I have a look at an ingredient I have the plating in my head had already visualized and that's how it's not, you're not going to have a skip a bit or like anything. It will have the same plate. The chicken will be at 12 o'clock.

39:50 You know, potato that'll be at nine o'clock I have, I have that visualize day and that's how I'll be like, hey, this is how I wanted. And that's what most of the thing, I had a very good visual of like how I want things. And sometimes, you know, one of the hardest thing I have is to fully dumb that brain dump of visual, you know? And a couple of my employees like, well you didn't tell me that, you know, I'm like, I'm sorry. You know? Yes. There's a lot of things I have to tell and some things I, I keep in myself and I don't tell. So yeah. And, and beginning, you know, it was getting a lease and doing all this stuff, but I was not very s like to point where I was scared. I was concerned over some things. But that's about it.

40:35 You know, I in idol, a lot of support from a lot of colleagues, you know, a lot of people in the industry, a lot of phone calls and say, how do you do this? How do you get this? I had a good support from the mayor of Linwood, you know city officials, you know, I went there, I've never built a building here, you know it's not like Fiji islands. You can just, you know, put a barrier up and nobody says nothing. No inspection is done. Unit inspector, you know, so I had to jump a lot of hoops to get all these things done. But you know, I know it's doable. It's a little, a little bit, a lot of work and, and, and time and energy and you know, and that's one thing, you know, my employees keep my energy up. They keep motivating me.

41:16 They're like, hey, we almost, they regarded 10 chef. You're the man, you know, and that, the support of people, my wife and my family, my parents, my dad, my dad talks to me every day, every day. What's the process? What's the progress? He comes to the building and checks out, right? So I think it's, you know, those are the people that, you know, has kicked me alive. A lot of people motivated, a lot of, you know, Diane Tony at that MCR club. She's the number one believer of me. Like she buys, she's like, Nabi, I believe in you. You know Carly Adolphus, she, when we met freshman year, she goes, if, you know, I don't make a lot of people rub it, don't believe me. She goes, no, I believe you. I believe you. You, you can do it. You know, so there is no, my wife, my kids, you know, they, they support me. You know, I don't, I don't do house chores. You know, I come in by the time I come into everybody's in bed, I leave everybody's in bed still and also have those things. But like, you know, those are the people that they pulled that load of work that I am not part of it. So that's frees my time to, to, to think and, and, and, and, and give more time on what I want to do.

42:26 What was the difference here? You know, working in, you know, hotels and restaurants for a long time where you know, you're there and people are kind of coming at where I think now, right? You're having to go attract clients, right. Where it's, it's, you know, it's kind of flipped. What, what has that experience been like?

42:43 So, you know just for the longest period of time, I just look at the BLS, you know, where the banquet order comes and you're like, we have this amount of people. The menu's already said, I send them to the, I ordered the stuff. I have chefs who does all the cook out of the file tasting of food and I'm like, good to go. You know. I one of the things I create also, you know, I was planting this seed in the corporate world where the salespeople are doing prospecting and stuff like that. I said, Hey, I'm available to go with you guys because I had a vision of like, I wanted to open a place and how the sales processes, right? So they're like, oh my gosh, I've never had a chef who offered to go with us because when chefs go out, it brings value to the table.

43:28 And now because they know that he's the one who's going to be cooking food. Chefs usually don't come out. They're already behind the line. They don't come outside now. So I did, you know, I did offer to go with them and I did do a lot of, with Hilton, we did a lot of seminars and a lot of, a lot of you know, webinars and stuff like that for sales and stuff. But for a compared to right now, it's all me. I have to go out, I have to network, I have Carly that goes, I've Ashley that joined me, you know, lately I'm Michelle, I'm a, these are my team people that, that key people, they, they come and do the networking. They, they're part of the chamber. I to join the chambers, you know, to get to know the business people who are around me, you know, so, you know, it's, it's, it's a little bit, you know, challenging. I'll say no doing, you know, a lot of time, new business people like, oh well, I don't know, don't believe, you know, are they going to be sustainable? Are they going to be there? And also, you know, and part of is that when they see the passion, you know, behind my, my pine, my accomplishment and they know this, this guy would not just come in and, you know, do something and quit two years ago. This is a longterm business and these longterm you know, planning involved in this.

44:47 No, that's great. It's a, it's just, it's remarkable. Just kind of listening in and hearing your passion. What would be, I'm kind of winding down here. What would be for someone you know, that was, you know, why we gotta you know, a lot of vendors on here and a lot of vendors listening and people, you know, starting something new, wanting to start a business, you know, not necessarily catering, but you know, whenever they want to do what, what would be your biggest advice just as a small business owner and an entrepreneur?

45:12 My biggest advice is, you know, you gotta be passionate enough, you gotta think through that, what you want to do. You. One of the things that a lot of time people fail is they have too many things. They're thinking and they cannot see the end product. You got to see your end product, you know what you want. Then you can put a process how to reach that. A lot of time in a year you can deviate once you think through and you cannot deviate. Once you get derail, it's hard to get back and you, that consumes a lot of time and then you, I'm not sure, well, you know, I'm not sure. Then you're not ready. Then if you question yourself and say, ah, I'm not sure now maybe, and those F's, but maybe it's comes up, you gotta you gotta you know, you know, fine tune your thinking process. And then that's what my advice is to make sure that when you say you're ready, nothing is, you're not going to derail. You're not going to be confused. You're not going to be you know, thinking like, oh no, no, no, I didn't think that, oh, I'm sorry. Well, halfway, now we have to change our plans. We should not, there's a one plan, you're going to go through it and that will be a successful plan that you have thought through.

46:28 Perfect. Yes. I love it. I want to thank you so much again for coming on and you know, I'm so glad we got to connect and chatted with Carly at the, at the wedding at the, I guess it was, yeah, but why didn't show, I guess whatever it was open house. It was so great to have you come in and I just think this is going to be awesome and that the event space and Carlos show me the photos on her phone and it, and it looks awesome. So that's October 18th, right? You guys ready?

46:54 Right in the grand opening? Yeah, it's a grand opening. It's the from 11 to 8:00 PM. So we'll have like full tour of the venue. You know, there'll be a lot of giveaways, you know, and there's a lot of things that we'll be doing. Food and beverage will be served, you know, bite foods, you know, and like some orders, you know, Trinks you know you know, so I highly encourage also one of the thing I think is really great is to support small business, you know, and if you can be part of that, their journey, you know, it's really, it's a big you know, a lot of people, it's, it's, it's, you know, just showing up and it's a big deal, you know, and only way to, you know, to be a successful business is to support another business too. And if you can,

47:42 And this is a, all the info is on your site. Right. And I know I've seen the so, and if people want to learn more just in general about you and your cooking and everything, where or where would you have them go? Check out

47:51 On my west a website. I have Facebook, I have Instagram, you know, so a Twitter account. So yes, the website, his website has a lot of information. And if you message me through Facebook, Instagram, and you want to sit down with me, I'm always available. I will be available. I'll make time for people to come and see me and sit down. If you have any questions, anybody's listening once a recipe or anything that they are struggling with cooking, you know, I, they, they, they, they tell me I'm the food doctor, you know, I know how to, you know, work you through this. So

48:25 That's the end. It's Perfect. And then, yeah, and I know it's on the Instagram and all that. This name is easy to find. Well thank you again so much. I know it's a, it's a busy day and I'm sure you're ramping up for the weekend. If you are like Navi you're interested in coming on the podcast I have a nice easy questionnaire set up. You can go to and that's an easy way to kind of give them the system and get it going. This has been like I was telling you before, almost two years now, kind of this experiment of talking to people. So thank you so much again for coming on and sharing your story. Thank you. This has been another episode of get to know your wedding pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks much.

Nadia Padzensky, Nadia Joyce Photography

00:01 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 late on a Monday. We're kind of getting this week underway, one way or another. It's a Nadia Padzensky with Nadia Joyce Photography out of Portland. And I wanted to thank you so much for coming on that. Like I said, lay it on a Monday night making time for this. So why don't you introduce yourself, tell us who you are, what you do.

00:35 Yeah, thank you. Very happy to be here. Um, so yes. Um, Nadia, um, uh, my business is Nadia Joyce Photography. Um, I am currently based in Portland, Oregon. Um, although I do a lot of shooting in Portland and actually the Seattle area, so I'm kind of across the Pacific northwest. Um, started my business back in 2010 right after getting my bachelor's, um, from the evergreen state college in photography and have kind of been moving around a lot since then. Um, and have pseudo settled in Portland. But like I said, I'm shooting all across the Pacific northwest.

01:17 Yeah. Cause I was like on your Instagram before and kind of looking and like, yeah, it's not like it's out when, where I'll stay park and things up here. And you know, there's a, you know, I think it's good to, you know, kind of Trevor are still whole, um, you know, west side here from Seattle and up and down. Um, the one thing that really strikes me about you is like you said, starting Your Business, uh, many years ago. I, you know, back in 2010 which is a lifetime I think for some wedding. Do you know, I mean, just like nowadays, you know, and follow in video, there's a lot of like, hey, so I'm going to do this and I've been doing it two months and I'm a photographer or VR or whatever. So what is it, you know, talk about some strengths that you have. I mean, just been doing this so long and just seen so many different things and so many different trends and just, I mean, you just have a wealth of knowledge.

02:05 Yeah. Um, it's definitely been a long journey. So yeah, a little bit of a context on this too. Um, yeah, my business did start in 2010. Um, I actually started the business, uh, in Olympia, Washington. So my original location was actually with the Seattle area. Um, but shortly after it officially started, I decided to move to Eugene, Oregon thinking I was going to get my graduate's degree. Um, eventually decided against that, moved back to Olympia briefly. And then I actually ended up moving to Thailand and will be there for, um, about half of the year. And I met my now husband there. And when we came back, we landed in Portland, so started in 2010 really now, just like fully establishing, um, and I think that's one of the big things that I've learned over the past almost decade is that that despite the fact that I shoot in several different locations, not just as big northwest either, I've shot in Texas and the east coast and things like that.

03:08 Um, it really is really hard to do if you don't have a home base that you're like secured. And, um, so all that moving around, it was a lot of stop and go. Um, but now I'm happy to be settled and yeah. So yeah, it's been almost a decade. Um, I think I have seen a huge variety of things in the wedding industry. I think my favorite stuff is always the, the ceremonies that are a little quirky, non traditional stuff. I know that's kind of a, a catchphrase nowadays, but really I do really love the nontraditional stuff. I think it's really fun on people that do unexpected things. Um, if you ever included a dog, I'm going to be really happy the best. Um, and just being able to go with the flow with those kinds of things. Um, those are my favorites, but they can be a little unpredictable as compared to some of the more traditional, um, events that you go to. Um, and I love it. And just being able to think on your toes, be able to move around a timeline doesn't necessarily set in stone. Um, and I think some of the best moments actually happen in those situations. Yeah.

04:24 So hard. I mean in to people all the time. They say, Oh, you know, it wasn't that like we have this big Nigerian, whether you're a couple of weeks ago at the ceremony was like three hours. I mean, it was literally like nonstop. And so, you know, and my, you know, my friend was in the audience and he's like, man, like, you know, it wasn't that so cool. They kind of whatever. And I'm like, I think it's cool to experience that, but you know, we're trying to capture all that, you know, it's kind of different when it's on, when the shoe's on the other foot. And I'm like, I'm just trying to kind of make sense of all this. Yeah. I was just hanging out and watching it. You know, it's tough. It's, it's that tough balance between, like you said, kind of doing some of the more traditional stuff. Okay, I know this, I've got this. And then like also tried to, you know, do other things and kind of, you know, round the experience out, you know?

05:07 Yeah. 100%. It's, it's, it's nice to have that depth foundation. Um, so you can feel confident and solid, like, you know, the quote unquote rules. Um, so you've got that set. Um, but then that gives you the flexibility to definitely move around and be flexible when it doesn't go according to plan.

05:26 Yeah. So you went to every street, a evergreen state college. That was definitely on my Kinda tour list as well when I was looking at, you know, I'm from Seattle and when we were looking at colleges, um, I didn't, I ended up going east of the mountains. But, um, what were you originally hoping to study there and what kind of like on your website you said you'd had a camera from such a young age and was it always just trying to do some artsy stuff or what, where were you kind of trying to find your voice?

05:52 Yeah. Um, yeah, funny story. I, so I grew up in North Idaho, um, and I actually, I lived with animals my entire life. Um, my mom actually used to be a breeder of border colleagues, so I've always been around dogs and I originally thought that I was going to be a veterinarian. Um, I've actually worked in the veterinary field quite a bit. I have about seven cumulative years, um, doing that off and on as an assistant and technician. Um, and so when at time, the time came to graduate high school and choose a college, I was kind of torn because I had this veterinary thing that I had in my brain most of my childhood. Um, but in the last few years of high school I really fell in love with photography from more of a kind of serious standpoint. Like you mentioned, I, I had a camera in my hand from a very young age.

06:47 My mom was always shooting on film cameras. Um, and I kind of learned some from that and loved it. I was a really annoying friend who always had a camera and was documenting absolutely everything that we did in high school. Um, and it was fun and I loved it, but I never imagined like, oh, this could be a career. Um, and I think there was a career day in high school, a photographer came, senior portrait photographer and thing and talked to us about his work. And the fact that he was making a living doing it. And I was like, this is a, this is a thing where like I couldn't make a living out of this. So it wasn't really until the very end of my high school years that I was starting to consider it. And so I applied to a bunch of different schools and I got accepted to WSU, which for those who don't know has it amazing veterinary program. And I also got accepted to evergreen, which has an amazing photography program. Um, so ultimately I decided that I wanted to go the artistic route. Um, it helped. I had some family friends in Olympia. Um, so already had a good foundation there. And yeah, I continued to kind of dabble in the veterinary world, but ultimately my goal from them was to build the business.

08:07 So is it the, you go to evergreen and I think evergreen is kind of famous for being a little bit more [inaudible]

08:13 more, I don't know what the world, it's a little more free for. Right. Okay.

08:19 We have a family friend who was a teacher there too. And I'm a little bit more type A, and then when we walked in there and my mom was like, I don't know if this is right for you. I was like, I know, but right. But I mean that obviously helped foster kind of the creativity,

08:32 right? Yeah, yeah. I mean, yes, for sure. Um, and one of the beauties of the Evergreen program that I really appreciate it. I'm actually not sure that they do this anymore. I did. I graduated in 2009 so it's been, wow, it's been 10 years since I graduated. Um, but at the time, the way that the photography program works, um, you could set it up so that you were studying film photography before you even touched on digital, um, in that learning environment. And so I actually like really deep dove into black and white film photography, um, processing my own film, my own prints and all of that. Um, from the very get go. And then we started to dabble in some digital stuff. I learned color, film photography and processing my own stuff there too. And I think that that, so understanding the film side of things a very deep and intimate level really, really helped me.

09:33 When it came time to now I shoot only digital, um, cause for me it's the most realistic thing to use for weddings. Um, and it has shaped everything, um, artistically and how I approach documenting the day and then processing the files after the fact. I pay a lot of attention to color cause my color, film, photography days, many hours in the dark room, obsessing over who is that slightly green still or I need to add some glue. Um, and that just sticks in your brain and that stays with you. Um, so I've had a lot of attention to color, a lot of attention to exposure. Um, and I would try really hard to get those things right in camera because I know the difficulties of dealing with something in post-processing, especially from a film standpoint. So yeah, it's just kind of stuck with me. So always film, I'm in college in the very beginning. Um, yeah. So now I'm shooting digital only. Yeah. But that film experience and learning that first evergreen made a huge difference in how I then approached digital.

10:53 Yeah. I mean, I don't even think they, I don't know. I haven't been to a college photography class and lots, I don't even know if they teach some of that stuff anymore. I may just say nowadays it's so much like six in post, I will, you know, Photoshop it later. And I, you know, I worked with a lot of photographers that do a lot of Photoshop and like, oh, I'll just fix that later on. And I'm like, I can't, I can't know. I don't have the same tools. And I think, like you said, me are really focusing on getting it right in camera is obviously gonna make it a lot easier kind of on the other side.

11:22 Yeah, definitely. And um, like you said with film, you don't have that freedom. You can't, I mean there's, there's, you know, a little bit of wiggle room when you're doing your large ones and stuff. You can change your exposures a little bit stuff. But if the information isn't there, it's not there. Digital is a little bit more forgiving in a lot of ways, especially digital nowadays. Um, so yeah, I developed some really good habits from film, um, and it's made all the difference. For sure.

11:51 So then the, so you're in college in when you leave, are you, is it full on that, you know, we're starting the photography company, is that how that happened or how, what was that transition coming out of school?

12:01 Yeah. Um, so yes and no. Uh, I did start the business. So I graduated June of 2009. The business started basically January of 2010. Um, I had to learn some of the INS and outs of Washington state and running a business. I did not take any business courses in college. And I really, if there's one thing that I regret is that take this and this classes, if you're going to be creative, it's like the most valuable that you could do. Um, but so there was a little bit of a ramp up time. And initially of course, um, I did have a kind of day job where I was paying my bills. I'm slowly building up clientele. And then that second year I think was the year that I quit the day job, started doing photo full time and then kind of began the whole, uh, process of moving every year or two. Um, so it was a little bit of, like I said, a journey to get to full time again.

13:03 Yeah. It's so hard. The moving and I think we've had, I'm sure Rebecca, she's a SEL, um, leather press, uh, worker down there on the podcast and she had moved and yeah, people think like, Oh, you just changed your Google listing address and like, you're all good. And if people don't realize how much SEO and time and just, you know, even just networking and meeting people in the area and you know, even Portland and Vancouver, the Seattle is, is different worlds. It feels like sometimes

13:31 100%. It is completely different markets. Um, of course all the people that are amazing, but there is a very different kind of clientele, a different kind of atmosphere when it comes to, um, a lot of the weddings that I shoot in the Seattle area versus a lot of the weddings that I get inquiries for in shoe dumping her in Portland. Um, yeah, it's just, uh, a different kind of market.

13:58 Yeah. What, cause we talk with people, I said, you know, photographers appear and down there, what do you find is the biggest difference between, you know, clients are the wedding and Tino from down there and up in Seattle. I'm just curious your thoughts.

14:10 Yeah. And of course, only in my personal experience, so I welcome anybody to disagree with me for sure. Um, but in my experience, Seattle has a little bit more of, um, that kind of urban, I see a lot more traditional leaning kind of weddings up in the Seattle area. Um, typically bigger, so bigger guests count, um, kind of more extravagant and debt news. Um, what I've seen down in Portland, uh, we're a smaller city, so a lot of this just makes sense based on size, but I also see a lot more of the nontraditional stuff in Portland. Um, smaller venues, smaller gas lists. Um, all of the elopements I think I'm speaking off the top of my head right now, but I think every elopement that I've had so, or intimate weddings, what do you, it was like 25 yes. Or fewer have been down here and not necessarily up there. Not that they don't happen up there. It's just not as common I think. Um, as down here.

15:13 Yeah. No, and I, I think that makes sense. I mean, it's, it just always feel too, a little bit like I'm, I've, it could just be like Seattle on charges, but it does seem like things costs a little bit more in Seattle than they do down in Portland.

15:26 Yeah. That too. I have noticed that as well. I think that, I mean, that can be applied to a lot of things. I think that, yes, a lot of the wedding industry things are more expensive venues and whatnot. Um, but if you'd look at like Seattle rent rates and housing costs compared to Portland, um, it all kind of aligns and makes sense. But yeah, we totally agree with you.

15:50 So when you, when you were going about launching your business, was that, you know, you said your mind, you know, you veterinary, I mean, did you have, when you're trying to be an entrepreneur or kind of like that, was there is some experience with anybody or was that kind of a new venture for you and what kind of was the reaction from your family and everybody?

16:10 Yeah, definitely a new venture. Um, so I was an only child. Um, my mom was a single mom and so I didn't have any siblings. But in my, on my dad's side of the family, immediate side of the family, I think I'm one of maybe two of our generation that has graduated at school. Um, and I am one of, I think the other, um, that's a cousin who also went to school, um, also has her own business. I think I'm the only one that's come out of business as well. Um, and is the, I didn't really have an example to work from. Um, it was definitely figuring it out as I go, especially because I do take those business classes, um, trying to kind of take advantage of some of the resources that existed up in, um, that area at the time. There's quite a few small business, um, like free programs at least as an Olympia area. So I tried to take advantage of some of those and understand like what am I text is supposed to look like, all those little like boring details that nobody wants to deal with. Um, so yeah, it was a little, you know, put it together as we go in the beginning for sure.

17:26 Yeah. Cause I liked you. I was kind of the same day where a lot of those, I think looking back, you know, more important, you know, business courses or accounting or kind of anything like that. I, you know, I'm this, I was doing the journalism thing and that, you know, ended up where I did, but, um, what were some of the toughest, you know, lessons that you had starting your business or things that you, you know, are happy that you kind of figured out or you know, growing pains that you're happy to, you know, move past?

17:52 Oh Gosh, there's so many. Yeah. I think one of the biggest things, um, was definitely learning to, uh, outsource certain things or delegate certain things. So I said, I'm trying to do every single piece of my business all by myself. I'm finding other people who are experts at those things like Texas, um, and those kinds of things. I'm making sure I'm getting the information for them and then letting them handle it. It can be really tempting, um, especially early on to just try and do it all yourself cause you want to save money. Um, and for me, I would just have always had this mentality of, um, I can handle it. Like I can do it all. Uh, some people might call me a workaholic and it's a really easy trap to fall into, but eventually, um, you learned that just how incredibly valuable your time is, um, and that it is actually much more beneficial and much more lucrative to offload those things that you're not an expert at. So you can spend your time on things where you are an expert. So,

19:14 well, what is it about weddings and in Eli you said a little man to Andy about weddings. What is it about weddings in general that excites you, that you find you have the passionate and I, yeah, I know you talked a lot about storytelling and capturing stories on your website. What do you find,

19:29 you know, they're, they're kind of excites you every day to work. Yeah. Um, there's a few things. I think, uh, actually when I initially started out and I was in school, I swore I was never going to shoot weddings. Um, cause I had heard from others more experienced than me how stressful they were, how terrible it was for weddings. And, um, a cousin of mine was getting married and asked me to photograph her wedding while I was still in school and I was terrified and I said, okay, but you're not paying me. And they insisted on paying me and I made like $100. And um, it was amazing. Um, it was so much fun and I just remember walking away from that thinking this was basically somebody put together this beautiful setting and all of these happy people for me. And I got to photograph that instead of me conceptualizing something, getting all the pieces and putting them together myself. It's just there for me. Um, and every single one of them is different and it's really fun trying to identify, okay, what makes this wedding special and different for these people? And really honing in on that and making it feel like them so that they looked at those images in the year 50 years that they remember, Oh yeah, that's what it felt like. And that was totally us. Um, I really liked that, the challenge of finding that uniqueness in each one.

21:02 Talk about the experience of working with you, a, you know, do you really like to give in, you know, and learn, you know, how your couples tick and kind of get into value. What is it like if I'm someone that's getting married and I choose you and what does that kind of experience look like?

21:16 Yeah, it definitely like kind of digging in and getting to know people for sure. I'm one of the very first steps when somebody these just inquired with me, not when they booked is I try really hard to get people on the phone so that we can not only talk to logistics but talk about like who we are. And I get them a chance to asking me those kinds of questions too. And I want to know like, what's the favorite thing about their partner? I want to know, um, you know, tell me a little bit more in depth about your proposal story. Um, tell me what you're most excited about for the wedding day. These are all questions that I'd like to ask each couple. Um, and it's always different for everybody. Um, and so from that conversation forward, it's a lot of trying to understand who they are and where they're coming from and what's most important to them.

22:06 Um, and that carries over to the engagement photo session where I tell people this is, I'm really excited to go to lots of different locations if you're hiking or adventuring somewhere. Like, let's do that. Um, and let's hang out. And I happen to have a camera with me, like, let's, I want you to be comfortable and have fun. And like the best thing somebody can say to me after an engagement session is like, that was so much fun. That is the best. I want people to have a glass. Um, and same with the wedding day. I want people to feel comfortable. I want them to feel like they're enjoying their day and they're not necessarily just always getting photos taken. Um, I try and give a good mix of that is candid and what is actually going on, um, and how they're really experiencing the day as well as some of those more like intimate, formal images. So definitely like to get to know them and understand what's important to them and work off of that. Yeah. So hard. Yeah.

23:09 Nowadays, you know, with couples and families we've kind of had a string, it feels like the last month or so have a lot of long engagements, lots of planning, lots of pressure, you know, families and all this kind of staffing and you know, really trying to get them to relax and have that time. I mean it is really challenging and it's, you know, it's, it's fun and obviously we want to do it, but I think it's an underrated, you know, skill of just, you know, being able to put people at ease and, and you know, get them to get the photos. Obviously you're getting the, you want to get for them and make them happy, but also, you know, you to manage timelines and expectations on this. But I mean, it's just, it's just a lot goes into it. I just didn't really reflecting on that in the last couple of weeks. Just like, you know, how, how can we better serve the clients? Just trying to get them at ease. And it makes sure they know that like everything's going to be okay and then we're going to get an issue so hard and a lot of these, you know, younger kids now, and I don't know, it's just something I've really been reflecting on kind of in the last month and this kind of wedding season.

24:10 Yeah, it definitely seal that. And that's, for me, the thing that I try really to focus on is just, I, I err on the side of over communicating with people. Um, especially leading up to the day. Um, I just want people to always feel like she's got this. I don't have to worry about it. I always let them know that can reach out to me with questions, not just about photography, but if they've got questions about their timeline, I like to try and help with that. Or, um, if they're looking for recommendations on how to do something, um, or should we do this before or after this ceremony? Um, we always put together a shot list so that they don't have to think about which combinations of family photos they want on the day of. It's just, I've got it. I've got the list. It's fine. Just I'll direct you. You're good. Um, so yeah, it's just a lot of, oh, Erin on the side of over communication, making sure that they don't ever feel like they don't know something or they need to know and make myself really available to people. And I think I've seen that's been really successful as of late, um, with a lot of stuff that like you just described.

25:22 Yeah. What do you think is some of your strongest, you know, attributes is, you know, a photographer or like you said, kind of somebody's day out. I mean, obviously doing this along, you know, a really long time, just kind of in comparison to a lot of the photographers I kind of interacted with on a daily basis, you know, what are the strengths that you think have kind of given you that success for as long as you have?

25:42 Yeah, so I think it's a couple of things. Um, one, I mean the experience definitely makes a difference. There are very few things that fluster me anymore. Um, [inaudible] and, um, invincible. Um, there are definitely things that get my heart rate up. Um, but I've seen a lot of different situations. I've seen a lot of things fall apart, a lot of timelines fall really far behind. Um, and I think that I bring a really calming presence in those kinds of situations to the couple. So, you know, it's a variety or is that something didn't show up the way it was supposed to or if they're running 45 minutes behind or something, it's just like, it's okay, we got this, you're still going to be married at the end of the day. Like, that's what we're here for. Focus on that. You still got your favorite person. Like it's all gonna be good.

26:33 Um, so that's definitely been beneficial. I think the other thing is, um, uh, previous day jobs, um, I've actually got a lot of experience in, um, project and program and a chat. And so that has definitely been a huge benefit to me. Just a lot of the skills and habits that I learned from managing projects and programs. Um, I worked for a get hub. It's a tech company based out of San Francisco. They um, hosts a code for web developers or just developers in general. Um, and so as project and program manager for that company and that's some high stakes stuff in certain situations, I learned a lot how to um, present things, um, to people both at an executive level as well as um, you know, my tiers and understanding how to communicate effectively with different groups of people based on what their goals and their priorities are. So fine tuning my communication style and what time communicating to an individual is something that I found Jerry Jerry helpful in this industry.

27:49 Yeah, it's tough cause you know, you know, we are kind of a vendor that we are, you know, the personality and stuff and yeah. I mean you know, every client is going to be different, you know, every wedding. But then yeah you said just kind of the personalities of them and you know, some people are a lot more high stressed about things or a lot more particular or a lot more whatever. I me just really, like you said, trying to figure out kind of how to communicate most effectively with them is really, you know, it's a really challenging, but you know, it's kind of like a fun challenge, you know?

28:16 Totally. Yeah. And it's really, it's really cool when when you get to know these people and then you kind of start to click with them. You understand? My favorite thing is learning what people's sense of humor is and then being able to play to that and just like that's how we have fun. Like, okay, you clearly liked puns, let's try and use those while we're out hiking through the woods for your irrigation session. Like I just, I want people to feel really comfortable being who they are, whether that's goofy or serious or whatever makes them feel most at home in their skin while I'm documenting them.

28:52 Cool.

28:55 Kind of maybe doing this as long as you have over the years, you know, obviously, you know, photography's trends and kind of come and gone. What do you, how do you describe kind of your style and do you, you know, what do you think of all these different trends and stuff? Do you just really try to state to your boys? How do you kind of look at, you know, the way that you photograph? Technically?

29:14 Yeah. Um, I mean I feel like it's ever evolving. Um, I definitely have a foundation of, I want to remain, I'm sure to color, um, when it comes to your final product. So I don't want your grades to be completely washed out. I'm not gonna oversaturate anything either on the other side. So trying to remain true to color, um, and then, uh, also making sure exposure. Very good. So no blown out highlights and with the exception of, you know, some creative flexibility on certain images. Also detail in your shadows. Um, so proper exposure, proper color, sometimes leaning more towards a little bit darker or maybe a little warmer, um, or mood or creativity on certain images. So not going full on into trends. I know there's, there's lots of different kinds right now, right now. Like the big two right now are bright and airy and dark community.

30:18 Um, I try really hard to create images where when you're looking at these in 50 years is not going to be like, oh, that was clearly shot in 2019. Um, I want it to be something that's timeless and classic but also elicits emotion. So yeah, I'm going to use a little bit of post-processing to get creative with them. I do really love using um, prisms and light tricks for certain images just to kind of add a little bit of drama to certain um, moments or situations or some of those like sunset couples photos can be really fun to play with. But I'm always going to make sure that you've got that true documentation of the day and those big moments for sure.

31:01 How do you, you know, if a lot of different wedding categories nowadays that you know, so saturated and, and you know, especially in a photo video and stuff, how do you, you know, stand out? How do you kind of let people know about you? It, you, you know, just get your work out there. Are you, you know, is networking with different venues or how do you really try to make yourself stand out and get to clients either?

31:22 Yeah, I mean I'm still working on this for sure. I won't pretend to be an expert. Um, I've been in Portland for five years now and I feel like I'm just over the last year or two really started to get my feet under me with this. Um, but some of the biggest things that happen really valuable for me are definitely networking. So meeting other vendors, being really, um, welcoming and open and collaborative with other vendors, other photographers and videographers, just making those friends in the industry cause call. We're all in this together. We all know what this is like and, and how important this work is. But then also just I'm learning to be a little more open on social media a little bit on my website too, of who I am and letting people understand me as a person and as a professional so that they can get a good gauge of like, is this a person that I'm know feel comfortable less?

32:22 I'm documenting this really important day in my life. Like inevitably all of your vendors, I think especially your photographers, videographers, caterers, um, are going to be part of the experience that you have on your wedding day. So it has to be somebody you feel good about. So trying to let people see some of that even before they talk to me has been really helpful. So you said you met your now husband when you guys were living in Thailand, is that right? Yeah. Yeah. So what, what was that like? What was it like living in Thailand and you know, how did that go about and then how, you know, how was your wedding and what was that experience like? Oh, that's a good story. It's a pretty good story. So we met actually in Eugene, um, when I was still living in Eugene, Oregon shortly before I was about to move back to Olympia.

33:13 And also shortly before he was shipping out to Thailand for Peace Corps. Um, come to find out, we had mutual friends that we both know in our entire lives and somehow we'd never crossed paths. And those mutual friends had gotten together, um, and were dating and eventually married. So just one random game night, we were hanging out at the same like game night party just by chance again, it never crossed paths previously somehow. Um, and got to talking and then just kind of parted ways. And then we met again at a Halloween party a few weeks later and just kind of started dating from there. Um, the thing was he was gonna leave to Thailand soon and I was the back to Olympia so we weren't liking. I'm serious. And then well, you know, things happen and you fall in love. So I had been trying to get out of the country for a little while to travel internationally.

34:15 I'd never traveled internationally yet and I didn't have a specific destination that I wanted to go. Um, and I knew he was wanting to Thailand and I said, well, Southeast Asia is a great place to start as any. Um, so I saved up for 10 months and actually decided to move there. Um, got a job teaching English at an elementary school in the same town where he was based. Um, we got really lucky in a lot of ways and yeah, I spent it out five months there. Um, it was a really amazing experience and very amazing personal experience. Um, Thailand is a crazy place. Um, it's beautiful. We were on a tiny little town on the isthmus. Um, so like an eight hour bus ride or something from Bangkok. Um, and you know, we rode our bikes everywhere to school and the store and um, we've lived in this little tiny apartment, um, and we ate all the most amazing street food and they all lived in our neighborhood so they all knew what we ordered and it was, it was pretty magical.

35:18 It was challenging too. Um, is a very challenging experience as well. But it's something I wouldn't trade. It was, it was phenomenal and it changed a lot of things for me just in terms of, you know, trying to, wanting to travel more and experience new things or what, I mean definitely that we've done a lot more traveling since then. Not as much as I'd like, but I'm a lot more. But it taught me a, I think the two biggest things. One getting out of that comfort zone. Um, I have anxiety, I actually have obsessive compulsive disorder and these are things that have challenged me throughout my life and regular situations. So being put into an environment where when I first got to Thailand, um, I actually lived in Bangkok by myself in the first month cause I was getting sort of occasion, um, as a English, as a second language teacher.

36:12 Um, so my husband, he was somewhere else eight hours away and I just, I, I landed in Bangkok and I was in this place where I knew nobody. I had no easy transportation and I had to get around and I had to eat. Um, and I still always remember this moment. I had an apartment there in Bangkok for one month and the day that my husband left to go back to town because he met me at the airport, he went to go back to the small town and I was the first time I was in the apartment alone and I stood there and I started to panic and then I just took a deep breath and I said, okay, like I'm going to figure this out because honestly I have to, I do not have a choice. I have to figure this out. I'm going to be okay.

36:58 Um, and that was kind of the first and last moment where I panicked. It's just, I think that this has also affected how I approach weddings and my flexibility and ability to adapt, um, traveling alone or even traveling with a partner in a place that I do not know where you do not really speak the language, especially you just learn how to communicate with people in different ways. And he learned how to take care of yourself. Um, and you'll also learn how to keep yourself calm in otherwise stressful situations. So, yeah. What was the, what was your wedding like? Oh, it was great. Um, so like I said, we landed in Portland when we came back from Thailand, um, and we ended up getting married. I'm a very outdoorsy person. Um, the woods are probably my favorite place. I like trees. Wolves are my favorite animal.

37:55 Um, but we were kind of working a bit on a budget that I knew that photography was really important to me honestly. Um, and that I just wanted some images in the woods at some point. So I contacted a friend that I actually went to school with at Evergreen. Um, an actual second shoot with her a lot. We worked together a lot. Still. She's up in Seattle, um, and she shot her wedding for us and we did a bunch of our images up in forest park, which is a huge park here in Portland. Um, lots of different beautiful areas. And then, um, did the rest of our ceremony reception everything at the village ballroom, which is this beautiful little vintage looking Barbour above a nonprofit. Brewhouse. I'm in north Portland, so it was a really intimate, um, small and pretty, um, humble kind of day, but it was perfectly asked and we did our center pieces ourselves and, um, just lay on the florals and, uh, you know, we just played some of our favorite music off of Spotify play last and I mean most of our money was definitely some photography, um, and just, uh, a lot of people from around the country, um, Tim and celebrated with us.

39:18 And we had, um, we had six or seven different cheesecakes instead of one page. And our Hashtag was cheese cake wedding 2015. Um, yeah, it was fun. It was just, we wanted people to have fun. We wanted people to eat good food. Um, and we didn't want it to be a big disgrace. We just wanted it to be really us. So that's what we did while the cheese cake, just so you guys, she's, she's okay. So she's kicking, it's my husband's favorite dessert. Um, and I have a really bad sweet tooth. It's really bad. So, um, I was going to be happy with whatever dessert we had. Um, ice cream is my favorite and she's kicked is kind of like texture wise, a good inbetween from Jake ice cream and Krissy Tibet tangy and sweet. We had a variety of flavors which was also excellent.

40:14 That's awesome. Yeah. You were starting the whole, cause nowadays like half the people don't even have cake at their wedding, but you guys are doing the whole alternate alternate dessert thing, you know, years ago now.

40:24 Yeah, no, we just know that we just knew we just wanted something that we were going to be like really excited to eat and we other people were excited to eat it. But um, you know, of course only like you invite people and maybe like 75 to 85% of your uh, invite list shows up to the wedding typically. Um, so a smaller group came. We ended up going home with so much cheese cake. We had so much leftover cheese cake and that may have been the first and only time I've ever been seen that cheese cake. Yeah, we have, I think I have like [inaudible] one

41:00 bite of our cake. Dorothy wanted carrot cake because she thinks that that's, you know, healthier to have. And we had, I had like one bite and then saltiest put it in a bottle. We got married at saltines and they put it in, you know, it was like a box with ever. And so we had it, you know, they send out, put it in the freezer and they'd have it your one year anniversary or whatever and said that we, we cracked this out. I think we have, we moved in the meantime, this cake, you've been with us a long time and I had thought, oh this thing's clearly preserved cause it's in this box and it's, it's whatever. And it wasn't at all. And we always just thrown it in. This box would like, the flower is still

41:34 on it and like [inaudible] sticker on it. And so Dorothy's still it. I didn't need to use it. I was scared to buy the, yeah, I got one by the of, you know, $1,000 or whatever we paid on that cake. I, it, that's exactly what we didn't want to happen. Um, so we made sure, like we didn't even have to ask this, so we said, okay, we want to make sure that there's at least one slice left from every flavor because we want to try that. And then we are at our, because I actually weren't gonna phrase it cause we knew like we love the, we got our, um, our cheesecakes from Petunias, um, here in Portland and we love their desserts. So we figured, you know, what sort of just freezing this stuff. It's cool. We'll just go back to Petunias at our one year and just get something fresh that will enjoy and eat backs in it that it's, that is ritual enough for us. So that's awesome. Yeah.

42:24 Um, [inaudible] this is good. Before, either before we let you go, um, you know, what, what is something you wish more people knew about you? It could be personally, it could be, you know, the way you photograph what you enjoy, what you enjoy doing when you're not, you know, photograph the, what do you, what do you wish more people knew about you?

42:41 You as a kind of, as a person. Oh, wow. Um, and it's tough. I know it's a really good question. It is. Um, yeah, it is tough. I think, I think one of the things that I really want people to know and then I actually would need to work on doing a better job making clear, um, is that, um, diversity, inclusion and belonging is really important to me. Um, and it's something that I've been passionate about my entire life and an everyday job that I've ever had. Um, whatever company I worked for, I would work really hard to make sure that I could be involved in whatever programs they had or start programs as their words, any. Um, and I watched to carry this over into my photography, um, uh, equal representation, um, equity and um, access to all the same options. Um, whether it's your wedding or just life in general, um, is something that I am really, really passionate about. Um, and so I'm, I'm really excited to see a lot of these more exclusive practices becoming more talked about and more included in the wedding industry in general. Um, and I definitely want to be a part of that and helping make that even better than what it is. Oh, absolutely. Especially in the Pacific northwest, you know, I mean, I think it's, it's [inaudible]

44:06 yeah, it's, we're probably more inclusive here, but not obviously ed necessarily as it, everyone needs to be in. So, no, I definitely think and you know, having, I kind of, I was working in TV with, you know, when they passed gay marriage and all that and just really been kind of following that for years and now I think it's awesome. I, you also have here on your question, you were talking about, um, this a years long, uh, women's empowerment project. Did you

44:29 talk about that at all? Yeah, yeah. Thanks for asking about it. Um, yes, so this is a project that I have been working on since 2016. Um, it's kind of had some stopping and going just because life and what in season one and season is in full swing. It's just really hard to get any kind of creative work done. Um, but it's called the power pole project and it is a series about in for, um, not just women, but, um, marginalized genders. Um, so I've also got some representation, um, for a trans women, um, non-binary individuals and others. Um, and it's a combination and photographic and written series. Um, and so I meet with individuals, um, and we do a purchase session as well as talk through whatever story they want to tell about themselves. And the only thing that I typically ask is that they share something that shows, um, a time or just something they experienced where they felt vulnerable and in contrast to that a time or experience where they felt powerful.

45:40 Um, and this is something that kind of grew out of a very personal place where, um, as we all have, um, when younger, we all go through a lot of growing pains. Um, some of us get bullied, some of this get two years or we have, um, it's just a self confidence or, um, just those struggles of being young. Um, and there were some things that I had gone through in my younger years where I, if I had had something like this to, to see, oh, I'm one, I'm not alone. And also, yes, this is hard, difficult, terrible thing has happened or is happening. But it happened to this person too. And look at where they are and look at how it, it doesn't define them. It's, it's part of who they are and their like experience, but they're powerful and they're strong. Um, regardless and try to highlight those stories and make them, um, more visible.

46:43 A lot of these people who have participated so far, um, have shared things that they haven't shared with anybody cause it didn't feel right to the time it didn't feel right. But in the prospect of being able to share it in this context of, um, helping other people through things, it's suddenly felt right to share it. Um, so yeah, it's definitely a work in progress. There is a website but it hasn't been updated for a while because life has happened. But I have a huge backlog of portrait sessions and some really amazing people who have taken part in this. So it's definitely, it's, it's not over and it won't be for a very long time. Those are the, do you want to check that out? Where would they go? Um, so the website you are all is, we are the powerful Um, there's also an Instagram accounts just called powerful project. It's at a powerful project. Um, and I believe I haven't made all my naughty interest website as well.

47:45 Perfect. Well thank you for sharing that. No, I think that that's awesome. But yeah, it's, it's so hard to, to do these, you know, passion projects and, you know, running business and find time. And I certainly, yeah, I certainly understand your plight, but I think that it's awesome and you know, obviously any chance you get, I think it's great to, you know, work on that and go through that. That's, that's awesome. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. Um, this has been so great. Like I said, you know, lay on a Monday, taking time. You know, we're still kinda trying to get through wedding season. I, I think we'll get there eventually.

48:18 Mentally.

48:19 Yeah. It's on Saturday. We were all kind of just talking about, you know. It's, it's good. We're almost there. Um, if people want to learn more about you and, uh, your wedding photography and, and you know, projects and kind of everything else, where would you have them go check out?

48:34 Yeah, so definitely my main website,, um, that has a lot of information about me, my business. Um, obviously my portfolio. I also try to be fairly active on social media. So on Instagram I'm Nadia Joyce Photo, I'm on Twitter, I'm NJOYCEPHOTO. Um, and on Facebook it's Nadia Joyce Photography. And I try to keep those updated and uh, kind of moving with new content.

49:03 perfect. Uh, we'll you did great like I said, thanks so much for reaching out and we can get this scheduled and come on. And, uh, it's just so great to kind of talk with people and especially someone like you this been doing that, you know, a long time and just seemed a lot and I really, I, I want to say thank you and you know, appreciate you,

49:18 you coming on tonight. Yeah. They do so much for having this really fun

49:22 awesome. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. If you're like Nadia and you're interested in coming on the podcast, you can go to That's a nice, easy questionnaire that you can use to fill out, fill out, to come on and that we can try to get something scheduled. This has been another episode. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much.

Emily Keeney, Emily Keeney Photography

00:01 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 Emily Keeney, of Emily Keeney Photography. And I want to thank you so much for coming on tonight. You know, it's late on a what is today, Thursday. You just celebrated the first birthday of your child and I'm sure it's been a busy day for you as well. And so know thank you so much for making the time. I always say especially in the summer months, you know, wedding vendors taking the time to, to come on and do this are really just speaks a lot to me about there, you know, just demotion and, and you know, uh, wanting to, to do anything they can. So I want to thank you so much. Uh, why don't you introduce yourself, tell us who you are, what you do.

00:55 Well, thanks Reid. I'm Emily Keeney and I am a photographer. I work primarily in the Seattle area, um, but all over the Pacific northwest. Um, and I primarily shoot weddings, especially in the summer months. But I do a little bit of everything, so it's fun to kind of have a well rounded, um, experience or out the whole year. So I also love to do some commercial and branding work. Um, and then fun portraiture of course, like all year round. But, um, as you said right now it's the heat of wedding season. So that's definitely my focus and where my mind and I'm going into is that, so,

01:33 yeah. So I'm, I kind of have your website on in the background and it's kind of scrolling through the slideshow and then me just, you know, obviously really beautiful images. Um, a lot of joy. Um, I mean, it seems like a lot of really exotic locations. How would you describe kind of your style and what do you look for whether excites you, you know, what, however you want to describe it. Well, what do you like to photograph?

01:54 Yeah, well, I think to answer that fully, and I'd have to back up just a little bit and talk about kind of my why about why I even do this in the first place. Um, and it really comes from a level of people, um, and a love of connection. Um, both of those things are at the forefront of my thought process when I'm working. Um, and I like a lot of people, I didn't kind of just start off as, you know, like at 2122 year old with my camera and go gung Ho for this business. Um, I actually have a background in education and then spent a while in a leadership position with a retail brand, um, that I helped grow the specific northwest region with. So I have, I have this really kind of unique background, but throughout all of those things was a love of people and connecting with people and helping them make meaning.

02:45 Um, and that was something that I found with photography. And, um, I got to a place where I wasn't creating. And I think as artists, we really, if you're not creating, you know, you're not thriving. And so I got to a place where I knew I needed to get back to that. Um, and I found photography through that, so I'd always had an interest in it. Um, and then it really kind of came full circle after doing some soul searching. And, um, I knew that, you know, I took painting classes and I loved that medium and I still enjoy it, but there was the interpersonal aspect that was missing. And what I love about photography is that it combines a love of arts with a love of people, um, and not just making pretty pictures of people, but like really getting in there and participating with their joy and their, their truth on this really cool day. Um, that not, you know, not many people get to be part of in that way. So it's, it feels really special to me. Um, and I think that that's the appreciation that goes behind it. Um, and when I photograph my couples, it's really important to me that it's, that it is connecting to that essence of really who they are and that it feels authentic. Um, and it really is joyful for all of us.

03:58 Yeah. No, totally. And, and me, I think it's, it's continually under your soul. I mean, at least for, yeah. I mean, I live in the video world. It, but it just, how much time connection that you know you're going to have with your vendors, with me, especially photo, you know, all through everything, you know, the engagement sessions, if you, you know, if you do that and then just, you know, you're with them through all these moments all day. And like I always talk with people after, like I always have kind of like withdrawals afterwards cause you're like, you spend this day with these people and then you, you go through the photos and like you just, it's just weird connection that sometimes you have the, I don't even know if they necessarily how we're not, you know, it's odd, right? I mean, but it is such like a personal day and it obviously doesn't sound like you take that lightly, that, um, you know, that you're kind of honored to be a part of that. Right?

04:47 Yeah. No, it's a, it's a gift. I mean, there's so many photographers, somebody who really great photographers that they could choose, um, especially in the Pacific northwest. And so I, I don't take it lightly when somebody invites me and to that day. Um, and really it's more than just the day. I mean all the, you know, all the planning that goes up to it and first started the engagement session and then, um, just really getting to be a part of their lives. Um, so that, you know, on the wedding day it feels like we're friends connecting, not just, not just like a vendor coming to perform a service. I really hate to even say the word vendor about myself.

05:22 It's m I uh, no, we had the same thing on, uh, our wedding salary. They, uh, they were asking about the, I got a phone call earlier that week asking about, yeah, Alger allergy staff for like Veggie meals. And I thought, man, if we're going to go down this route of the vendor or relationship with the venue right now, I had known the groom for years. I had done video work or his little company, you know, we got brought on, you know, it's kind of this whole family affair. I mean if we're going to be shuffled into the other room, you know, you certainly some more than others, but when you really do feel that connection, yeah. You certainly don't want to use the word like vendor or you know, make that distinction. Yeah.

06:01 Right. Exactly. Um, so how you, are you saying it's,

06:06 you know, Seattle and it is so competitive, you know, every service, photography. How do you stand out or how do you hope that you stand out? You know, what do you hope the people that choose you kind of see in you or your personality or your work or come to any Combo?

06:20 Yeah, that's always the fear, right? Is like are people finding me that shouldn't be finding me and I got to do things that there is a right match for every couple to every photographer. Like every photographer really does bring something a little unique to the table. Um, and that should align with the couple's priorities. So, you know, it is, it is my, my hope that, um, that I am finding those couples that will want to be found by me and that vice versa, that that relationship is happening. But, um, you know, I think the first thing is, you know, above, I don't know, it's hard to say that there's this thing in the photography world right now that is if there's a lot of epic, you know, there's a lot of epic and um, really like hyped stuff that's like big on Instagram and, and there's sort of this draw that couples feel like maybe they need to have this kind of wedding or they like need to love on a mountain top with like this epic view.

07:18 And for me, like the most important thing, whether it's a really small wedding with, you know, just a couple, um, or it's a 300 person Indian wedding, which was Super Fun. I just got to do one of those. Um, the most important thing to me is that the couple is surrounded by people that they love and that they're feeling joy. Um, and it's authentic joy and it's not there to put on a production necessarily. Like I think details are really fun and all those things are characteristic of that couple and they've put a lot of thought into all those details. So I'm not saying they're not important, but, um, I want, I want their first priority to be their, their love, their connection, like the reason that they're having a wedding. Um, and I hope that that reads in my work. You know, I, I wanna I want to read as somebody who's a contemporary photographer.

08:07 So of course like I'm paying attention to those trends and I borrow from those trends in someone's trends. A really fun, like mountain tops are really awesome and I will never, not love them, but also like a really simple, tiny park could be just as amazing a location. Um, and so for me, like I don't want the location to tell the story as much as the connection between the couples. And I received a really cool compliment from a perspective client who reached out to me and she said that she was just drawn to the couples. And my photos and she couldn't explain why. And I think what hopefully she was seeing was that there was an authentic moment of connection happening between the two of them. And you know, I captured it in a way that, you know, Ma it was composed, it was a beautiful photo, but really that like they could really feel the connection between that couple. Um, well it's important thing to me is that my photos read with emotion that you can really feel them. I say that on my website and I say that like on my Instagram, um, that I, my goal is that you can really feel your photos like with your feelings,

09:08 but isn't that great? I mean, that is such a wonderful compliment that someone could feel such a connection to that, you know, just because of, you know, that pure moment that you capture the value. We just have to think that that was a wonderful compliment you received.

09:20 Totally. Yeah.

09:23 And so how do you, how do you photograph [inaudible] I mean, how do you approach that? [inaudible] do you try to be real, you know, candid with the clients or how do you kind of handle the day of stuff?

09:34 So it goes so much before that? Um, so my background, especially with the, with the retail leadership role that I had, um, we talk a lot about, we used to talk a lot about, um, building relationships and how important it is to not just be there necessarily at representing like a brand or representing, um, a thing that you're trying to sell or, um, you know, that you're really there with first before anything happens at all. Like you really see that person in front of you, um, or you see that couple in front of you and you'd find some way to share common ground and you find a way to see one another through a mutual lens, um, that you have a shared trust and that you feel comfortable with one another, that there's a trust built. Um, so that, that kind of mentality really layers and way before the wedding day even, it goes back to hopefully what they see like on my Instagram or, um, you know, as they're, as they're kind of shopping around.

10:38 Like I'm really not afraid to make a little bit of like a Dork of myself. Um, I'm definitely not trying to play off as a cool kid. Like that's never going to be my jam. Um, and so I hope that people can see that I'm, I'm a human and I'm really dorky and like it's, you really want to try some stuff that ends up being a little weird and not working, but more often than not something really awesome and like beautiful happens. Um, so I hope that they can kind of see that from the beginning. And then, you know, throughout the wedding planning process, um, I'm, I'm pretty involved, you know, like it's, it's, it's a requirement for me to have a call with every client before we signed any papers and cause it's a huge day. It's a really important thing. And if I am going to be there and doing this really big, um, you know, if I'm gonna be creating these images for them, I need them to trust me and I want to trust them and I want to make sure that we're speaking the same language and accomplishing the same thing.

11:31 So, so that's a big piece of it too. So by the time the wedding day rolls around, it's really, I'm really leaning on the trust that I've built with them throughout the whole process. Um, I'm available to them throughout their, their planning. Um, I helped them with their timeline, so they've heard my voice and sometimes we face times they've seen my face, they've heard my voice. And so by the time I roll up on their, I don't have to start that process in that moment on this day where there's so much else going on. Um, and I can be a familiar face to them. Um, so the way, if we can just get right rolling.

12:03 Yeah, that's the thing. I mean, people know, it's just, you know, time is so precious day. And you know, obviously having like those connections in that preplanning and that pre-kinder relationship. I mean, you know, I, I always kind of defer the photographer in terms of a lot of free south. I mean I have my staff I go through the clients with and then, but you know, for timelines or certain things, I don't like to step on too many details. But yeah, I work with some, some passive photographers and kind of planning and then, and not, and it's hard sometimes when it's like, well, you know, I don't really know what's going on here. It's, you know, it'd be nice to, you know, cause sometimes we gotta we gotta know and it's, you know, we've got a week to go here and we kinda gotta figure this out because, you know, making a quick change or figuring something out ahead of time, um, you know, could save valuable time on the wedding day, which I do think is so precious to have.

12:52 Oh yeah. Yeah. It's, it's a huge part of my role to make sure that their wedding day go smoothly. And I take that really seriously. I think that planning is your best friend when it comes to not being stressed out on your wedding day.

13:04 Yeah, I was looking, I was trying to find your website here cause you had, you had, um, where like you're all in, right. Was that in the u and the, they hire you the year someone that's going to be, you know, all in that, that's right. Well I, I'm, I'm missing the phrasing. I'm trying to, I'm, I'm frantically trying to try and apply on your own as really about, but talk about that, talk about that philosophy.

13:27 So I don't know, maybe part of it is that now having had a child, you know, I have a one year old son. Um, and it's funny like sometimes things like that just really put things in perspective for you and just having this little life. Um, that depends on me and this thing that I do day in and day out. Like really nurture this relationship for me. It just solidifies that people are what counts. Like people are what matter at the end of the day. And, um, and those, the relationships you make, whether it's a passing relationship that you know, probably won't continue on for the rest of your life, or whether it's a lifelong relationship like mine with my son, um, that we, you know, it's really easy to get kind of consumed and like the minutia of day to day and, and to worry about like, how am I being perceived on social media or like, you know, I'm too busy and I want to, um, you know, clients need to pay or if they want to have me do their timeline or whatever.

14:27 And at the end of the day, for me, it's like these people have invited me in to their most precious day. And, um, that means a lot to me. That means a lot to me, you know, and more than just a paycheck or, um, that I got stuff to post on Instagram afterwards. Um, or things to show future clients or both my website, like those things are all reality is. But really what's important to me is that, you know, that these people have trusted me. They've trusted that I'm going to take care of them on their wedding day. Like I'm going to take care of their memories, their legacy, like their photos are the last living thing really of their wedding day and it, and it tells a story. It's like the beginning of their, of their story. Like they're gonna show these photos to their kids and their grandkids and these are going to become heirlooms.

15:13 So it's not, you know, it's, it's, I have to stay above the noise when I think about that. Um, and that's, that's kind of like the all in part. Um, I, you know, it's easy to get stressed out, especially during the heat of a wedding season or when there's a lot else going on in your life. But, um, it's, it's really that connection with the people that I work with that keeps me doing this, both in financial sense and like the soul sense. You know, when you talk about kind of the noise just to kind of, uh, when stigmas from other photographers, do you mean you know, the negativity or what, what do you mean? Kind of, because I think I know what you need though. What do you, how do you kind of visualize that? So I think something can happen when you're really invested in a field, um, or a project when you're, you know, so to take a step back, maybe when you're new at something you can, you can kind of have this distance between you and the subject and go like, wow, everything about that is so beautiful.

16:18 Like I used to take painting classes and my teacher was like, do you just love everything you see? And I was like, yes, I love everything. I see. And she was like, okay, that's a problem. Like you need to kind of, you'd probably be like, Hey, get some things in order to really know who you are or whatever. And so it's funny, like you see about, you see like the whole forest in front of you and you're like, wow, that was a great for us. And then the further end you get, you're like, oh, I see, okay, gosh, this is a problem. And like this Tangley vine, it's always getting ran. So like, yeah, I think there's like certain things that contribute to the noise. Like in social media, it's, Gosh, what, um, you know, like what platform should I be advertising on? It's the expectations that I put on myself.

16:59 Um, it's comparing, oh my gosh, I feel like all of us in this industry are, you know, it's so easy to compare your work to others and to try to find what you're not doing. Um, and yeah, so there's a lot of those little details. I mean, like taxes, like all that kind of stuff too and all adds up. Um, and it's really easy once you're really in that field or like really in that for us to just see all those little details. So to be able to back up and, um, and it takes some attention to do that. To really come back to a place where you can see the whole purpose from a distance and see your why. Um, you have to get kind of far away from it and mentally sometimes to see your why is I believe in like pulling back, um, in social media sometimes, like taking a week off if that's what you need to do or, um, getting up and walking away from your computer. And what's awesome about motherhood is that's installed this opportunity for me to have that break. Whether it's, you know, because there's like something falling off of something and you'd be like, go catch it or you know, or just like getting my kid outside and going for a walk and getting some fresh air. So, um, that's a, that's a beautiful thing about, about motherhood that has helped me I think immensely professionally is just to kind of get a little bit of that distance.

18:15 So let's talk a little bit about kind of your history. You said you went to school for education, uh, you know, what was the drive behind that? Where were you, you know, curious about what were you interested in? Then,

18:26 yeah. So I, um, grew up, you know, thinking I was just going to be a teacher and I don't know if that's just I'm from the Midwest. Um, I don't know if that was just like a thing that was an expectation expectation of me or if it's something that I just thought I kinda had to do. So, um, I went through and, uh, you know, did an English education program in college, so I'm a certified high school English teacher and it was actually a really beautiful experience. Working with the kids was awesome. Um, it just, after being in it, I realized that I didn't want to commit my career to it, that I needed to be doing something creative. So, so that, that didn't really quite pan out. But, um, another piece that, um, I, I kind of come back to and I think, you know, like our interests as children really do, I think, speak to us later.

19:19 I don't, I don't think we have to be confined to like if you're a kid and you think you're going to be like a firefighter, it doesn't mean you actually have to go do that. But there's probably other things in your childhood that greatly informed too you're going to become. And um, both of my grandfathers were entrepreneurs and have their own businesses and I spend a lot of time with my grandparents growing up and my grandfather on my mom's side had, um, this basement office, which was like so cool to me. So many things like neatly organized stacks and he and I had a tradition where you Saturday morning we go out together and run his business, Aaron. So we'd go to like the bank and to the stationary store. And so I kind of felt like, oh, this is little mini business partner in a lot of ways.

19:58 And um, as all grandparents house as far, you know, there's a lot of stuff like in closets and just like things that have been amassed over the years. And so I kind of made a habit as a young kid, I can't believe I'm like defaulting this, but I would make a little office inside there, a little closets. There were a couple of closets and like different veterans that you can kind of walk into. And I would make little offices. I'm like, create [inaudible] and have my friends come over and they'd like worked for my business. And so there's always been this thread of entrepreneurship that I knew I needed to follow. So that probably more than the education background as a, as a child at least was telling of where I was going to go. But it takes a lot of courage to be an entrepreneur. And I don't think at 2120, you know, I had the wherewithal or the experience as a professional, um, or the continents and the aptitude to take it to that level. So I'm really grateful for the work experience that I had leading up to this.

20:57 If you were, uh, I would say, and I'm sure you know, you were a 21 year old today, you would have your own business and we go on because that, it seems to be me and then it's every other day I'm, I, you know, you got a 20 year old with a camera that's like, Oh man, I'm, I'm a photographer and it's, you know, I mean by me. Good for you that to have that, you know, that have that knowledge, Indian, you know, feel like you need to pursue it and get some, you know, uh, knowledge in your bag before kind of continuing on. You know what I mean? Yeah.

21:26 I mean, I think that if I had it my way, I want to just hit the ground running with something, but, you know, luckily I had to, I had to pay bills. I have it figured out so, and now I look back, I'm like, wow. Yeah, I learned a lot of really valuable life lessons under the care of someone else's employment. Really glad I didn't have to make those mistakes all represented by itself.

21:43 So, so where did you find yourself then after with your education degree or where did that lead you? So,

21:50 um, kind of coming back to wanting to create, I um, was planning a wedding and also writing a blog. So I've always, always an interested in fashion. And so I had a little fashion blog that I was running and I started covering. Um, but I, I was also interested in like the business of fashion. So I was writing about different um, boutiques in the Chicago land area and interviewing their owners. Um, so that kind of ended up launching me into the career that I had with this retail brand. So I interviewed one of their stores and then I ended up becoming the store manager of that store. She was going to go have a baby and like all these stars aligned and I ended up just kind of taking her job. And so then that was the next six years I worked with this brand from my days in Chicago all the way to Seattle and went from being a store manager to being like a district manager where I was overseeing a whole region and developing and growing people.

22:45 Um, and I loved that. I really did, uh, company is a wonderful company, um, really awesome people that I got to work with and I found a love of leading, which I, I, I knew like as a, as a person who's pursuing education that I wanted to have some aspect of leadership in my work. Um, but I really got to del, delve into that. And I think in leading others, you lead yourself a little too. And, um, got to learn a lot about myself, a lot about growing a brand and the business and I'm doing so with grace and that was really valuable. Really grateful for that time.

23:19 What, what kind of, how'd you make the leap then? What was the way they kind of flipped out, switched to say, Hey, I'm going to, you know, pursue this photography. Yeah.

23:27 You know, there is that little tug and um, you know, as creatives, like I think I kind of said before, like if you, if you're, it's you're an artist and you're not creating, like your, your body's going to tell you that you're not in a good place. And I was, I kind of went through a depression. Um, I had a really, I had a really tough time for, you know, quite some time, quite many months. And, um, my, my aunt is a coach and she, you know, earlier on in my, in my young 20s, she was like, you need to do this book. It's called the artist's way. You need to do this. And I was like, oh, I don't know, whatever. And you know, it was just always in the back of my mind, you know, like, oh, fucking one day I just kinda had this really low.

24:13 And, um, my husband and I, this is before we had our baby, um, we decided to take just like a low week on trip and found this little college town and went into this used bookstore. And like it was kind of like a crazy, uh, stacks everywhere, like super organized, um, but kind of a treasure trove of, you know, like there's just things everywhere. And then sitting on top of one of those stacks of books, um, as I turned this corner was, that was that book and it's the artist's way. And I was like, oh, shoot, you know, I don't know if I'm like, Whoa, you know, I don't know if I believe in, say it or whatever, but I'm like, this, this is on my side when, you know, I gotta take this. So I did it. Um, and it's, if you haven't heard of the artist's way, it's, um, it's a workbook by a Giulia camera and it's been around for forever and it really just kind of helps you dig through your relationship with yourself as an artist and like what you're, um, through facing a block or a barrier.

25:06 Like what might be causing that. Like what things from your past or like your present are helping you or not helping you. Um, and it has, you do these little artists dates. So it's funny as it is, like, you know, she's suggest it can be anything that you do for yourself that is just, I can be like going and buying stickers and like putting them in a book. It can be, you know, really random stuff can be painting. And so I was painting a lot at the time, but I started picking up my camera more. So I had a DSLR that, um, I had had since college and I've been interested in photography since, uh, probably high school. Um, so I have this camera that was just kinda sitting, I'm not getting a whole lot of use. And so I started to that little artists date once a week taking my camera out and um, kinda exploring the northwest and exploring.

25:57 Um, some of them were far-flung areas and taking photos. And, um, after doing that for awhile I felt like, okay, now I need people in them. Um, and then that's kind of what started my, uh, that's really what started my business is I started photographing friends, um, family. Anybody who would let me take pictures of them, um, and I would do that and posted and then try to share a little bit more. And then it just, it really organically grew from there. So that was, that was really the, the story. So then what was it like kind of take me in the lead to see, you know, I'm going to do this and I'm going to make this be a career. So after I had started the business, um, you know, I was gaining traction and I was getting traction quickly and that was kind of fun.

26:46 It was really, it was actually really energizing at Salt Lake, that little kid, that little like seven year old and the closet was office supplies, you know, like she was kinda coming back out and I was really getting that itch to see what would happen if I gave this more of my energy, um, more of my time. And um, as it was, I wasn't able to dedicate as much time to it as I want it to having a full time job. Um, and then I think that honestly too, around that time, you know, I, I became pregnant and I was facing a decision about childcare, you know, following the birth of my son. And it really was, I kind of like a moment of clarity, like this is a good, this is a good time for you to make a decision. Um, and so I decided to leave my job and go full time. And, um, it was the best decision. It was really scary because I was walking away from, you know, a really regular paycheck and health benefits and you know, predictability and respect and, and all kinds of good things. But there was that Paul that I needed to, I needed to try this, um, and, and give it all my attention. So I, um, so I did, so the earlier this year I went full time and it's just an picking up and picking up sense, like when you make room for things may well grow. So,

28:09 yeah, isn't it? It's, it's funny how that works when it's meant to be, cause you know, it's one of those things where,

28:16 okay,

28:16 yeah, you're worried about filling the time or whatever. And then if you have it too to go in, you're, you're ready to hustle, you know, you just gotta be ready to go for it. You know what I mean?

28:27 Yeah. I definitely work harder and more hours than I've ever worked at any other job, but it's rewarding. And, um, I see, I can see the direct link between my work and my girls and that's really cool.

28:40 And obviously, you know, like you said with the family history of entrepreneurial ship, um, you know, it will probably wasn't a surprise to anybody that knew you right there. Maybe you would venture out to this at one point or to try to make a leap at something. No.

28:54 You know, and it's been, it's been pretty cool too. Um, honestly, just to kind of share this with my, with my grandpa, you know, like I have one of the two grandparents or grandfathers, you know, still living. And so when I go home, um, and does it, you know, he likes to kind of talk business with me and it feels really good. You know, it really feels like we can share that. And I know he's really proud. Um, and you know, it's, I think it's, it takes a lot of courage to be an entrepreneur. Um, but when you have a support system and you know that there is people who believe in you and you can see that there isn't a path that people who've done this before you in different ways, you realize that a lot of the things that you're scared of are probably like 2% of your overall vision and overall work and, and you know, are, but those 2% of things can really seem big and scary as you. And when you have a good network, they kind of remind you of the scale, the scope.

29:49 Yeah. It's funny that, yeah, I think back about the things that you, I used to worry about or didn't know. And I, it's funny just, you know, looking back over the years, you know, like man, you, whenever you used to really freak out the value [inaudible] about, um, what, uh, what was even obviously you said you had a history, you know, w w you know, with brandy and, and you, you know, have you kind of that, you know, outward look, whatever. But what was the hardest part of the, about, you know, uh, starting your company where, you know, we're a t you, you know, your name, you know, you're in the forefront, it's your work. What was the hardest part about that? Yeah.

30:27 Um, I think the first thing is at first when you're starting, you kind of want to be everything. Um, and you see all of this talent and you see all of those experience. Um, anything. Okay, I got to chase all that. I've got to go do all of that. Um, I'm going to be all that. And at the beginning it's, it's hard cause you can't set out and say, this is gonna be my really strong brand voice. Like I'm just starting a business and this is my brand. Where it's like, man, if you can start out with that kind of competence and knowledge, then that's so great. But for me, that wasn't the case. I, I set out and I emulated a lot of different styles, right? Editing. It's all, it's a lot. My shooting approach evolved a lot. It continues to evolve. Um, I think something I'm working on is saying I don't need to do these things to be a good photographer.

31:20 I'm like, instead of reflect a lot, like, what am I holding on to? What am I doing that I'm, I'm in a habit of doing but isn't necessarily fulfilling my definition of what a good photographer is. Um, and I think it's important to kind of release some of that baggage, um, as you go along. So that's probably been one of the bigger challenges. And the other one is just, it's so hard to see your own work. You know, you have so much of yourself and, and so much, uh, you know, emotions. Like when I'm in a season of creating something, like I'm taking things that have happened in my life and that's instancing my work. And so there's, it's so much more than just a picture. Um, just, I mean, it sounds like, Ooh and deep to say that, but it really is for me, I give a lot of myself back to my work and so there's, it's hard to, it's hard to be really, um, critical with kind, you know, but really honest with yourself about, you know, what work is serving me and what work is really carrying out this, this brand that I've created and what, what do I need to let go of?

32:24 And like, it can be really great, so I know what it might not be the direction that I'm going. Um, and so it's learning to kind of call my, call myself down, um, and, and let, let there be more space for the things that are, um, moving forward and, um, are going to be my areas of focus.

32:44 Yeah. It's the comparison with others. And it's so hard, you know, and I still struggle with it, you know, all the time. And you just, because there's so much talent and people doing crazy stuff and I just, we just delivered a wedding like last week or the whatever and yeah, the same planner, how to have another wedding and you know, I see their video and she posts it and you know, their weight, not ours. And it's like the best thing ever. And I'm just like, so I'm like, oh my God, you know, cause I'm like, I see this Sass and I'm blown away and yeah, my dad's not, that's not really our, you know, our style. And I'm like, oh my gosh, you know, I just feel and you know, and I've been doing this a while and I just feel so inadequate. And then, you know, I share our video with our couple and they're just like, you know, this is exactly like exactly what we want and exactly what we hired you for. ENL laughed. Great reasons, you know, buddy. But it is hard about like wanting to, you see other things or you know, and down in it, especially with visual fields like photography too, you know, where it's, it is easier to compare. Um, I mean, how do you Kinda, you just shut that off and just like you said, kind of step away or how do you kind of combat that?

33:57 I had it 100% figured out I'd be selling that answer, but, um, I mean the things that helped me definitely are taking social media breaks because the frequency with which we were seeing images, especially on Instagram, just by scrolling. I mean I wonder how many images we see in a day, especially in those ones who are working in this field. And we're probably checking social media a little more than just like the everyday person. Um, so really, you know, what you see really does influence you and it influences the way that you, um, get ready to shoot. You know, like things that I've seen, uh, live in my, in the back of your head, you know, like subconsciously those, all those images are still out there, you know, and they're informing the way that you approach your work. Um, and that can be a good thing and it can be a bad thing because sometimes it makes you, it fills your head with all of this information and there's like lots of competing voices for like your art director, like your little inner art director.

34:57 It could be like lots of competing voices for that role. Um, so stepping back from social media definitely helps kind of just calm the water a little for me. Um, and something I've been doing lately is, um, kind of enrolling ourselves a little bit and like the school photographers who came before me and studying their work, um, and like actually like reading books, um, you know, not learning it all on a screen. Um, like holding images in my hands and like reading the words of these photographers who are friends, you know, masters in their field and, and who on maybe like now on social media. Like, probably wouldn't have like the crazy cold following that, you know, some of these mega influencer photographers do. Um, and it's, it's really inspiring to see just how clear voices and um, and just to be inspired by that work. Um, and just to kind of continually have a rotating stimulus and, you know, try to go like go into museums and like going to see art. Um, and not just photography, like, you know, you can, you can learn a lot about composition and color and, um, human experience from a lot of different art mediums. So, um, I try to let, let those things influence my work as much as I can and keeping those things in check.

36:20 That's fine. How did you see that? Um, did you see that movie once that came out this year at the Beatles movie?

36:27 I feel like I'm behind the Times [inaudible]

36:32 there, you know, it's your story, you know, not giving it away, but then, you know, the guy wakes up, the beetles don't exist since, but he's got all the Beatles songs and so he, you know, is trying to become famous right in the beetle songs. And so he's plan, I just, when you were talking about, you know, these old school like great photographers, you know, kind of being lost today, he's trying to play, let it be for his parents, like anybody, like, oh, hey mom and dad, come here, let me show you. You know, and I've been working on upstairs and like they could not be bothered less to hear it. Right. And he's sitting there, you know, it's like you're watching the Sistine Chapel be painted and you're just not realizing that this is like this work of art. But it's like you said, we just Instagram in here, the number of images and you know, nowadays and people and attention spans and we're all these like great photographers or you know, where you're trying to like take the time to appreciate that kind of stuff where yeah, it might totally be lost nowadays where it's just, you know, who, who reads a book anymore, who takes the time.

37:31 Even like printing images. We just had, um, another podcast earlier today, guests, you know, uh, she does, you know, a letter press printing and, you know, having these tangible things. I mean a lot of these things are kind of going away or, or you know, attentions are being kind of shifted, you know?

37:47 [inaudible] it's hard to know when you're being a curmudgeon or when you're being an artist with those days.

37:53 That's awesome. Uh, what's your, what's your favorite thing to shoot kind of in a wedding day? Uh, what's your favorite moment or you know, collection of moments, but what do you, what really gets you excited?

38:04 I was just writing about this. Um, so it used to be couples portraits, like Duh, like you have, you have creative control and you can pick the lighting and you can pick the mood and you have this time. And um, that used to be my absolute favorite and I mean I think that that is still a very important part of the day because those photos are really the ones that end up getting printed and putting on, you know, being put on a wall, like cost out and stuff. But, um, the honest to goodness, favorite thing for me is kind of one, like nothing is going on, you know, it's like the in between stuff like, I mean, speeches are awesome because you get these great reactions from people and they have no idea you're taking your photo and they can just be in the throws of really remembering something beautiful that this, you know, groomsmen or father and the bride of saying, um, and, and being able to kind of participate and witness that sentiment of there is this really something special.

39:00 And then to capture it in a frame, like sometimes they're like, oh crap, like keep shooting, don't show just like Dickinson. Um, so it's, it's kind of those in between things or um, you know, as people are getting ready to sit down for dinner or as people are milling around, um, you know, waiting for the ceremony or waiting to the reception. And really it's after, it's really after the ceremony cause something happens. Like this leg curtain lifts and everything just gets easier. And you know, the couples like, Whoa, okay, now we can just go hang out with our family. And, um, you know, one of my favorite photos I've taken, um, they're kind of like series that I've taken. The summer was at a wedding I shot on Whidbey island and I was trying to get the bride over to this far edge of the property for a family photos and like everyone was over there and you know, you're, you're trying to wrangle all these people and I'm thinking of the timeline and everything.

39:53 And then, um, she, you know, she kind of walked past, um, her grandma and her aunt and they were just kinda standing off to the side and, um, and it's the first time her grandma's seen her that day. And, uh, she just, she just stops and like, I can only imitate it with like that sound, you know, she just goes like, oh, like just, I can't even handle how beautiful this is and how beautiful you are. Just kind of puts her hands down on her lap and friends over and just looks at the bride and I have the world with all the like actually snap that moment, you know, not just take it in. Um, and just the series that Kinda came after that of like them embracing and like their balls kind of tearing up and it was just so beautiful. And you know, those, those to me are the moments that are like, those are my like trophy moments.

40:43 Like that's the most important to me as somebody who's looking through their gallery that they see that and remember that moment and like remember that person. And now, you know, having been married for six years, I can look back at our wedding photos and there's people who are no longer with us and it's really special to me to have not just post photos with them but like actual photos of me and like living in this event, like in the space with them where I didn't even necessarily know that the camera was on me. Um, so there's, there's a balance in my work between leaving the couple and, and you know, helping move the timeline along and making sure that everyone's looking their best and photos. And then there's like the polar opposite where I am just like this little fly on the wall, like a little speck of grass in the field. But I'm just trying to witness this, um, this day of great meeting and for all these people and it's not about me. Oh my God, it's not about me. You know, to, to be able to witness this day and to capture it and images is a gift and it's not about me. And I just wish that, um, there was a little bit more of that spirit. Um, or at least in what, like we're all choosing to post.

41:47 Yeah, I was just gonna say that cause it's definitely not, that's definitely not like the sexiest Sephora, Instagram, you know, and we were having the, I was having a conversation the other day with a photographer because I even, I'll snap just a couple of stills just so I have them to post for like, you know, the thumbnail video or I can post one on Instagram. But I said, you know, like are the video, like the things that we really focus on like aren't that sexy? Instagram, 60 seconds kind of thing. You know. And I finally have kind of tried to realize that over the years of just like, what is Dean by Isa, kind of that sexy, whatever that post versus like what when our clients appreciate, which I guess ultimately is way more important than you know, these likes or whatever. This nebulous stuff out there. But like these moments, you know, that you're capturing like is that the sexiest thing to post some whatever like no, but like I'm sure that she'll have a cherish that father forever and have that moment way after. And so it is I guess doubts of like, well what, like what's the point here? Right. So what, what, why did we focus on? Yeah.

42:51 And it's hard cause I think that our clients, at least the ones who are kind of in the world of social media a little more are kind of maybe holding their wedding up to that trend to be, um, you know, level of expectation to like they might be looking for some of those like big loud moments in their, in their wedding galleries too, just because they have to keep up with like the trend and keep up with the Joneses. And, um, so, you know, it's, I hope that if, if in the moment that photo was grandma didn't mean the world to her that in five years that will, and, and so there's like, there's that too as I'm banking on like this future, um, and their, their interpretation of that day in the [inaudible] it's, it's really weird how going through your own wedding, you know, all I did was like, think about what God was that I should've done this differently. I was really critical, kind of every decision and you know, and now it's years later when all those details like do not matter and blah, that stuff is like frankly on style now. Um, you know, it's those other photos that are like, the treasure is to me. Um, so I have to have a little foresight with that and try to let my couples know like, yeah, we're gonna make some beautiful portraits, but like, here's also what you're going to get with me.

44:05 That's awesome. Um, but yeah, before I let you go here, you know, or we're winding down a little bit, what do you, what do you wish more people knew about you? Uh, and it could be, you know, you as a photographer or it could be you as the business owner. It could be you as the person you had the mother, wife, you know, however, but what do you, uh, what do you just wish you could tell more people or you wish more people knew? I that stuff like first Jay, you know, first

44:33 jumped to your head ball. I guess my thing I would say is that if you have in your heart something that you want to do, um, that you, you should do it. You know? And I think that it's so much simpler said than done. And, um, maybe it's about me. Like, you know, I, I was not like a super confident kid. Like I wasn't a popular kid. I didn't, you know, thrive in like sports or whatever. Not really until like high school, I guess. Um, but I didn't just like have this confidence all the time, you know? And, and I think that, you know, you see these people who are running these businesses and you think, gosh, they're so confident. And just knowing that there's a journey that goes into that and you have to just let go of so many expectations of what you're not going to be and let let go of, um, is perfection.

45:28 And the more you can embrace yourself and like the good and the bad ways and what you can offer, the world is so great. And I think that, I wish more people went after their dreams. Um, and, you know, whatever that looks like, whether it's providing more resources to kids and like underdeveloped areas or higher need areas or, um, just letting kids know that we believe in them like [inaudible] or whatever it is. But it does start early and I think it's really important to, um, to give like younger generations that confidence of, you know, you don't have to just follow this track and like go major in this thing, like go work at a corporation. You don't want to do that. Um, like you can really, you can create your own reality and there's so many different ways to do it. And especially when it comes to being a creative person, there were as many voices that were really encouraging to me growing up, um, encouraging me to do these creative endeavors or also lots of voices of warning.

46:25 And I know it comes from a place of love, but, um, you know, like, wow, do you want to be an artist? Do you want to put food on the table? Like art's the first thing to go and economy's telling, you know, like, stuff like that. And, you know, it was voices of love that want to the best for me. But um, you know, no decision that you make is like a hundred percent solid or safe. Like the company that you work for could lay off half a minutes, you know, people or whatever could go on. So really nothing is as secure as it seems and working through yourself, you know, at least you like the boss that you are in control of your growth. Um, and so especially for people who are feeling like they want to do something creative, I say find a mentor, do something soul-searching, like commit to yourself, um, and to like don't stop until you've found something that you love and it's okay if you change your mind and pursue something else along the way. But um, in the pursuit of yourself, like you'll always find yourself. So I've switched more people, but maybe commit to that process.

47:30 Yeah, I and I do agree with that. I mean, I've filmed, I've filmed a lot of like motivational speakers, you know, in my time in some good and some bad. I mean, we, Tommy Robinson is here two years ago. I mean, we, you know, filmed him and, and, and I, you know, do I think that every person that comes in and pays to, you know, the be gifted a packet that's going to change her life? I, you know, I don't know. But I do think, like you said, if you, if you have that belief in yourself, uh, I do think there's a lot there. And I do think that there's a lot of just working hard. And then I, I've always said that if you work hard enough, it's something that you're good at. I do think eventually something's gonna come of it. Um, and whether it's that thing succeeding or are you figuring something else out that, that spawned off of that, that's even better or whatever.

48:19 But I do, I echo the sentiments. I think that's a wonderful note to end on and I think that that's a really valuable lesson. Awesome. Yeah. Good job. You killed it. Well, thank you. It was a lot of fun. Uh, no, I mean, thank you so much for coming on to me. I think, you know, really, really insightful separately, great conversation and, and you know, photography and kind of the whole gamut. If people want to learn more about you and your photography and your style and what you do and your family and everything, where would you have them check out? So, um,

48:49 obviously my website,, um, is, you know, the, the main place to go, but then definitely follow me on Instagram @Emilyannekeeney. Um, I'm on there and that, that's kind of where I show a lot the behind the scene and stuff and I story at times. So I'm always, you know, doing behind the scenes staffs and showing what my baby is up to. And like, when I'm, you know, my life's, I'm pretty much an open bike. Um, I'd love to connect with anybody. Well, perfect.

49:21 Well, thank you so much again. And you know, like I said, taking the time and, and um, you know, just wedding season and schedules are crazy. And so I always do appreciate that people taking the time to come on. Uh, and, you know, talking about themselves and do a little, you know, whatever. This is it. It's, it's appreciate it. It's a cool project. I appreciate you letting me into it. Of course. Uh, if you're like Emily and you're, you know, interested in coming on the podcast and sharing your story, you can go to a, that's a great, easy link to the questionnaire that they fill out to submit, to kind of give them the system and hopefully get things rolling. And, uh, I just want to thank you again. Uh, this has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much.

Rebecca Peters, Reb Peters Press

00:01 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 Rebecca Peters of Reb Peters Press. And she is a, uh, does all sorts of printing and, and design work down in Portland. And I'm so excited to talk to you. We, uh, we're kind of talking kind of setting up and, um, I do think just nowadays with, you know, the move to digital and everything and really people valuing, you know, um, printed, you know, invitations or cards or other sorts of, you know, paper goods for your weddings or anything else, I think is, it's so important and there's certainly tremendous value in it still. And so I'm so interested to have you come on and chat. Uh, why don't you introduce yourself, tell us who you are and what you do.

00:56 Hi. Um, I'm Rebecca, uh, from Red Peters Press and I am the owner operator everything person. Um, I am the sole proprietor and I'll occasionally hire someone during busy times, but mainly Reb Peters Press is just me. Um, and yeah, I do design work where I can help people sort of create their own design, um, based on an idea they have or sometimes they come with just a very vague feeling that they want. And so I'll kind of work with them on that. And sometimes they'll just come with the pre-made design that they've already created and I'll print that. Um, so really happy to work with anyone and it's kind of fun to work with other people's designs too because they'll create a sort of different style than I would. So it's kind of fun to see that in print sometimes.

01:49 Yeah. I think it's, it's so hard because, you know, like when I do, you know, we see things capture, I'm, yeah, you really do have to kind of conceptualize and, and take it really from start to finish. And then I've said before on the podcast, you know, when my wife and I got married, there was very few youth kind of custom things we did. One was, you know, doing really nice invitations and cards and you know, that whole kind of doing the, uh, you know, the, the paper kind of sweet for our wedding and you know, God bless our girl that helped us with that. And you know, we just had no clue what we wanted and to explain and then, you know, happy day really put that obviously the paper and kind of come up with that and be talking about is that a challenging process? Obviously you've been doing this a long time, incredibly successful, but talk about just how does that kind of process work for you?

02:40 Um, I actually really love that process. Like I didn't imagine when I started this business that that would be an element. Like I didn't really think ahead about doing that part of it. I just thought mainly I'm a printer and then, um, as I, you know, cause I started off with my background being fine art, not necessarily design and I up studying design to make this business work better and came to really love design and actually love working with the people and found that, um, I'm actually pretty good at talking to people and figuring out, um, where their two tastes overlap. Because with a wedding in particular, you're, you're, you're dealing with two people. Sometimes there's a mother in law also, um, or two mothers who are also weighing in. And so trying to find something that's gonna work for everybody, um, is a challenge, but it's, it's something that I actually like and I'm surprisingly good at.

03:42 Um, and so, uh, there's only been a few times where it's gotten a little tense where it was really hard to find a place where their tastes overlapped and there was a little built extra negotiation going on. But, um, I dunno, for the most part, I have a process that kind of helps them have that conversation before we meet for a design meeting if they're doing custom. Um, and for some people though, custom isn't even the way to go. Like some people are actually more intimidated by having to come up with their own thing and would rather see examples of something that's premade. And then sometimes, and seeing those examples, they'll say, oh, I like this. Except could you just change that? And then they'll sort of realize more through seeing examples of what they like and don't like, um, what direction they want to go in. And then I'll kind of help just sort of make that happen for them.

04:39 Yeah. It's interesting cause you know, it's, we said before on the podcast too, you know, planning a wedding is so important, you know, for the couple, you know, not only obviously you know, the love and the marriage and kind of that whole thing, but just having to kind of Meld your likes and dislikes and opinions and influences and really kind of come together and plan something. And you know, I think there's plenty of couples say, Oh yeah, we get along and all this kind of stuff. And then w when it comes time to like, you know, pick a design or picking colors or picking the best, you know, there's so many things then where you realize like, Oh wow, like my taste might be drastically different or what, you know, and I thought it was good or not. Right. And I'm sure you kind of deal with that firsthand as well.

05:21 Yeah, definitely. Um, I mean I had this whole like a way to work to prepare where it's like, okay, talk about color, talk about style because like, okay, is this going to be a casual, fun wedding? Do you want to sort of let your guests know that? Or is this going to be more formal with traditional? And um, and then there's their personal taste because some person may have, they, they like their style is more casual and fun, but they're actually going to have a very formal wedding. And so finding a way to sort of blend those two things, um, is something that's actually doable. You can do that a lot of times with fonts. Like you can make the fonts more formal and the graphics a little more casual. Um, and then color, obviously, you know, you have maybe gray as the main color and then have a pop of an accent color to, you know, lighten it up a bit. Um, but there's all sorts of ways to visually do that in addition to wording, you know, so, um, there's just lots of elements that you can kind of adjust to get a good balance of, of what the couple, once,

06:31 yeah, I remember our friends got married in Italy and obviously we know it's going to be a big to do anyway, but then when we got there, you know, the invitation in the mail and it was like literally the nicest invitation I've ever seen, you know, without, and obviously we, you know, we filmed them and take photos up of this stuff too. We thought like, wow, this is gonna be, you know, this is a really big uh, to do that we got going on here and you know, and like you said, you know it because of kind of the formalities of that where, you know, like our, our wedding invites were definitely, I would say a little more casual, you know, a little more bright and um, you know, and I think like our wedding reflected that a little bit more.

07:09 Yeah. My, my wedding invites were primarily hot pink, dark blue and gray with a pop of green. Of course, you know, I had to have like lots of color too because we're colorful people and also I am printing it myself. So doing four color wedding invites wasn't such a bad idea.

07:30 That's right. Yeah. You also see, and I was just thinking too, when you were talking about the fonts and stuff, you know, when you get the, the, the thing and it's like, you know, the family and they'll have like the person's like four or five names like William James Henry whenever the second and you're like, wow, okay, this is also going to be like super formal.

07:49 Yeah. Yeah. And a lot of times it can sort of depend too on, you know, that the age of a couple of like older couples are often paying for their own wedding. And usually you have that wording sort of on top there depending on who's hosting the wedding. Um, to sort of give them credit and a nod, like, thank you for helping us make this happen. Um, and then sometimes even if they're hosting the wedding, it's just too formal for the type of wedding that you want to have. So, um, and it's, for some people it does seem more sort of old fashioned. And for some people they like that more traditional things. So just really depends on the vibe you want to go for.

08:32 Absolutely. Uh, so you, we were talking, you know, you've been doing this a long time. I mean, I think most of the guests that come on the podcast, you know, obviously we like to, you know, vet and make sure that the established, you know, we usually get people in kind of that four or five, six year range, you know, having really got their feet wet and kind figured out what's going on. I mean, you doing this, obviously you said before you started your business, but since oh nine, um, you know, probably not the easiest time to start the business either. GS in terms of timing. So I want to kind of get, you know, all into that as well, but maybe you start out with how did you get into design and in the beginning of it, and we can go back as far as we need it.

09:16 Uh, yeah. So, um, well I didn't study design in school. I studied, you know, printmaking, fine art and um, so obviously art is a big part of design. Um, but it's actually just kind of a, I would say maybe half of what design is. And I would say that my early designs definitely, you know, I look back at them now and I'm like, Oh God, you know, I would not do that now. And, um, I mean, part of that is styles change. Um, throughout time. I mean, every year or sometimes, you know, look at my own website and I'm like, oh gosh, I need to change the fonts on that or change the colors or whatever. But it, um, studying design just when I started my business so that I could do more design work, it, it totally changed the way that I look at the world around me.

10:08 I mean, when I'm on a long car drive, I am looking at the design of all of the, um, logos on the trucks and all the, um, billboards and either like saying, oh, that's a great design or judging them and then, oh no, you should have done this and that. Um, but I don't know. It's, it's something that I, I love a lot more than I would have thought, but, um, yeah, it's definitely not where I saw myself going. We didn't even have computers at the art school. I went to, um, there was like a there, okay. There were two computers in the library for writing your papers, but there is like very anti designed school.

10:51 So where did you go to school at?

10:54 Uh, the San Francisco Art Institute.

10:57 And so what kind of compelled you to go study arts to begin with? Was it, you know, something that you just grown up always, you know, do the late and stuff or what was kind of the inspiration to study that?

11:07 Yeah, um, it was kind of like going to be two paths for me, either science or art and um, I love science but I don't have a very good memory at all. So I thought, okay, let's go art and art made me happy. So, um, so yeah, so I, I moved to San Francisco and 98 and uh, did my last two years of college at the art institute. And you know, looking back, I think I probably would have gone to a school that was more craft oriented where I could have learned more skills. It wasn't necessarily a skill focus school so much as a, you know, art for Art's sake. Um, and so I think that's kind of why I started off in the painting department, you know, loving painting. And then I, I gravitated towards, um, printmaking because it was something where they had to teach you skills.

12:01 Um, and I really loved the program there. And, um, I loved the first time I got to make a print. So, you know, you spend all this time making a plate, which is what you're printing from, and then you put the paper down and you can turn this crank and it goes through the press and you peel back the paper and there's art. And it was just like this, like, ah, I made art. And it was this very exciting feeling. And that with printmaking, you could make that same piece again and then adjust it and print it again and, you know, make alterations to it. And printmaking in general just I found really exciting. And then it wasn't until after college that I actually ended up studying letterpress. Uh, I just went back to junior college for fun. Uh, to take this class and got really into it and took, uh, three semesters of letterpress and then just so happened to be at a time where I was needing a new job and, um, it was kind of going through a low period of my life.

13:08 And a friend said, you know, well, what would make you happy if money weren't an issue? And I was like, you know, having my own shop and I didn't even really think of it as a business. Had never ran a business before. I'd always done work for hire, um, you know, been self-employed, but it's different from having a business. Um, and so, so she kind of pushed me into doing that even though it was financially challenging and scary. Um, and I did it and I've, I've never been happier. Like I, I love working for myself and I love working with my hands and, um, I just listened to audio books and podcasts all day and, um, you know, do what I love. So it's, it's really, um, I dunno, I can't express enough how much printmaking, uh, improves my life.

14:07 That's awesome. It's crazy to think that you were eating kind of balancing between that science and, and uh, the, are the main, you know, talking about kind of using both sides of your brain. And where did you come? Where'd you grow up before you moved to San Francisco?

14:22 A southern California. So I lived there until I was 21 and then San Francisco. Um, I lived there for almost 20 years and then I just moved here two years ago. My husband, um, his family is up here and um, that was a scary move to, um, I mean I'd say this probably the scariest move, you know, moving, uh, when you're 40 is, is changing states and leaving, you know, somewhere you've grown up, uh, leaving your, where your family and your friends are. Uh, really scary. But, um, I do love Oregon and uh, yeah, it's, it's been interesting living here. And then I have a sister here too now, so that's been awesome.

15:09 Well, just in obviously having to kind of transition, you have the business as well. And yeah, that's always my greatest fear is having to, you know, move somewhere and then have to kind of feel like you're starting over again

15:21 starting over. Yeah. I mean, way more so than I thought. I thought, well, you know, I've, I'll just change my address on Google and Yelp and I have, you know, all of my reviews are five star and I have lots of reviews. Like that's all I need. And you know, I knew that referrals would drop off a bit, um, from my local referrals, but, uh, yeah, it was a, it was a lot harder transition than I thought. Um, I think perhaps people go off more referrals here. I mean, that's kind of just to guess. Um, but yeah, so it's, it's been a lot slower rebuilding and luckily some of my old clients from, um, California are still just repeat clients, so that kind of helps me out a lot.

16:09 Well, I probably the, you know, white benefit to you is obviously media with the work remote email and, and not, do you find that you do a lot of stuff online with clients and aren't local or, or it sounded good balance for you?

16:22 Yeah, actually I do a lot more work out of state than I used to. I mean, I used to have, um, clients come to my Home Office to do design sessions, you know, a couple times a week. And now I'd say it's more like once a month that I'm doing that and a lot of it's remote and even people who are local actually I'm dealing with more remotely. Um, just, it's kind of more convenient for everyone's schedule. Um, so I don't know if that's just something that would have happened anyway. But yeah, working with people out of state, it's, um, it's interesting, I got a lot of work just through Etsy, people finding examples of my work on Etsy and then reach out for custom work. And I just think, wow, that takes a lot of trust. Someone you've never met because, um, you know, it's a lot easier to work with a vendor who's local, where you get to see their face and talk to them and um, you know, feel reassured that they're not gonna mess this up because this is important and deadlines are important.

17:22 Like, are you going to really have my wedding invites and time? I've had people come to me and say, you know what, the, I need my invites this week. I had this other printers say that they are going to be done by now and I'm not, I've not heard from them and you know, have had, you know, just hear people having horrible experiences with other, um, vendors. And, you know, I'm very often like, yes, I will, I will rush this for you. So a lot of my work, I am just like an art emergency. It's a wedding invite, emergency. And, um, or I tried to print my own invites, you know, I got this, like do it yourself letter, press kit and um, which I totally admire someone trying, but it's, it's not easy. Um, if you don't know what you're doing. Um, there's a lot of variables to adjust for. And um, yeah, so I've helped people out in those sort of like emergencies too.

18:17 Well, cause you, you think about it, I mean it is, I don't think we even realized until it came time to like finalizing it. Cause we totally were the same thing with like our designer and you know, she said we gotta have it done by this day so we can print it by this date and yeah. You know, cause you do, you need them to send out, you know, and you think about kind of all the other stuff that you can figure out and you know, finalize your design later or the flowers ever. But you know, if the invites aren't out when you need them out to get people ready to go, either the wedding, you know, it is a, it's challenging. You know, that's the one thing that's pretty timely.

18:52 Yeah. And I think, um, you know, a lot of people may not realize the amount of time, um, that it can take for, for invites and that there is a queue. You know that sometimes the turn around is two weeks. Um, I turn on, hasn't been more than two weeks since I've moved here. Usually some it was three weeks sometimes, um, previously. But I mean, I can get stuff done in within like five days, but, um, that's, that's a rash, you know, and that's pushing it and, um, just because, um, sometimes they'll come in, they're like, okay, I need these printed. Do you have the design? No. Okay, well, um, I need the design first and I need the design to be in the format that they need. And there's, there are some, you know, limitations to what letter press can do. So it's sometimes helpful before you even create the design to know what process you're going to do, so you can kind of keep those limitations in mind. And, um, anyway, so, uh, it's just, there's a lot of variables and I have to have the plate made and the plate is made locally but still like, you know, a 24 hour turnaround, um, for them. And, um, I still have other people who have promised to print things by and sometimes some of those people a little more flexible in their schedule and I can shuffle things around and I do what I can, but not always possible to do stuff like in the same week.

20:21 Well, it's tough because yeah, like obviously everybody wants, um, you know, like with us or like their videos, you know, everyone, everyone wants their video next. And so I know like when I'm editing one and posting about it that there's, you know, fire other people like way you know what's going on and

20:37 yeah, they're excited to see it too.

20:40 And everyone's EML obviously. I mean I agree. I mean everyone's thing is always the most important to that, you know, so it's to kind of balance that out. It is funny that you were talking about kind of the DIY and I remember one of our friends got married this year and they tried to do, you know, print their own things and when the, when the invite came there was like a printout like Shiva inside and we're like, okay, what the heck is this? Well what had happened was when she went on, you know, she designed it just online that something and printed it and um, they had all like all of the instructions for like where to stay, am I parking and something else like all of the, you know, not like the date and time but everything else they printed it like printed them like a one inch by one inch block.

21:27 Like on this card too, it was like hardly legible at all. But you can, you know, without like in magnifying glass and then she hasn't like just printed on a sheet of paper and throw it in, you know, [inaudible] you know, trying to save money and whatever. But we're like, what the hell is going on here? We open this thing up and that, I think she had texted my wife and kind of gave her the heads up or something because you know, you're trying to do what you can and then he end up messing it up on the back end.

21:55 Yeah. And not everything's going to be perfect. There's always going to be something that, you know, right. You ran out of time for to do just the way you thought you would. And it's hard and people have full time jobs and they're trying to plan this huge event. So without like an event planner, if you can't afford to to that, which a lot of people can, you know, it's like, it's a lot of work and you know, usually it's your first time doing it, maybe your early time doing it. So yeah, hopefully,

22:28 uh, I will tell you about your who, uh, like obviously, you know, we, we were someone that, you know, kind of value, you know, doing custom work like this far away, did it, you know, what are the clients that are attracted to you that you find work that you know, did appreciate it? You know, I see nowadays all the time people posting on line about, you know, digital sign ups or, and by it's your email and staff are not, you know, who, who is still really interested in working and spending the time and obviously money but work to kind of get this stuff done.

23:00 Yeah, I think, um, I think people realize too that, you know, like you said kind of in the beginning, um, you know, most things, a lot of things are, are digital and I actually did really worry about that even at the beginning of this business 10 years ago. Like, you know, is this a dying art form? Are People Really gonna appreciate this? Is Everything just going to be digital? And surprisingly, I've kind of come around in my opinion of that. I think that everything being digital has kind of made things in print even more special. Um, I think it's, it's increased its, its value and people appreciate it even more. Um, and so I think the people that who, you know, value that do tend to be more visual oriented people. Um, like for business cards, I print business cards for people and it's usually people on visual fields, photographers and designers of any sort.

23:58 Um, I think those people appreciate it and also they have clients who are going to appreciate it. But as far as wedding goes, I think it's just, you know, I think anyone who could afford it would want them, you know, and I totally understand it's not in everybody's budget to have letterpress invites, but having, you know, your own custom invites just designed, I think anybody would love that. It just makes it so much more you and uh, yeah. I mean it's hard for me to relate to not wanting that, but it's hard. I'm also a visual person, so,

24:34 well, it's funny because like you said, even like the business cards you need, I remember for years, you know, and still there, you know, all these apps and stuff, like keep all your contacts or they have a thing that was like, you could bump I their phone and then it would transfer d, All these digital business cards. But I'm still out in advance all the time. If people ask for business cards, cause I remember, you know, I've printed them every couple of years. And I remember I think the first time I had turned into a big batch and that was like, you know, this might be the only batch I ever print because you know, who the hell wants business cards anymore. And, but I mean that's all. I mean it's still, it's, it's a tangible thing. I think people can value. Uh, you know, I have like really nice business cards. I, they're really thick and I think, you know, people perceive, you know, value from that or care, you know, the care of the vendor and someone, you know, taking the time to do that. And, and you know, it's the same with a wedding. You know, if you're going to take the time to get this designed and this wonderful thing printed, you know, it, it just adds that extra level of, you know, perceived value to it. Right.

25:42 Yeah, definitely. I mean, I think receiving a, an invitation that's, um, you know, printed from Costco versus one that is on really thick paper and really nicely designed. It's, it's going to have a different sort of feel to it. Um, not totally not the same people who, you know, digitally print stuff I get, it's not in everybody's budget, but like, it just, it has a different feel.

26:07 Uh, no, my, you know, we were not a like a card family at all. Uh, until email. I met my wife, I said, now, you know, my mom and brother, I mean we all have to get cards because it's so valuable to my wife. And having that, you know, the tangible things, you know, every holiday, you know, thank you cards and obviously, you know, when we got married or, you know, when our friends are getting married, like that's something that like, she's so explored too as like opening that and having that, I mean, I can't even, I mean, she's like the, you know, the spokesperson like for that, uh, just because of how strongly she feels towards it.

26:42 Well, I mean, think about every

26:44 time you get a card in the mail, like that's handwritten on the outside with your name from someone that, you know, not like a business, dentists wishing you happy birthday. It's like, you know, it feels so good. Yeah, I do ask him businesses again, I get it from my financial people up here. It's, it's almost like it's just automated, you know, cause it kind of just one day before, it's almost like they know exactly what they're doing. Ah, what, what was it like a, you know, starting your own business? Um, you know, was that, was that scary to kind of, like you said, you know, it's, it's different working for yourself, but then being like, you know, this is like me, this is what I'm doing. Uh, and obviously, you know, it was a challenging time in the economy to kind of start a business. So what was that like?

27:31 Yeah, that was, that was, that was scary. And, you know, it was one thing to get the studio and get my press. Um, uh, but right before doing that, I started a course in Oakland. They had, uh, a program called the women's initiative that's, uh, I think out of business now. Um, but it was a nonprofit that, um, would teach women how to write. Um, uh, what's it called? Not a business proposal, a business plan. And so they teach you all of the research is needed to going out and looking at other businesses and your field doing market research, deciding or realizing how much of a, how much money you have to make to stay afloat and you know, just sort of taught you the basics of running a business. And that was something I never thought I would be interested in. It's just like, I'm an artist.

28:28 Like, you know, I don't care about that stuff. But when it came to it, it's like, well, I, I became interested in it because I was like, well, this is gonna enable me to be an artist professionally and to do exactly what I want and work for myself. And that made me interested and just like design, like it made me interested when I could do it for print. Um, and so, um, so yeah, it just, I studied that and that gave me the confidence to be like, you know what, I can do this. I'm a reasonably intelligent person. I am extremely efficient. I am hardworking. Like there's no reason why, um, I shouldn't at least give this a try. And you know, I kept everything really low risk in the beginning. Yes. Super cheap studio in this like really Janky warehouse in Oakland. That was just for me.

29:24 It was just like this huge warehouse had 170 artists. Most of them were like burning man, people who were building these huge art cars and um, sculptures and, you know, different seen from me. But, um, I just kind of fun people to be around though. And um, and it was a really great community and really sort of supportive and uh, so yeah, it was great to have that there. And then now being in a home business, when I moved up here, we bought a place that I could actually have my business, I can own the building so that, um, we're not sort of at risk of being kicked out. Like we in Oakland, we lost our, um, apartment and my studio at the same time and couldn't afford anything in California, pretty much. Um, which I know is everybody's story for moving up here. Um, but yeah, so, uh, that was, it was, it was scary start though not being, uh, having a business background, but totally, totally worth, um, you know, the struggle at first, you know, having second and third jobs and um, until like, I think it was maybe a year and a half, maybe two years in, I was able to quit my, um, my backup jobs and, uh, that was scary and exciting.

30:51 You know, was just like, oh, but this is my safety net. Like what if, and then every time I'd have a slow month, I'd freak out. Like, oh my God, do I need another job? And then just sort of realize that if there was a rhythm to it and you know, I have really slow months and I have crazy busy months and just, you know, took everything during the crazy busy months and relax a little bit more into the flow months worked on other stuff. But

31:18 no. Yeah, I mean we, we talk a lot in the podcast about it, you know, that are this, you know, trying to run the business and it is really challenging. You know, a lot of the people I talked to you on here are, you know, really creative in not necessarily, you know, good at like photographers that don't enjoy writing or people that don't enjoy doing taxes like me or people that don't like, you know, it's, it's, it's a weird industry we're in where you have to, like you said, really balance like you wanna do the, the science and are like really balanced kind of both sides of the brain. You know, there's not a lot of other industries. I think that, you know, running the business and kind of having to do all aspects of it, you know, web design and printing and client stuff and emails and, you know, it's tough to kind of juggle all that, you know what I mean?

32:09 Yeah. And I would love to be one of those businesses that could, you know, afford to have everyone else, you know, just delegate and do that. But at the same time, I'm a little bit of a control freak in that I like everything to be done just so, and I have my system and I don't want anyone else to come in and like mess it up. And I hate to say that about myself, but it's true. Like I want to do things my way and so I like being just small so that I can do that. I have one press, I have one cutter and I just worked my ass off when I can and you know, I'd rather do that and then just have a little bit of help here and there. Um, and stay small.

32:58 Yeah. I laugh cause I, you know, I try to have, you know, try on the perception, you know, that we're, you know, we have, I mean, we do have our stuff together now. I'm more, you know, it Best Made Videos® kind of more than we did years ago in terms of either of the teams and kind of figuring stuff out. But yeah, I still do a lot of it. And I remember last year we had a bride that was sending stuff over. She said, well, just, you know, pass this along to the team or whoever is going to be handling this, Dah, Dah, Dah, Dah. And I'm sitting there laughing and then I'm like, that's, you know, it's going to be me doing all that, you know, there's no one, there's no, you know, group of, uh, lackeys in the back that are going to be working on this stuff. You know, I'm gonna be working on this the whole time through, you know.

33:38 Yeah. It's like, well, when I, I've taken a lot of, uh, sort of just, or I've gone to lectures about running a business and they talk about using, um, you know, the plural for your, for your website text. And it's like, well that feels weird because it's mainly just me, but you know, that's more professional, but it feels a little false sometimes. So on my website it's actually kind of goes back and forth between a first person, singular and plural and anyone looking at my site, it's just me and I'm just trying to seem professional, but I am professional by myself.

34:19 No, I did the same thing and I, when I, I used to talk to people on the phone say, oh we, you know, we, we can cover that or we can do it. And they say, well, who, who is we? And like, well, you know, it is, but now I think it's the same thing. Like we were just talking yesterday, unrelated. But how you always, if you're starting like quickbooks or whatever, you never start with like invoice zero zero zero zero one, right. You always start with like invoice, you know, 1001 because then it looks like you've had the [inaudible] person that's ordering this stuff or whatever. Yeah. And it is interesting you were talking to you about, you know, the seasonal staff and the quitting and you know, making that transition and you know, I think it's the same thing up here, you know, and like our wedding season, you know, and your, I think doing a lot more kind of, you know, like he said the business cards and everything, you know, kind of outside of that.

35:10 But like we're extremely seasonal. I mean, you know, there are months where, you know, like my second contractors and stuff like won't hear from us in like we just, like you said, you have to kind of know that. But when you start and if you don't know the seasonality of it, it is incredibly difficult because I think a lot of people, you know, do a couple of weddings that take like, um, this is what I'm going to do. And they quit and now realize like, you know, you don't, we don't really shoot a lot of up here from November until May, you know, unless you're, you know, photographers and stuff kind of doing that, the off season stuff.

35:44 Yeah. It's funny because, uh, I, I talk a lot with other wedding professionals cause I'm part of some wedding groups and networking groups and whatever. And so we're chatting a lot and almost all of them have the opposite busy schedule that I have because I'm busy during the non actual wedding season. Um, so my summers are usually my slow time, which is actually a great time to be slow, um, to enjoy the nice weather. But, um, but yeah, it's, it's usually opposite for me cause everyone's printing, um, the whole rest of the year. Um, but summers there it's already done.

36:22 Yeah, I guess that's a good point. Yeah. You're not printing too many, you know, uh, sets in the end of July or something. You know, maybe it needed to be out a long time ago.

36:31 Yeah. August is, it's usually my slowest month, um, that for this year for some reason.

36:40 Uh, having, having done this as long as you have weather, either some big, you know, trends that you've seen kind of come and go or, or where you kind of see things nowadays. You know, you just, I just feel like you've kind of just seen a lot of, you know, with kind of coming back from the, you know, recession and people spending money again on weddings and stuff. And what's it been like kind of just experiencing the last 10 years as a small business owner?

37:06 Um, yeah, I mean, trends change a lot and staying on top of that is, um, you know, takes up a lot of my Instagram feed. I follow a lot of other people in my field and just kind of look around and see new things occasionally. And, um, a lot of times they'll be my clients though, who have been like, Hey, I've seen this thing. Like, oh, that is really cool, let's do that. Um, I mean, blind to the boss is become a little more popular recently where you don't use, typically you don't use ink at all. But I use a tiny bit of gray ink. Um, and so it just looks pressed into the paper. And so obviously you're not usually doing that for the text part, but you'll do it for graphic element and as this really cool effect that really shows off letter press.

37:53 Um, so that's become a little more popular. Um, I love like the sort of, um, floral things that are coming from the whole border, like they surround, um, everything sort of botanical leafy things. Um, I dunno, it's, it's been interesting moving from, uh, the bay area to here, the sort of different imagery that is prevalent. So in northern California, redwoods, a lot of people are getting married, outdoors, there's redwoods around. Um, so I did tons of redwood imagery and here everyone likes, you know, if more like ferns and, um, mount hood and things like that. And, um, so I think I've noticed more change in the regional tastes than I have. Even just over time at fonts. I would say I've changed most over time, um, in a way that I could have a hard time verbalizing what that changes. But I know that when I see it.

38:52 Yeah. I have though, we were doing the video, I just said yesterday, they will corporate client and day, they needed some fight changed at the beginning. And I said, well do you guys email? A lot of times they'll have, um, you know, people have like a font type that, that there's or whatever. They said, oh you know, just something bothering. And they listed off a couple of, I was like, I mean, I guess as your modern fonts now, I don't know, you know, I think, what is it, the slimming, I just want read a whole article the other day about how android changed like their whole typeface and every, I guess that was a big deal. You know, cause it's like the largest um, cell phone manufacturer in the world, you know, changing their fonts is a big deal apparently. You know what I mean?

39:35 Yeah. Yeah. And it's funny how, um, just the world around you is changing slightly will will affect your own tastes. Um, just like high waisted pants are coming back. Like, do we like that now? I Dunno. I have to see it a lot more. And then when I see it a lot more my Kia. Okay. I see it. Same thing kind of with fonts. I think the more you see it around, the more you start appreciating it and it kind of eats its way into your personal taste. I mean, not always. I mean sometimes you see stuff, right? Like Oh God, when will this be over? Um, so I won't, I won't name any particular phones in case people out there like those phones, but I really over it. Some particular phones,

40:16 like, uh, what was it when comic stands is like all the radio thing

40:21 or when, how pope Jairus has been totally slammed. [inaudible]

40:25 yeah, yeah. The whole, the whole avatar thing, right? Yeah. No, I had somebody I ever gotten. It does a lot of our graphs. Rick Work and he lives in, um, I think he lives in Coratia now and we just do stuff online and we, we print locally, but he'll design and all that. And his English is, is very short. And so I'll, I'll, I'll say something and he'll just be like, no, that is not in good taste. Like, we can't do that, you know that, but you're the expert and he's like, we can't, we can't do outlines anymore on that. Did that, that is not, that will not what good is that? Okay. It's shared. We had a, so where do you see kind of, you know, growing here in the next obviously, you know, relocating that, you know, business I think is, is this your mentally huge endeavor and you know, where do you kind of see your, some growing now in the next couple of years? Is it just continuing to grow a steady client base or where would you like to see yourself in the next couple of years?

41:22 Yeah, I think mainly my growth expectations are around, you know, growing clients and growing referrals and growing a name for myself. Um, like I said, I'm, I'm happy with the size I am. I like being a small business. Um, and yeah, I don't even want the overhead of a storefront, um, which would raise my costs all around. And, um, I like being able to be reasonably priced and which this easier to do working out of your garage than it is, um, with the storefront and you have to pay for, um, and rents around here are pretty expensive. So,

42:05 uh, I, you have a pretty extensive, uh, Kinda lists on your website or things you enjoy doing, you know, when you're not running your business. Do you want to talk about kind of some of the interests you have and obviously you said you're married and kind of what you guys do?

42:19 Yeah. Um, uh, we're pretty active. Um, probably more active than my husband would choose to be, but kind enough to come along with me on a lot of things. Um, uh, I like rock climbing, but I don't do outdoors. I don't even know if you can call it rock climbing, but I do indoor rock climbing for, um, blessed six or so years and I love it. Um, so I do that like once a week. Um, I garden obsessive Li and um, my husband recently said, looking out into our garden. He's like, so this is really the reason you wanted to own a house, isn't it? And he's like, I didn't realize that at the time cause I've always had tines of house plants. Like I like living in a little jungle. Um, but now it's kind of become more about the outdoor plants and um, yeah, I mean I can't, I mean I've, I destroy my back working on these things, but I love the excuse to be outside and uh, yeah. And just beautiful options of things you can grow here. And I love how pretty it is in the spring. And so we'd go on hikes, take a look around, got an inflatable Kayak so we could, uh, can go kayaking around. And uh, my sister got one too, so she could join us and I don't know, we went to the foreigns game for the first time and decided we're Thornton's fans. So

43:45 what is the thorns?

43:47 Yeah, the women's soccer team.

43:49 Awesome. Okay. So they play, yeah, we have, I think it's Cerena up here. I'm not a big, not a big soccer guy. Matt man or woman.

43:56 Yeah. I, I haven't been historically, but it was really fun to go to this game. I would suggest trying it. I mean, I've not been to a timbers game, but my sister has and she says that's awesome too. Um, but yeah, I don't know, just typical outdoors stuff. Um, yeah, a lot of plants.

44:16 Yeah. A lot of plants and enjoying, yeah. Enjoying the Pacific northwest. What do you wish more people knew about? Uh, you, it could be, you know, letterpress, uh, something you feel like you and you have to, you know, educate clients on what one thing that you, you know, is kind of a final takeaway from this or you wish people knew more about you or your process?

44:38 Um, well, the first thing that comes to mind is just, uh, one tip that would come up as, uh, for people planning to do wedding invites is you only need as many invites as addresses going out. Often people write me saying they need 200, and it ends up, they need it like more like 125. So, um, sometimes that's good to know before hand. Just so you're not like, oh this is out of my budget because I, you know, you're looking at the quantity of 200 versus what I actually need. Um, more about me. Um, I'm easy to work with and I make the process as painless as possible and um, like I am really kind of a people pleaser in a way that is great for business. Um, so I, I want everyone to be happy. I want them to love it. Like I love it when I hand over a job and the client is like radiant and hugs me out of just like joy. And then you get to see how excited they are about like here's a fist physical proof that we're getting married. And it's like, I think it's one of the first exciting parts of the process and it's, I like being part of that.

45:58 Oh that's awesome. I laugh too cause we, we totally did that when we printed our invites. We had way more than we needed it. So we are definitely, we are definitely guilty of that same, a totally typical. Yeah. Well thank you so much for coming on today. And take it some time and you know, whether it's, you know, you're a little slower or not this time of the year and it's still a huge, you know, appreciation to come on and kind of share your story and more about what you do. If you want people to learn more about you and your work in a chair or your website and Instagram and everything else, where would you have them go?

46:35 Um, my website is And its REB, R E B like the first three letters of Rebecca people often this year it is red, which is an actual word and then Instagram is Reb Peters Letterpress. Um, and thanks so much for having me. It was really great talking with you.

46:55 Yeah, it was great connecting. Uh, thanks again for, you know, just like I said, I, it's so nice to, to branch out. We try to get people out of Portland a lot and making these connections is great and it's so valuable. So I just want to thank you so much for doing that.

47:09 Okay, thanks.

47:11 Uh, this has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro®. If you're like Rebecca and you're interested in coming on the podcast, you can go to There's a nice easy questionnaire that Rebecca filled out as well, and, and kind of gets you in the system and so can get you scheduled. And, uh, again, thank you so much. This has been another episode. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much.

Mike Tabolsky, Mike Tabolsky Photography

00:01 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 Mike Tabolsky who is a photographer at Mike Tabolsky photography. He was just correcting my pronunciation of it. And I, you know, I was thinking about this before you came on, how long it's been since I'm asking you to come on this podcast. I think you had to be one of the first, you know, I think we, what happened was, I think we did the wedding show together and I thought, man, this Mike Guy is so nice and fun to talk to. And I said, well, I'm going to go launch this podcast. I'm going to go ask my good friend Mike. And you said, you know, my was, could they give birth who are gonna have kids? And so, but we pounded and hounded and I'm so glad you're here and in your family and everything as well. So why don't you introduce yourself, tell us who you are, what you do.

01:04 Yeah, man, thanks. Yeah, I'm excited to be on the show and I know it's been a long time coming, but I'm excited to do a chat with you and, uh, talk about some stuff. Um, yeah, Mike Tabolsky. Um, Mike Tabolsky Photography, um,, Uh, based out of Maple Valley Washington and a professional wedding photographer slash portrait slash senior pictures. Um, I do it all. And, um, yeah,

01:30 well, and one thing too, and I think they're not short sell. I mean, I think even like your corporate stuff too, I think is like super, super like high, you know, we did the car thing last year and I remember kind of looking through some of your corporate stuff, kind of getting ready for that too. I'm like, I mean, that's just a whole nother world that you kind of play into, which I think is different than a lot of the photographers around.

01:51 Yeah. You know, so I'm originally, I'm based from Los Angeles and that's where I was born and raised and I started, um, photography, um, professionally about 10 years ago, but I've been shooting for about 26 years. Uh, but I got into a lot of the corporate and special events. I'm working with PR companies and um, uh, publicists and getting into like some high end, um, celebrity geared, um, events and got me real comfortable with working with very, um, uh, how can I put it, um, strong minded people and uh, and it's been a experience, but it's actually helped me throughout the years and now I'm focusing most of my time with weddings and stuff. But, um, yeah, I still do corporate and I love doing it. Microsoft, Amazon. Um, I worked for a couple of nonprofit, um, h um, companies, charity stuff. I know kids hungry campaign. Um, I do, um, muscular dystrophy events and also, um, some pharmaceutical companies. Um, I shoot for, uh, in Jersey every year. Um, and in, uh, the west coast in southern California. So it's been great and I've been very fortunate enough to do that stuff.

02:58 Well. I think it's cool. I essentially, you know, I like, I just had a corporate thing yesterday and I, you know, were mostly like wedding season right now. And I do think when you swapped back and forth like that, like the stuff that you need, cause like wedding stuff's like always on the fly. I mean, even though it's planned, but you know, we're always trying to like figure out, OK, what's, how can we get this light to work? Or how can we get this venue to work? And like, then when you go do like my bet car event we did and like everything's like meticulously like, you know, the tape with the car to the wheel to get everything. But you know, like, but then you're able to, I think like we're, you're Kinda jerry-rigging it for a lot of the time with weddings, you working on that creative juices and then when you get to go do something like that, I just think it's nice to Kinda like take those skills then and bring it.

03:43 Yeah. So that's Kinda why I sort of got involved into more weddings now because I love using my creative background. You know, back actually in La, besides doing corporate stuff, I was also doing editorial stuff. Um, I loved using strobe lights. I love setting up shots for like our local magazines and La, nothing big, but just our local magazines and getting really creative doing events. You know, like these corporate events, you can't really do that. And I couldn't really apply my skills to that. So with these weddings now I can really get into it. And um, from what I studied back in college and stuff, I'm doing photos, photo journalism and um, some magazine work. It really helps me now cause I can use my creative knowledge and um, with posing and um, you know, the composition stuff gets more um, important and weddings versus, uh, events.

04:31 Well, honestly I just, well one last note and then we'll move on. But I remember they was like, they want, and they needed a shot like La love in front of one of the cars or something. And they was just like, you're like, stand there, you know, whatever. They thought it was like the most amazing thing. And you're like, man, I'm like wedding stuff. You're trying to pose, you know, 500 different poses over eight hours and get all this stuff. And like he just needed to get four guys standing there looking in one direction and they were like so thrilled about it. Was this fun?

04:56 Yeah, that's pretty cool to see. Like people's love, people just loved getting their pictures taken. I do a lot of these events where they're just like super excited and you know, it's so funny, I shoot this a pharmaceutical convention stuff. Um, everyone's so super nice and stuff, but they love getting their pictures taken and it helps me a lot when I do that. Um, and it just makes my job easier. But it is kind of funny where there is a difference between the wedding shooting weddings versus shooting these corporate events. Um, but it's a nice little lights. You said it's like taking a break, you know, I can get, I could do my, you know, my real serious getting into like posing and composition and I do events and it's super simple and just do it. And um, but it's nice to have that break, you know, here and there.

05:37 Talk to me about, you know, getting into photography. Was this something that you always wanted to do or you always, you know, interested in it from a young age?

05:44 You know, um, I guess growing up in the film industry, Family, um, my dad was, um, he was a road manager for a lot of big musicians back in the day in the 70s and a staff, um, Elton John, Henry [inaudible], Sini, Johnny Mathis and stuff. So I always had like family involved in that. My brother has been at Disney for about 30 years as a film editor. So in my family has always been movies and music and television. And so, um, uh, my dad gave me a camera in 1993 when I was a, um, a senior in high school and I started photography for the yearbook and I just fell in love like running around the school and taking pictures of people and posing people and, and just getting into the behind the scenes stuff with building layouts and all this and they got really into it. So then in college, you went to a community college in Los Angeles and I did the photo journalism and I worked for the paper there doing photography and getting assignments and going to, you know, sport games and theater events and shooting them.

06:42 And, and then I started doing editorial pictures for like the local teachers that are having a story on. And that was 93, 94 and 95. And then, um, I got out of college and I, you know, started to kind of take a break and bartending and stuff. And which is where bartending, which is where the stuff photo bar came to permission, permission. And, um, so yeah, so photography was always been on my mind, but I could never really pull the trigger to a full time. Um, it was really tough when I was young. And then I would say around, I would say a little over 10 years ago, 11 years ago, I really decided to just to kind of like start doing it more and more and doing events back in La. And it wasn't until when we moved here to Washington five years ago, um, that I had the opportunity to do it full time.

07:26 Um, and so here we are full time doing it every day. So yeah, I mean obviously the difference between La and here, I mean la is like, you know, crazy new shoes always stumped going on to me. Was it easy to kind of find events to do and went on, you know? Um, it was different because La is mostly the entertainment side of it. Um, versus here it's more corporate. Um, so I can find jobs here doing like more corporate events, um, versus doing a celebrity gear PR event for an opening, um, you know, for their show or for a restaurant they're opening. I mean, I could do that here, I guess, but it was, it just more geared for corporate stuff here. Um, but I wasn't getting a lot of that, um, in the very beginning, so I really wasn't doing weddings full time when we moved up here.

08:20 Um, I only had a couple weddings back in la. Um, I felt doing weddings was a little easier to transition to. Um, and then just quickly learning the, you know, all the different little things that go into becoming a wedding photographer. I had to learn pretty quick. But my knowledge of doing events and dealing with people and the different personalities really helped with crossing over to weddings. And, um, it took me a minute, but, uh, it's now on, that's all I think about is weddings and all the little things that go into it. Um, it comes more second nature now too, which I was a little surprised, but, um, I think just having the experience of working in the entertainment world helped a lot with that.

09:03 Yeah. So what brought you guys to Seattle?

09:06 You know, we literally put up a Dartboard, sat back through it and it nailed on Seattle. Um, it felt like that, um, we just wanted to get out of La. You know, I was born there. Um, my wife was born in Jersey, but she's been in, um, la since she was like seven or so. And, um, so it was, uh, just one of those decisions like, you know, our family, uh, my family is mostly there. Um, her mom and sister and stuff. Um, her mom moved here with us a few months later. Her sister lives in Colorado, so there was really nothing, a lot of her family was away and it was tough to leave my family, but, um, we just want to change. Um, la is really fast and just very, um, I felt we were, we felt we were closed, claustrophobic there. Um, and just coming here was just the right decision. It's so beautiful up here. The people are Super Nice, they're more laid back. Um, and we're just having a great time just meeting new people and stuff and seeing new, new things here and, um, yeah, it's, it's been great. So, uh, it was just, you know, cost of living actually is cheaper up here. Well, it was cheaper up here, um, back in 2014. Now I know it's up, up there. Um, but we're very fortunate enough to come here at the right time, so,

10:24 yeah. What was it like? I mean, obviously, you know, Seattle is still a big, you know, city lot of, you know, photographers, big community, but I mean obviously nowhere in nearly as big as la, but what was it like, you know, you come up here and then, you know, trying to establish, you know, make a brand obviously like we met at the wedding show and that you're involved in that and a lot of other things. So how, what was it like kind of like you said, just dive in like head on into this now where it's all you think about?

10:48 So I really had to do that. You know, it wasn't like something where I could've just sat back and just kind of let things happen. I had to really get my hands wet and just get in there and start, um, you know, marketing myself, creating these ads and stuff and doing Facebook ads and, and meeting and networking with people going. I did a few groups and, um, a few like networking groups and I met with some of the vendors and venues and um, uh, coordinators and they helped me kind of get odd jobs here and there. Then if you have coordinators, wedding coordinators here have helped me get a couple of weddings under my belt in the very beginning. Um, but you know, doing the wedding shows and um, and just networking a lot in the very beginning was really something that I, I knew I had to do after talking to a couple, uh, people up here.

11:37 Um, so that's what I did and that really helped me transition to get more clients. Um, build a really good network of friends who have, who are in the industry here, um, such as yourselves and video guys and other photographers and Djs and whatnot. And it's been great. So we all kind of help each other out up here. And it's, it's a really cool circle, very, very different from la where la so spread out. And I feel like in this the western Washington side, um, it just feels much more tighter. Um, and more friendlier to kind of like a network. Uh, people are more willing to help.

12:15 Why, what was it like, Kinda like you said you had decided to, to go full time, you know, launching and you have the photo bar really putting yourself out there, you know, as Mike the wedding photographer, you know, what was it like kind of like establishing all of that? Was it scary? Was it, you know, a long time coming?

12:32 I think the big scary thing was, is moving up here with only one job. Mike and my wife had the job. She got the job coming up here and I didn't have any job. We both worked full time in la. I worked for the studios. Um, I worked for postpartum, I was the post production manager for, for 12, 13 years. Um, working for Disney, working for Fox and then doing photography on the side. So having that full time job and that income coming in and then moving here and just making the decision to, you know, try to find work up here. That was a really big leap. And then deciding to go full time was, and just putting everything into, you know, me, um, was scary. And especially too, we wanted to start a family and when we moved up here we didn't, we didn't have that yet. It was just us two. And so we just bought a house two coming up here. So it was one of those things where it's like, Whoa, you know, we're doing a lot. We're moving here. Nope, nope. Knowing nobody really. Um, we had a couple of friends up here and um, and just taking the risk. And I think, I think it's important that people do that sometimes in their lives. This is take a risk and stuff cause you never know. And so that's, that's where we are and it's, it's been great.

13:43 No, it was crazy. I mean, like you said, it's kind of things like that where you really just have to like lean into the curve where it's like, well we've already got this, you know, we were what you said, we're, we're moving and we got to buy the house and like, you know, what do you do? Do you sit there and do you try to find a job and, and start over or do you invest in yourself? I mean obviously like you ended up making the right call, but it had to be like, you know, really nerve wracking and um,

14:06 challenging. It was super challenging or super scary cause I also didn't know what I was doing. I didn't know who, I didn't know. I didn't do wedding shows, I didn't do the marketing side of anything. And I'm still learning all the SEO stuff and all that. I'm still figuring it all out. Um, you know, what should I put my money into? Should I focus on wedding shows? I focus more on advertising. I have no idea. I still don't know. Um, but that was a huge, a huge thing I had to learn. And still learning. Um, and it was just nervous cause we just, you know, living off a paycheck to paycheck, um, it's scary and met and many people do it. I mean, I was, you know, I was d look at Accurate's for instance, you know, actors who aren't, who aren't really big names, they work at restaurants because they can't afford, you know, to live on an Acura salary when they're just trying out and starting out and trying to get their business going or trying to get their brand going.

14:58 They work at restaurants, they wait tables, you know, it's kind of like what I was doing, you know, it was just trying to figure out, I was waiting tables for all, all, most of my life while I was doing photography as well. Um, and it just, I just kept knowing that photography was always there and I trusted myself that when I decided to make that decision, um, it would be the right decision and it just felt the right time and my wife trusted me. Um, and, and it was just, yeah, it just felt really good. And it, and it, it makes, because it makes me feel really good that what I'm doing, I know it's the right thing and whatever happens, whatever obstacle these in front of us given, you know, a kid's medical bill to, you know, your mortgage or whatever, you just do it and you'll figure it out, you know, um, you just work, work, work. That's just how it is. You can't just sit down. So everything is a trust and leap and hopefully land on your feet.

16:00 What was, uh, you know, for someone who might, you said you learning and struggling through a lot, you know, starting out. What would be, you know, your advice, you know, not even necessarily for photographers but you know, small business people in general that, you know, are, are motivated to do something and don't know or, or you know, starting out. What would be kind of some advice,

16:19 you know, I'd say the biggest thing would be is to trust yourself and know your strengths, know your weaknesses. And I'm always for getting help. I think in the end, I think having help and getting support is a good thing. Um, and just, you know, build your team in other words. And even that team doesn't have to be directly working with you but can just be a support and, um, and trust yourself in what you're doing. Like if you, you know, if you want to be a painter, you know, just start painting, go to a paint good and arts and crafts there, buy some canvases, buy some stuff and you know, start painting and see what you can do. And, and, or, you know, if it's, uh, if it's photography you want to get into, you know, by a tech cameras nowadays are, so everybody wants to be at wedding photographer now because they can shoot on their iPhone, but buy a camera, you know, spend a couple hundred bucks, get a used camera and just take pictures, get out and do it and you'll see if you want to do it or not.

17:19 If you don't do it, then you'll never get to know. Um, but once you figure out that, hey, I really like doing this, then you can start looking into, you know, how to start a business where you're reading up on stuff online, watching youtube videos. I mean, I did all that. Um, and just network with people. Um, network, find people in the, in the industry that have gone there and maybe find a, you know, there's a local, um, Tuesday, Tuesday with coffee, with friends, I forgot what it's called, but it's a group of photographers and, and vendors that like to meet up, um, uh, every Tuesday and they have coffee and they talk about, you know, their, their jobs and, you know, find groups like that, that, that want to, that are interested in the same field and that will help you, you know, guide you or help you mentor you, you know.

18:06 Um, yeah, it's tough. We starting businesses super hard because there's the other side of it too is the business aspect. You know, the IRS, the taxes, the sales tax, then you know, what you can charge and you know, then there's insurance. There's all these little things that you add in that you, you really can't just know. You just have to just do your research on, that's what I did. But you have to do it. You have to sit down, you know, and start reading. I mean, that's honestly the way, that's the easiest way to do it. Is this a read on it, you know?

18:35 Yeah. I remember back started. Yeah. Chat like Google and like, you know, Washington state tax codes. They're trying to figure out like, you know, what do I eat? You know it's, it is cause you don't know what you don't know. You know what I mean?

18:47 Yeah. You're always thrown for loops when you hear people like, oh I have to do that. I have to charge that. Yeah. But he doesn't live in Washington. He lives in Texas. I mean, wait, so if I go to Texas, do I charge? Oh my God, it's seriously. It's like, it's the craziest thing ever. But I'm not delivering a USB drive to them. I'm only giving them a digital version of the pictures, but I'm not giving them a physical media. These crazy rules?

19:12 No, as I, like you said. Yeah, just, just doing it too. I mean, I see that too with, you know, people starting out and they're like, you know, people are trying to find work and living you. Like they're not, like I, when I was starting, like I was doing everything trying to find, you know, no way. So I mean still no wasted, you know, movement today, but, you know, trying to figure out any way to do something and you see these people working for work, but like they're not doing any thing. I'm trying to figure out like, well, what do you, what are you doing with your time? You know, if I had, if I had the time to sit there and, and trigger that, I don't know. It's, it's, it's hard and thinking like, you know, having a flashback and figuring out to do it again. It's kind of a scary, uh, just [inaudible]

19:49 it is, it's holy, it's scary going back going, wow, I did all that research on that and you know, and, but it's, it just is what it is and it's rewarding, you know, if you do all the leg work and in the end, you know, you're doing it full time and you're meeting clients and you're doing coffee dates with these people and then you're becoming friends with them and you're knowing their families, it's all worth it in the end. You just have to just do all the work in the beginning. Um, and that goes for everything. That's this life. You know, you can't just sit there and play video games and, and under couch and drink beers and things think your life is going to be set cause it's not going to happen like that. Cause I'm not that. I've got that back in the day when I was in my twenties man, I was playing, I was playing playstation and all that stuff and I'm like, oh this is college stuff and I don't have to go to college. I went to community college for three years and I just did foot photography and I'm thinking, oh, this is going to be awesome. That's going to bartend and take pictures all, all my life, you know? And so there's a lot more to it than just that. So yeah,

20:45 no, I remember because got a, that the weather, the weather, the old Xbox one had come out, I think of the Christmas before I kind of decided to start vesting the videos. And I will tell you the last day that that was ever turned on was the day that I decided to start [inaudible] because of that man of Dorothy comes home and sees me kicking it, playing call of duty all day and wondering, you know, what the hell has he been doing in life and at work? You know, that was me. I was like, I don't know. I mean, not to say that it's not okay to have hobbies and free time, but starting out I was like, God Doherty comes home and I'm just sitting here. It's like, well, what did you accomplish? Yeah.

21:20 You're, you're not, you're asleep on the couch tonight. Yeah, it's the same with me and my wife. You know, when we, when she goes to bed at night, you know, she goes to bed early cause she, she's an educator so, um, she's going to be up early and the kids are up early with two kids and they're super young and so at night I sometimes like to play here and there, but I literally haven't been playing for a long time cause my mind has been focusing on like just creating ads. Literally for about two months I've been trying to create ads and stuff for, you know, my business and I know after the summer kind of slows down a little bit. Um, but right now it's super busy right now with weddings and I'm editing like crazy. So it's just, you know, I'm not, I'm, I'm behind on shows, I watch and all that stuff, which is, you know, you have to do it though. You have to just, you know, it's you, it's your business and your, it's your family. So it's important.

22:07 Yeah. I know you say it's a way, especially when it's yours too. I mean that's the difference too, is he's kind of that just having that ownership of it and knowing that, you know, do you spend the time now making all that stuff from him, then you will personally see like, you know, the, the positive results from that later on.

22:20 Yeah. You're not working for a corporate entity where that's what I was doing before and I kept working and working for the man, you know, they say, and so it's like, I felt like I was just, it wasn't, it wasn't getting satisfied. It wasn't rewarded, you know, it was, yes, it was a nice paycheck, but there was something missing. So it feels good to be, to be able to do my own, my own thing. And especially with kids being able to stay home with the kids and not have to do daycare and all that, which is awesome. Um, so I'm very fortunate that I have a job like I do, I'm doing photography.

22:54 Yeah. Talk a little bit about kind of your family clan. I know, I see, you know, all these awesome photos on, you know, people playing on the swing set and stuff. It's kind of, you know, it's, I, I love it. So tell me about kind of what, where you have going on at home when you're, when you're obviously not doing all the other stuff.

23:10 Yeah. So I have a 15 month old, um, who all he does is just scoot around the house when his tushy. Um, scoots good. He hasn't crawled, hasn't walked yet. Um, he's, he just said the words thank you and fence, um, yesterday which was really cute. Um, then I have a, a a two and a half year old. He's almost three. He'll be three in September. And Man, he's, that's, um, JJ. Uh, the youngest is Andrew, but JJ man, he's a handful. He's two and a half and he's, he's definitely two and a half is curious. Um, but yeah, being a stay at home dad with them. Um, it's been, it's been awesome. It's been crazy tough and juggling job and you know, doing the business and having to be a stay at home parent is really, really tough. Um, uh, and uh, but it's, it has its rewards as well, but um, it's definitely, you have to be on it every single day.

24:02 There's no off switch. Um, except when it's about nine, seven 30 at night when they go to bed and it's just, you're on the couch. But that's about it though, cause they're pretty much all day long. It's just kids, kids, kids and the diapers, diaper diapers and hoop and peeled Ala. But you guys are down Maple Valley, right? You've got lots of room to run around there for the kids to play and stuff. Yeah, we've got a house here and Maple Valley and backyard, a lot of place stuff in the backyard. Um, we have some local neighbors who are awesome. We play with them. Um, my, the JJ, the oldest loves water balloons. So we do water balloons in the front yard. You know, it's, we're very fortunate and it's this one of those things where it's like when you, when you're younger growing up and you wish you wish what your family would be like.

24:48 Uh, I definitely have that. And, uh, my wife's amazing and she keeps me in check all the time. Um, she, you know, I wish she would, I wish she knew how to take pictures because you would be awesome with taking pictures of then doing all, like the clerical writing stuff for blogs and stuff like that because I can't write for shit. So she's awesome like that. And it's, I'm very fortunate and, uh, it's been, it's been amazing. Where did you guys meet? I know in La Way. How'd you guys, you know, technically we met online. We met, um, we met online. Okcupid was the website. Um, yeah, so cheesy, but it wasn't like or like, um, what's, I know the other, the other sites, um, the harmony. Yeah, we met, yeah, we met, um, we started chatting in 2010. Our first date was tactically, um, July 2nd, 2011.

25:46 Um, and we haven't separated since we got married. We got engaged the next year, next summer, 2012 we got married in 2013 and we moved to Washington in 2014 and had a JJ in 2016 and then we had our second in 2018 for a lot. Yeah, it's a lot. And then started a business and Alyssa and my wife was a elementary school counselor, sorry. Melissa was a um, middle school counselor for 10 years in La. And when we got the twin, she got the job up here. She moved into elementary. So it's been a big change for her as well. New New staff, new friends. Um, you know, it's tough. It's tough with the whole friend aspect to um, you know, really don't have a network of friends up here. I'm just, it's the people who I've been meeting at these shows and look you and stuff like that, you know, who am who I am.

26:39 I'm really hoping to build more relationships with, um, cause that's all I have. Um, right now, you know, when you have your day job and you'd go to work, you, you, you come, you know, you have your work friends and you'd hang out and you go out for drinks and you go to movies. I don't have that. Um, so I'm, I miss that from what I had in la. So that's the hard part too. Um, on top of just coming here and just not knowing anybody, it's really just not having consistent friends that you see every day. It's totally different from my world that I was in. So, um, it's that, I'm trying to do that right now. Actually. Um, just real quick, I started, uh, a local, uh, a Facebook community page called, uh, it's called a stay at home dads of Maple Valley. And uh, I started the beginning and uh, we met up a couple of times. We just bring our kids to like a coffee shop or to a McDonald's. Um, but the kids were super young. JJ was really young when I started, so it was really hard cause the other dads had older kids. But now I want to start getting back into it. Like the kids are a little bit older, JJ could run around now. So I'm going to start getting back into the group and start creating a, uh, um, time to go hang out. Cause I gotta I gotta get out there again.

27:49 No, I totally know what you mean. That people don't like, you know, essentially like when I was a news, you know, you got like I my station and the photographers there and you see people every day and you know, even if you're, you know, you're friends with some, you're not with others, but it's still like people to talk to every day. People that tell you what to do or what not to do and then, yeah, when you're at home and it's like you just, you lose that whole slice of everything. I mean, it's really, I think it's, uh, an underreported, you know, part of the, kind of the self-employment stay at home work lifestyle, you know what I mean?

28:19 Yeah, no, it totally is. And when, you know, when I'm home, I'm literally talking to a two year old all day long. So when I go to a wedding, I feel sorry for the guy I'm talking to cause I'm doing like a proper book, a book, a book. Cause I do talk to a two year old, um, you know, it's poopy, this will be that don't touch this, don't hit you, don't hit your brother. But I go to a wedding, it's like Ah, I could talk to humans, I can talk to adults. So it's nice. So my, my life and good when I go to a wedding, I love it cause I can, I can just be a, you know, be an adult and, and just talk to me people. So

28:51 no, I remember, yeah, I can't remember. It was one of Dorothy's a, one of her friend's husbands and we mad and I was like, you know, I said, I don't really know. I said he wasn't, he wasn't really chatty. I didn't really, I didn't really get a good vibe when she civil well did you, you know, did you like talk to them? And I was like, it's literally like what I do for a living is go like bullshit with people and weddings for, you know, 10 hours in a row like that. I mean, yeah, if I can't get a couple of words out of it, it's probably, you know, it's probably the, the, the wrong is on the other side. Totally. Totally. It's like that meme or whenever they say like, uh, if you see somebody talking to themselves as a business owner or they're just having a staff meeting, if they're walking around talking to themselves. Yeah. That's awesome. Uh, so when you guys, uh, so you guys got married down in La,

29:40 we did center just outside, uh, like, ah, like venture accounting. [inaudible]

29:45 is it, how did that go? Um, at someone that you say you were like super into weddings, so obviously you had done events and stuff and I mean, was it a stressful process to do that? All that,

29:54 um, you know, really it was too bad. And obviously Alyssa did a lot of the leg work. Um, she had a lot of, you know, a lot of her network was down there, so she was kind of easier for her to get suggestions and finding a venue. We just kind of looked around. We wanted outdoors, we wanted everything to be outside. Um, and being in La and the weather, we knew, you know, wish it would be pretty safe to assume that it's not gonna rain. Um, and we had it in July, July 20th, and um, it was perfect. It was this outdoor venues, um, uh, botanical gardens. And, um, you know, Alyssa tasked me with finding a photographer or finding an EJJ. So the DJ I found from a local friend of mine, um, I shot their wedding and it was like, um, their DJ, but they, I played, they were also friends with them too.

30:41 So we've got a really good deal with that. And then I used, um, a, a photography service on that space out at a Chicago, um, that they hire a bunch of photographers all, all around the country. So we found them because I wasn't most of them talking for it. I knew a couple of photographers, but they're super expensive, like double the amount that I charge and we just did not have, it wasn't in our budget. Um, so the place that we found was in our budget, um, they're great. Um, uh, and w we are happy with the photos. Um, but I definitely, I definitely was, you know, like looking at some of the photographers of what they were doing and I was like, I was holding back. I wanted them, are you sure you want to put us in that angle? But I was holding back. Alyssa's like, don't let, let them do their job. So, but it was kinda funny though, so, um, yeah. But no, the wedding was great. Um, we had a ton of people and I'm looking at it, you know, uh, from the, from the client side, venue was awesome. Food was amazing, coordination was good, everything was pretty good. So we were very lucky with that. Um, cause I know we all run into, uh, some situations as a vendor now, but, um, but, uh, it's, it's always, it's always fun. Yeah. Oh Man.

32:02 Yeah. I got a call, we had a two weddings on Sunday. Matt calls me when I'd just gotten home from my wedding and he said, uh, so the bride is a how to medical emergency and passed out in the back. She did dehydration and collapsed and they, they'd had to call me a lot. So there's always, yeah, there's tiles. Always. Always. She was fine, but it was always, you know,

32:26 photographer there taking pictures of that.

32:28 Why I didn't tell him me, I said, you need to at least get a shot at the ambulance just so we have it just for historical about it, you know, not that we put it in, but just to have it

32:36 if they wanted to have it.

32:38 I mean it happened, you know?

32:40 Yeah. Hey, you're a journalist, right?

32:43 Somewhat. Yeah. I was going to ask you about that. So talk about kind of your styles, photography and obviously doing like the photo journalism, you know, in college, you mean, do you feel like that really obviously translates to how you capture the data? How do you kind of approach weddings now?

32:57 Yeah, you know, it's, ironically, I'm not really into the, the, the journalistic aspect of it, like the documentary style. Um, I'm not really, I'm more about just shooting like the, the candid moments and more of the fun and like bright and airy and just, um, I love when everything is sort of just simple and straight lines and there's nothing too, um, nothing too artistic. I mean I get a little artistic, um, but I'm more about just like the simple aspect of, of photography. It's so hard to explain. Um, I'm more of a bright and Airy, like I love Brighton area and it's the same thing from like my clients and stuff. I love meeting people and sitting down with them and talking to them and getting familiar with them. And just, you know, most people I kind of relate to are people who are just outgoing people and fun and, and um, exciting.

33:49 And um, and so, and I've stay more on like the, um, images that pop, you know, colors. Um, not as much the dark side of it, you know, I know there was, I don't even know what they call it, but these, a lot of these photographers do, um, that are more of like the, the no war aspect. I, I, I love no movies and I love Hitchcock and I love all that stuff. I just, I don't relate that in my photography. I like to see, I like images that pop more with colors, which is usually how I see it. Yeah.

34:25 What kinds of clients do you find that you attract and work with and that you're attracted to work with?

34:32 Um, definitely a people who are very outgoing and, um, love, like have, I've been very fortunate. Every single one of my clients have been awesome. Um, it's been, it's been a great journey and they've been super outgoing and, um, super excited with the process and just, you know, I'm very happy. I'm very happy people. I S I can't explain, like I just, I don't really like, um, nitpick at people. Um, and so I just been very fortunate with the, with the, the, the personalities that I've been kind of experiencing. Um, easygoing people have been, have been very consistent. Um, which has made my job cause I'm very easygoing and very personal. I talk a lot. So it's finding that, that common, that common bond. Um, and obviously everybody who is booked with me, it felt the same way. So it's been great. Um, so yeah.

35:32 Has it been an exciting day? Why you said, you know, starting out in, and I'm having a few weddings, you're moving up here and now, you know, just kind of building this history of, of work that you've done in clients and different venues you've seen and just having this, this quality of work. Now, is it exciting to have to kind of just seeing that grow here in Seattle over the last few years? You know, it's been held,

35:53 I mean a lot is like, yes, like, so once they start shooting all these places and meeting all these different coordinators, you know, I constantly get asked, Oh, do you know, you know, Kelly hope come, you know, who's a great, like a wedding planner and stuff. And, um, do you know this venue, um, have you shot here before and to answer all these questions, yes, yes, yes. Has been very, very important. Um, because people want to, people want to hire you if you shopped there before because you know the ins and outs. Um, and you know, even if I haven't even shot there before, I always, I always check out the venue before, um, if it's relatively close, I don't have to drive three, four hours. Um, I'll, I'll go there, I'll go there, I'll look at the venue, um, and I'll kind of get an idea of, um, you know, where to shoot different things.

36:38 Um, just on number line and when I go there or I'll show up, you know, 40 minutes earlier than schedule, look around. Um, but it's been really helpful just going shooting all around and getting familiar with cities and, and um, and just meeting different, um, vendors. Um, and just working with them again and again. Um, because I get asked all the time when, you know, do you know, DJ, do you know, videographer, do you know, uh, floral, do you know all these different, um, vendors and working, working so much, you know, shooting 20 weddings a year or so. Um, it's been given, has been able to, for me to, to, to learn all these places and people. Um, so it's been exciting to finally, now I can just have conversations. Like I do know that person and I do know that venue. Um, and it makes the, it makes and it makes you, you know, seem like you've been working a lot and that, and that, um, and that you're getting hired a lot and, uh, you know, and you've been in, you, you can help out. You'd have a couple, a lot by, uh, by knowing the different recommendations, you know?

37:40 Yeah. It say it's always finally made me, it just can't be under sold. Like you said, how important it is, like having that past experience where like if I can talk to a couple and like send them a video from their venue or like, especially now where I used to always ask, you know, who is your photographer? And now you know, it used to be I didn't know anybody and now you know, most of the time if not, I mean most of the time I know, you know, either boards with them or at least had heard about them or talked to them or whatever. These photographers, I mean it's so important to like, like you said, be able to like give that confidence back to people that you, you know, that you do to know the ins and outs. So you do know the personalities of the people or you have worked with the planner before.

38:16 Yep, totally agree.

38:18 What do you wish more people kind of asked, uh, in terms of like wedding, uh, you know, w looking, looking at photographers, doing research, what do you wish more people I asked or thought about or researched or, you know, paid attention to?

38:34 You know, I think what I am, what I usually walk into is really, it's really tough to see. Um, a lot of the couples don't see the photography aspect of um, the venue. Like most of the time the venue is already been chosen, but if they haven't been chosen yet and they're bouncing back and forth, I kind of look at it as well, if it's, is it super dark, um, if it's really dark, you know, you have to look at it like it's going to be tricky for photographers, um, to really get, um, the image that they're hoping for. Like, you know, these, these clients go, you know, I really want these really cool epic shots of these, you know, amazing photos and stuff like that. But I'm like, well, you know, your venue is going to be, this venue is going to be trickier to get versus suspend you.

39:19 So it's doing the research and looking at, I would s I always suggest if they haven't picked a venue is go online, search that venue and add like photography to it. And then you'll see galleries of that venue that other photographers or photos that other videographers have shot. Um, and they're all online and you could, you can watch them and see them and then you can see how, how other photographers have done that venue. And then that way they can go to the console and say, hey, we're thinking about this venue and these are some of the images we saw. There's just something that you're, you know, that you, that your style is in or can you shoot something like this? Um, so, and it's really refreshing when, when I'm at these wedding shows and night someone comes up to me and says, do you, are you good with low light photography?

40:06 Because that means that they know that there are venues dark, um, in, in advanced, and they know that they got to find a specific photographer who can handle that. Um, and it's good that they ask those questions because hiring a photographer site on scene and just not knowing these things and then they, they, you know, they don't know that their photographer really specializes in bright venues. And so it's just nice knowing that the fatality that the couples can do a little research on that side of it. It just knowing, um, what type of photography is needed for their venue. Um, and sometimes you don't always get that. Um, and sometimes you do, which was great.

40:44 Yeah, no, I think he, I know what you mean. Where the essentially like, just knowing how the several photographs are not, I mean like, you know, we'd been to somebody's whose lately where, you know, it is more challenging and like we were just at the Antwan or on, um, on Saturday and it is, you know, it's a really yellow room and bright windows and the water outside and it's really bright and it's mixed and it's hard. And I mean, it's challenging, you know, for even with a photographer with flash or not. And especially like for us shooting the video, it's, you know, you just need to be no kind of like, be realistic about your goals and expectations, but, you know, marry the balance of wanting to pick somewhere that maybe is important to you or as convenient or as cool or has history there. And then also like what is actually possible at that venue. You know what I mean?

41:33 Right.

41:35 Yes. I mean it's, you know, and sometimes you just, you don't have couples just don't, you know, really care too much about it and they just trust that photographers can do it. And, you know, and I do, you know, I give them, you know, reassurance and I, I've trusted myself and I always, you know, there's never been a venue where I turn away. I'm not gonna do that. Um, and I can shoot pretty much anywhere. Um, and especially with the cameras these days, you know, they can handle pretty much a lot, a lot of stuff. Um, but it's nice and refreshing when couples really do research on the different things they really want. Um, what are important to them, um, at a wedding, what type of images they want taken. Um, I always ask them if they want, you know, if there's a shot list.

42:20 Um, you know, and we work on a timelines before. Just people who are really involved in their wedding, um, really helps with the process. Um, so if I can, you know, always if I can see and suggest something to couples out there is definitely just to do some research on the different things you really want at the wedding and it's your day, you know, so you, you should make it the way you want it and um, write it all down. Um, and when you meet the different vendors and stuff, you know, meet with your video people, your photographers, your catering people just know what, what, what you want and ask questions. Well, what's your goals now? You know, the next few years down the line, you made obviously tremendous change and growth in the last five years and starting a family and relocating and all that. W where do you, where are you trying to improve? Where are you trying to expand? Where do you want to get better?

43:11 Um, definitely I would love to. I mean, you know, I have a family so I want to make more money. Uh, the object is basically support your family as much as possible so you're not stressing out every month. Um, but the shoot more weddings a year, um, would be great. Um, and um, you know, just better myself with, um, better myself with curry doing blogs, um, getting my work more out there for the world to see more. Um, right now it's really tough with the kids and with um, uh, sitting down at the computer for a long period of time and really trying to design, you know, ads and stuff like that. And just so in the next year or so I really want to apply myself with getting my name and my brand out there more and shooting more and meeting more people, meeting more people in the industry.

44:04 And, um, and so, you know, doing more networking. Um, I just feel like it's super important to, to, you know, network with the people in your industry because I'm always, I'm always there to help people out, um, as much as possible because I feel like, you know, um, we all should be able to do that and we can, we can take advantage from that, that we can all help each other out and help each other grow. Um, in the industry. Um, you don't there, there doesn't have to be competition. Um, cause every style is different and everybody, you know, it's, it's, it, it, yeah. So I dunno, I just, I just want to grow more as a brand and, and do more stuff online and um, and just network with people in our industry more.

44:57 That's good. Uh, before I let you go, what do you wish more people knew about you? Uh, it could be, you know, how you like to work. It could be something you do for fun. What do you wish more people knew, uh, about you personally?

45:10 Um, oh man. Um, I guess, I guess I wish people would know more. How about a part of my personality and how outgoing and more and how fun I am. Um, cause it's hard when you're, when photographer, when, um, when pop the potential clients are looking at your website to really know who the person is behind the camera. Um, and I feel like once you have a sit down with me and we talk about, you know, the day that you, you know, your wedding day and, and go over details, you'll see like, you know, how, how fun and outgoing I am and, um, and how I, how I approach, you know, shooting your wedding and stuff and just, just knowing like your what kind of, what the type of person you're really gonna get when you meet me. Um, I just, I dunno, it's, it's, I wish more people could just see like this video is great cause I hope people watch it and um, and cause they'll, they'll kind of get an idea, oh that Mike's a really nice guy. He talks a lot, but he's a nice guy. So, yeah. I don't know.

46:21 No, it's stuffy. You know, they say they, uh, you know, if you're like for clients, like in life photographers, like they'll look at like the first three or four images or whatever, and then they make a decision. Or like with video, you know, they're watching 10 seconds, 15 seconds whenever it is. And it's like online dating too, you know, where it's like swipe. So I was like, and like, you know, there, there's people in there behind that, right, that, you know, behind your work or behind whoever's work, you know, there's a person with a life and a family and you know, like you said, personality and you know, you want to find to it, it's so hard to balance, you know, the work and then budgets and then just having people spend the time to get to know people. I mean, it's, it's incredibly difficult.

47:00 Well, and that's why I think it's, it's great doing these wedding shows because, you know, that really gave me my, my platform to have conversations with people who normally probably wouldn't, you know, see me. They would just, we'd be chatting on email and you know, I, it's hard writing and talking to email and texting and all this stuff. So when you come in, you chat with me for a few minutes or so, you kind of get an idea instantly. And even if it's really busy there and stuff like that, I always tell people, you know, I send them, I and I don't do the, um, um, the bulk emails. I sent everybody an email individually and I say, Hey, you know, if you didn't have enough time to chat with me, I'd love to meet up with you afterwards. Um, we can, we can sit down and chat and you can get to know, you can get to know me more. Um, cause I know how busy and hectic it was at the show. So I'm all for like communicating and, and talking to them. Um, and I think doing the show is doing the wedding shows are a great way for couples to really, Umm, know their photographer or know their videographer and know their vendor. Um, so I encourage everybody to go to these wedding shows. Um, the Seattle wedding show, January. Um, so, uh, yeah, so it's, it's a great way to really, um, uh, meet your person that you're going to hire.

48:12 Yeah. You know, and people may say, you know, it's so tough nowadays we'd be a wedding shows and you know, changing times and there's different types of wedding shows and you know, tours now and big shows and small shows and that. But I still think, like you said yet ultimately, however it is, you still need to like find people and talk to them face to face. And so whatever form that takes, whether it's in a convention hall or if it's at like we did that brew fest, I don't know, whatever thing where it was like come have a beer and talked to wedding vendors. And that was, I have all sorts of thoughts about that one. But you know, it's ultimately though you're trying to get people in front of people and find connections and find, you know, a way to make it work.

48:54 Yup. Totally.

48:56 Well, Mike, I know you are a incredibly busy guy and I wanted to thank you so much for coming on and making the time in between work and travel and kids and stuff. I really appreciate it. And you know, I tell everybody that does it this time of year, you know, in wedding season that takes the time, you know, shows her dedication and I really do appreciate you carving out some time to come on the podcast today.

49:16 Yeah, man, thanks a lot. I'm glad it worked out and glad we were able to find a time and uh, yeah, anytime. Um, I'd be down to do it again. This was fun.

49:24 Yeah. If people want to learn more about you and you, you know, your photography and your style of work and personality and everything, where would you have them go check out.

49:32 Uh, you can go to my website, Um, you can go to my Instagram account, Mike Tabolsky Photography, um, and a Facebook page, Mike Tabolsky Photography, and you can click on this link that's going to be posted soon to listen to this awesome podcast.

49:50 Perfect. Yeah. Thank you. Again, if you are a like Mike and you're wedding vendor, that's a interested in coming on the podcast. So you can go to That's a nice easy questionnaire I have as a a way set up to kind of get into the system. I didn't make Mike do that cause I know Mike, but if you are a stranger or someone that's interested in coming on that, that's a great way to start. And Mike, I just want to say thanks again and uh, this has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro® check back next week for another wedding interview. Thanks so much!

Irene Jones, IJ Photo

00:01 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 good long time friend. I was trying to figure out how many years we've known each other through the wedding show and we finally got to work together a couple of weekends ago and that wasn't the most unfortunate situation in the world either. Uh, it is Irene Jones, with IJ Photo. Why don't you introduce yourself, tell us who you are and what'd you do? I'm so excited for this.

00:40 Hey Reid. Hi, I'm Irene. I own IJ Photo and yeah, I'm a wedding photographer. I've been working in weddings for 20 years and love it.

00:50 Yeah, I mean it really does just kind of seem like you're everywhere, whether you're working or you know, working for other people or other people are for you. It just seems kind of like your web is vast. Would you agree with that?

01:02 Um, you know, would be nice to feel that way. I think it's probably easier to see it a outside. I always think I'm just living in a cave by myself.

01:12 But you're, you stay busy and, and you, you love what you do.

01:15 Oh, absolutely. Yeah.

01:16 So what is it about, you know, weddings in particular that kind of excites you? I know you do a lot of, you know, other things as well, but kind of what is it about weddings, photography that kind of gets your juices flowing?

01:28 I like storytelling. I've always been interested in ways to tell stories. I at one point thought about being a journalist, um, and then I thought, oh well maybe I'll be a novelist. I just wanted to do something that communicated the human experience. And then photography kind of fell in my lap right around, Oh, I would say high school. And I just thought this was a really cool way that you could share a story as well as create something that was visual and communicated quickly.

01:57 Yeah. And you have such a wonderful story on your website about, you know, kind of growing up and your, your mother taking photos in. Do you care to share that? It's such a wonderful kind of thing to go through.

02:08 Oh my gosh, this, this story embarrasses my mom all the time. Um, my mom was an avid photographer, but she is terrible, like the world's worst photographer. In fact, uh, she has a slideshow on our screensaver, on our computer at home of every bad photo she's ever taken. But she doesn't realize that they're bad. Like she won't even take out the bad exposure. She won't even take out blurry stuff. Everything she's ever shot is on the screensaver. And people come over and they just watch it for hours and kind of laugh about how bad her photography is. But she was always taking pictures and she was, um, documenting every minute of our lives. And it just became something that was a part of my experience as a child. And I, you know, I connected to her that way. And then, you know, when I picked up a camera, I wanted to do something a little bit better. I wanted to kind of elevate the, the thing that she was doing. She was history, but I wanted to tell the story of families and people [inaudible].

03:04 Yeah. And it is so funny because you know, and I see posts and discussions all the time about, uh, you know, obviously we want everything to be perfect and for photo or video or you know, any, anything and, and ultimately, you know, even if it's capturing something that, and you're thinking like, man, this is, you know, the exposure's off or the, the focus is off. But yeah, you might come to find out later on from a client, right? Like I've heard stories, oh, that was, you know, my grandma and we wanted that photo or, or whatever. Right. If that people really do care about kind of the emotion and the memories of that. And sometimes it is hard to kind of overlook that as like perfectionist as we are.

03:42 Oh, absolutely. Yeah. There's pictures that my mom has that are, like I said, terrible, but are super important because that's the one photo with a great grandma that I met one time when I was six. You know, that stuff's valuable.

03:56 Yeah. It's getting to be crazy years from now and like everybody has, you know, photos of every second of everything and it's going to be right. Do you ever think about that?

04:05 Oh, absolutely. My kids are like, mom, you don't have a picture of me from when I was six months in three weeks old. And I'm like, I'm sorry that I failed you as a parent.

04:16 So you said you got your camera in high school and what was the kind of a growth in from that where you just kind of doing stuff, you know, around the, Oh, I'm the, you know, whatever. What, how, how did you kind of grow as a photographer from there?

04:30 Uh, well I started doing our school journalism newspaper thing and they needed a photographer and they handed me a digital camera. And this shows how old I am that you actually put floppy disks into. And each floppy disk would hold two images and you could maybe print those images like five by seven black and white. It was super low tech, but I thought that was amazing and it was fun to play with. And so when a friend of mine in our journalism class said, hey, my older brother's marrying this girl, um, to get a green card and we need a photographer, if I give you 90 bucks, will you show up? I was like, hell yeah. So my very first wedding was a green card wedding. Uh, and there was a guy from immigration chilling in the front row to make sure it was legit.

05:16 How did that go? How were the photos?

05:19 Uh, they were terrible. Well, you know, at the time, of course I thought that I was like God's gift to photography of course. But yeah, it got the job done. We got some family pictures and everybody is happy. But yeah, I've hopefully improved since then. Yeah, just a little bit.

05:37 Ah, that's so funny. It's so funny to think about just trying to envision that that camera too. I just, most of the people in news, I never had to do like the whole tape to tape thing that I was kind of that first generation that really everything I've ever done has been digital except for like they forced us to expose like film in College, you know? But um, yeah, it's just funny to think like just the waves of generations in, you know, people nowadays probably don't even know where the floppy disk is, so

06:05 probably not. Yeah, my kid said one time like, mom, that looks like the save icon. And I'm like, yeah baby. That, that's what that is.

06:14 That was like the story. There was something about, um, like the phone, I sat on the iPhone or the app for the phone. Then people were like, what is that? Or what, what, what is that supposed to be at? Is the, it looks like the same icon this to too funny. Uh, so did you go to school then for, you know, photography? You said you, you did journalism in high school. How did that go?

06:37 Yeah, I actually went to the art institute of Seattle. I'm rip on that. They close last year. But, uh, yeah, I got a degree in commercial photography. Thought I was going to be a fashion photographer and work for catalogs and j crew and do modeling and stuff like that and got into fashion a little bit and realized fashion sucked and I wasn't happy. Uh, so a friend, another friend was like, Hey, do you want to shoot a wedding? And I said, yeah, why not? I'm poor and I shot another wedding. And I was like, this is something that had those cool elements of fashion but didn't necessarily come with the heroin addiction or the terrible people.

07:16 Oh my God, it's so high. So how did that guy then, how, how did that wedding go?

07:20 Oh, that one went much better. Um, I was really excited about it. I brought a friend along from school and you know, we were geeking out about how to do indoor lighting and outdoor lighting and how to do all of the different elements that go into a wedding and really picked up quickly that you have to have a lot of different skillsets to shoot a wedding. You have to be good at shooting details, you have to be good at working with people, you have to be good at, you know, time management, all of these things. And I, I liked that it was a confluence of a lot of different skills.

07:51 Yeah, that's true. I think that it's very Andrew valued. Yeah. Like you said, kind of like the social aspects and being able to do staff in a short period of time and being able to work, you know, where you got 20 minutes to get whatever details you need to get done before, you know, whenever you have your one chance to do. I mean, it's still kind of an exhilarating rush, right? Kind of like, I guess like fashion.

08:13 Absolutely. Yeah.

08:17 Well, so then was that the didn't, were you always going to kind of do photography then? Did you have any other kinds of fun parttime jobs along the way? I know you met your husband, I was reading, uh, at the movie theater, right?

08:27 Yeah. Uh, in high school, senior year I met my husband. We both worked at the same movie theater and, um, I kind of, as soon as I picked up a camera, I knew that's where I wanted to go. I knew that photography was for me. The other option was congress. So I think I chose the right path. What do you mean? Oh, I used to joke that I was going to be a senator.

08:51 You do have kind of a official sounding name. I could see that. Jen. So you say you met your husband. I was reading about it and putting a trashcan on your head and trying to get his attention after, after work.

09:04 Yeah, I'm kind of a door, uh, and I don't mind embarrassing myself to get a good laugh, um, which has come in handy in my work, but he's this really straight-laced, kind of quiet, deep thinking individual. And I couldn't get his attention. So I was sitting in the box office one day trying to flirt with him and having no flirting skills. I was like, well, there's a trashcan right there. What if I stuck it on my head and like, you know, acted like an idiot. Maybe he'd pay attention to me and I did it and it got stuck below my elbows so I couldn't get it off by myself. So I'm sitting here in this garbage can when he's trying to finish up his night and like counting out money and he's just completely ignoring me. Uh, but it works cause we went out on a date not too long after that and we'd been married for 15 years.

09:57 Yeah. That's great. So how was your wedding? What was that like?

10:01 Oh my gosh, my wedding was such a hot mess. I have a big family and a really, um, different relationship to like organization with my family. Like I'm very organized. I like things to go according to plan. I write lists, I make diagrams, they are not that kind of people. So, uh, we got married in Portland and then we had another reception in Seattle the next day and I kind of was expecting everybody to help, like read the diagrams, read the flow charts and stuff and figure out where things were supposed to go. They just completely ignored it and did it their own way. And it was fine because you know, all the people I liked were there and we had a good time.

10:43 Oh my God, uh, our, our, the photos from your wedding.

10:47 I'm awful. I went cheap. I didn't know better at the time. I'd only shot a couple of weddings and I went to the Seattle wedding show and I found the cheapest photographer in the place and I didn't really care if the photos looked kind of decent. And I thought, ah, this'll work. Dropped down my 600 bucks. That's another um, example of how old I am. And uh, they came out and they shot stuff that sucked and I wasn't happy at all. And I learned the lesson the hard way that you get what you pay for.

11:25 Yeah, it's set ready. So that's crazy. See you went into the sea, you've had a very long life with the Seattle wedding show cause that's obviously kind of how we'd cause then you've been participating in that for right. As long as I can remember.

11:38 Yeah. Well I think this next year will be seven years.

11:42 That's crazy. That's good. Good. Uh, so you guys got married, you, you had a couple of weddings under your belt and then I was kind of reading about you opening up a studio and do you me to kind of get into that part of it?

11:54 Yeah, so around like 2011 I was thinking I want her to expand beyond weddings and I wanted to do portraits too. So I opened up a studio in Everett and it was really busy, like working 80, 90 hours a week doing high school seniors, doing newborns, families, weddings, all of it. And uh, that winter I caught moto and sometimes when you get motto your spleen can become enlarged and all it takes is a good kick to the gut and your spleen or rupture. And I had a two year old whose favorite thing to do is head but people and we're pretty sure that what happened is he headbutted me one too many times and my spleen ruptured. So that December, um, I went in the hospital for a good week and a half and nearly bled to death. That was pretty fun. But it came out of it, um, after about three and a half months of bed rest. And my doctor told me I probably shouldn't work as hard as I was doing. So I had, uh, another hard lesson where I had to figure out what work life balance looked like for me. And that meant closing the studio. And it meant going back to just, just weddings because weddings first of all was what I loved. But secondly, it wasn't honestly as hard as doing some of the other stuff.

13:13 That's crazy. Yeah. Cause I, you know, being uh, self, you know, employee, whatever you want to say. I mean it's always, I always worry about that too, right. Where it's like such a, you know, it's so tied to you and kind of on your shoulders and you know, what do you do if like that happens and you have this like life changing experience. I mean, that's crazy.

13:32 Yeah. I mean, luckily the, I only had a couple clients booked that for that coming year and they were incredibly, uh, understanding about it. Um, I, I still feel bad about missing a couple of those weddings cause you know, I really wanted to be there for those people, but it turned out okay and by the next summer I was back and on my feet and things were good.

13:56 So you've kind of always, I mean it sounds like from kind of day one, like you said, you knew you wanted to do fun though and, and I mean, have you, have you always kind of been self employed like that? I mean, have you always kind of done?

14:07 Yeah. Um, yeah, after I worked at the movie theater and met my husband, I took a job at JC penny's doing portraits in their little photo studio for about a year. And then I worked at like tiny computers back when you could buy computers at the mall. And that was my last job before I worked for myself.

14:29 That's crazy. Yeah. I, the, I just always remember, uh, I used to have a guy that did drone stuff for me and he was, he was always really proud about that. Right. But he'd always kind of had his own, you know, working odd jobs but never really working for the man. Like, you know, like, cause I kind of had to pull myself away from that. And so what, what is it, were you ever nervous? It did just kind of go, I mean, it just seems like it just kinda builds upon itself. I mean, obviously you've been doing this for a long time now.

14:57 Oh, tra. Oh read. I am too stupid to be nervous about stuff like that. I just get excited about things and I'm really passionate and then I go for it headlong without really thinking. [inaudible]

15:09 so did you know when you want a, you know, when you wanted to set up kind of a, you know, your business and what kind of a brand you wanted to have, what kind of clients you want to do with track? Did you just want to do as much as you can? Was it hard to kind of make that path or,

15:24 I've always been looking for a particular client, like I like average ordinary people because I feel like their stories aren't represented enough. I love telling stories about, you know, a couple who, uh, were next door neighbors or something when they were kids and then they ended up together. Or people that, you know, came from across the country, sleepless in Seattle style. I, I think that so often, you know, we think that romance has to be this like big kind of movie, epic, um, thing or it has to be hard. But there's a lot of people that have great stories and once you get to talking to them, you can find that out. So I like, I like people that are just in love and are interested in, you know, building a relationship with one another. So if they fit that category, I want to work with them.

16:16 Yeah, that's, that's interesting. It's interesting. Yeah. I mean, especially nowadays with like, you know, online and Instagram and Pinterest and there's just like all this confluence of, you know, huge EBIT, you know, just all sorts of crazy staff and people get married or um, yeah, get married like above the Grand Canyon on nets and all this crazy stuff. And I'm like, but you know, like, I mean that's Kinda, I feel like we're a similar, you know, breed to where it's like you just to happy people and a family and you know, maybe they met in school or like you guys and you know, work together and you know, just kind of goes from there. Right.

16:54 Yeah. I think that everybody's story is valuable and just because someone did something epic for their wedding doesn't make it their love. Any less important than somebody who's like, Hey, I know a great wedding venue down the street from where I grew up. Let's go there.

17:09 No, absolutely. So what is the, what is the Irene, what does a wedding for you kind of look like? What is, what is the process of kind of working with you and how do you try to try to differentiate whether it's style or um, you know, customer service or how do you try to kind of do your thing?

17:26 I want my clients to not feel like they have to spend too much time worrying about a camera. So I spend a lot of time telling them, don't look in the camera, don't even think about you know, what you're doing. I'll give you a direction. The whole way through. 90% of my clients say to me, I don't know what to do in front of the camera. We don't have a lot of pictures of ourselves, like even our Selfie sock. And I'm always trying to help them feel really natural and just kind of enjoy the experience. And everybody always says, oh, that was way more fun than I thought it would be. And I'm like, yeah, that's the idea. If you're miserable during this process, then you're going to look miserable and you're going to remember being miserable when you look at the photos later. I also try to just get to know people, you know, when you sit down and have a real conversation with someone, you find out things, you find out, oh yeah, you know, we've got a dog and we love, you know, going to this particular park or something like that.

18:22 Those little details can help fill in the gaps of a story and give you ideas of how to talk to someone to make them comfortable in front of the camera.

18:32 Yeah, it's tough. I mean I, I think it's something that's not talked about enough. Like people do get really nervous or it's really hard or you know, people aren't used to being in front of the camera. I mean, both of our weddings this weekend were like, I mean they were just tapped out cause I just think people aren't used to having, you know, 5,000 photos of them taken and you know, portraits and family and all this stuff. And you know, we does, I mean both of them, we just, they just were totally, you know, kind of just really fried at the end. And how do you, yeah. And I feel bad. Right. Cause I'm like, I'm talking about Dorothy about it and I'm like, you know, like I feel like, you know, we build up an endurance for that. And you know, you're kind of used to going through this 10 hour a day or eight or whatever and kind of going through that, like how do you try to make it easier for people or how do you kind of work on that? Cause this is something that we've, I've just been thinking about a lot the last couple of days.

19:25 Oh, you know, I tried to keep it moving, that's for sure. Um, I know when I've got a shot and I tend to shoot, uh, pretty quickly, that way we can move on from things, you know, one step to the next. If I feel like if we spend more than five, 10 minutes in one spot with a couple, they're going to get bored. I'm going to get bored. And so I try to find five to seven different places that during pictures with a couple so we can keep moving. And that really helps. And always, you know, having the couple move in front of the camera's great to having them walking, having them jumping, running, you know, spinning each other, kissing any of those things. As long as they're not just standing there and thinking about how awkward they might feel in front of a camera.

20:07 Yeah, I think that's a good plan. I mean, I even have memories, you know, if I'm like getting ready to edit something and I'm like, Oh yeah, this is, so we had to do like an hour and a half of family photos. So like I remember that like burden, you know, like you, it kind of leaves feelings on you right afterwards. Like those, I guess those memories, right? Like it kind of, we, you remember that. Right. And so I think obviously if you're feeling that then the couples, obviously you guys would be feeling that.

20:31 Oh yeah. And I tell a lot of dumb jokes and that helps a lot too.

20:36 What's your best go to dumb joke.

20:38 Oh, I don't have a best go, go to. I tend to just say whatever ridiculous thing comes to mind. And generally it makes no sense. And people just laugh cause I stupid. [inaudible]

20:49 that's awesome. My uh, my, my favorite is, um, you're welcome to steal this is uh, doing the family photos in the, you get the big one, then you go all right. This the most expensive Christmas card further you ever gonna take always and always gets a good laugh cause pretty good. I like that. Thank you. Yeah, you're welcome to steal that. So, uh, so you primarily, you know, obviously she didn't the in Seattle or whatever. I mean, do you, do you like the area up or do you like the variety? Do you like, you know, the, the community here, obviously you have tons of friends in sobriety to be talking about kind of, you know, like you said, you feel like you live in the cave or I think we get stuck a lot and you know, and I do too. I stand a lot of time in front of this computer editing and you know, obviously doing the podcast and stuff as a great way to network as well. But how do you, you know, get along up here and get to know people and, and do you enjoy that aspect of it?

21:47 Um, well, I love Seattle. I'm a native, uh, grew up here since I was five, moved from Portland when I was little. Uh, and it's always been home. And I love the fact that the northwest has such a good variety of people and places and things to do stuff. I mean, it's great that I can drive 30 minutes and go hiking and I can drive 30 minutes and end up at the beach, you know, or an hour and a half ended up in Canada. I, I love the fact that we've got it, a lot of diversity here of things to do and I love that. Uh, Seattle's grown, we're getting a lot more diversity of people too, which I think is great. I mean, uh, it's one of those things where the more varieties of different people and things in places you can put into one area, the more interesting it gets. Like, I'm, I'm a big fan of travel. Uh, I will if I didn't live here, I think I'd live in Manhattan just because there's so many different people, so many different things to see. So many things to do. Uh, but to your second question, like how do I network, uh, just try to be myself and be a good person generally like talk to everybody, be nice to everybody cause we all, we all want that. We all want to be treated good.

22:52 Yeah. Sorry, I was just having a conversation with Mckayla the other day with sugar and spice events. You know, she, the podcast just dropped today and we were really talking about that too. How it does seem like Seattle is a pretty warm, is a pretty friendly area. You know, I hear stories a lot online and read about really a lot of chaos between vendors and photographers and video or planners or venues kind of, you know. Do you feel like Seattle is, is a pretty welcoming, um, you know, obviously, I mean I only really primarily worked here, but what, what's your thoughts about that?

23:26 Yeah. Um, I, I've traveled a lot and I've shot weddings all over the country and, um, Mexico too. And I've never really had a problem with vendors anywhere. So I don't know if it's just the wedding community or if it's a wedding community in Seattle or, or what, but I know that when you come into a situation saying, hey, I want to help you, I want to work with you. Things tend to tend to go well. [inaudible]

23:50 how do you keep things fresh, uh, for you in terms of doing weddings? You know, some people I think outside the world think weddings, it's a lot of kind of rinse and repeat, you know, week to week. How do you, you know, make each couple unique and really focus on the details of those specific, you know,

24:06 memories? Oh, that's a great question. Um, I think first is getting to know the people. I try to find out what's different and unique about them. Uh, people do tend to, when you start asking them questions, especially here in the northwest, they give you the same answers. Oh yeah. You know, I'm an engineer and we like to go hiking. And I'm like, yeah, yeah, yeah. Tell me a little bit more like, I like hearing things like, uh, my favorite soda is Phanta you know, cause things like that. Give me a little details into, into how you interact. And I like paying attention to those little things. And then when we get to the day of, I'm always trying to one up myself. Like I think what did I do last week? How can I do it better? And I've always got a shot list in my head of these ultimate shots that I want to take and I'm looking for a way to improve every single time so it never gets stale.

24:59 Yeah, it's really tough. You know, why you say getting to know the people and, and especially for like, you know, you were, you know, you work so closely with them all day and it's like, you know, once you buck, you know, you really gotta figure out how you're going to connect with them. [inaudible] you know, you're, it's so like tied in, you're just with them, you know, all day. And I just didn't even think people really get that. Like, you know, when you book your photo or video or whatever, like all that, you know, I mean yeah. And obviously we try to give them breaks and okay. But you know, I mean it's like it's your, might as well be another member of the bridal party, you know?

25:33 Absolutely. And I think too, it helps that I meet with my clients beforehand. I always do an in person consultation and then I insist on a one month consultation face to face, um, with everybody where we walked through the venue. Even if it's a venue that I've shot at a hundred times, I still want to go through and walk through and see what you like about it because it's going to be different. Everybody does things for different reasons.

25:58 Yeah, that's a great point. It just because like, obviously like even, yeah, you said the same kind of venue [inaudible] someone might really love totally different aspects of it or totally view at it until you know, oh, you got this shoot the same place two weeks in a row and it's set up totally different. And you're like, what were they thinking? But you know, it makes sense to them, you know?

26:20 Yup. Every time it's always different.

26:24 Talk about Kinda your, your family and your home life. I know that that's, you know, a huge part of who you are and, and you know, what kind of makes you, you and, and what do you do when you're not photographing weddings?

26:34 Well, I'm a mom of four, which is funny because everyone says that, that means like, I've got 700 kids because I have four of them. But yeah, I've got a big family, came from a big family. Um, I like being a mom. I like hanging out with my kids and doing weird stuff. We're, we're always out trying to hike and explore. Um, last weekend the kids didn't want to go with me, so I did Wallace falls by myself, which was nice. But uh, yeah. Yeah, we're just, we're just average Pacific northwesterners we, we like to travel. Um, just took my two oldest kids to New York a couple of weeks ago. Um, I studied a lot of art history in college, so I was walking around, quizzing my kids the whole time, like, tell me what the neo, you know, Greek classical period was all about. And can you tell me the difference between Art Deco Architecture and uh, the Post Roman revival? And my kids are like, what? So that was fun.

27:34 You would, yeah. You would get along with Dorothy. Dorothy is a art Esri major too. I don't know any of that stuff in it. Trivia at Trivia. She cleans up on that part of it.

27:42 Yeah. I think we would get along.

27:45 Uh, but, and then you, I, you said you guys love, you know, love hiking and seeing the outdoors.

27:49 Yeah, we're big hikers. We try to go every weekend that we can and I think I'm doing it for selfish reasons. I'm always kind of secretly scouting. That's a good point. Yeah. Oh, and it, it gets the kids to play together, you know, and get out from behind their screens.

28:06 How do you balance kind of now obviously we talked about, you know, with the CDO and all about [inaudible] and really happened to focus on the work life balance. You obviously with four kids. How do you, you know,

28:17 manage all that? Ah, you know, a lot of it was learning how to spend less time behind my computer and um, a lot of that came from just getting better at editing, took a lot more classes, spend a lot of time watching youtube videos and you know, learning some better tricks of the trade. And some of it just comes from saying, Hey, five o'clock hits, I'm done on Monday through Friday, you know, and taking Mondays and Sundays off and saying, you know, if I don't have a wedding on Saturday and I don't have a wedding on a Sunday, then I'm taking Sunday off.

28:53 How do you, what do you, when you talk about like, you know, be a better editor, cutting down time when we do you think, cause obviously that's something that, you know, video people, you know, they, I hear people that spend like hundreds of hours on set, but like how do you, do, you know, you're just more efficient now having done it a long time and, and kind of delivering or how do you kind of

29:13 work through that? Yeah, my, my workflow has begun, has gotten a lot better because of practice, first of all. But secondly, I, I edit pretty clean. I don't spend a lot of time with like tweaking colors and things like that to make them look like faded. I, I'd avoid trends because, you know, I feel like those are gonna get outdated pretty quickly and cleaner edits tend to just go a little bit quicker. That, and I used to do things where I would like pull out every single exit sign in a room, you know, and I do a little bit less of that and more chute kind of. So there's less editing and that helps.

29:54 Yeah, it's tough because, you know, I, um, we had a wedding that my other guys shot. Uh, Matt, other guy, my partner Matt shot and you know, I was like, oh yeah, I just kind of finished the base of it and you know, it took me, I don't know, four or five hours and he was like, what do you mean like Duh, Duh, Duh Duh, Duh. And I'm like, dude, when you, you know, after a while, once you've been doing that, I mean, you do just get used to being more efficient, you know? And I think even like people that do photography, you know, when that's what you're doing and you're always in that mindset and kind of looking for stuff and like you said, shooting and figuring out a way to do, you knows, shoot it so you don't have to do as much work in policy. I mean, I think that it speaks just to obviously people doing it a lot more and being a lot more, you know, comfortable and efficient with it.

30:39 Oh yeah, absolutely. That, and I learned a long time ago that you should really only deliver the good stuff. You know, for a long time I thought, oh, you know what, I shot 2,500 images. I'm going to give these clients 2,500 images. The only problem with that is they're only gonna want a fifth of those. You know? So many of them are going to be duplicates where I can tell the difference, but they're not going to see the difference. So I do a lot of editing down for images that are close or similar, so my clients don't have to spend hours and hours and hours editing through to find their perfect ones. They know that the final set is all of the perfect ones.

31:19 Yeah. It's like there are, they now take like a selfie and there'd be like two identical ones. It's like, okay, well which one is which one of these is better than your, like it's, it's the exact same [inaudible] it's just one second different. You could spend years

31:34 agonizing over that [inaudible]

31:36 oh yeah. And you were talking a lot about trends and we've talked to people on the podcast too about that. I mean it is tough nowadays where there are like definitely right now, like there are definite trends of, you know, a certain photographers and certain styles and yeah. Is that hard to like, not cause like I'm kind of the same way. Like we just kind of do what we do. And I mean there's video trends too and, and obviously you want to like not be shooting like it's the 80s but you also want it to be, you know, so how do you kind of balance out between staying true to your style, but then also like, obviously you're trying, you know, we're all trying to attract like young couples getting married, you know,

32:17 so I feel like good taste never goes out of style. So you look for something that's classic and really beautiful because of the design elements, because of the styling. And then what's in the photo of course is going to change depending on the times. But artistry, especially good artistry is always going to look good no matter what the trend is.

32:38 Yeah, I just, it's some of the stuff, you know, you just see things nowadays in, you're like, is this is just going to be so dated? It's like with the um, with the black and white with like the, I like the red flower or something, you know, like that. What is that call? That selective color. Yeah. You know, but it's stuff like that. I mean, what do you do? You look at stuff nowadays and just think, God, in five years this is going to look like this is really a 2019 wedding.

33:01 I think you can't help it because I mean, the style of clothes, the style of what people want to do, there's, there's always going to be some of that. But like I said, I mean a beautiful wedding photo from like the 1950s that really shows light and composition and has all of that great structure to it. It's still gonna look great today. I am a huge fan of Audrey Hepburn and she had a photographer that followed her through most of her career and I've got several books of his work and of course his name is escaping me now, so that's going to suck. But um, all of his work of her, she looks amazing and all of it because of the lighting and the way that he styled her and the posing and that stuff doesn't get old. You could do the exact same lighting and the exact same posing as Audrey Hepburn in the fifties and sixties and it would still look just as fresh today.

33:50 That's a good point. We had a bride, a, I guess it was last weekend, and she got ready. It hurt her childhood home and the mom had this huge frame picture of, you know, her wedding on the wall. She's getting ready. And it was like totally like my mom and dad had the same photo and you know, everybody's out. Like, what is it about like that, you know, 1980, when the hell did they get married? Probably 70 78 you know, what is it about that style that just totally, you can just pinpoint the exact kind of decade that those five of those took place.

34:22 Oh it's so true. You can really feel it. My oldest sister got married in like 96 and we had flower crowns and big poofy sleeves and some of that's coming back and I'm just cringing so hard about it.

34:39 That's funny. What do you wish more people, um

34:44 hmm

34:44 you thought of to ask, you know, when it comes to like photography, you know, do you find like you're having a lot of the same conversations with people about, you know, it can be anything, you know, workflow or delivering images or what do you wish more people just asked when it came to like shopping for a wedding photographer?

35:00 Oh my gosh, I wish they asked about logistics. Like everybody asks about style. Everybody asks about, you know, timeline, but ask about when am I getting my photos, how many am I going to get? And stuff like that because those are the things you can compare vendor to vendor. I know style is so subjective that, I mean that doesn't really matter at the end of the day you pick a style that you like, but knowing, you know, here's the amount that I'm going to pay, here's the amount of images I'm going to get. Here's the timeliness in which I'm going to get them, here's how I'm going to get them. What are some of the other things that the vendor puts into making your quality? Those are quantifiable. That's an apples to apples comparison where say, you know, my style compared to some other photographers isn't going to be apples to apples.

35:48 Yeah. It is funny. The, and the people asked that in, in like there was someone who was posting the other day online and asking about like getting sneak peek images or or whatever. It's like, well you can like look at, I think it's easy to look at someone's whatever and see like do they do that stuff or, yeah. I mean you can, like you said, you can look, these are tangible things like does this photographer do any of that? Do they post anything? Do they do same day slideshows or do they do a big walk? I don't know. I mean there's just a lot of stuff that you can see or not see. Right. And compare that as well too.

36:23 Absolutely. And I think it's good to ask about those details because I mean if you assume you just, you're never going to know.

36:31 Yeah. Well I think there are a lot of people do just kind of assume and then they don't know. Right. I mean do you feel like, do you feel like people do enough research in that regard?

36:40 Oh absolutely not. I almost every client meeting I asked them, you know a bunch of questions about their day and get all of the details that I can pull out of them, talk to them about their, how they met and stuff like that. And then I say, what do you want to ask me? And then they look at each other like we were supposed to ask you questions. And I'm like, yeah, you're interviewing me. This is a job interview. You should have lots of questions for me. And not just the ones that you pulled off. The not like you should want to know how this is going to go down and what the legal terms are going to be because you're signing a contract.

37:12 Isn't that the best, cause I've gotten that too. Where it's like a copy and paste the bullet point question list of like, and it is from like the nod or as, as one of those sites like what should you ask your wedding planning vendor? And they're like, and you know, and I'm always like, you know, I do have like pages devoted to all this stuff cause you really don't have to write this out every time.

37:32 But my favorite is when I get asked about my pricing because my pricing is literally all on my website and it's spelled out in great detail and I'm like, yeah, I'll, I'm happy to email you the page directly copied from my website if that will be helpful for you.

37:48 Uh, I do that. I just have like a quick link on my phone now just getting a, see I get so many emails about that and it's like you said, it's, it's everywhere and I don't know if it's, if it is, I don't really get that workflow. I wish that, I wish that my mind worked a little more to understand some of that stuff.

38:08 I'm all about being transparent and upfront with people because I feel like I always want to know what I'm getting myself into and I give people the same courtesy. So if you need it to know anything about me, it's probably on my website. And so most of the time people do come to me after reading the website and they talk to me like they know me already, which is a little weird, but it's great because I know that they did their homework.

38:31 Absolutely. Do you feel like, uh, the people that are, that are booking you like are really invested in that and have done the research?

38:39 Yeah, I have such quality clients. I have to brag. My clients are really awesome.

38:45 Uh, what is it, would you say that makes a, an iron John's client? I know we talked a little bit about Kinda, you know, not ordinary stories but more normal sort of, but what, what do you feel like makes, makes a client, you know, special for you?

39:00 I think people that are willing to be authentic are my favorite because they're willing to be vulnerable a little bit. A guy who's not afraid to cry during the first look or you know, a father of the bride that gets really mushy during their first dance. That's the stuff I'm looking for because you, I don't want to go to sat on you, but you're going to lose these people. You know, we lost my father in law a couple of years ago and some of my favorite moments are him being vulnerable and being authentic. And he was that type of person that never really wasted time. He told you how much he cared about you. And that is something that will always stick with me is knowing that I knew how much he loved me and my husband and our kids and I've got pictures of him proving it. And I think that we don't have enough time in this life to, to waste with the veneer. We should just be authentic.

39:55 No, I think that's a great point. And I do think that like you, especially spending like a wedding day with people, you really do kind of get a good snapshot kind of into either of them as a couple, but then obviously them as well and, and seeing the families and seeing, you know, the people that are so, you know, like my bride's mom on Sunday came up. Right. You know, right. When I got there, gave me big hug me, thank you so much for being here and doing this and like just seeing like how invested people are in everything and wanting it to be, you know, it's a cool kind of experience,

40:24 right? I mean we go to how many weddings a year, you know, and, but this is the one big day for them and it's really important that we honor it that way because this is really valuable.

40:36 Yeah. I was just laughing. We, it was it last weekend we were show about and the mom was so nervous and I'm like, cause I'm pretty hectic energy too, but I kind of try to downplay it, especially like the second I walk in because you know, I don't want to like, yeah cause I can go, but I'm trying to like slow play it. I'm like, I was like, Hey, I said so I was like, I'm thinking I'm going to take Lindsey's dress and kind of hang it out front of the building here. Uh, cause there was like, there was like this big huge sign that was like the hotel name and trying to like get it out cyro quick and she's like, oh okay. As a, yeah. Like what, you know, what do you think about that? She's like, well, and this is like the mom's talking and we're kind of sitting there kind of bs it for a minute. And she's like, what if you're going to go do it? You just need to go to like kinda headlines. You've kind of processed it in her head at that point that like, I'm going to take that. I was like, we're going to be fine. I said we be this, but you know. But I said, but no, it is tough cause like you say, you do this every weekend and they don't. And so trying to kind of strike that balance I think is incredibly important.

41:40 Yeah. I feel like a good thing to do is help people feel like you're in control. You know what you're doing. And at the same time, like don't give out that panic Chihuahua energy cause it can, it can feel it on the inside. You can feel like, oh crap, we're going to be 30 minutes off in the ceremony's going to take forever and I can feel it. But you don't show that. You just show the calm exterior and the I'm in charge and we're gonna make this happen and it's going to be great.

42:05 Absolutely. Yeah. You got to just kind of fake it till you can till you get through some time.

42:08 Oh yeah. And it always works out. I mean, it always works out

42:13 well. It's this third day. I mean, you know, whenever it is, it ends up being that that's how it was, you know? I mean, you can plan as much as you want, but ultimately, you know,

42:21 everybody ends up married at the end of the day, so we're all good. Yeah.

42:27 Talk to me about, uh, the, the philanthropy part of kind of you and your brand and, and kind of the work you do on that.

42:34 Yeah, so after my spleen rupture, I did a lot of thinking. I had three months on the couch where I couldn't go anywhere and I was thinking, what was the point? You know, what's the point of doing all of this work and spending all of my time and energy in it? If it's not for something that actually makes the world better, because I figure if I've got another shot, if I get to stay around and then I want the world I live in to be a better one, um, when I'm actually ready to leave it. So I thought about how can I do that? How can I combine what I love, which is, you know, this artistic medium and oh gosh, I gagged a little in my mouth when I said that. I don't want to sound pretentious, but what we do as a form of art, I'll, I'll get over that someday. Um, edit all of that out.

43:25 What was I saying? Okay. So yeah, I wanted to come up with something that, that blended my desire to put something good into the world with the love of the work that I wanted to do. And I thought this is the way to do it. If I give back to charity, then I feel like I'm not only able to justify a working hard on the things I care about, but I know that that'll attract clients that have the similar hearts, that want to also help and also feel good about it. So at the end of the year, you know, I always take a look back at where we're at and I pull money from profits of every single wedding and we donate that to charity. Uh, we've been doing it since 2012 and I've donated close to $30,000. Now.

44:11 Do you, uh, what do your clients think when they hear kind of hear about that?

44:15 You know, I haven't had someone say that stupid. Most people seem to like it.

44:21 Talking about kind of the different, uh, organizations that you help support.

44:24 I really believe in helping people help themselves. And so I volunteered, worked with the cocoon house in Everett. That's an organization that helps homeless teens get back into school, get back into, you know, a home, obviously, uh, reconcile with families whenever possible and get them moving forward in their lives. I also have worked closely with the international refugee committee or the IRC. There are a lot of people that are looking to bring the good and the love that they have in their own family, adhere to the United States and escape a lot of trauma from where they've come from before. And the IRC helps people come to this country that have received refugee status and gets them in a home, helps them find work, teaches them how to use the bus system, teaches them the language if necessary. So it really helps them assimilate into the culture and become, uh, a member of the community that, that they want to be a part of.

45:29 That's awesome. I think that that's a, I mean obviously awesome, but that's, you know, it's um, yeah, yeah, I think it's a, it's so unique and part of your story and obviously kind of going through what you have and with your family and you know, making that decision I think is, is awesome and it's really cool.

45:46 Thanks. I appreciate that.

45:48 Do you find that? I mean I don't hear about that a lot from, I mean I don't know if anybody else that I can think of that that does something like that.

45:57 Oh, I don't know if individual vendors do. I know that there's organizations like brides for a cause that does stuff like that.

46:03 Yeah, yeah, yeah. But I mean yeah, on the, I kind of like on an individual basis, uh, before I let you go, what is one thing you wish that more people knew about you?

46:14 Oh Gosh, I wish they knew less about me. Can we do that? I'm such an overshare. Um, okay. Well there's a certain person who wants me to swear on your podcast. We, we joke that, um, cause I'm Mormon. I'm LDS. Uh, that I don't swear that I don't know how, but I tell them I have a potty mouth. So, um, as far as I go in swearing cause I am, you know, Christian girl is like saying holy mother forking shirt balls. So that's my, that's something you can know about me.

46:52 That's awesome. We'll see if that certain individual and makes it this far. I know, I know. He listens to every podcast and it's entirety from start to finish. So we'll see. We'll see. Yeah, we'll see if Mr. Manning has made it this far in the podcast.

47:12 uh, it, well, this has been so delightful. I beg you so much for coming on and sharing and you know, sharing your story and um, you know, just kind of about you and, and I think it's so great and I think people, you know, you're one of the ones that I think people see a, you know, I've and other photographers do it. I think it's so nice to have them come on in and kind of share this a little bit about, makes a, you know, who you, who you are and kind of a little bit about your story. I'm sure we could do many hours kind of getting into all the nitty gritty, but I want, I appreciate you coming on.

47:44 Thanks Ray. I really appreciate you having me. This was a fun conversation. I always enjoy talking to you.

47:50 Yeah, it's been good. If, if you want, uh, more people, uh, obviously find out more about you and your photography and, uh, philanthropy, and I can never say that word, but anything else, all the wonderful work that you do and your wonderful a photography. Where would you have them check out?

48:04 Um, visit my website, visit Um, my company is, IJ Photo a lot of people think it's Irene Jones Photography, but it's just IJ or you can find me on Facebook. Um, same thing or I'm on Instagram at IJ Photo Studio.

48:21 Perfect. Uh, well thank you again so much. And uh, I will uh, hopefully it won't be another six years before we do another wedding together.

48:29 Hopefully not, take care.

48:32 Uh, this has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro®. If you are like Irene and are interested in coming on the podcast, you can go to And I have a nice, uh, easy questionnaire that you can use to submit your information and get a hopefully get, get going on getting on the podcast. So, uh, Irene, thanks again. I hope you have a good day. And, uh, this has been another episode, check back next week for another wedding writer interview. Thanks so much.

49:00 Thanks.

Mikaela Carnes, Sugar & Spice Events

00:01 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 Mikaela Carnes of Sugar & Spice Events. And I was thinking kind of, we know you were on your way over here like, cause we met probably six months ago at the black diamond gardens event. Oh yeah. But then we are, you know, then we found out we kind of do wedding network Seattle together and like we've kind of discovered all these other connections kind of sense. We met, but then we kind of we’re in the same circle already. So why don't you introduce yourself, tell us who you are and what you do.

00:44 All right. So, uh, my name is Mikayla Carnes and I am the owner of Sugar & Spice Events. It is a wedding planning business. I do predominantly day of coordination. Uh, but yeah, I love the wedding business and I just find weddings to be a lot of fun. So

01:00 yeah. And uh, so you, and then you're also involved in Wedding Network, right? Seattle and, and helping to run kind of some of that stuff. I mean that obviously is another way for you to network and kind of help do events and things. Do you want to talk about that at all?

01:13 Oh yeah. So I am the current director of Wedding Network Seattle and Wedding Network Seattle is really just a networking group of wedding professionals. We get together once a month. We're a good mix of planners, Flores, Djs, videographers. Um, yeah. We just get together and kind of coordinate some sort of educational topic and let some wedding vendors feature. They're great. Like we just had one with Casper's and Casper's was able to showcase their food. It was so delicious and CB bell was airy. Took headshots. Like it just gives a chance for wedding vendors to really show off to other wedding vendors what they can do.

01:51 Oh, I think it's great. I don't get as many as I shared, but we did the video at the parties on the terrorists. And I mean, it's such a fun way to kind of see people that you wouldn't, you know, like, like this is a great way to interact with you. You know, like vendors like yourself outside. It's just so hard when you're like working a wedding and you want to be working, but then really chatting and getting to know people. So I think it's a great way to kind of get to connect with people.

02:13 Yeah, I agree. I think all of us have made some great connections from it.

02:17 Yeah. Well I really appreciate you, you know, you're coming on, I kind of put the bat signal out last week we had a guest fall through and I said, I've got to get somebody on and I've been bugging you since that black diamond a gardens event. And so thank you so much for coming on. Um, what is it about, um, you know, weddings and events and things. I know you do work, you know, kind of corporate events and stuff in the past. Like, what is it about the wedding world that really excites you?

02:39 Oh, I think it's just the creativity and, well, yeah, there's the creativity, the artistic part of it, uh, that, you know, it's a, it's a experience of a lifetime. A lot of people will not have this type of wedding again. And I think that it really allows brides and grooms to kind of create this fantasy. I do get kind of caught up in the fantasy and there's like the girl that was raised on Tom Hanks movies. So, um, but yeah, weddings are just great and I have a very logistical mindset and I'm also really creative, so it kind of makes a natural, uh, choice to kind of work more in weddings.

03:17 So tell me about that. How did you kind of get involved in weddings to begin with? Like you said, I mean, growing up, I mean, were you thinking about, you know, I don't know if a lot of people are thinking like, I'm going to meet wedding plan. They're like, so what, how did you kind of find your way into this?

03:29 Oh, uh, so when I first graduated from college, I was a social worker and I was not making ends meet and I had an opportunity to pick up some catering gigs. And so, uh, I did that. I started with a 12 baskets. Catering is just a server for them and I really enjoyed building buffet and just kind of like this controlled chaos behind the scenes. Um, and yeah, I just really kind of fell into the adrenaline that you get from putting on an event to being done and the satisfaction of it being over and having people say like good job, you know, just that simple cycle.

04:10 That was awesome. I was just thinking in the back of my head, cause I'm kind of the same way, you know, with, with video and like tomorrow I gotta go do corporate staff and you know, there is this element of like control. Um, you know, we're where you Kinda, you got to make everything perfect and you know, what do we have the ability to control what we dealt with and like my partner Matt sweaty and yesterday we got done. I was done at six, we were earlier, we were like at 10 to six and I had just gotten home and he calls me, which is bad, right? Like normally, like he'll text me and he goes, um, so the, uh, the bride is in an ambulance that, that she would, you know, is passed out, that dehydration totally got stress. And I was like, oh my God.

04:53 And you know, and he's trying to figure out like, you know, how do we, you know, wait, and obviously she was okay and then they kind of went on and did the dance and said, but you know, it was a little bit of chaos and you know, he's trying to figure out like, well how do we, you know, what do we do here? And I'm like, well, you know, ultimately it's still their day, right? You're going to capture it and do it. But it is like that element of like kinda getting that chaos. But then like I emailed her today and she's like, Oh yeah, that's great. Like I've, you know, felt really kind of ill for a little bit, but it's all good. Like, we had a great day and I'm like, man, you know the element of surprise and always throw you. But like when you make it through, you just feel good.

05:27 Yeah. Right. And it's, you know, then it's done and then it's kind of on to the next one. So, but I was, yeah, I couldn't believe it. I was, uh, I'm happy to hear she was okay. Cause we was a, they were, yeah, it was their I under 21. I mean it was a dry wedding. And so I knew that like, you know, when you called me, I'm like, well, I'm gonna say it's not like, you know, they passed out or whatever. You know, it was just like the excitement and stress and whatever. But um, so you said you were a social worker at that college? Yeah. So did you, like, what'd you go to school for? Did you want to do,

05:57 oh, I got a degree in sociology and I really f like fell in love with the criminal justice system. And I think I was like that typical college kid that graduated with a degree in sociology wanting to save the world and it ends up, it's not so simple. And so I kind of got beat up right out the bat. So yeah, I did that for like a year. Yeah. And then I actually ended up being a merchant marine for 10 years. Well that's exciting. Talking about that. So yeah, this is kind of like an interesting, and it explains a little bit personality too. Um, so yeah. So I catered, I ended up going catering back with 12 baskets and I met someone that said, hey, you know, you can go do this in Alaska on a cruise ship. I can help you out. And so that turned into me going and working on small ships in southeast Alaska.

06:50 And then, um, I ended up making my way onto the deck and I was a deck hand. And so, and then from there I got my a a hundred ton masters license. Uh, and yeah, I spent probably most of my twenties, uh, in southeast Alaska working on boats in the summer. And in the winter we'd go to Mexico and do like Baja. It was a lot of fun. I'd get off the boat, I'd have a wad of cash in my pocket. I could go travel, do whatever, just have some fun. Uh, and then I decided to go a little bit more serious with merchant marine and I got what's called an ab ticket, which is basically I am a licensed deckhand. Um, I had to prove that I could steer a ship. I had to prove I could tie the knots. I had to, uh, like I was the person when we would go into port, I was the person that actually dropped the anchor.

07:40 Like that's what Ab does. They're the one that handles the lines when you pull into port. So I went and I did that for a large oil company for about two years. And then one day the cook walked off the boat and they're like, Kayla, you know how to cook. Can you cook dinner? And I knew that they would pay for me to go to culinary school if I worked in the Galley. So I took the job, I ran the interior of an oil tinker for about three years. And Yeah, they help pay for me to go to a couple of culinary programs. Yeah,

08:10 that's fascinating. Yeah. That's so interesting. Was it tough as a female, is it, I imagined that boats and, right, instead of pretty male dominated,

08:19 super male dominated. Yeah, very male dominated.

08:23 So do you feel like, you know now obviously being a planner and coordinator kind of having to run some, do you feel like you kind of, I don't know, got toughened up or kind of figured out stuff kind of having to work through that?

08:35 Oh, I mean I've always kinda been tough, but uh, yeah, there's a reason sugar and spice, so, but yeah, it definitely probably made me a little tough and then I've had to get into the wedding industry and like soften up.

08:51 That's awesome. Yeah. So, so then what finally pulled out of the, the merchant marines and all that, just you were just kind of done with the sea life or,

09:00 yeah, I started just that it was doing 90 days at a time. And when I first started cooking, I was putting a lot of like my emotion and like my thought into the food I was making and I just thought it was great. And then after doing it for so many years, I three years, uh, I started realizing it was taken for granted and I just Kinda got burnt out on it. And not only was it just hard to have romantic relationships, but it was also hard to just maintain like friendships, because when you're gone for 90 days at a time, like lot changes.

09:31 Well, and you're like totally like out of communication, right? I mean,

09:35 yeah, no, like I had internet and I was a lot of times going up and down the west coast, so I wouldn't be too long with our communication, but I also didn't have anything to communicate. Yep. We left port, we got back and port.

09:49 Yeah. I mean, there's gotta be an, you know, and if you're in the kitchen, there are a lot, right? It's gotta be kind of a little monotonous after awhile, right after month two or three. And you're, yes,

10:00 it's the same steel wall. [inaudible].

10:03 So then, so I mean obviously, you know, I'm envisioning in a little more rugged lifestyle right on, on the boat and you know, what was it like then going into weddings and events and stuff? I mean, how did you even make that leap? Oh, well

10:17 I had my catering background and when I, so I, you would get to off the boat and I would go travel. And so one of my last big trips that I did is I did a big trip in Italy and I spent a lot of money and I got off, I got back to Seattle and the Nordstrom anniversary sale was going on and I've worked there on and off. So I went and I just really kind of fell in love with the fashion part of it. And I knew I wanted to change it up. So that was kind of my transition jobs. I was a stylist at Nordstrom for a bit. And then, um, can I, the scan Sonya is, they happened to be hiring someone and anyone that knows what the scan Sonja is, it's a wooden boat that has events. It was like a perfect transition for me. I Dunno. Yeah, I learned a lot and we went through so many weddings. I in the two years I was there, it was probably like 275 weddings that I was somehow a part of.

11:17 So when did you got brought on there as like a multipurpose or what

11:21 operations manager, but then as part of your package you would get a day of coordinator. So I would be the one that would coordinate and manage the timeline for the bride and groom and also the catering staff.

11:31 Gotcha. So that obviously kind of got you into that. And so then from that then you decided to kind of launch and do your own thing or,

11:38 yeah. Yeah. I kind of, I've, I've always known that I had like that little bit of, I need to be in complete control. So I always knew I was going to end up doing my own thing and I've always thought that it was going to be a catering company. But, uh, I low overhead with event planning, catering con, it's a lot of overhead. So I decided to just make the leap with planning. Yeah.

12:02 And did you ever have like, I mean, family entrepreneurs, anything, I mean, anything of friends with ever? I mean, I always asking people to are climbing when they make the leap to do that, you know, like my dad kind of had it some business. So there was all these like wake was, I mean, was it like a new foreign thing for you or, I mean obviously you'd be kind of making your way, you know, for a lot of your life, but it just the next step to kind of form that and go,

12:24 yeah, I think so. Uh, my dad's a retired navy pilot and my mom worked in real estate. Um, so yeah, I guess there's a little bit of that entrepreneurial with real estate. Right?

12:35 Was there a challenge, challenges for you and starting the Mandela did every kind of small business when they, you know, to figure out like what's going on? Like was it,

12:42 oh, so here's something that I like. Wedding entrepreneurs specifically are all artists. So we all have these really great ideas and these visions. And then all of a sudden you realize like, oh it's a business. And I would say just that business part of it with like keeping track of your finances, keeping organized. Um, I would say figuring out there's all these apps, trying to figure out the ones that work for you. I would say, yeah, just the business running your own business is a different world for me.

13:13 Yeah. Well and like you said the, our, this thing, I mean I just today on Facebook, I'm in the videographer group and the guy posted, he said, hey, we have a wedding coming up and uh, the bride is, is shorter. And he said, I'm worried when everybody stands when she comes down the aisle that the Jib arm I have set up isn't going to, it's like a sweeping camera kind of. Yeah. These are like really high end people. But it's like, you know that sweeping Michael Bay like action shot. He's like, I'm worried that they're not going to be able to see her. Cause the P goes, I'm, I'm wondering like, do you think I could ask everybody to stay seated women? Brian came down the aisle, it's like God, that's, that's the perfect example of ag and artists to letting the artistry get in the way of, cause everyone on the post is like, no, you dummy. Like you can't, you know, you need to just figure out something else to do then to abbot. Yeah. Take away from that. But he was just funny where, cause I hear all the time, you know, rns and the difference between like business and like that's a perfect example. Like here's someone that totally got carried away with trying to be an artist and then think about like anybody else.

14:15 I know. And I think of that a lot with communication with other vendors. It's like, yeah, sometimes it takes a while because like we were just a bunch of artists.

14:27 I know this time of year when it's like getting timelines back and you're like, I got the, I don't know, that's like six weeks away. I got it. I'll look at that later and stuff. Um, what was it like? I mean, so I, it seems like you kind of like slowly transitioned to the weddings, you know, for the catering, but like with ages, like for me, like the wedding thing was like just a totally foreign concept when I like, got into it. Like, you know, I hadn't been to a lot of weddings, like I just didn't leave it. I mean, did you feel like I would tell what it felt like a fish out of water? Like where you kind of able to find your way better than I did or,

14:59 oh, yeah. I mean, I have been a bridesmaid six times, so, and that was before I started my own business. And then just through catering and like, again, I've always just loved like the, you know, watching movies, growing up with the bride and just the dresses. And I've always, I've always been fascinated by the dresses. Um, but yeah, it's kind of natural for me.

15:23 So now that you're, you know, Sugar & Spice Events, why don't you talk about kind of, uh, the overall kind of what you offer and kind of what people come to you to get, you know, kind of the services that you offer?

15:33 Okay. So, uh, I do full wedding planning, however, I think I am probably doing mostly day of coordination at this point. I have a couple partial planning packages, but, uh, yeah, I predominantly just work with brides and grooms to come on board and help them in the final stretch of their wedding and I help them go through and for lack of a better word, audit their wedding. I kind of go through and I start ironing things out and looking at red flags at trying to explain consequences and, you know, ultimately it is the bride and groom's Day and whatever they want is whatever they're going to get. But I do like to sit down and give like my experience, um, went through my past weddings, give that experience to them.

16:22 Yeah, it's tough. It's, it's a tough balance. Our wedding Saturday was, it was good, but it was, there was decisions that were made, certain decisions are made because of other decisions because of other decisions. And then ultimately ended up like, I think, you know, we started at the wrong side and worked backwards trying to figure out stuff and they just ended up, the reception just was a little kind of more jumbled than it needed to be. And I was like, someone needed the like get in there like you said, and kind of audit or figure out like, well what are we gonna do here to make it a little bit more, you know, it just, it was tough. So I totally know and I just got, I wish I was like, I wish Andy the thing they like someone could have like figured this out for them cause we're just trying to kind of capture and kind of go with it, you know?

17:04 Yeah. But I think just having the experience of like, okay, it's really great that you want to have a dance party for five hours and right now you think that all of your friends are going to stay in dance with you for five hours. But I'm here to tell you that. Sorry like you got two hours, maybe three anyway. It depends. But you know, I think just being able to tell couples like what they can realistically expect because there's nothing worse than having someone, a bride upset at the end of the day because her vision didn't come the way she was hoping for.

17:41 Well I know and I was talking with Dorothy about that too cause we had, you know, similar and different. We have both our weddings this weekend and it was like, you know, you know expectations and you know the one, they thought it was going to go until seven and kind of at five o'clock we're wrapping up five, six and then you know the other one in B, you know, just the guy. And so you just like, it's tough because you want the only kind of get the one go around and say you're trying to figure out like what's the best way to do it. But you don't want to tell him like this isn't going to work, you know? But I guess that's where the planner, you're all a little bit more, you can play bad guy. Right? Or if you need to or not. You know,

18:16 I specifically this summer I've been told from a few couples that I have been hired simply because I was the first one to say no, which I mean I don't want to be that person. But again, I always come back to it is the bride and grooms day, but I am going to tell you like, I don't think that's a good idea or if you do that, this is what's going to happen.

18:37 But do you feel like you get, I would think that you would get good response. Do you get good response to that?

18:42 I think so. Uh, there's one couple that I had talked to at one point in time and he was very set on his vision and I let him know kind of my reality and what I saw anyway. It didn't work out and, but by the time I got done meeting with them, I realized that like it wasn't going to work out anyway.

19:00 Yeah, it's tough. It's tough to learn that. And we talk a lot about that with vendors too all the time is, you know, not every couple or every event is your event. And I just had a thing too that had to email somebody back and say, you know, this isn't going to work. You know, this isn't what we had talked about yesterday and yeah, you know, I don't like to do that. But you know, I said this is not what, you know, we talked to you. It is totally different than what we talked about yesterday and we're going to need to figure it out. So,

19:24 oh, I agree. I always offer a complimentary a coffee, wine, whatever, just to sit down. Cause you know, even if I'm only doing day of coordination, it can sometimes be like a six month relationship and neither one. I don't want you to be in a relationship that you resent. And I don't want to be in a relationship with a brighter groom that I'm starting to resent because then it's no fun on the day of for anyone.

19:48 So what kind of couples do you, you'd like to work with that you find are attracted to you and that you feel like you gel with? Is it, you know, the young working professional is that people that have a big grand vision? Is it, like you said, more practical people that are trying to figure out like what cannon and we can't do?

20:03 Oh, I'm really, I'm kinda trying to figure that one out right now. Um, I do realize that I tend to work with a lot of strong women. Um, yeah, I feel like almost every bride that I've worked with has had a very like strong personality and they, and I think that part of my strong personality kind of is what attracts that. Um, tend to work with creatives who tend to do a little bit of DIY, but they also know to draw the line at a certain point, um, just out of their own capability. So, but yeah, I'm really kind of narrowing in on who my ideal bride or who I work well with. That's something I'm working on right now.

20:44 Yeah. It's, it's tough. Kinda, it's so funny was using the strong women like how many guys don't, um, just we work with and don't know what's going on. Got them all. And I'm always like, come on. You know, I just, I, I see a lot where they're like, you know, I'll ask them. So at, I don't know. I don't know. I'm like, how do you not know what's going on here? You know, even part of this for nine months. Like, yeah,

21:09 I have some grooms that are really, um, that are, that have been very active. But I definitely have a handful of groups that I don't meet until the rehearsal.

21:19 Yeah. Yeah. No, I think, uh, cause uh, Rebecca granted did our wedding and I bet she wishes that I would've been probably less vocal than I was. I was probably more vocal as I, I this in, but the timeline, I don't know about the timeline. Um, so what do you think? Eh, d so did you grow up in Seattle? Have you always been a part of the area up here?

21:39 Oh, no, I'm a Navy Brat, so I was born in Florida and then, um, California did a lot of elementary school in Hawaii. And then my dad retired in the Midwest, which is where my family's originally from. So then I went to high school in college in the Midwest. And then when I graduated college, I like needed to be by the water and I had come visit, come to visit a friend in Seattle and I was like, Yep, I'm just gonna go there. So I packed up my stuff and moved here. Oh, in 2002. So yeah. So where did you go to school out here then? Oh, I didn't go to, I went to school in the Midwest. Bradley University Rather University.

22:16 What was it like, kind of obviously Seattle's way different than the Midwest. What was it like making that transition?

22:22 Oh, I think I was too young to really notice too much. Um, I would say that one thing I noticed right away is just like people in Seattle are very friendly and that they would like do things to accommodate you and day to day life. But it's really hard to like get past that Seattle freeze.

22:40 Yeah. But are you from around here? Yeah. Yeah. I grew up in Bellevue. It's funny now. Yeah. Cause most people are like uh, cause Kyle, Kyle Lawrence who was just on the podcasts, like he, he grew up in Oregon and moved there previously, but I've been up here like, you know, 30 years now. It gets longer than, cause you get this like thing now where people have been here the last five years in your like, you know, your new bees move in here or you're like, you know, taking our jobs or something and you know, you get all these Amazon people coming in. So that the fun that we have that one of our good friends, she works at Amazon and all her friends and like trying to just explain to them like how the city was like four or five years ago and they have like no idea. It's just really funny.

23:17 I know. And I'm really [inaudible] in 2012 I almost bought a house and I didn't and every day, but it wasn't the right timing. But yeah, just Seattle's really changed. Um, I still like it. I don't like the traffic, but I mean whatever we complain about the traffic in 2003, two. Yeah.

23:39 But do you know, obviously you like working here. Do you like the wedding community? Do you like, obviously with doing, you know, whether wedding networks Yalow you're meeting a lot of people, seeing a lot of venues, you know, new venues. I mean, do you enjoy kind of that aspect of the networking part? And then

23:52 I do, I like it. I mean, one thing that I don't have experienced in other, uh, areas in the wedding industry, but I feel, I, I get a lot of feedback that Seattle's wedding community is much more friendly and accepting than a lot of other communities. I know some of the other wedding network chapters, um, it used to be wedding network USA is now buddy network Seattle. But, uh, other chapters, they had difficulties getting other vendors to hop on board. So W we, they didn't see the point of, of the networking and being part of this community to help raise everyone up. So I think we're very fortunate in Seattle to, uh, have that community here.

24:31 Oh, I totally agree. We did a wedding MBA was it two or three years ago? And I went and some guy was talking about how, you know, it's like, you know, the key there. My thing is he's like, I would just talk to the other vendors like at my thing and I'm like in Seattle, man, weed, I bullshit with everybody. You know, I talk and you know, give cards or talk or whatever and just chit chat and like, but that was like his big revolutionary thing, you know? It was like we got to make sure you like thanks buddy. Like I'm glad that you know. But I do think it's different where I think Seattle is, it's not because I hear horror stories about, you know, photo video getting along in other markets and planners or you know, the venues just totally shutting down everything and saying like, this is how it's going and you know, paying to play and all sorts of weird, you know, um, what's the call where you like pay when someone books you or like the kickbacks and all that stuff? Yeah, I mean I hear all this weird stuff everywhere else.

25:24 Yeah. I think that it's also, for me, it was kind of weird though with Seattle with how welcoming and accepting it was like a, hold on, I'm trying to come into your world. And Anyway, I had to get used to it. I had to find like given to it like, oh like we're all separate but we're together. And it's like now that I've given into it, it's good. And I think being part of wedding network Seattle is really helped with that and really just wanting to, everyone I lift everyone up.

25:55 Oh I totally agree. And I mean like we, um, I just worked with the photo video guy a couple of weeks ago and like, you know, he, he mostly does video, but he was doing photo, you know, we're talking and now he's asking me if I know anybody cause he needs somebody to work with him. And then you build these, you know, and I remember probably years ago when I used to see him post and stuff and I'm like, bye. Hey Travis. Like he's, you know, it's like competition, but it's not right. And you meet people and then you're like

26:20 the Djs in Seattle, they have such a tight knit group man. Like they put a call out like, and they get response. Anyway. I'm amazed by the Djs in Seattle. Um, I'd like to think that the wedding planners can get there at some point because we're all, I, someone has to organize it. I think that's really what it comes down to. But um, yeah, just if someone needs something, a piece of equipment, like the bat signal as you called earlier goes out and they take care of each other.

26:49 No, I think it would be good. I think it's, it's, um, but it's tough, you know, when people are starting to, I think, you know, after you've been doing it a while, you get a little more comfortable where I think people starting out, you are a little more defensive or you're trying those, yeah. You know, it's different. Do you feel like working, having worked like out of venue specifically now and then be in the planner, does that help you kind of like look at other spaces for people and figure out like what's going to work or Kinda, you know, help people kind of plants up that way? Work you kind of came from the venue side.

27:20 Yeah, I come from a lot of different sides too though. So yeah. Well because the venue manager, but then also I worked with urban fees catering as a lead for a few years, a server and lead. So I have the catering experience and then I worked for court party runs. So just kind of part time. So I, and I've also helped Flores on the weekends when I'm not doing weddings, sometimes I go in. So I feel like I really have the ability to see so many vendors perspective. I don't know. Do you need someone to carry your gear? Sometimes.

27:51 Yeah. Rise in the hustle. No. But they think that it's interesting because I do, you know, and I've talked a lot on this podcast where you know the stuff that you did in the past, it's like the guy on heroes that would like get the powers when he would. Do you ever watch that? The love that show resorb how it was set. The guy that was on Peter Petrolia that he's on a, this is us now or Milo Milo and the guy burned up or his, I don't want to show but it was the good guy on heroes. Yeah. And he like, oh no, the other [inaudible] it was Skylar like with absorb all the powers anyway. But I feel like as as a, as a wedding vendor you, that you are all this stuff. Like if you were an accountant that became a forest, you know that is going to make you a different forest than someone that. So I mean it's fascinating to me to hear your story right in on Kinda all the different lives you've touched kind of along the way to figure it out.

28:42 Yeah. It's funny, a friend of mine, we constantly have an argument about like I'm the captain, you're the first mate. No. And just assigning. But um, yeah, I think using that analogy of just my background with shipping and being like, I like to be in the trenches, I like to have my hands dirty. Yeah. All of that kind of coming into the wedding.

29:02 So what is it about kind of weddings, you know, I hear from a lot of people like, you know, they're, they're not in the industry, you know, it's the same thing a lot or it's kind of rinse and repeat. Like what is it about it that keeps you motivated and keep, you know, kind of expanding and finding new clients and you know, working on your craft?

29:20 Oh, I think it's just like the challenge of there's always problem solving. Um, I can't, I can't think of the things that come up because it just happens, but I'm constantly answering questions and having to come up, like shoot from the hip on the day of a wedding with stuff, trying to just figure out little things. Um, like all of a sudden we need double a batteries. Oh, of course. I only have AAA, you know, like, you know, just those little things that come up. Uh, it, it does, it, it is an adrenaline chase I would say because just especially not to, I think everyone goes through, but when everyone's kind of depending on you to take them through the day and just when you finally get to the point where the bride and groom are on the dance floor and things are okay and the cake is cut and like no one has cried at this point. The back of the ambulance. Yeah. Like you get a little bit of a sense and then things calm down and um, you know, getting those thank you's at the end of the night from mom and dad and bride and groom and you know, they, they were like, oh, I couldn't have done it without you and psycho. You probably could have, but I want a little better because of me.

30:29 No. And that I've talked to planners on the podcast a lot and I say that I've always said wedding planning is the hardest service of any to sell and market to people because like you said, yeah, they, you know, people get married all the time and you know, it's good or bad or could be better, could be worse, but like a successful plan or you don't know, it's, you know, it's like you're the Kaiser San Jose and then you disappear and like, it wasn't like you were there, you know, and it is, it's a really hard, cause I'm Angela with blue wings has been on the podcast and I, we sat there really terrible wedding show for hours and talked about it and I was like, I don't know how you market to people as a wedding planner because everybody thinks they can do it themselves. And the one, you know, like I have a video camera, I mean we're still photographers and shit now or using and people I can do blank, especially planning, oh, I can do it myself, I'm gonna need somebody.

31:19 But I think that, yeah, I do feel like planning because again, there's what do you have to really invest in it? Um, I think that, yeah, and I've been the coordinator for my best friend's wedding and I'm so grateful I did it. Like I loved it. I loved every moment, but I have never been so beat. I had like eggs benedict delivered to me the next day, like I've never had breakfast delivered. Um, anyway, I have never been so exhausted as the day after my best friend's wedding. And I mean most of my weddings, I take 30,000 steps on a regular. Like,

31:52 that's true. You gotta make sure it's all taken care of

31:54 and I'm grateful for that. But I think that if you're going to depend on someone to do that, you should realize, um, what you're putting on them, that they are not going to be a part of your wedding. They're going to be running your wedding. So, but I think all of us vendors deal with that. Like florists, I see it all the time that they think they're going to go to the market and they're going to take care of the flowers. Um, yeah. Uh, I'm trying to think, Djs now that everyone has an iPod, they think that they can make a playlist on Spotify. Yeah.

32:26 Oh, our, yesterday our reception was they didn't have a DJ and it was apparent, you know, and it just, it's tough, you know, it's tough to figure out like how the trans email and they had someone MCN and running the speakers, but it's hard to, you know, kind of Mc gale that people know what's happening and what's going on and doing whatever, you know, and you think it's, you think you can and it's just hard, you know, and you don't know until afterwards.

32:52 And I think a lot of times people think that as the planner, I'll emcee their wedding. I'm like, no, no, no. I'm a lot of things, but I am not that person.

32:58 No, you have too much other stuff to the table. I mean, yeah. Time to stand up there and do that. Yeah. It's no, I, it's, it's, I don't think people, you're just with your vendors all day, you know, as the planner and the focus, I mean, that's like us. I mean, we don't, we don't meet with most of our couples. I always offer it, but then like w we're going to be there all day, all day, all day, the whole time, the whole time and you know, we're fine and you know, we have the reviews and stuff and people know, but it's, I think they, I, you know, same with the planner under estimate, like the 80,000 times they're going to talk to you during that day and all the questions they're going to have and stuff, you know, the man.

33:35 Yeah. Yeah. Um, I think that people underestimate just with trying to bring in a friend, especially like moms that think that they can coordinate. There's also the, that emotional aspect. Like I don't want to underplay that. Like I say this and I, but it's your special day is my every day, right? Like, caters are five minutes late. What's no, like that's not going to phase me. Caters are an hour late now we're going to talk and we're going to figure this out. But like just, I have no emotion in the day, so I'm not gonna react to the way someone else, and I'm not going to take that to you because you don't need to know that right now. I know everything's going to be fine.

34:14 No, and I agree. And it's not, it's not a, the, like you said, it's probably not the best way to like phrase it, but I feel the same way. I mean, I tell her I agree with that. The like when you do it every weekend in you, it's just different than all. We're going to hire my buddy to come film and he's never done this before and he's really stressed and doesn't know and it's like we don't really get stressed because you do it all that you know it's your life. Yeah. What is that your special day as my every day. I love that. That's great. You should like slogan that

34:42 I know I need to put it on my website, but then I'm [inaudible], I'm worried that someone's gonna think I'm like underplaying and I'm like, I'm not underplaying your day.

34:50 Wow. Yeah, I've seen a lot worse. It's like

34:55 what do you wish that more people knew about you or the, what do you wish people knew more about you? I, you said that, you know, you wanted to kind of get your personality more out there. Right? You know, people do hire the planners not only for the service, well benders in general, not only for the service, but I believe for the personality. That's why we have this podcast. That's why we get to know people. So what do you wish more people knew about? And it could be how you work. It could be what you do. It could be something about, you know, that you wish more people asked about why the planning, whether you, and I know that's a tough question.

35:25 Oh, that is tough. I would say like some, so some goals for me, a are to, uh, allow myself to be more creative. And I would really, because I'm so I work, work, work and I'm, I also have a job that helps support my bills and stuff. Like weddings are my passion but like I have to have health insurance. So, um, so I'm constantly working and I realized that I have not given my creative gene, like I haven't been scratching that creative bug and I would really like to be able to work some style shoots in, get some brides and grooms that are open to doing some creative planning with me and really just being able to like work that part of my brain again. So that's a goal I think for going into my 2020 season and through the winter. Like, you know, put in all those things that we're going to take care of in the winter.

36:22 I love that. I hate the winter and I love the winter cause I do like there. Yeah, there's always a lot of projects and stuff. But do you feel like you're still, I mean I feel like I'm always trying to kind of refine and stuff. Do you feel like you're still, you know, trying to get, you know, tweak things and get things better?

36:38 Oh yes, definitely. I mean, just this past weekend I let loose on, um, communicating with vendors up into just because it's August and I wasn't as diligent about it and there was definitely some things I missed and brides and the bride and groom, they won't know the difference, but like I know those things and I carry them with me. And so thinking about OK, refining processes for next year to make sure that, you know, I'm, I'm doing the things that I need to do and you know, just kind of creating more of a protocol for myself that I have to be more held accountable for. So business sounding,

37:13 no, it's so hard. I had a call the on Saturday there for the wedding Sunday and it was the coordinator, you know, asking, you know, hey, just wanted to, I, it was like, Hey, I want to make sure you're still coming in. And I was like, oh. I was like, well, I've been talking with the bride for weeks and you know, I've been talking with the photographer, but like I guess should I have made that check and I don't know. Right. Like, and I'm like, you haven't taken, they were like, okay, well do I need to start you? And normally I'm waiting to hear from whoever, you know, like I talked to Brian Groom and photographer, but to okay, do I need to start messaging? And the planner is like, okay, right. I don't know. You're trying to figure out like the best way to handle it because I totally felt like, man, maybe I did drop the ball on that, you know, maybe.

37:53 Yeah. I, I think it's probably all of us, but I know for me, I tried to get, I try not to inundate all the vendors with all the versions of the timeline that are going to come out. And so about a week before the event though, I'll send out the email and sometimes in August it'll be the Monday before the event because really we can't see, pastor knows. Um, and just like, here's this and tell me what you need and yeah, let's hope it goes okay. Cause we have four days. If it doesn't, no, it's going to be fine.

38:21 Yeah. My biggest, my biggest, uh, critique for planners is the, for the ones that do send version one, which is fine. Highlight what changed. Highlight it. Oh No. Because I'll get a six page timeline and then I'll be like with the magnifying glass trying to figure out, well what's different from this version? And just highlight it. If it's, if it's the, if it's the, the, the guest count changed from one 50 to that one 54 does highlight that. That's fine. Yeah. Cause I'm like, I'll spend an hour, I cha [inaudible] I'm standing here, but uh, no, I know what you mean. Um, so besides the world of weddings, um, it's, I'm perusing your site and it's, you know, talking about like other events and stuff that you work on as well. Right. So do you want to talk about kind of the expand on any of the other services? Oh,

39:10 you know, I haven't, I've really gotten kind of in the wedding niche, but I uh, do, I'm open to doing other events. Um, I worked on a few auctions, kind of just volunteering to be coordinators for auctions and it's helped me learn a lot about those processes. Um, but uh, processes, process anyway. Um, but I think I really zeroed in on weddings, but I'm always open to man if I could do a baby shower, just a fun baby shower or something light or you know, even like a birthday party, corporate picnic though. So I don't know. It's all really, it's, it's not the same thing, but it is the same thing.

39:48 No, I like, I love doing the bounce back and forth between, cause I think like the wedding stuff sharpens my corporate. Right. And then the court then like, cause tomorrow we gotta do all these sit down and your reasons stuff and then like I can control everything tomorrow. Yeah. Right. So what am I going to do versus like yesterday, like I can't control anything with lighting or the weather. So it's, but then you know, you try to figure out the stuff that you do when it's a little more chaotic. Right. And then you bring it there. And I just, I always feel like it kind of sharpens both sides. Yeah. So I do think it's interesting to bounce back and forth.

40:22 Well, and I think corporate that there's not the emotion, like there's just not that anyway. So people are not anyway, you, you need to be on your game a little bit more with corporate.

40:34 No, absolutely. Um, so before you go, what I was asked is it's specific for each vendor. Like what do you wish people knew more about? Like what wedding planners do or what, you know, why he's gonna Video. There's a million different things for us, but like what do you wish that, you know, you're constantly seeing. It could be aunt Betty trying to coordinate and then not working or it could be them thinking that, you know, a day of planning or it's, it's not going to talk to me for a year before. I mean, what is it about that you, you have that you wish that people knew about wedding planning, wedding planners?

41:09 Oh, I think that the thing that I would want to impart on to just couples or whatever getting married about wedding planning is that things are going to happen and you have to just, you can't have complete control over it and really just find the things that are gonna mean the most to you. Hire a, because again, we're not emotionally involved in the day, so it just frees us up and it just, I don't know. If you went to a restaurant that didn't have a manager, what would you think? I mean, like we're the general manager of the day as a day of coordinator. Like you need someone that has your vision. The caterer is there for the caterers vision. The Day of coordinator is there solely as the general manager to the bride and groom. I mean we see I am there to execute their vision.

42:04 I love it. Yeah. No, I love it. Cause we're, like you said, we're email and same with phone and video, right? Like, we're, I know what I'm trying to get right. And then it might be a thing where we don't have time to do that. Right. And you need to have somebody say, hey guys, like we're you know we've got to get ready now or we got to do this or we got to get the family. Or like yesterday she's talking to the couple like their coordinator, you know, you guys gotta go talk to some of these gas before cause some of them are older and they're going to leave and like you got to make the rent, you know, cause they're just talking and they're not thinking about that. Why would they think about that? But you're thinking about, you know, the planners thinking about that and yeah, half your guests are gonna leave in half an hour and you know, you got to go talk to them, you know?

42:46 Yeah. But I dunno. I don't think they do. Yeah, it's your day. You do what you want anyway.

42:53 I love it. Um, if people want to learn more about you and you and your services and all that kind of stuff in your process, where would you have them? Check out

43:02 That's my website. Uh, Sugar & Spice Events Seattle is my Instagram. I am really trying to get better about putting myself out there and doing stories and putting more content out there. It is. Um, I keep my schedule on pen and paper. So anyway, social media is, it's a challenge for me but I'm getting there. Uh, but definitely Instagram my website, I'm working on getting my blog back up and running. I'm really excited to share with people why they should rent versus buy. That's going to be something I'm going to start looking into. So,

43:44 oh I totally agree. Yeah we have that are, you know, uh, cause we got some of ours from our florist and then, but we didn't, yeah, we didn't buy anything we just rented from

43:53 I know cause then yeah, it's just you're never going to recoup your costs.

43:58 Like, I feel like even like, cause we got, we're going to Salty's and I felt even Salty's, just like, hey, we have some like leftover ones from the wedding last weekend. And like I was like, can you send me the father? We're like Turkey that were like done going back and maybe they probably made you know, killing off affair, but we used to, we didn't have to buy it and get rid of it and sell it and all it around and I don't know, makes life easier. I want to thank you so much for coming in today. Uh, you know, between appointments and, and, and really trying to make this work.

44:23 Thank you for having me. This was, it's, it's nice to, anyway, it's fun. Thank you.

44:28 That's fantastic. Uh, if you are like, Mikaela, you want to come on the podcast and share a story. Uh, I have a great link set up. It's and that's a really easy questionnaire that kind of gets you in the system and we can figure out what's going on and your willingness on the thing. And now I've gotten all these other wonderful vendors, I think that are going to be, uh, coming up here in the end a couple of weeks. People that have also been bugging for a long time, but now we're like year and a half now of doing that. So I think people realize it's like a thing now, so it's not going to go away. I made it humanities. No, I'm glad. It's good. This is good. Thank you again. Uh, this has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro®. Check back next week for another one even. You're going to be, thanks so much.

Kyle Lawrence, Spectrum Events

00:00:01 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 new friend. Good friend. We've been kind of going back and forth for a couple of weeks trying to get schedules and stuff figured out with the summer. It's crazy. I really appreciate you coming in today. It's Kyle Lawrence with Spectrum Events. And why don't you introduce yourself, tell us who you are, what you do.

00:00:33 Kyle Lawrence from Spectrum Event Services Seattle, also known as Spectrum Events Mobile Bar. Been in the wedding industry on my own as Gosh, for about five years or so, but had been working in weddings for at least since 2008 or so. Uh, you may have, you may have had this, uh, in your past, whenever you want to supplement an income with something, you get a side hustle. And the side hustle for me was always being in wedding, serving, bartending. And that was that. That was the genesis of how I kind of found myself in the industry. And then the way it worked with me was I'm working in a wedding for some other, for another company. And someone says, Hey, do you, can you do this for our house? Can you come to our house? Can you come to our party? Can you work at our party? This, that and the other thing. And then it just snowballs from there. Uh, but aspect of our event services five years total.

00:01:35 And so when you say you would kind of do the side house and back at weddings, you mean just like odd jobs and things? I mean, how did you kind of get involved in this to begin with?

00:01:42 I was living down in Portland, Oregon and um, I was working, some people may not remember these, but it was work at hit on alt weekly newspaper. Um, so being in the, in the news business, you may remember things like Seattle weekly or uh, papers like that. I was working for a paper down in Portland called the Willamette week. And they're still around. They're still around in their print version. Uh, but especially in 2008, 2009 and a crash of a crash in the market crash crash of the home market, there wasn't that much coming in from a, a ad revenue standpoint. I wasn't getting rich. I was probably getting poorer. So I needed something else cause I was also down there on my own. None of my other, um, my, in none of my other family members lived down there. Uh, it was just kind of a thing to do. I wanted to go live somewhere else outside of the bubble. Uh, so found a catering company that was attached to, um, a restaurant that was within a hotel down there is a Thai food restaurant, uh, doesn't exist anymore. I can't remember the name of them, but they would do weddings, events and whatnot. So went and interviewed with this guy, you know, you always wish you remember these, these guys names because you remember and how fun was to work with them. But I can't, Eddie was a, and he said, well, I guess I'll hire you.

00:03:07 He gave sympathy on me. He let me serve and be a bartender when I had kind of minimal experience and I guess the pen is always been there. I kind of pushed in like, wow, I know if I need extra money and extra cash, I've got this way of getting it. And then you seek it and then it, and then hopefully if you put enough energy up there, the work comes back. So built up to doing my own thing.

00:03:37 So you said you were living in Portland. Are you from the area here? Where did you grow up?

00:03:42 You know, Pacific. What? Pacific Northwestern or how many of us are really, you know, Pacific northwesterners. Have you lived here for your whole life? Born and raised. So you are a rare breed. You are a very rare breed. I'm, I, I, I think the PAC northwest would call me born quote unquote. I'm doing air quotes. People on a podcast can see that. And then I just take your microphone. I've been here 25 years. I'm 37 so am I from the Pacific northwest. I've lived here longer than where I grew up, which was back in the Midwest. So, but I grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. Users go Hoosiers the corn fields, but I have lived here too, I believe, or long enough.

00:04:24 No, I think that's fair. So whatever way, uh, what brought you guys out here either to begin with?

00:04:29 Dad's work. So ship the whole family across the country. We'd never lived anywhere outside of the sticks, right until like the melting pot of one of the most culturally relevant cities at the time you had, you had sports in the sense of basketball supersonics, rest in peace, but you remember, um, you remember how, how relevant they were and how, like how much peoples did and still do love them. You remember the, the music scene then, and we were these little rocker grunter kids. Uh, we had just gotten guitars, I don't know, like two years before that. So in our school, which was also tiny, um, we're, we're cool because we were moving to Seattle where the guys with the ripped jeans from television, uh, or from, so I remember one kid even saying, you're not cool enough to live there. Why are you, why do you get to go? Uh, so us being these a little music, these little music kids were so, so excited to move here, um, and picked up and literally drove the van across the country. Our mom did. So that's awesome. Yeah. Yeah.

00:05:33 So you found yourself out here and me. What, what were you, you know, interested in doing as a kid kind of growing up? Did you have any Kinda, you know, aspirations, you know, interests, obviously you got into, you know, selling the ads. Was that more just a way they make money or were you interested in media or what, what kinds of interested yet?

00:05:49 Uh, you know, what you did. I had no clue what I wanted to do. I, I had no motivation other than figuring out where the hell I was and what the hell, kind of, what my place was. Because like I said, Louie get this sticks your whole life. Your, your, your view of what could become is the, no, there's some guard rails around it. Um, then you get out to this new place with so much variety where people dress like they're ready to be going hiking at any given moment. Um, and they, and you're just like, wow, what can I do? So it took, I feel like I lived in a daze for about like five to 10 years till I really ever got motivated because I was discovering everything but to, to, to answer your question, so into adulthood, what, just to make sure I got it right. Like what made, what motivated me to just sort of, you know, kind of steer towards a career path.

00:06:50 Yeah. I mean, well, yeah. Did you have interests to led? You mean obviously being a people person you are attending, you know, certainly has certain skills that you need to have, but what were your interests kind of? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

00:07:01 Best Way I can answer that is honestly just going back to the music in the arts. Uh, that was the interest. The interest was knowing was, was knowing these really unimportant but important to me at the time, like facts about music and movies and artists and when this album's going to drop or who the producer on that and figuring out who liked the kind of music I liked or who you could play music or collaborate with and kind of finding that little tribe because we didn't have one. Yeah, we were with, we were family five, three brothers, one older than us and then the two of my closest brother, uh, you know, just these music kids. So that was essentially the interest. It was, where can I find that thing? The thing that bring, that we feel like is going to bring us together. And that was music.

00:07:55 So that's what we did. We both kind of went our own individual ways. I was like, we all remember high school, we all have embarrassing school stories about high school. So my brother was this punk rock kid. Yeah. He had the, he had his hair like a foot high. And when you played punk bands, I was the goth kid and you know, I, Gosh, wake up and it's, we live in the most beautiful area in the world. I don't know why I felt like I needed to wear black all the time, but I did. And so I found guys that were listening to that kind of music but also liking that kind of music. And you know, we both formed a different bands. You toured around the country. I played shows around here and then college happened. Do I want to do though I wanted this music thing or do I want to go to college and I chose college.

00:08:43 So that went up to in, that's where bartending happened because just like in just like, you know, we've talked about side hustles. I was, would not, we were also poor in college. So you have like three different jobs I used to run. Um, I used to run program and run the movies for my college. Um, so a little bit of video, not recording like you do, you've got that tied down. But like just that's a big, that's a big of mine is film. Uh, and then, well, okay, well I'm barely making enough to make rent and buy groceries with the, with uh, my, my, a tuition assistance and then whatever I get from this. So what else can I do? I walked into this deep, you know, like a Mousse, um, like the Moose club and the elks lodge in the eagles clubs are those old institutions that are around town.

00:09:33 Um, I walked into a moot, I think they're called the Moose Club. I can't remember. No offense to any moves us out there. Uh, it's been a long time. Uh, the Moose Lodge, there we go. I don't know why that took so long to recall, but walked into Moose Lodge that we're having a concert. So usually it's just membership only, right? They're having a concert where they opened a up to the public because they are raising funds for something the other and thought it looked cool. It was just grimy dive place. I, if it's still in Pullman, go mousses I really enjoyed it. Uh, and I, and after the show I walked up to the bartender and I said, this looks like fun. Can I be a bartender here? And they said, yeah, I had no reason I had no, no, no sets. It'd be a bartender. But we all have our ways of starting out. So that's how it started for me. That's a long winded answer to your

00:10:33 course. That's great. No, that was, that was the, the answer.

00:10:36 Oh, I was going to say I need to stop slamming my head.

00:10:38 Oh, you're perfect. No worries. Ah, so, ah, that's so funny just to circle back with it, with the music in high school and everything, what kind a, where did you play and what kinds of stuff do you listen to? It just, cause I, that's kind of where I grew up too. You know, cradle of filth and stuff like that. You're into black metal. I was a little bit, yeah.

00:10:55 Uh, did you ever hear the local black metal band called Equinox in Cornac in Quinn? Knock, this would have been 10 plus years ago, my brother. So you went from punk rock to black metal? Yeah. So dude, cradle of filth and mortal. Do you, I mean, if you, I'm assuming you, we got a bridge there, right? Yeah. Did you, did you ever go see, did he ever see cradle? I that did over at, um, well, it's a elcor zone now, but maybe the Graceland back then. So you sell Danny Filth, that guy, you know, he just knows it's a bit like, he's just having fun. Right. Oh, that's great. Yeah, no. Uh, I, I also dip, dip my toes just into liking some of the, the black metal bands, my immortal, one of the best black metal bands you'll ever hear.

00:11:40 That's awesome. Yeah. We went to a cradle, came here last, uh, in the fall. I can't remember. Dorothy dropped me and my buddy off to go see him again. And I think she was like, you guys are crazy. Had

00:11:52 she ever, did she know anything about

00:11:54 that world before you? No, not until we started like that until I started getting hyped Dominic and then do it. Oh, man. Uh, there isn't that, isn't that a rush? Um, that's cool that we both have that kind of, that bridge there. Uh, so, so he, so my brother was in a, a black metal band after the punk rock stuff. For me it was always um, local mixture of progressive rock and metal. So you've got your, um, you know, when you went to like think of the band and impress people and you can't think of the band, um, uh, oh, path. Sorry. Yup, Yup. Oh, path. Um, one of the best opez shows I ever saw was in Spokane actually. Uh, when I was in college, there was a, I think it was called the house of Blues at the time, the venue that was up there.

00:12:46 Uh, just seriously one of the most epic bands of all time. So anyways, a little bit of Opeth, lot of better tool, little bit of like the cure, lot of, bit of joy division and a little bit of a band called a progressive rock band from the 70s called King Crimson. And you kind of put those in a, in a blender, you know, and then we came out with this band that I was in for two plus years. So we played, we played El Corazon, we played, uh, the shoebox at the market. We played a bunch of venues that don't exist anymore. What age range are you, and I know people don't like to add 33, so you may remember some of these venues. Um, however, the Ballard firehouse, which is now a pizza place or not a pizza place or restaurant that just sells really good food.

00:13:36 So we played there. Um, there was a, there is a new venue called the well newish venue called the substation and Ballard. They used to be a venue called the substation all the way over in Bellevue. Um, it's, it was, doesn't exist anymore. I think it was kind of like an underground thing for awhile that a bunch of musicians had put together, played that play. The old firehouse in Redmond played the, um, where some of the, I love thinking about those vineyards that don't exist anymore, but then, uh, but shoebox was always the biggest one. We played at a pick the paradox over the u district and, um, then I left to go to WSU. They continued and I, and they, they got themselves a pretty big following, at least, you know, for a band that's local in, but also not like someone that would be featured in the stranger at the time or something that I think they've employed pneumos once or twice and then went on to or so. And what was the name again? So it was spelled s ITU. We always pronounced it, eh, c two is c two, but I don't know if that's how it would actually be. That's awesome. Yeah. I just, yeah, it does. I just kind of wanted to go that tangent. I thought that was funny. See, what did that, BSU, what was kind of your, did you have any, you go there and you plan, would you study, would you

00:14:54 went there specifically for, um, for the communications program? Edward R Murrow.

00:15:02 No, it's a, it's a great program.

00:15:04 It, it was between that and honestly, you know, going up on the hill to Seattle University, which would have cost a lot more, but at the time, and I'm sure it's improved, the communications program really wasn't as put together and I wanted to, that's what I wanted to be in. I wanted to learn how to communicate. Apparently I have problems doing that now, but uh, but that, that was the better one. And also coming from a little town in Indiana to this big place in the northwest, I think my parents had a really good, a better device space. First off, they didn't get to go away to college. They had to do it all in the nights and the weekends and raising a family in Italy. And they basically said, we want you to be able to experience something we never did. And we weren't able to do because we were busy raising all EU little health children. So why don't you go, you know, our best advice, go off to college and like have that experience. I couldn't think of more. That's intelligent advice.

00:16:08 No, it's great. So you do the hour tomorrow, you get the communication.

00:16:13 Yeah. Yeah. So it was, um, I was originally starting off the journalism in the, if you were to, if you were to ask me, like if I, if you were to say like, label what you, if you wanted to write your own biography, what would you call yourself? I would still call myself a writer because I went to school for journalism and I learned a lot about it, but I didn't eventually graduate with that degree. I graduated with a public relations degree, which I, you know, I've never worked at a public relations firm, but I feel like you use it in every job. Like you always doing what you do, part of being a business person, you're relating to the public. Hopefully you're not having to, uh, deal with any, uh, you know, uh, publicity crisises I mean, we all kind of need that. So I feel like I've used it a lot personally. And then under, um, what is it, the minor in business? Uh, it was just a business administration. It was going to go for entrepreneurship, which actually applied a lot more, but I didn't.

00:17:14 That's awesome. So, so you graduated from college and you're kind of trying to do, like you said, side house, Salon work and, and a bunch of different things. So, uh, when it came to kind of like making the leap to start your own business, you know, was that like how did that all come about? Cause obviously it's, it's way different from doing like, well I'm just gonna bartend on the weekends to like, I'm going to make a thing with, you know, a website and business cards and a brand. And so how did that call come about?

00:17:39 Totally by accident. It did. Did you knew, did you know when you were going to be entrepreneur, an entrepreneur? No. Same. Do you feel like people know that they're going to be at? No, not for the most part now. And that's the same with me. I didn't know I was going to be an entrepreneur. I didn't know it was going to be, you know, have a bartending company. Uh, but it just happened. So I know that it's like sort of like a cap that answered your question, but it did that mean, and it's in, I think that you can, you could probably relate to this. It's been fun. It's fun for you, right? Fine for me to say. But what was the inspiration that kind of starts Backstrom events? Oh, um, well I liked to be my own boss. I like to, um, I like to serve people.

00:18:36 It gives me satisfaction when I make people happy and eventually like we all are doing, we want to be the, we want to be the captain of our own ships. Let me give you a more, um, let me give you a more personal anecdote to that. I was thinking about the state before I came over to record this. What, how did I even get the name? Because the name is not particularly like wedding vendor or bar vendor. Just Spectrum. What does that mean? It was special to me because it came during a hard time in life. I was going through a bad breakup. Uh, I was at the gym getting some of that like that, you know, negative energy at and, and doing whatever. And the song came over, um, on the radio. You remember, I remember Dubstep, you know, it, it for, there were some great artists and still are actually for a time.

00:19:27 The, the, the producer a musician said he had a song that was really, really dope around. I'm really big on the, on the radio, uh, about 2012 or 13 called Spectrum. It's a beautiful song, fills you with hope and it puts your mind, gives you that dopamine level, puts you into a really good place. And I just said, shit, Spectrum Event Services, Seattle. And then of course retcon, everything. Well, we offer a Spectrum of, uh, of, of, of the services we can do this or that or the other thing. So luckily I hooked up, um, from there I hooked up with a friend who's actually in, actually she's in the news industry as well, um, been doing, uh, for a long, long time. And she was just starting to get in graphic design and I said, I've got this business idea. I don't have a logo, I don't, I've just got a name.

00:20:25 And you offered to do my first logo for free. And I'm the one that when I have now is an updated logo but still have that, that a, the file of the logo she made for me. And I just thought it was pretty, it was, I always wanted the image and the branding and still will continue to make the branding softer. I want a little bit more, I wanted accessible little more feminine. So that's why I have pink in my colors because I mean honestly a lot of my customers are the bride's not saying that pink is what women always like, but I don't think it hurts to have pink in my, in my branding. And I just, so that's a, that's how the, that's how Spectrum came about. And that's how some of the, like the thoughts around the branding came about too.

00:21:13 But the, I mean obviously hustling and serve is different than kind of trying to run something. Sure. So putting that together, I mean, was that, was that scary? Was that daunting? I mean, what did you

00:21:24 yeah, it was because I didn't know how to plan and schedule and Oregon, well, I'm sorry, I don't want to sell myself short. A lot of what I did in college was event oriented. That numb belonged to a couple of the organizations, you know, like, um, there'll be an organization in your college that will put on the concerts and put program the movies and the lectures and et cetera. So I was involved in event marketing and event production that way. So it's always been in my blood. So I was, I think that's probably why it was so easy because I was kind of had a knack for, for just making something happen. Um, but at the same time it was intimidating because I didn't really know how to market this bar company. But first customers, like I said a little earlier where people, when I was working at other people's companies saying, will you come and do this for me?

00:22:21 So it built organically to answer what you were saying. Word of mouth. Um, this friend has got another friend that friend's got another friend. Then I go to this venue that I've never been to and I bartend for a wedding there. Get to know the people that run the venue. I must have provided some what a good customer service. Cause then they asked me back and then it just sort of goes, it just kind of builds on itself. You, you know this, this industry is all about relationships. It's come true. It's that way with yours too. Right. And I think that that's how it helped built organically, making relationships with more people, following up with people, doing a good job for people. So for me, my customers, number one on my wedding couples, it is my job to do the best to the absolute best for them because hopefully they only have one special day and that means you're responding to their emails and good will within a certain amount of time.

00:23:28 My standard is to try to respond within 24 hours or less. That's also, that also means taking the, taking the responsibility off of their shoulders because having just gotten married, I can tell you there are so many details. So I'm trying to take that off of them and taking that burden to them or to yourself. And then, um, and then from there, just not only being, you know, great to them and putting little pieces and moments into your service to make their day special, that'd be great to have their guests, like their guests are there because they want to celebrate with the people they know. So in a sense, you treat them like friends when it comes to the way you come when you converse with them. That's something that I feel that I do that probably makes that at least I feel like, you know, makes me a little more successful in this, uh, in this world.

00:24:26 Um, because I, I talked to, I talked to them like they're my friends. I mean, I want them, I want them to have a good time. I want them to feel like they're having, they're going to have a good time. Um, so number one, you've got the wedding couples that are your, that are, are your, um, that's your first responsibility. But number two, the venue is also your customer. You know, that you want to, you want to do a good job for them. You don't want to look unprofessional. You don't, you want to help them in any way you can. It granted you have the time. So myself and the other people that work with me, if it's a slow wedding, if the guest counts a little lower, if there's something else that can be done, we're going to figure out a way to help.

00:25:10 We're going to get, there's two people at the, if there's two bartenders at an event, it's slow. We haven't seen a customer in awhile. One of us is going to go around and help bus their tables or help the wedding coordinator do that because at the end of the day, that's gonna help us all just get things done a lot quicker. So you've gotta Ho, so your venues at second customer, the third customer is going to be your wedding coordinator if they have one, you know that, yeah. Do you work with, do you mind that the wedding coordinator or the couples,

00:25:39 it's 50, 50, if they have, you know, if they have somebody that's doing that otherwise, yeah,

00:25:43 yeah. My customer is also the wedding coordinator because their jobs to make sure that this thing goes off without a hitch. So the bride can in and the groom and their family and their, and their friends can have a very special day. But whatever we can do to make their jobs easier, we try to, I don't care if that means that they need, you know, the birthday cake per kick or having weddings here or um, if the cake needs being cut, if, you know, they, they need help refilling a beverage station that we didn't bring because they didn't rent from us, but they need help doing it. So that's, uh, that's, that's the, that's Kinda the kick caboodle of that. Let's go. Yeah. Sorry. So it can be a little long winded. My wife will tell you.

00:26:34 That's okay. No worries. So what was the, you know, obviously when you're a bartender, you know, pre kind of running your own business, obviously you still interacted with people,

00:26:44 you know, helping customer or whatever, but what was it like to kind of take that step to be either a, you're a little more obviously front and center now doing the communications, doing the bookings, taught, you know, doing the outreach. So what was it, was that transition difficult or what was that like?

00:26:59 So do you just mean trying, going from being a bartender to kind of being a business person? Yeah, I mean, I mean it does. It does. It doesn't to me to have, no, I mean, so here's the thing. No, what was difficult was figuring out how to operate it like a business. Uh, when we're, when we're beginning and must, unless you are, I have a mentor that has told us like, this is how I did things read. So this is how I think you should do it. Or, you know, or if you've worked for somebody else in video production for weddings and you saw their contracts and all the clauses and all the stipulations and how they price things and how they, you know, and where they're able to like pull back or add more on, unless you know that from that experience, um, you kinda just keep just yelling into the wind and that's what I did is kind of yell into the Wind Cher.

00:28:01 Uh, there, there's going to be 300 people there. Yeah. You want to save on the budget? I'll just come by myself. That's great. I can serve 300 people alone without any help. That shouldn't be a problem. Right. Oh, and by the way, yeah, the really rate you used, you just offered me, I'll take that because it's more money than I ever right now. Okay. Oh Wow. I got my ass kicked at that wedding. Is this really worth it? You're dragging yourself back to back to your car. So you kind of, you know, at the beginning I didn't, I, the hard thing was to figure out how to run the business so that, you know, not only is it you're making money in the way you should, but, but to, to make sure that the customer has the best, um, the best experience you can give them.

00:28:53 Sometimes that means that you were not giving a, you're not giving shots at the wedding because even though we all love shots, this is a wedding. So those are some examples of how you sort of, unless you have that firsthand experience, like you worked at a catering company. In my case I worked at a catering company. I was designing the con or I was writing up the contract. Somebody showed me a template on how to do it. So unless I did that, I did it on my own. So you stumble through it and really hope you don't make any, you know, really stupid mistakes and hopefully I'm not making any stupid ones anymore. But yeah. Anymore. Yeah.

00:29:34 Um, cause obviously you know, with, with bartending and you know, staffing and stuff like that, I mean there's just, you know, there's so much liability and things you have to know and things that people think they know or don't know. You mean I sent money to the wedding group the other day and someone was talking about um, oh we just want to have like buckets with beer at the wedding and then people can come. And, and I was like, I think something has to be, you know, I don't, I don't know cause I'm not a event, you know, bartender, but something has to be, you know, illegal about that or not. Maybe not. So how do you handle, you know, making sure you're on the up and up and then obviously kind of educating your clients as well.

00:30:12 You just, you brought up a good, a good one, dad. I, I'm remembering some specific uh, email requests. We're going to have a self serve vodka bar, but we just want you to pour the beer in the wine so everybody can, you know, all the liver long day can, can make their own hard alcohol drinks at our event that we buy the banquet permit for. But you can just pour the beer in wine. Um, I'm just thinking about some of the older ones that did things that I wouldn't have known to think about beforehand. Um, you from, from the liability and from the, from the consultation standpoint, you have to actually sit down and read your liability insurance. Uh, you'd be surprised at some of the things that are in there, but one of the biggest things that are in there that unless you read, you wouldn't know.

00:31:12 People can't serve themselves. They can't. So you have to educate yourself and you have to hold a standard one of the s and you have to communicate that early. One thing that is always communicated to my wedding couples, they know this off the top. I reserve the right to cut off anyone at any time. Doesn't matter if it's uncle Joe, doesn't matter. Fit. Your mom, doesn't matter if it's your best buddy. You've been friends since you were a kid and you are you and he, he, you and him are connected at the hip. I can cut him off whenever I want. And in fact, last weekend's wedding, I had to cut off the best buddy. Unfortunately, the best buddy was inebriated to that point, at least two per my estimation, beyond the, beyond the point that the law would say that he, uh, that he should be.

00:32:11 I don't just play a security guard. I tried to be as respectful as possible. So we talk about it up the top with the wedding couple and they agree to that they have to. And then I'm not going to just cut off the buddy at first. I'm going to, I'm going to pull up the groom or the brightest side and say, look, uncle Joe, he's ready. He's ready to be done. And I think that if you establish that at the beginning, and if you respect the process, then it's not an issue. Then there are the crazy, we're trying to live, relive our frat day parties or weddings, excuse me. Um, then you have to get a little more strict in your, you're don't have time to do some of those. Um, those sort of in kind of processes. So to answer your question, like it's a, it's a balancing act because you have your insurance, you have your liability, you have the law, you're a vendor who wants to be liked and wants to be hired and wants to do a good job for your customer.

00:33:19 When you, when you were, when you were having to have some of those difficult conversations, you get a little nervous. You, you don't want to give them or their guests a reason to not like you. But it is the law and it's very, very strict and it doesn't, I can't, I would feel so bad if somebody had a hang head got so drunk at a wedding that I bartended that they didn't remember that day. By responsibility is to make sure they have a good time, but also to make sure that they are not breaking laws. So it's a balancing act, honestly. And do you have to, you have to really, you have to really watch it because it can be, things can get out of control. You've seen it, right? Yeah,

00:34:06 no, the, the saddest thing we ever had was we, this was years ago, delivered to the bride and groom and you know, whatever goes by and then they send the, you know, thanks email, whatever. And they see, you know, we really, we loved the video and it's great. We just really wish it would have helped us remember more about the wedding. We don't, and this was that, you know, this was a bride and groom. This wasn't even a guess. And I thought, man, I was like, that's really like, I don't, I can't help you. You know what I mean? Cause we can shoot, we can shoot video for 10 hours, but you don't have your all, I don't, you know, but I just don't really bad that they had got to the point where they just said no idea of I have the last, you know, good, good portion of their reception. Yeah.

00:34:43 I, and you know what? I, I, I feel bad to read. Like I don't, I, I, we've all been in, we've all been in, into the mode of like partying one to have a good time or in her twenties, whatever you want to call it. But like, I totally get it. But isn't this like the day you want to, like you want to remember? So we have to strike a balancing act because I want to make sure that the, that they have the bar, they want that I who am I to tell them what their bars should be, but I can help guide them. So let me give you an example. Uh, we want a full bar. Every single alcohol we can have an beer and wine. There's only a hundred people here. We want four cakes, full cakes, and it got Duh, Duh, Duh Duh.

00:35:34 And I have to not, I have to help them from a budget. If you're to have four cakes and there's only a hundred people, as much as you wanted to empty all of those out, you're probably going to go back with at least three and a half full. Kids might not want all the alcohol in the Sh on the shelf to be at your wedding because barely any of it. We'll get drunk compared to the things that people like. So we consult with them and we help them figure out, let's look, let's look for some his are here at cocktails. Let's, let's find out. Let's find a way to strike a balance because it's going to help your guests. It's going to help our service for them because if we have to make 18 different cocktails versus a certain amount, well, we're not going to be able to make them as fast as we need to. I don't I, there's the first thing that happens when people say, I do the efficient, both announced that the bars open, there will be a line. I want to make sure that line, it's efficiently gotten through as fast as possible. Not to make bad drinks, but just so people don't feel like they have to wait. It's a nervousness inside of me. I don't like to make people wait.

00:36:45 There's nothing worse than waiting to mind that we don't. I don't attend many weddings, but there's nothing worse than sitting there waiting in line. Yeah.

00:36:52 So, so anyways, um, I hope that answers your question. Like I said, I could be a little long winded.

00:36:59 No, that's perfect. Uh, but no, it's just, it's stuff with, with alcohol we just, because it is email's so integral with most weddings, we obviously will shoot, you know, dry weddings for cultural or religion, you know, or, or whatever else. But for a lot of the time it is so integral, whether it's beer and wine or a whole bar self, you know, not self serve, uh, uh, you know, people pay or it's seeing care of or whatever. And so it's just, I think that, do you find that the lack of knowledge of what people think that they can do versus what's like actually responsible and legal is big out there?

00:37:32 Not always a big gap. Um, honestly, the gap is really with quantity. It's always thinking that they need more than they do in the budgets. They read fine. But if you want, if I want to help you have enough and more than enough, uh, alcohol and supplies for your wedding, but term your budget so you can spend that at other things, I'm going to definitely tell you how to do that. So I don't get as many of that that a, the requests like you're talking about where they just did the difference between what they want and the law are just a valley of difference. I don't get, I don't get those luckily as much. Um, gosh, like I think I told the story about another one earlier, but I can't think of too many because yeah, I think, I think people get it. Yeah, they get it. Yeah. I'm lucky. I don't know, maybe there's some other horror stories out there, but

00:38:34 that's good. So, so obviously and, and kind of get rather stand kind of what you do. Cause obviously, you know, bar and events, staffing, like you said, you kind of help, um, you know, obviously plan, figure out quantities and stuff right now, kinds of services that you guys provide.

00:38:47 Um, Gosh, you feel like you just covered it. Just so, so, uh, so obviously, okay, the bar side of things, um, consultation, right? So what do we need, what I think they need and what eventually it arrives at. So I think that's definitely part of it. I, I feel like I act as a consultant, um, also can provide any of the intermittent steps in ordering. So not different a difference between some of your other vendors and myself are, and this is probably why some, some of the other, um, some of the other bar vendors out there make way more money than me is that they, they, they actually sell the oil, the wine, the liquor per drink by supplies. Unfortunately, my wife and I just don't have enough space to store that stuff at our house and it just, um, it would probably be really good on the money, but at the same time just don't have the, don't have the, the way to get that together.

00:39:51 So we serve what people buy. So that's where the consultation comes in. I'm telling them what to get, but I'm also offering the service of ordering for them too. Um, lot of people don't, lot of people don't know that bevmo total wine and more, you can schedule a free wine tasting with them. And I love telling couples about that because here's an interesting fact, a lot, a lot of couples, um, depending on where you've come from, they, you, they know what red wine is, but they may not know the difference between a piano wire, a cab, Sav, a coronation and well everybody knows what a Rosa is, but different to light wine. But so they may not, they may not have a taste for it yet. Younger in life, you haven't, you haven't grown up and gone out to the wineries yet. So they just know what they know.

00:40:41 So I love recommending places like Bevmo or total wine and more, you're able to get the tasting, tell what you like, get the recommendations and then also get an a good estimate on what things are gonna cost. So, um, so that's part of it too is put you are um, giving them the path to, to figure out what they are going to like the most. So consultation ordering. I can also, so I can take that away from, not away, but I can take that off of their hands too. All right, well I know you like this wine. I know you're like this beer. I know you'll like this alcohol. I'll put the order together. I'll have it delivered to your wedding. Bang, Bang, boom. So usually in initial phases we're going to go down those, those paths. We're also going to talk about how many, how long we need to be there, um, versus you know, how long they are going to be there.

00:41:36 So they're going to be there all day, taking photos, getting my hair and makeup ready, et Cetera, et cetera. Um, we don't usually come until a certain time because we need enough time to set up and make sure everything's um, executed and ready to go. So that to me, that, that covers the broad strokes then going then going to the services of, um, of, uh, let's see, what am I forgetting of the staffing portion? Um, I want to make sure that if a lot of, so to backup, a lot of venues are just, just that they're just, they're the venue. You've got the owner, you've got the people that run it, you know, that, um, catering companies, it costs one amount to have the food dropped off and, or served by the staff at the catering company. But it costs another amount to also have their staff go out, bus essentially be a server in a way.

00:42:36 Um, and sometimes either this, the catering company doesn't have that, you know, they're, they're just setting up the stuff and leaving or they're serving their food, but they're don't have time to go out to, you know, do all the, all the fun stuff, like taking the trash out and everything. So that's also, that's where we come in. Um, we can provide serving support. So you've got your, so any, any thing from busing, helping cut the cake, passing out the cake, taking the trash out, all of those nitty gritty things that if you, unless you have a point person for you know, think about. And then, uh, last but not least, this is something that I've been getting into just in the last couple of years. I call it day of event management because I don't think I'm good enough to call myself a coordinator yet those coordinators are so good at what they do.

00:43:30 They are so put together, organized their decorative skills, their management skills just on point. I've got a lot of those skills basically from being around weddings and being a, an organizer of my own business and events in the past. So I was asked by someone that hired us as a bartender, hey, can you coordinate our wedding to invite coordinate them and we need you to make sure that you have staff, you're cleaning the place up, flipping the room, liaising with the food vendors, getting everything plated. Dr The DA. So only recently I've been starting the day of event management and um, in only a few weddings. I think that that's part of the business that can grow a lot. And uh, I think I got the chops to do it. So yeah, that's the services we offer. That's perfect. Yeah.

00:44:23 I want to hear about your wedding and know that you're recently married. I know you guys see sends your planning and your honeymoon here in Italy in the fall. So tell me about how email, obviously someone that's been, you know, basically growing up in weddings, right? I mean, being involved in one way or another, you know, a good portion of your life. What was it like to kind of be on the other side of that? Oh man,

00:44:40 it was like unreal. Uh, when did, when did you and your wife get married?

00:44:44 So there'll be three years next week. Three years in was did you hire somebody to be, um, to do video and whatnot for the wedding? I did. A friend of yours or somebody who didn't, he was a company. We, uh, I added to that. So we, we arranged where he could, he just hand it to me. So that was the compromise I made with my wife. As I said, I won't film that if I, were you thinking about it the whole time or did every second the whole time, the whole day. Every second. Yeah. We just can't get that out of our head to can we, the whole day. It was really about that, um, Rebecca that's been on the podcast who Rebecca Grant did my wedding and the Anda grant with new creations.

00:45:26 Okay. Okay. Yeah, I recognize the name.

00:45:28 So she, she did our wedding and she literally had to like physically like put me in line to like lock down the aisle cause I didn't, I was running the round. Oh Man. It's just

00:45:38 get the, you've got that bug in your head. You know, you just want to not think about it but you do. So luckily what we, what we're able, uh, or what we ended up doing is we had art, we had our wine, we had our winery, we had our wedding at a winery in Leavenworth and uh, this, the winery area is called Icicle Ridge. They, they have a big a tasting room kind of out in this town called Puss Ashton. I said that wrong post Shasta. Uh, and then downtown and Leavenworth, they have two tasting rooms that have uptown and downtown. Uh, it was their first wedding at their uptown location and that is right across the street for reference from the Christmas store with all those of all the, you know, decorations and whatnot or icicle, um, creek brewery. Um, so it's really, really cute, really cute venue in space.

00:46:31 And they had never had a wedding. There's, and ours was the first I had, I had to tell the coordinator, uh, that works there. Gosh, I hate when I forget their names. Anyways. Uh, I had to tell her like, you have to tell me not to work cause if, if you don't tell me that I'm going to like try to go behind the bar and help you pour wine and I'm ready to go, try to like try to like organize this. So they were really cool about it. So we got married over there. Um, and it, it was just beautiful. Like only a 40 person wedding. We didn't want to have like too many people there because we just wanted our, we wanted our friends there, two of our friends officiated it. So my good buddy who I've known for 20 years and then the friend of my wife and i's that introduced us.

00:47:23 So we had two fishy ants and it was a really just really brief, um, you know, we set our I do's and then we have these, the, all the things in w we all want to make sure that's perfect that we say to each other, but something about just that day, that venue, the fact that we are able to find that venue, which was also the also the first wine like real winery I ever went to who's made it feel good. We get, we had this, um, we were able to get a condo right across the street on from the Icicle Ridge wineries, a tasting room. Literally the, the uh, the Condo we stayed in was right across the street. So all we had to do was walk across the street after we got dressed up and you know, go to the wedding venue. So, um, it was such a cool experience. I've got the best wife in the world. I'm so happy. Like we were both, it, I'm still liking that like Kinda like post wedding days even though it's been two months ago, just because I felt it like all went great. And it was effortless. Well planning it was of course planning, but uh, it was effortless and in the sense of like everything turned out the way it should be.

00:48:34 Oh, so when, when was the wedding? Uh, May 11th, May 11th. So the, did you feel like going to weddings after that? Do you I have always said on the podcast I feel like having gone through it, I can appreciate kind of what the groom, you know, when everyone's feeling a lot more. Do you feel like having gone through that now that you, you feel more invested or you have you always, I mean maybe you've always been

00:48:56 dude, hi. Have such a better perspective of all of this stuff now that I've been married. It is, it is. I always try to relate to too, just like you probably do. Like I always try to relate to the couples as best as I can. You know, some of them like you could be friends with in some of them you can just tell you are working for them. Now I feel like I've got such a different level of understanding and respect for them. I feel like it helps me take care of their needs better. One thing I didn't think of before was just all of the weight that goes onto making, making a wedding be the wedding you want it to. Just if it comes to their communication between each other, being able to reassure them or not bother them. You know, like I, I'm not gonna try and like I'll get the details taken care of that we need, but I, I want to be the vendor that is able to wrap that up and then you can check it off your list because I didn't have, I didn't think about that before I was married.

00:50:05 Like there's just some things, especially coming up to the week before you just want done. So it gave me, it gave me a better perspective on how that all works and it also gave me a better excitement of be, yeah, I was excited. I'm like, I'm a happy go lucky guy. So I was like excited to be at weddings and be a part of the big day. But now I'm like, wow, I just got married but share the same energy. Let's be excited about it. I'm going to send you pictures of our wedding. I want to see pictures of your wedding, let's do this wedding power. Uh, uh, my cheesiness as my charm sometimes. Uh, but it, the, it totally gave me a different perspective and I think I'm, I'm able to, to serve my customers better and serve their needs better. Did you, do you feel like that a little bit too?

00:50:47 Oh, absolutely. I mean, just today we were a, I was wrapping up a video and you know, she's coming down and the first you that you cut to him and the first luck and you swipe in the tier. We have been, I mean like I can feel that now having gone through that where I, you just, you know, you're sitting there before and I do think that I just didn't have any contexts that, like you said, like the way they've, everything the decisions and knowing and even like day of like, you know, that they're asked like a thousand different questions. And so like if I'm just like, oh, we got it. Or like you were, you're like, maybe you had know some stuff that like maybe you could ask them or you could just make a, make your executive decisions. Just be done with it. Like that's my thing too is I'm like, don't bug them about it if we don't need to. Cause they've got the know like he's, you know, months going into it the last week. And then the day of, it's like you're still asking, you know, answering questions all day. So

00:51:34 in some, and sometimes you, you work with the wedding couple that like you can tell like they are on it and sometimes this is the first thing they've ever had to like organize. And when you're getting married young, I don't blame you. I mean who knows how to organize an event until you, you either are involved with events or you get married. I mean, so it can be tough and it can be tough. Like second guessing yourself. I buy, you know, okay, I ordered the flowers, but did I get rid of the vases and you know, I who's going to pick up the ice and who's going to, you know, bus the tables, who's going to decorate the venue? You don't even think about that sometimes until like the last minute. So it's such a, I feel like I can appreciate their, what they're going through so much more. And honestly, and this again, this is, I said early like I did, this is going to sound cheesy. I care a lot about the service I give people. Sometimes I'm a better, I'm a better service provider then I'm a bartender. Honestly I think they're 50 50 at what I do. You get what I mean?

00:52:42 Yeah, I know. I just, I know what you mean.

00:52:43 You know, I could, I or people that work with me could make the best craft cocktail that we, you know, that was planned between the bride and I, but if I had a bad attitude, what's that gonna have? How are they gonna feel? To me it's a, it's a balance of both. And I want to make sure that they feel good. I want to make sure that I give him the best service I can possibly give him. I was trained, I was trained through the retail world and honestly, it's certainly so well into my own business. I worked at Nordstrom for a long time and I've taken that customer service attitude as far as I can. And you probably understand too.

00:53:21 Yeah, no, totally. I mean I used to really, you know, not fight but really

00:53:26 push for [inaudible] if we thought, oh we really got to go back out and do more portraits or go do this or go do that. Yeah. I really used to be like, man, like we got to, and then sometimes they just don't want to do it and they want to go sit with their friends and they don't want it. You know? And it's, it's tough when you're starting off and you're like, well I, but I, you know, I would want it or why wouldn't they? And like you said, it's about kind of serving them and if, and if, if the best way they want to spend their day is just sitting with their family at the reception and not doing whatever that maybe you think you want to do within that and you need to serve them and you need to know, you know, that that's what they want to do. I totally agree,

00:54:05 Dude. You got it right there man. They, um, what was I going to say?

00:54:10 Okay.

00:54:11 Ah, lost me. It was something about full service followup, but we're in the midst of wedding season, the candle is burning, being burnt. You, you, you get to that point during the wedding season where you just, you're not as sharp as you want. Okay. Yeah,

00:54:26 I very well, I, our time is winding down here. I, before I'll let you go. I do want to ask a what, what's something that you wish more people knew about you? Uh, it could be personally or as you, you know, the work that you do, but what is something that you wish that more people knew or asked about?

00:54:42 Huh? That's a good question.

00:54:45 Okay.

00:54:47 You can edit the long pause out because now it, now I have to think about what I wish more people knew about me. Um, will eat pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Great answer. And I can't wait to go to Italy with my wife on our honeymoon because this is, this is a testament to how great of a wife she is. She came up to me the other day and told me, and I've already got

00:55:11 right,

00:55:12 four pizza places picked up free. So yeah, that's what I want people to know about me. That's perfect.

00:55:21 It's been fine. It's been so good to get to sit and chat with you and kind of hear about everything. I do appreciate it. Like I said, it's, you know, we do this every week and I talked with vendors and everyone's, everyone's busy. So taking the time means a lot because you know, not everyone does take the time. So,

00:55:37 so can I do a shame? Can I answer the question with a different answer now that I think about it in the chain? Shameless self promotion. So I told her, we talked about being busy and burning the candle at both ends. I have a third business that I do and I designed websites. That business is called access web design. And I'd like to, I'd like to design more websites for couples because they can go to the knot, they can go to wedding wire and get free websites, but they suck. A lot of them were just limited based on pay payment tiers. And um, you, if you have your, if you have your own website up there, you're going to definitely be able to, to really, um, have the best impact. You can. [inaudible] or websites for businesses too. That's a lot. That's my niche. Small. But I feel like that there's additional wedding market, so that's something I want people to know. I doesn't, my, if, if life weren't busy enough, I also design websites for small businesses and hopefully you wedding couple.

00:56:35 No, I, I remember when we, when we got married, I think we just sit the nods or whatever, but it was like that we would, we'd put the photos and stuff in and cause I am, you know, I have my website and you know, we, I have Squarespace, but I have guys that like hack in whatever and we do it. And I was like so frustrated because I'm like, this is like going back to nothing. And I'm like, how do I, this shit doesn't love like, how is this not? And

00:57:00 that's a, that's a fun thing to Squarespace. Like it can be easy, but when you want something custom and you really want, you know, you really want something to do, like have your own touch. Like you have to know how to code or you have to know somebody that knows how to code. And like you said, you just gotta hack it. So, um, yeah, that's Kinda where I step in as I'm able to sort of translate some of those, a lot of my customers, this is the first line that they give me. I don't know what I'm doing. And I have to be able to translate from a technical standpoint so they know what they're doing. So it's really fun. It's a, it's such a different like side of the brain than serving in couples and then serving beer and wine and a good cocktail because you haven't, you're having to like take all that complex stuff and then figure out how to just speak it.

00:57:49 So it's good. It's growing. It's, it's, I'm kind of back into the two, the, the beginning mark of figure of, you know, yelling into the wind, figuring out how to run that business like I did with the, with Spectrum of it services Seattle and just doing it right. Finding the customers, giving them a good time, give him a good time, give them a good, um, a good experience. Because like with weddings, you're working on something that's very detailed. Something that may be frustrating because they wish that they could. Why can't, why can't I just make, why can't I just make this, um, this, this picture show up on the website and it should be so easy. Well, the picture is too high resolution and Squarespace won't let you upload something that size and it's not in the right format and not that that anyways, too much shameless self promotion as, yeah.

00:58:40 So anyways, I wanted to say thank you. I appreciate you having me on the podcast. I think what you're doing is, is great, especially for the wedding industry, especially for all of this local vendors. Any way that we, that I can help you into the future, please let me know. I'm, you know that that's the other part of this whole, that's the other part of this whole world that I think that a lot of people don't, don't think about when they're in there. The customer like we are, we are a community of people. We're, we're hardworking. We're 10, 12 hours a day onsite. You editing yet trying to make shots that maybe like have been out of focus or not the right thing get into like make them look beautiful or adding some type of effect onto it. So it transitions well. Like spending hours doing that. You're going back and forth. Um, you're doing a great thing to help crew to help, uh, you know, fuel that community. So I really appreciate it man.

00:59:36 No, I'm pretty that I, if people want to learn more about Spectrum Events that, where would you have them check out? Where would be the best places to look?

00:59:43 Uh, the website's always good Spectrum Events. Excuse me, But just hit me up on Facebook and Instagram because you're going to see more updates there. I believe I am at Spectrum Events. Mobile bar on Facebook could have the handle wrong. So just search Spectrum, Event Services Seattle or Spectrum Events, mobile bar on Facebook or me, Kyle Lawrence. You're eventually going to figure out how to find me. Um, and if not Instagram, uh, I should have these handles memorized probably. I think it's Spectrum Events. Mo Bar you'll find.

01:00:23 Yeah. All the, yeah, I'm looking at, oh well all Google searches. Leads. Lead to you.

01:00:28 Yeah. And the, you just take a look at what we'd have to offer. I always try to put up pictures of every, every wedding we do. Um, you know, always doing Instagram stories too. So if you follow me on Instagram you're going to see a lot of fun stories of people having a good time or I like to show people what we make and how and like just what the bar looks like cause that that's a good way of kind of getting an idea of how, what we can do for you is you know, showing the creativity out. We're setting a bar up so

01:00:56 well perfect. Well thanks again. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro®. If you are like Kyle and you're a wedding vendor that's interested in coming on the podcast, you can go to and that's a great easy way as a form to fill out quick and easy. And we can do it in person. Like Kyle is here.

01:01:17 Reid is like the most punctual, fastest to get ahold of you. Dude, I have ever met, I filled out his form. I thought like, Hey, you know, I'll hear from in two weeks. I can hang back, whatever. You know, he's probably not even gonna respond, Dude. Like hit me up in like an hour or two like you, you were so on it and I thought like, man, I'm, I'm not at this guy's level. Like I gotta I gotta I gotta get, get with it. But yeah, he is. He will get back to you. So hit them up. This is a great podcast

01:01:51 Thanks for that. Thanks again. This has been good to know your wedding project back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much.

Peter Wright, Wright Weddings

00:01 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 a, I think a long time friend. You know, I think we've talked and gone back and forth and I'm sure we've worked together in the past. I can't remember when, but I, it's my good friend Peter Wright with Wright Weddings and I wanted thank you so much for taking time today. You know, we always, the one problem with doing a wedding vendor podcast is during the summer wedding vendors tend to not, uh, understandably have time to do it, but I appreciate the ones that do and they're really dedicated ones. And I do think it speaks to, you know, people's dedication and commitment and you know, doing that sort of thing. So I thank you so much for coming on. Why don't you introduce your a self, tell us who you are, what you do.

00:56 Well, like you said, Reid, my name is Peter Wright and I own and operate Wright Weddings, which is a primarily a wedding entertainment service. And we're based out of Seattle or Tacoma, but I'd say Seattle.

01:14 Yeah. And so what is it about kind of weddings, DJ, what kind of interests you, you know, gets your blood pumping and keeps you kind of doing it every weekend?

01:22 Yeah, I think one thing that I look forward to about each wedding is making it really, uh, customized and unique to the client that I'm working with. So I don't, not to say that I don't have formula, but before even Liz take a new shape and new ideas depending on, uh, you know, the client's personality and, um, the story that they want to tell. It really is, it's a spotlight on the couple, how to tell their life story, how to bring out their personality, make them the star of the show. Um, that's, that's my job as I see it. And, um, yeah.

02:04 And when you, you know, kind of the whole DJ kind of Mc nowadays, you know, where you're kind of, you know, leading people through the night, but also kind of like you said, you want, you know, the couple to be the star. I mean, how do you kind of balance that to make sure that everyone kind of knows what's going on but also letting kind of the evening amount fold?

02:21 Yeah. Uh, I think, um, you know, um, somebody once said, I think it's, it's right on that successes, you know, 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration or something like that. Uh, I work a lot of hours behind the scenes, planning everything out, having discussions, dialogues, creating all the Google documents, et Cetera, et cetera. And then I always want the, the couple from there, she was active with the field. Like, like they could throw anything out if they want and I'm not going to hold onto it. Um, if they're just enjoying their guests and time to do the, you know, whatever, a cake cup, I just say, keep going and we'll figure it out or we'll cut something out later. It's all about, um, you know, making that day be a special and flawless and, um, painless, uh, really, uh, enjoyable for the client. So it's both.

03:21 I, I planned really well, but I'm, I'm willing to let things go in the, in the moment to when the, when necessary. I had a situation, honestly that I've never thought would happen. The, the mother of the bride left to bring her mother home and it was supposed to be the mother and son dance. And they're looking at me like I'm, you know, this is a problem. And I said, absolutely not, but just, you know, when she gets back we'll do it, you know, we'll switch the order up. So that's just kinda one example of, um, you know, being willing to go with the flow in the moment, but, uh, having enough activities, plans so that it never feels dull at the same time. Yup.

04:00 Yeah, absolutely. You know, cause it's people email, same with video. You know, people are always looking at, you know, trying to find, you know, cheap djs, cheap video, whatever. And, you know, obviously besides, you know, equipment and, you know, experience and obviously sets, you know, professionals department, it is also that, that sense of planning, right? I think a lot of people, you know, for me to, they think, oh, you just kind of show up and fill film, what's going on and free, Oh, you know, you just kind of hit play. And it's like, no, there's a way, way, a lot more of that kind of goes into that behind the scenes that they don't even realize. Right.

04:31 Sure. And, and even communicating with somebody like yourself ahead of time, you know, making sure that you have the, the timeline and the cyber as a timeline. Um, especially a guy like me, I don't do things necessarily traditional way, so things might seem a little out of place that order. So I want to make sure that the people documenting the day can know how to, how to roll with me too. Um, I've never actually used it, but after a certain wedding last year, I even bought some of those, uh, wireless headsets, um, thinking of my implement started implementing that so that I could talk to, I always bring in assistant, um, who I actually call the DJ. I'll jump into that maybe a little bit later, but, uh, my weddings are 99% of the time, uh, to staff and I can talk a little bit more on my, about my philosophy and then,

05:23 yeah, why don't you talk about that, you know, talking about like you said, you, you know, walk me through that. I mean, set that up for people that don't know who you are and kind of how you operate. And you said you do things a little different. So kind of give me a, give me the brush strokes. I'm ready for it. Broad strokes. So

05:36 if you look at my website, I have a quick little synopsis that says, uh, what does, um, unforgettable wedding entertainment look like? Um, and I liken it to a fancy restaurant where you, you get the price fixed menu and you just the one price and then you get all these fabulous dishes brought out to you. Um, that's kind of the metaphor I use for my wedding packages. So, um, everything that I put into that is because I've seen them work really well. Either get a lot of lasts or get tears and um, you know, bring out the romance. So I really try to convince, um, my clients are not, have to convince them by really trying to show them an idea that, um, how am I going to, how am I going to do that? It's an, it's one thing just to say you're going to have an unforgettable night. Um, well what can I, what can I do as an entertainer? Again, with the focus, putting it back on you to showcase who you are as a couple of, what your last story is. So, um, let me just roll right down. Um,

06:53 yeah.

06:54 One of the nice things that I like to put together is a slide show, we call it the coming together slideshow. And pretty much everybody these days has photos of themselves, you know, um, somewhere on a hard drives or even if it's they're printed, I can scan them starting all the way back to their childhood. Um,

07:14 yeah.

07:16 And then, you know, some dating photos, maybe an engagement session, we put those all together and usually run that during a cocktail hour or, or even dinner. Um, that's a nice way just to kind of start this story, right? Where, where did these two people come from? They probably have totally different backgrounds and totally different families life and they found themselves here on this day. So that's kind of the first, um, first piece of the first course. If you wanna get to the metaphor and moving right along. Of course there's music selections. That's the DJ part. And um, you know, if I was going to put a percent value on it, it's probably about 30% of the job is to, is the pit great music and help, uh, make suggestions when the bridegroom are searching for something. Um, uh, so you know, everything from ceremonies to dinner, music to first dances.

08:20 Um, we can customize all that obviously to what the couple of likes and I can make suggestions when they're kind of struggling. Um, then we have the, uh, custom created voice overlays and no one ever knows what this is. So I explain it to it. I know what I have to perform at. Webank don't worry, it's all prerecorded. You go out in your backyard and have a beer, have a whiskey, whatever your pleasure and say, it's like the first dance I have the, the groom record, uh, a nice heartfelt to his bride that she doesn't get the here until the day of the wedding. Um, and vice versa. The bride, the record is a message for her or her groom and then I mix it in with their first dance and some, um, little audio magic grabbing an instrumental version so that the, the music drops out.

09:15 Um, no, I should say the lyrics strop out water overlays playing and it really works. It works amazing for the first dance. It works great for the a father, daughter, mother, Sundance. And, um, I've just seen the, this, this, the tears start flowing when, uh, when the mother hears her son saying what she's meant to him or the father and daughter. So, uh, I play a couple of those at, um, am I comment during my consultation and more often than not at something like this, probably these days doing it by a video chat or something like that. Um, yeah, I'd say maybe 25% of the time we get to actually meet in person. I do prefer that. I think it's really important, uh, to meet your wedding DJ, quote unquote. Um, so jumping out of that for a moment, you know, the wedding DJ to me is the person who stands behind that booth and plays great music and does the cues right on time.

10:22 Um, but what happens when it's time for the father daughter dance and, and the dad's not there is that person now has to make a decision. I'm going to leave my x thousand dollars set up here to go try and find the father of the bride. And sure enough, when you come back, there's like one or two do, it's like staring at the screen or maybe even touching your computer and you know, that's, that's not a situation you want to be in that, especially at a wedding. So, uh, that would be one of the reasons I would say a two person team is, is really important. There's so much I am doing as the MC slash house sweating around that I could never do. Um, if I didn't have someone, you know, uh, holding down the music, um, and I know that people will say, Oh, you know, we've got playlists now and you've got iTunes, but yeah, you do. But that doesn't make over the fact when uncle Steve comes over with his beer in his hand and, you know, Kinda want us to like look at what's going on. So, um,

11:24 that's,

11:26 that's essential. I actually would say at least two, the way I do things, um, everything from organizing the grand entrance to, um, you know, checking in with the Brown and Goom, hey, you know, this is the time you should be visiting the tables or can I get your glass of water? I mean, I, like I said, I am there to make your day everything that you imagined it to be. And I'm also there as I'm jumping all over the place here. That's okay. Okay. You're good.

11:55 As I said, the DJ now a part is taken care of. So I'm now able to be the, what I call entertainment director, which essentially means, uh, I'm gonna make sure that everything we planned happens in time and space. Maybe not exactly on the [inaudible] plan, like I said, but I'm going to, I'm going to get it in one way or another and I'm gonna make sure everybody's having a good time. And, um, I'm just, I'm moving constantly. I don't stand behind the booth. I'm, um, come out and, um, yeah, I'm reading the room. Um, we've got little hand signals with the DJ. Hey, I need more Mike and you more music. Um, it's great. It's, it's really fun and you know, it's a bit of a hollow, honestly at the beginning and the end to even how it's whatever, 10 30 at night and it's an hour breakdown and you gotta do that alone.

12:42 It's really nice to have a partner there. So that's one thing that, um, that couples get with my services is knowing that it's a two person team and that I will be dedicated a and c. Um, and it certainly won't be a bait and switch like, uh, oh you meet the owner of the company and he sells you this $3,000 package and then he sends his, you know, it's fresh out of college DJ the day of. Um, I did work for a multi op like that when I first was getting started and that was one of the things I just decided right away. It was not, not going to be cool. Uh, going forward when I started my own thing, which, uh, 2010 I established Wright Weddings. So I've been doing this for what now? Eight years or so.

13:32 So it's interesting, you know, I'm kind of looking through the, you know, you're walking through kind of some of these things, you know, like you said that the introductions and, and even like the overlay during the dances, which I think is, you know, really unique, right? I mean, I think that's a unique way to incorporate, you know, your expertise into, you know, this advance that kind of makes you, you know, your, um, you know, your services stand apart. I mean, where did you kind of come up with, come up with all these things, you know, we're, where they borrow the ideas. I mean, how have you kind of built this? Is it just over kind of trial and error over the years or how did, how has this kind of all come together?

14:05 No, it's, it's totally plagiarized. Um, but that's where we're at. I took a very extensive, I think two days seminar, um, from the guru himself, Peter Merry of Merry Weddings. Um, if anyone out there is just getting started or wants to learn how to take their wedding services up a notch, I recommend it 100%. Um, Peter Merry, it was called,

14:35 can't remember exactly the name of the seminar right now, but, um, yeah, it was, it was incredible how he just, he blew my mind for about two days straight. Um, and I'm not surprisingly, he's slow and all over the nation, if not the world to do his weddings any, he basically laid out his whole game plan for, for us, um, over the course of those two days, showed us everything from consultations to um, performing these in these special moments. So I just had to take it in like a splint and started doing it and making it in my own. Um, so yeah, I, I, um,

15:15 okay.

15:15 I've added a few of my own things here and there, but primarily it was things that I learnt from that seminar that I just said, you know what, I want to do that. Um, second, the, the wedding that just looks the same in and out day after day, week after week, um, how I want to figure out how to do this. And so I did, I started taking it.

15:35 Oh, okay.

15:37 To my clients and they love the idea. And I was able to little by little charge a little bit more. And um, I think it's, it's a special thing and I, and I write right on my website that I'm not the right choice for every couple and that, um, you know, I'll talk your ears off for a good hour for free and you can take any my ideas if you want and you want me to implement them and make them happen for you all the better. So that's kind of how I look at it.

16:05 Yeah. Cause I mean it is, you know, having a good DJ, you know, having someone that meshes is so, um, I think important to the day. I think it's something that is overlooked a lot nowadays. Um, where people, like you said, they go, we got played at last or I'll, we got Spotify or whatever. And I think, you know, finding a DJ, you know, personality and Mc, the truth kind of meshes wet. You know, how you want your guests to experience, you know, maybe you want someone really funny or over the top or really subdued or right. I mean talk about kind of just the connection that Mc has to have with the bride and groom and to kind of carry that event now.

16:37 Yeah, well, like I said, I offer an an hour consultation and no charge and no risk just because I want to see what you like my personality, you should think I'm funny and cool and know all that good stuff. Uh, and you know, there's, there's kind of two slants, like when I do a grand entrance, the Peter Merry style is to kind of make it funny and basically Kinda come up with some jokes and ridicule people. Um, almost like a roast. Um, and I really liked that, but that's not for everybody. So sometimes it can just be more of a sense, sentimental romantic side. Okay. Um, if we're not going to roast your bridal party, let's talk about what they mean to you. Who are they? How did you meet, what's their semester of talent? You know, embarrassing moments. Um, I even at one time I even had the, the bride and groom, um, announce it themselves, which is kind of unique. So, you know, you never know where it can go once you kind of open yourself up to new ideas and new things. Um, it's, it's just really fun to see those, those special moments that happen.

17:46 Yeah.

17:46 You know, uniquely for, for that, uh, Brian, I do a wedding and professional toast setting music where I interview the Brian and groom separately and had them tell it, you know, their side of the story about getting together and you know, the, the moment of um, go causal and, and all that in this kind of like the telephone game. It's funny how the story is so always mesh open. So I usually do kind to make fun of the groom in that moment a little bit. And uh, that's really fun. Often I set that to music and so that's going to time in choreograph with the DJ. And um, uh, again, sometimes it's like you do everything that's planned on your schedule. And uh, the, the sister, she was adorable. She's probably like 17 or 18 years old. And sister, the bride like came up to me, tasks, mails on my shoulder, you know, like after all the toasts were done and we'd already had the cake and she said, uh, I'm ready to toast now I want to say something. And I was like, this, do it. Get up here. Yeah. Um, yeah, like it's just cool. Um, the ring bearer, you know, has a special dance and you know, there wasn't on the, on the list, but you know, you get them up here and, and like, you know, the whole vital party comes up and dances behind him and he's Bruno Mars for three minutes. I mean, that's the kind of stuff that really tickles me when I say it's Kinda stuff not planned show up in the day. It's really fun.

19:19 Absolutely. So how did you kind of get down this path? I mean, are you, are you from the area? Where did you grow up? Kind of. How did you, you know, walk me through kind of getting, you know, down this path. Is this something where you always in the entertainment or music or how did we find our way, uh, to write weddings to that?

19:35 Yeah. All right. Um, mom, an east coast boy born and raised but, uh, an hour south of Boston. I don't really have the, the accent that until this, they have been from that part of the world, but maybe that makes me a little bit more um, university loose. So I was uh, you know, a suburban kid, uh, living in the burbs. Um, pretty good student. Yes. Loves singing some barrier early age is performing in choirs and forest choirs in church choirs and musicals and just really took to it early on and I was going to be the star Dammit, you know. Um, I really had that, I have the shops to make it in the and Hollywood. UH, fast forward to high school, 1993 and the Wu Tang clan came on the scene and blew everybody's mind and including mine. And, uh, sure enough I started writing some, some rhymes and uh, at the age of about 25, myself and a couple of other, um, so she, its friends, uh, moved to Brooklyn, New York and formed a little rap label and started

21:10 just seeing where are our genes would take us. Um, lot of great shows that are great memories, but, uh, not in the illustrious record deal, never came. So, uh, and about 2008 or nine, the hip hop and c sneaky Pete if somebody cares to look up my uh, background, but I do actually ended up showing some videos to my clients who was, I think they get a kick out of it and I explain how the hip hop Mc became the wedding Mc. Uh, I was just struggling, you know, independent artists and what I've figured out was it was a lot easier to get one person to give me at the time about a thousand dollars than to get a hundred people to give me 10. The cost of a ticket to come see a rap show was really difficult. And everything between, you know, venues saying, um,

22:14 okay,

22:14 you should perform for free so more people will buy your albums. And then people wanted free music so that I would come see the show. So anyway, you looked as an artist. It's kind of seemed like everybody was getting their money except me. And Long Story Short, um, I, I was trained as a photographer somewhere in those years between college and starting my own business until I applied to a wedding, a big multi op wedding company. And this guy was an evil genius marketing wise because it made a lot of sense. He was paying all this money to be on the front page of bridal magazines, et Cetera, et cetera. So when he finally sat down with the Brio man, he's going to sell the limo and photo and video and music and whatever else he could think of. And then he just kind of outsourced it to guys like me.

23:10 Um, I thought that was kind of brilliant, but also, like I said, ultimately ultimately a bit unfair to the clients because they never really knew who their vendors were going to be until they showed up the day of. So I did that for about three years and I was like, okay, I got a good base, a, I'm ready to go out on my own. And so I took, this was ever before I took the Peter Merry training. I just, um, Kinda got my training on the job and that I knew enough to get started. Uh, this guy, you did use the double DJ, um, format. So I was already well versed in that and kind of knew that two different roles. Um, and I just started going and, um, this is, you know, back on the east coast. I would say that the one major thing that I find to be quite different in this area, which I've only been in for about three years on the east coast, I would say the prayer, the majority of my clients were getting married in churches. And so the ceremony had already taken place. And then I was really only being hired to do the reception and entertainment out here. It seems like more often than a, they're doing a one venue, a ceremony, you know, a couple of hours before the reception and they want somebody like myself to a right sound support if not coordinate and, and uh, and direct, uh, ceremony as well. So, um, I'm still kind of figuring out that piece. Um,

24:44 okay.

24:44 Trying to give, you know, the maximum value for my time without like demanding that I show up and run the rehearsal cause that's like an I should days, right. Wages and time and you know, um,

24:57 yeah,

24:59 getting a little bit exposing myself on weakness here. But yeah, I haven't quite figured out exactly the best way to do that. More often than not, I'm just providing like sound support so that the people who want to do that, like outdoor weddings, I just think it's wonderful just to have a little bit of sound and let nature do its thing. I know, um, that's not enough for everybody. Some people really want the ceremony, Mike, that maybe even you as a videographer could speak to this because a, I know a lot of videographers are now, you know, probably need the sound recording sound for the, for the ceremony. Um, that's Kinda how I explain it. Maybe talk to your videographer if you want all that recorded. That's, that's not my forte.

25:46 Yeah, no, that's, I'm currently dealing with an outdoor Snohomish wedding from Saturday. Yeah. And Ryan as sobriety is, you know, we have the DJ and then I have my mix, but Ryan is, she's doing her vows when you gotta plan overhead, the whole, the whole format. So trying to figure out how to deal with that

26:06 when feedback and outdoor, a set up microphones is, is it's just not as easy as plug and play like some people might, might think it is. So, um, yeah.

26:21 So what was it like kind of entering this world and weddings? I mean, I assume you didn't have a ton of experiences in terms of like kind of the pomp and circumstance and everything, you know, experience in terms of that kind of the world. What was that like coming into that, you know, and, and being in doing music and kind of whatever else you had been doing up until that point?

26:40 Yeah, it was so intimidating. I had no idea that I was, I feel more nervous, you know, just playing some queues at a wedding. Then like performing on stage. I much preferred getting out of the support DJ role and getting back to what I kind of felt more comfortable being on the microphone and making the introductions. Um, again, going back to my first initial trading, I was trained as the support DJ wow. The head of the company, um, you know, performing BMC duties. And so I just watched and I saw how he interacted both od Mike and off Mike and how we work the room and, uh, learned a lot from that guy. I'm not going to say any names, but you wouldn't know him anyway. Um, but yeah, I mean there's so much on the line that even the smallest things, you know, could have a large impact. Now hopefully

27:44 the audience won't be as, you know, um, critical as I am of myself. Right. I mean, I'm hoping that at least if I, if I'm like demanding 98% perfection of myself, then you know, uh, that 2% may or may not go noticed by the guests. But, um, yeah, my goal is to, like I said, I'd do as much planning ahead of time, be ready to have my experience, fill in the gaps for when the, the things that inevitably will happen over the course of a day. That'll could, um, yeah, it could throw you for a loop if you're not ready. So that's another, I think, advantage of the, of the double DJ package. You know, the younger guys are going out with the more established, you know, seeing how they handle pressure, how they handle disappointments. And sometimes you just gotta rally back, um, nowhere to buy it, you know, as much as I planned.

28:43 It was a wedding that happened. Nick was last summer, you know, I had the bride groom fill out all these Google documents and you know, it's all right there online. Um, but lo and behold, we get to the wedding and we're performing the ceremony. And the, uh, that's the three songs that I had were supposed to be four songs. So now someone's complaining that, you know, they didn't have their inches. Well, I don't, I, you know, what can I say, you know, while the planning documents were filled out and signed and I brought those and still things can, can go awry. So, uh, you know, you just, you do what you can do, you, you hustle in the moment to get something going and um,

29:31 okay.

29:33 You know, hopefully the rest of the [inaudible], you know, overshadows or out shines to the little things like that that can happen. Um, so yeah, the best laid plans, skin still and will surprise you though, of things that can, that can change at a moment's notice or sometimes even like, I guess doesn't show up who you are planning on. Like, you know, giving a toast and whatever happened, you know, the family members don't show up that you think or whatever. So, oh,

30:07 that same Saturday they had a sister of the groom. I think the ceremony was at four 30 in Snohomish. Uh, she had her hair and make it look point man at like three in Renton. We were like, we need to, we needed family photos done. It's like, well, I guess we're going to do those. Asked it, you know. Yeah. And I mean, how, how could you ever in a million years plan for that, you know, until you're sitting there and you go, you know, where is weird to say that Lindsey? Oh, she's down in Renton here.

30:40 Yeah. Yeah.

30:43 How was it like guy coming out to Seattle? What brought you out to the, to this cuss?

30:49 Well, I met my wife.

30:53 Okay.

30:53 In, uh, we got married in 20.

30:59 Yeah.

30:59 14, right? Yes. August 15th, 2014 and we were both living on the east coast. Uh, she lives in New Hampshire about two hours north of me. We moved in together into her house and that year was probably one of the worst winters lizards. I think the snow was around till, you know, like may didn't, you know, there's still like snow dress higher than your head, um, you know, in March. So, uh, we kind of looked at each other and just said, are we crazy to think we can just, you know, rewrite the stars here, right around destiny. Um, we just started chatting and she had a close friend who lived out here in Tacoma and

31:58 ah,

32:00 we came out on a holiday trip 4th of July that whatever that one year, almost a year later.

32:09 Okay.

32:09 Said, hey, while we're here, why don't we look around at some rentals and just found a rental that just felt right. It was available. It was, had the fence then backyard, which we are looking for cause we, we just had purchased a dog and um, everything just kind of seemed to fall into place. We went back home, found a realtor, sold their house and we're living out here, you know, three months later. Just, just did it. Just went for it. Living on a wing, million, a prayer. Literally. Who was it hard to transition the business out here?

32:50 Well. Right, right. Along with the unexpected, um, pleasures that sometimes arrive in our lives, I just kinda started hitting up the Facebook groups and, um, joining in on conversations and a pretty established DJ out here. Scott Fijolek kind of saw me and just really liked what I was doing and kind of reached out to me and said, hey, I got some, uh, some extra gigs. Um, you know, when I get double booked, I really like to to tell them your name and pass it along to you. And I said, yeah, sure buddy. I kid you not. And I mean, I have like four or five inquiries coming in a week just off that. Um, he, he's the man, what can I say? Uh, we talk on Facebook and share ideas and he's really been, uh, a nice, um, partner associate to have out here. And then, um, I don't know.

33:54 I guess I got my s, what do you call that? A search engine optimization down. Just good down, good, bad. Just good enough that the other half of the increase to say, oh, I found you on Google, I guess. All right, cool. Um, and like I said, I always try to, um, convince or at least offer, highly encourage new inquiries to talk to me like this. I'm on a phone call or even a video chat and we'll learn a little bit more about how I do things, why I do things the way I do. And, uh, I just kind of leave it at that. I think it's, it's pretty obvious to me, um, if not to them that it's a good fit after that hour. And then I, I say, you know, if it's that this feels right and you want to move forward, let me know and we'll do it.

34:54 So, very soft sale. I'm very open with my information. Like I said, I'll give you a thousand ideas if you like half of them. Great. We'll, we'll make it happen throughout the rest of the way. But, um, I am not, um, well, how should I say? I'm, I'm at the lecture you where I don't have to work every weekend. So, um, I have some other ventures going at the same time, so I really do get to kind of interview my clients as they interview me and I'm letting them that that allows me a little bit of flexibility when it comes to, um, yeah. Uh, do I need to take this Gig just to make, you know, 300 bucks? No, no, I don't. Um, you know, I've got, I've got other options of things to do that day, including game hanging out with my family on a Saturday, so I don't, I wait for the right match, the right fit and uh, and that's, it's been really nice if you're just getting started.

35:58 I've heard people say like, you should just take any gig at any price just to, just to get things rolling. And I did that for a couple of years and I didn't do that even though I was starting new and a new area. I did too. Like I was gonna kind of hold myself to a certain way of doing things and not just go backwards in terms of doing weddings on my own or, or you know, at the same time I feel like there's a lot of inquiries coming in right now for whatever reason. Whereas like, you know, my DJ bailed on me and my budget is x amount of dollars and I go, this is perhaps your budget is indicative of the kind of DJ will bail on you. So the other thing I after right when someone contacts me is a pdf that I've created basically to kind of explain, um,

36:51 yeah,

36:53 some good practices for interviewing a DJ, what you expect that the different price points. And I again, like why I'm kind of like at this premium level and I'm not for everyone, but um, hey, I guarantee you it'll be an eight. You won't seem to forget and your friends will talk about it and um, and you'll want to refer me if you let me do it my way the right way.

37:18 No, it is, it is the hardest thing, you know, for many manager type to see these things and like you said, well, whatever, I was going to get all this stuff or this amount of money and now I'm trying to find the same thing again. And like you said, you know, it's, it's probably because of, um, you know, that price and why they decided to do it that, you know, they ended up doing it that way.

37:41 I'm sure every vendor probably feels this way, but maybe, maybe I'm writing, I'm taking the djs habit extra hard because I mean, even wedding DJ is a bit of a misnomer as I've already talked about a bit. The DJ part is about 30%. The other part is the planning and the hosting and the performing and the directing of all the events. So it kind of confuses me when,

38:09 okay,

38:10 people would even think that a, a bride who's probably doing this, the event for the first time, maybe the only time in her life should know what things cost. Um, generally they don't, uh, my wife included before she met me, like thought it was outrageous that I wanted to spend the kind of money I wanted to spend on our wedding DJ. And then I explained to her well to not just playing music, you know, so that's again, that's why I kind of offer the 45 minute free consultation is to just offer some education. And again, there's no hard feelings if you go back to a $700 budget, but it's, it's not going to second to get me on, on the scene

38:54 now even. Yeah. Even with Dorothy and I got married, I had to go Susan similar things and trying to explain to her, you know, why things cost and why things, you know, why we need to do this and that. And I'm like, you know, that you think that you would, you know, trust what I was saying or at least give a little more credence to it than anybody else. But it's like if I can't hard sell my wife on it, then I don't know if I get hurt somebody by,

39:15 she totally wanted that. She wanted the $500 DJ. And I was like, Babe, I'm a professional DJ. We're not doing it.

39:22 Yeah. What was your wedding like? Talk me through that.

39:24 Oh, we did something kind of crazy. We had a basically like a destination wedding. Um, so everybody had to drive a significant way to come meet us. And then, because again, because I am a wedding DJ, I had a lot of ideas that I wanted to implement, but I also know I wasn't going to be trying to DJ slash perform at my own wedding. So I did hire another company to do exactly what I wanted them to do. So I had the whole thing kind of planned out and pretty much, you know, um, like I said, planned plan, detail my wedding, but had someone else actually be the host, um, we use my equipment even because again, it was a destination wedding. So I said, hey, would you not get a little bit off the prices? You can just show up and basically everything's there for you.

40:23 And so we did that. It was okay. It was, um, you know, no one's as good as me. Obviously no one's going to do it perfect the way I wanted them to do, but it was, it was fun. We did, um, we did a little performance at our wedding to the, uh, you know, frozen movie was all the rage at the time. So, um, I made my wife learned the, uh, love as an open door duet and we can be saying that together. Hopefully she forgave me for that one. No, I think it was great. I think she, she got into it.

41:01 That's fine. Yeah. I remember that summer when the frozen that was putting me in the time and place now and I'll all those weddings and I, yeah, I, I'm right there with you in the summer of whatever year that was

41:12 14. And that, again, I always look for those things too. I would love to find out if there's someone in your bridal party or whatever in your family that has a special talent, want us to serenade you in some way or do a comedy routine or you know, whatever it is. I think that's all those things can really add a lot of value and, um, fun memories when you involve the people in your life. Uh, I come from, like I said, kind of a musical performance. Stanley, uh, my parents and siblings also kind of surprised me, but this kind of, oh my God, rendition of much of songs that we had son growing up and put them all together in a medley. And I'm embarrassed me, you know, incredibly. But it was all in good fun. So, um, you know, that's, that's the kind of fun line you're dancing along to is like, it's, it's sobriety grooms day, it's their special day.

42:13 It's all about them except that it's not because you have all these people there. And so that's the other thing I have to kind of try to, uh, present in a, in a, in a fun way is that as your host and DJ, I do know it works for most people most of the time. I'd like you to trust me, uh, to some extent that I know what I'm doing. But, um, of course, you know, I need at least the 10 of your favorite songs that you personally are going to guarantee me. You're going to grab people's arms and lead them to the dance floor when the songs come on because I don't know, but those songs are for you and your family. But um,

42:53 okay,

42:53 well that's why say that's why it's a collective team effort and that's, that's really what I like about it is it's hearing those stories, um, learning what, what, what's gonna make that day special and, and hopefully I can, you know, kind of lead you to some new things you wouldn't have thought about if you'd never talk to me. Um, you being the bride and groom, obviously. Um, oh yeah, I really liked those, those consultations and learning. Um, well, you know, a, you know, I'll get a new idea like, oh, you know, oh you, you sing opera. Oh, okay, well how are we going to work that into the wedding? Yeah, that's fine.

43:34 What kinds of couples do you find that you say, oh, you like to make sure it's a good fit. You know, you like to make sure you guys on the same way, like what kinds of couples do you find, uh, are attracted to kind of your style of work and that you're attracted to work with? You know, what kind of couples do you like to do? Yeah,

43:50 well, I'll throw a story out there that I think, um, I learned a lot from, it's not necessarily Sarah Lee that I need a big budget wedding. Um, uh, contrarily conversely, whatever the word is. Um, one of my favorite weddings with someone who wasn't spending a lot of money, but they did see the value of what I was bringing to the table. So they had, you know, Tacos in a bag for dinner and, you know, didn't spend a lot of money on flowers and venues stuff. Uh, but you know, basically wanted my, my best package and doing all the customizing that I did and just really wanted the value to shine through like that. No, we did uplighting for them and things like that, which I do think adds a nice little flavors. But, um,

44:44 yeah, I mean I almost wrote them off, you know, and I, and I see online sometimes people being written off again because I think these days maybe don't know the good right questions to ask. Like why would you ask a couple? Like what's your budget? I just think that that's, that's shooting both of you guys in the foot because now they've put out a number and they don't really know what that number it gets them and now you have to tell them, oh well that's half of what I charge. And then now everybody's embarrassed. So I really try to dodge slash um,

45:17 [inaudible]

45:19 how would people be patient at stock about price till we just talk about like what do you want? What do you want from today? What w what do you think is going to make this day special for you? So doing a lot of question, asking and listening and taking notes. Um, and then just being honest about like, hey, I'm sounds like really all you want is a DJ, so I'm probably not right for you. Or Oh wow, yeah. Oh, you guys have amazing love story. And everybody's gonna Laugh when they hear it. Um, do you have someone who can tell it or you know, um, that's part of my services that I can, I can tell it for you in a special way and be like, oh great. And then I have a video to show them too. So I'm not just like blowing smoke. I, I, I've taken the time to make some nice videos and so, and I make these available even before the consultation. So hopefully anyone who comes to my website has taken the time to, um, to watch those and, and already comes to the meeting, kind of excited about doing their wedding in a special, fun way. So that's, um,

46:19 wow,

46:20 that's what I've made available again, so that I'm not wasting people's time and I understand and kind of a millennial bride, if you want to call her that like maybe doesn't want to take five or even three meetings with a DJ. She just kinda wants to have all that information laid out in front of her. So yeah, again, half the time you get an inquiry, at least me, it's like, are you available? And what's the cost? Just cause they probably don't know any better questions I ask. So I let you know we'll get to that. But let me, let me ask you some questions. That's kind of how I, that's how I find out if somebody is really interested in the kind of services customize high end services that are, am

47:02 oh absolutely. No it's, it's so terrible. You said nowadays, I don't know if it's a millennial thing or a 2019 and that we have a inquiry the other day for, it was like late next summer. And so I figured, wow, you know, I'll hit him up and then, you know, I don't like to bombard them too much and then, you know, I hit him up again and it's like, oh yeah wait no, we already booked like whatever. And I was like, oh wow. I was like, yeah, you know, cause it's that tough balance between, it did not slow play buddy. It kind of just chat with the or you know, what you do. So it's always, it's always interesting nowadays. I'm always curious to kind of hear other vendors and, and kind of their takes on that too. So That's interesting for you.

47:39 You've seen 'em swingers where the Hammock to have that conversation about how up in the follow up with the, the girl that got the numbers, I think when they come up waiting three days is money. I think three days. Like what do you, what do you wait seven days, two weeks, two weeks. I don't know. You gotta like it's possible. Yeah, I think it's just, um, for me, uh, if, if they're on my mind, then I, and I have a right just to ask, hey, you know, you are you still thinking about this? Or if there's any questions I can ask. Um, but yeah, you're right. There's a certain, you know, so many times you can do that before you kind of take a hint that like they're going get it, we're going a different direction or whatever people say. Um, so I offer, I offer an opportunity to put down a deposit right after the consultation.

48:33 But I, like I said, I just make an invitation and say, if you want, that's how you book me. That's you mean that's how you make sure that I'm available on your day to put down some money. That's how we know we're in business. Other than that, no, we'll talk and I can't say the date until you put down some money. That's, that's what kind of basic good business in mind in my mind. Um, now that that's coming, my niceness, quote unquote, has come back to bite me, um, a few times where I've probably overextended my grace to some people, giving them lots of time to ultimately decide I'm going to go another way. But yeah, that's, I don't know.

49:20 That's funny. What do you, a kind of a kind of getting near the end here, what do you wish more people knew about you? You know, when you're not DJ, like you said, you email, you have a family, a dog, you know, what do you guys, do you know, what kind of rounds up the other part of your life when you're not doing what it's,

49:35 I love soccer playing and watching. Um, again, I, I've, I've kind of put this life behind me now, but you know, I'm very well versed in nineties hip hop. So, um, when those gigs come along, it's like a joy. I'm doing a 40th birthday party, um, and about two weeks and I'll get to play all those fun songs like salt and pepper and you know, it takes two. So that's what I naturally gravitate to, like when I'm in my own car. But I think another thing is about being a wedding djs, just, um, opening myself up to lots of different genres. I was never really into country music am not in the country music. But once in a while I get someone who wants like a lot of country music and then I got them to go get to do some research and find out, you know, okay, why do people like this stuff? It all sounds the same to me, but I'm sure people say that about hip hop. I mean, I, I don't know. Uh, what else do I like? I, I do really like the, uh, the area. I think Chicana has been a wonderful,

50:43 um,

50:43 place to move for us. It's having two dogs, these lists, they're like hunting dogs. Um, I mean we're out sometimes an hour if not two hours a day. And that's like really kind of changed my whole lifestyles. You know, these animals that really need energy, they need to work awesome energy, I should say. So, um, if we don't take them out, they tear up our house. So it's, that's, that's Kinda fun. Any, I just, I don't know. Maybe something about dog people. I'm a dog person. Okay. All the cat haters can hate on me now, but I'm a dog person, so if you see me in the park, I've always got a dog and my dogs are actually really trainable. So I, I prefer to have them off leash and so that there's some interesting conversations because some people don't do that and some people do to that. So, uh, just all the fun conversations I get to have with other dog owners and talking about our dogs are for babies as we call them. And then my daughter, my, um, my youngest daughter's about to turn three, so I'm just kind of spending as much time with her as I can and uh, teaching her about music and just can't wait to see what, I have two other kids too. I Shit, I should throw them in there. Um, but they don't look up to me the way she does

52:09 trying to influence or in the, in the 90s, hip hop is around exactly how to get back going to have her doing some ODB.

52:16 Yeah. That's funny.

52:22 Uh, this is perfect. This has been great. I want to thank you so much. I know we've gone back and forth and that made for months really about trying to do it again

52:29 together soon. That'd be, that'd be fun. I really do. I've dabbled in the video world myself and so, um, I love watching video, wedding videos at the end. Mostly the, the music video style ones. I think those are really fun. Um, and getting to see me, a clip of me in the back doing something stupid like the cha-cha slide or whatever. Um, I am that d day too, by the way. Yes. I, I get out there and if you want me to, I'll, I'll, I'll teach you how to do the cupid shuffle or whatever. I got no, you know, I don't have an embarrassed bone in my body and I haven't been a stage reformer for so many years. I'm, I'm dancing to be as crazy as you want me to be. Um, so I, yeah, I just, I, you know, it's like being a professional party crasher is really what I really, what I think I am.

53:21 Oh, I love it. It's perfect. Well people why are, are interested in learning more about your party crashing wedding DJ and MC style. And uh, when, you know, I want to check out, like you said, I think you have a really, you know, listen, that can everything that comes with it and the videos and stuff. Where would you have them check out and get in touch with you?

53:38 Go on the worldwide web at, you only get one chance to do it. Right.

53:53 I love it. And also, you know, like Facebook and Instagram, everything too

53:57 Instagram too. But I'm really where I've packed all that information, the videos and the A la carte slash price fix menu stuff really, you know, get a sense of how we do what we do. And um, you know, you should, um, should have more than enough to bite into if you just go to their website and look around for10, 15 minutes. Yep.

54:19 Perfect. Well, thank you so much again for scheduling this. Uh, and, and for coming on, this has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro® if you are, or like Peter and you're interested in coming on and kind of sharing your story. I have a really nice easy questionnaire and that's a really nice and convenient way to kind of get your information in and I can reach out if you're interested in coming on. So I thank you so much again and I hope you enjoy a summer full of kids and other fun activities that we were talking about before we were recording today.

54:53 Thanks Reid, Wu Tang forever.

54:55 Hi, this has been another episode. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview.

55:00 Thanks.

John Kiepke, J Kiepke Photography

00:01 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 John Kiepke. He is a photographer out of Troutdale, Oregon and I really appreciate it. Yeah, I appreciate you coming on. You know, it's been just with schedules and you're working and working, you know, been busy. So I appreciate kind of, we're taking the time Sunday morning when it's a little dead to kind of do this. So thank you so much for coming on and taking the time. Why don't you introduce yourselves, tell us who you are and what you do.

00:41 Well, like you said, I'm John Kiepke and I am a, uh, adventure wedding and elopement photographer out of Troutdale, Oregon. Um, so I kind of focus on outdoor, more adventurous style of weddings and elopements. Um, I don't shoot anything inside.

00:59 Yeah, I was kind of looking through your eye, Instagram and stuff kind of when we were getting all this setup. I mean Kinda, it's, it's really, I think, like you said, adventure, really striking, pretty cool stuff. I mean, why don't you just kind of describe your style and what you kind of hope to achieve with the shoots that you do?

01:14 Um, my style is very, um, well the style itself is what is called photojournalistic. Um, so I aim to capture like the story of the day, um, for my clients. But within that story I also want to capture, um, the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Um, and when I, to most of my clients that are potential clients, you know, what they love about, uh, the images that they'd seen of mine. Um, the majority of them say they love how really engaged and in love the couples look, but yet how I've captured them in the perfect settings in the Pacific northwest. Um, and so that's, that's really what I aim to do is to really capture that pure love story, but put them in a setting that also like fairy tale attributable.

02:09 That's awesome. And then are you, are you from the area? Did you, have you always lived here or where are you from?

02:14 Am I actually grew up on the Oregon coast. Um, I grew up, uh, in a little town called Hilo. Um, it's, uh, it's about halfway between Tillamook and Lincoln city, um, which were pretty well known landmarks on the Oregon coast. Um, I grew up on a dairy farm there actually. So, so yeah, I mean, I pretty much grew up there my whole life, uh, and then moved out here to the valley, uh, after I graduated high school. Um, and so I've been kind of out in this area since then.

02:46 And how did you kind of discover your love for photography?

02:50 Well, I've always loved wedding photography and I've always loved photography in general, but, um, as you know, as a, as a white, uh, getting into a business like this is extremely expensive. Um, you know, just, just a single camera body by itself is, you know, three to $5,000, you know, that's without a lens left. Um, and so early in life I just never really had the opportunity to be able to afford to buy the gear needed to, to actually start a business. Um, and so most of my life actually worked in health care. Um, and Kinda long story short, I had an unfortunate, uh, auto accident, um, which was the other person's fault. And when that was all said and done, I ended up with a large settlement. And from that settlement I bought my first camera and the rest is history.

03:49 That's great. Is they're kind of trying to turn, you know, it could have been obviously a traumatic incident into something positive. Right,

03:56 exactly. Yeah, totally. Cause I would've never been able to start the business without that happening.

04:02 So how, what was it like kind of, um, to get into this kind of later in life and try to, you know, like you said, kind of started and get the business? I mean, working in healthcare, I mean, did you have any background of like doing, you know, running the business or entrepreneurship?

04:18 MMM, not really. Entrepreneurship. Um, I did work, um, for about four years in the high end audio video business where I worked in, uh, sales management. And so I kind of understood, um, the process of that because the places that I worked really dove in deep to, you know, how the business was ran, um, and really made that, made the employees part of that and understanding, you know, what it was about the business and the, and the, you know, how marketing work and how, you know, margins on certain things worked. Uh, and so I kinda had an understanding of that. So as far as being a pure salesperson, I, I'm really good at sales. So that really helps in being a wedding photographer because you know, you have to sell yourself.

05:13 Yeah. I mean, we talked a lot on the podcast. I mean, it's, you know, for creatives that want to do, you know, whether it's photography or florals or DJ or whatever, you know, just because you want to be like a wedding vendor doesn't necessarily mean that you have the, you know, the skills necessary to kind of do that. But you feel like you kind of have more of an understanding of that is that Kinda helped you, you know, in, in the time that you've been doing this kind of expand and have the customer base that you have?

05:38 Yeah, I mean I feel like the stuff that I had learned working, um, you know, not only in, uh, any electronic stores that I worked in, but also, you know, healthcare is, um, probably the largest based customer service business, you know, in the world. I mean they serve more people than anybody. Everybody goes to the doctor. And so understanding how to treat people and how to interact with people, um, I think is not something that everybody has the same practice I am with it.

06:13 Yeah. And then you, and we had talked kind of previously, you know, your questionnaire and stuff about either you really feel like you do a good job of building those relationships, you know, with your clients and kind of getting, you know, getting to know them and build that story. I mean does that, obviously you can take it from your healthcare background too, and kind of learning how to take care of people.

06:34 It is a little bit, um, so kind of a little more backstory. So when I started photography, I didn't start directly into weddings. You know, I, I actually, you know, I started shooting pretty much anybody who had let me take their picture. You know, as anybody in this industry does, when you first started you, you basically are, uh, you know, shooting, taking pictures of anybody who will let you take their picture. Um, um, I mean, you as a videographer, sure. That's how you started as well. You were shooting videos of, you know, anybody who would let you take videos with ads. Um, and so from that, I actually, um, met people and I'm really good at networking and so I kind of networked my way into the fashion world. Um, which was where I think a lot of photographers kind of get sucked into, um, if they've really have a passion for, for the art of photography.

07:30 Um, and so I spent quite a few years shooting and working with, uh, fashion designers and, um, fashion shows. Uh, I actually had the pleasure of working with, uh, and shooting, uh, two designers here in Portland who both won project runway, which was a pretty cool experience. Um, and so from that, I really networked out into the industry of photography with a lot of other photographers. Um, and so I just happened to network with a lot of photographers that not only shot fashion but also shot weddings. Um, and so it was something that interested in me. And so one day, like five years ago, I asked one of my friends who is for wedding photographer and said, hey, you know, how'd you get started in this? And he was like, well, you know, I just asked one of my, uh, colleagues, you know, if I could shoot a wedding with them.

08:36 Um, and, and that's how it all started. And so, so after him, I said, hey, can I shoot buddy with you? And, uh, which I think probably 99.9% of every weapon photographer, you know, that's, that's pretty much how they start. Um, and so I did a few weddings with this other photographer and, uh, and then Kinda did a few on my own, just really low key, very inexpensive. Um, and champ up from there I started my business basically. And like this is kind of where like my business really takes a turn because, um, for the first couple of years I was probably doing what about, I would say 80% of every wedding photographer does. And that is I would find couples that needed a wedding photographer and I would book them and I would basically shoot their wedding and, and that would be pretty much it.

09:42 Um, and I didn't really understand what, uh, what it really took to, um, to really be a good wedding photographer. Um, and I feel like this vote is missed with a lot of the industry and a hole, um, because they're so focused on hustle and making lots of money, um, and they don't really understand what really taking care of that customer is all about. Uh, and so I was fortunate enough to, um, actually be introduced to an educator in the industry, um, who really like opened my eyes to what this industry is all about. Um, and, uh, there's educator about him, his name is Robert J. Hill. Um, I don't know if you have met him or know of him, but, uh, in the industry he is, I would say probably one of the best educators or is, uh, it really teaches, um, what it's about to really connect with your clients, um, and to really understand that you shouldn't look every client that comes your way.

11:07 Um, because those clients aren't all your clients. Um, they don't have the same beliefs as you. They don't, they don't, they don't even maybe understand your style or why you're fitting what you're shooting. Um, and so those things are very important. So from the education that I got from Robert, um, I, I totally took my business a complete different direction, um, and completely rebranded my business. Um, and what I really want to talk about today though is what, what it means to, um, take a client from the initial, Hey, I like your work. Um, I'd like to talk to you to, you know, to the end of the wedding. And that's something that I feel like, I don't know what you used about clients, but let's say somebody uses us or not and they give a name, Cory and that person says, Oh, I love your photos.

12:07 Um, I want to book you. Um, from that point, I would say most photographers show them price guide and say, okay, what, what would you like to buy? And they buy it and they may talk a few times and then they show up at this person's wedding. For me, that is so disappointing. And the reason why is the wedding photographer now has no idea who this couple really is. They have no idea what they're about, what their lows are, what their dislikes are. And so for me, if I get an inquiry, the first thing I do is get a little basic information from a couple and then I set up a time to actually jump on a Skype call or a phone call or in person, if they're super local native, they want to meet them in person. Uh, and I really dive in deep to my couples.

13:07 Um, I spend probably a minimum of two hours. Um, I think the longest phone call I've had, um, for an initial phone call, this is like just getting to know my couple, some has been four hours. Um, and some people were like, wow, what do you talk about for four hours? I mean, that's just ridiculous. Um, but it's not, I mean, this is, this is to people who want you to capture the most important day of their life. Like the most romantic, the most special day, a day that can never be done over again. Um, and so really getting to know what I couples about is so important. Um, you know, it's like saying, you know, if you're going on a date with somebody and you have a phone call and you talk for four hours, nobody thinks that's weird, but it's weird to actually talk for four hours to a couple that you're going to capture the, you know, the most amazing day of their life.

14:09 Um, so that's something that I start off with. So I basically really get to know them at a deep, deep level and I ask them questions that really make them think about their relationship. Um, and I asked them questions that they can think about things that they probably haven't thought about, about each other. Um, so not only am I learning about the couple, but I kind of help the couple even learn more about themselves while I get to know them. Um, it's, I really challenged them to do that. Um, and so during this phone call, um, I get to know them. Um, I also let them get to know me. Um, I explained my whole story, um, and why I do what I do. Um, and, and then I don't, I don't even talk photography or prices or packages until the very end. Um, because I want them to understand that I'm not in this because I wanted nick a lot of money from them.

15:12 I'm in this because I feel like it's an honor that they have chosen me to capture the most important day of their life. Um, and so I wait to look complete [inaudible]. Um, and then we go over the collections that I offer and what the importance of each of those questions is and what it means to them. Um, and from there, you know, I give them, um, some opportunity to, um, to get some bonus things. Um, if they want a book right then and there, um, if not, you know, I let them have their time to talk it over me with her, um, wanting to talk to some other photographers. Um, and the very last thing before we hang up is I give them a little bit of education. Um, I educate them on a few things that are like a must too, to ask other photographers if they're going to book them.

16:10 Um, just the, that they know that they're not getting taken advantage of. I feel it's really important to educate those clients. Um, so that they understand, um, what they should be getting. You know, no matter what wedding photographer they hire, what kinds of questions are that and what kinds of things do you tell them to ask other people? Um, well, the three basic questions that I have them, um, ask is, um, what does my backup process and why, um, how many photos will be delivered and, uh, how many photos will be edited and why. Um, and so these are all questions that, um, when I got married I had no clue of, and these are all questions that, uh, unfortunately I didn't ask and I did not get what I thought I was getting. And so these are super important to ask those clients because if you don't ask, you don't know.

17:16 Um, and of course, you know, as a couple, they don't know to ask these questions. They have no idea because this is our first time doing something. It's all brand new. And so if we don't educate them properly, then they're going into this blind. And that's why I think so many couples, and they'll get on a Facebook forum and they'll say, hey, you know, how much is it for a wedding photographer? You know, and people will jump on. They'd be like, oh, I got my for $500. And I'm like, no, you didn't. You got somebody who owns a camera who want to make $500 on a weekend. Um, and they took crappy wedding photos for them. Um, and so I think it's so important that as an industry and as an industry whole, that we not only educate the clients, we really need to educate each other so that we're all on the same page. Because people that are out there thinking that even, you know, $1,500 to shoot a wedding, it's not enough. I mean, you cannot, if you break down the time you spend, um, you're making like $3 an hour. Um, and I don't know about you, but I can't live on $3 an hour.

18:31 No. And I know, I totally agree with and especially like you said with the backer process and stuff. I mean, I think my wife thinks I'm clinically insane sometimes with the amount of time and money I spend kind of backing up everything. But you know, it is like you said, it's, you know, it's just once in a lifetime, you know, they're trusting you to come in and do this. If you don't mind me asking you what happened with your wedding photos, you said that it wasn't necessarily what you expected.

18:55 Um, so since we didn't ask, um, I expected that I would get like, I don't know, like four or 500 photos, which was, you know, like fairly typical I think for, uh, in the industry. Um, we got like 150 photos. Um, and only 50 of them were edited. Like nothing from the actual reception were ended in only like the portraits were edited. And so that was something that I, you know, I like to let people know because it, if you don't ask, you don't know what you're getting or if the photographer doesn't tell you what you're getting, you don't know. And so I think a lot of people, um, in fact, I'm actually working with a couple right now who, uh, they live, uh, on the east coast. Um, and I talked to them, um, like eight months ago about shooting their wedding and they just could not afford me.

19:51 Um, and so they hired, they hired somebody who was, you know, up and coming and they paid very little money and this person showed up late and left early and, uh, sent them some photos. Um, looked like rainbow Brite had edited them. Um, and they were just, you know, they were just horrible. And so these are the kinds of stories that, you know, people need to understand that if you're hiring somebody who isn't a professional licensed, insured business, um, and you're not paying what the industry standard is for photography area, you're getting somebody who may or may not provide you what you're really want. Um, you know, and as far as the backup process goes, uh, I want to go back to that for a second because I would say that I would say probably at least 75% of photographers in the industry, um, feel like once they've shot your wedding and uploaded it to a hard drive on the computer, that they've backed up your photos.

21:01 Um, so to me that's like that, that's not even backing up. Like, that's just like uploading. Um, and so for me, this is the process I explained to my clients. So I explained to them to start with that. Um, I shoot a two canon five d mark fours and of course have, uh, two memory cards. Um, and so every time I take a photo, they're getting two copies written to, uh, each meant Ricard. Um, and then before I leave my wedding sites, I always back up one of those cards, um, to an external hardware. So basically before I leave their wedding venue, I have three copies of their wedding. Um, and I even take it seriously enough to where those three copies are actually all kept in three different locations. Uh, one card is left in the camera, one card doesn't make pocket, one card goes right and the hard red goes in my laptop case.

21:54 So three different copies, 300 locations, just in case I was in a tragic car accident and the car explodes and I, you know, with my life and I have them in my pockets. Um, you know, and it could happen. Um, but, uh, and then when I get home from that wedding, whether it be to a hotel or back to my home, uh, before I go to bed at night, it's my rule that's my actually upload those photos, um, to my computer. Um, and which basically puts them on another hard drive and on the cloud. Um, so before you go to bed and I'd have five tops of their weight and then while I'm sleeping, I may have two more hard drives that are connected to my computer that at night my computer backs up to seven before even start editing. I have seven copies of my client's weddings. Unless people think, well, Jesus, that's just ridiculously stupid and like, well it is, if you don't really value the importance of your clients work, um, that it's stupid. But to me, I don't ever, ever, ever want to take one in a million chance, then I can lose one of my client's wedding photos.

23:04 Yeah, I can really nurture that with you over backup processees time. Cause I definitely, yeah, I've definitely got it with you on that. Um, uh, I invested, uh, in a LTO tape backup system last year for after delivery and putting it on tapes and stuff and sending it to the bag. We can, we can go down the rabble. Uh, why do you, and obviously like you said, it's, it's, you know, this one's a lifetime thing, but I mean, do you, when you explain this to couples do d d they get it? Like do they, cause I get it right and I think like other, you know, hopefully other photographers get it. Do you think that they get it? I think, I think

23:42 they do. I think because of the way I explain it. Um, I think they feel like, um, they're like, wow, like you take that much time and that much effort to make sure that my photos aren't lost ever. And I think that's like an awakening moment for some of them that, that, that the care taken to make sure that like the most important day of their life has never lost. It's something that I think kind of puts them in awe sometimes. Um, which is what I wanted to do. I want them to realize that it is so important for me to never ever lose or wedding photos. And you know, in with that, um, I don't ever delete their photos ever. So like, I don't know about you with video cause I know it takes a whole lot more space. But for me, when 2019 is that where my 2019 hard drive, um, which is a solid state drive, so it's going to last forever, no matter what, um, it goes in a drawer.

24:44 Um, and so that hard drive as well as what's been uploaded to the cloud and to my ShootProof gallery, which is, you know, how to get their photos, um, those will be available until I die. And so that's something that, to me, giving them that peace of mind, you know, let's say they've uploaded the photos, they're computer and into, you know, their computer dies and they're like, oh my God, I lost my wedding photos. Well, no you didn't because John still has that and you can get them back. Um, and so that's, that's something that I, I really, uh, really strive hard to make them understand that, you know, no matter what your guys' photos will always be kept, whether you have them or not, I will always have them.

25:30 Yeah. I'm the, no, I'm the same way. I keep, um, I have a whole thing on my website, but I keep the hard drives. And then like I said, I do the, the Lto tape backups and I keep one one here and the one at the bank. So they have, I have archives of everything back to 2014, you know, and, and presumably what could always be accessed, you know, one way or another. But, and like you said, I think the way you said that, putting them in og, I mean, I want, and I think it's similar to you or like if you're taking that much care in their backup, think of all the other care of the year are taking in, you know, the editing and the shooting and the prepping and the mark, you know, that's just one aspect of everything that you're focused on. So if you have that level of care on just that one sliver of it, right? I mean, it kind of permeates across your whole business, right?

26:19 Oh, for surely does. So, I mean, just to give you an example. So, um, I have a, uh, a client that, uh, their wedding actually coming up next weekend. Um, and they booked me, uh, last July, so basically year ago, um, in, in that year period of time. Um, I have basically helped them what with every vendor they booked. Um, in fact with their DJ I'm, I met with them, was their DJ, um, with their cake person. Uh, I introduced them to the cake person, um, and I actually went with them for the tasting. Um, I introduced them to the bridal store where they bought their dress. Um, and uh, actually went with her when she tried on dresses. Um, was there when she picked out the dress that she bought. Um, and so I immersed myself with my couples. Um, if they need me for something, I'm there for them.

27:24 So from every aspect, um, from the time we book and tell the time of the wedding, um, if they need to have a question, they can call me or text me at any point in time. Um, this couple, for instance, um, we, I would say at least 10 times over the last year. Um, we've, we've had dinner, um, which I would say is not typical of maybe 5% of people needing this room. Um, so for me to be able to take that relationship to the level to where whether we're dealing with something wedding or not, these people are lifelong friends. Um, and we will forever be in communication and we will forever go have dinner. Um, it's, it's taking the relationship to a point to where I'm no longer a vendor. They hired, um, I become so much more than that. Um, and so I'm going to get to the kind of an end point of why that's important in a minute.

28:42 But, um, but with this couple, so I shot their engagement session. Um, and from that, um, we actually designed an album and that album is going to be, um, their guests book. Um, so it's their signing book and has their engagement photos in it. Um, and it's got spaces below and above and besides all the photos for people to write in and, and, and, you know, commemorate their day, um, in that photo book I'm putting on them matches their problems, they're going to get for their wedding, for their main wedding album. Um, so that's Kinda cool to how that is two pieces together. Um, and for me, I give them a questionnaire, um, about three months out that basically answers every question that I need to know about what they have going on on their wedding day. It's about a hundred questions. Um, and so it's very, very, um, intense on the questions that I ask, you know, down to, you know, the bridal party, all the bridal parties, names, phone numbers, emails, all their vendors, names, phone numbers, emails, oh, that's the bride want me in the room and she's going to get a dress on.

30:01 Um, you know, what time that, you know, is, is everything happening from that questionnaire, I sit down and have a meeting with them. Um, and from that we actually build out their full day timeline. Um, I find that, and I have worked for lots of other photographers in the area, um, second shooting with them when I wasn't busy. And I find that most photographers that I've worked with have no idea what's going on on that day. Sometimes when I didn't get to get timeline from their bride until like a couple of days before the wedding. And I'm like, how do you even play on what's going on? And you have no idea what's going on. So for me, it's a must that I am the one who sits down with a couple of, creates the title. Um, I know exactly how long everything takes. I know how long I would need them for photos, depending on what they're giving me a, for a photo list.

31:08 Um, I make sure that before the wedding, they've given me a list of what they want for family portraits. Uh, you know, if one couple has, you know, a list of 15 and one has a list of 40, well obviously that's gonna take a whole lot of different types. Um, and so I make sure that I have all of those details all ironed out ahead of time and I've put in enough buffer time so that that day runs so perfectly smooth. Um, you know, and as you know, as a videographer yourself, um, we are the director of the show, get up, the director of the show doesn't have the script before the movie. Well then it's going to be lost. And so I feel like, you know, as a wedding photographer or videographer we are or the director of the show and so for us to create the script so that we know that we can capture exactly what our client wants ahead of time, it not only makes sense but just makes things run so much more. Perfect.

32:09 No, I get it. I mean, you know, we, I think

32:14 okay

32:14 we are, yeah, I think we have one videography team appear and they kind of do like a, like a welcome brunch or something like a lot of their couples, but you know, not nearly the level of, you know, like you said Karen time that you know, you're putting in. Do you find with 'em, does people nowadays with schedules and stuff, do you

32:33 okay,

32:33 like ever find, you know, pushback or people not having time, where are the people that are booking you care that much about it, that they're just like ready to go and ready to kind of be invested in this, in this planning? Cause I, I struggle per, you know, I think everyone would even just getting questionnaires back or surveys are, can you sign this or look at that. So how do you make sure that, is it just the couples that want you just are ready to go with that or what do you think?

32:58 I feel like that a, it's the couples that I choose to work with. So, because, you know, like I said at the beginning, um, I don't book every couple that wants me to book them. Um, after that initial phone call that I have at that point in time, I decide whether I feel like they're a couple that's right for me. Um, whether they feel like they want me or know. Um, and you know, I only booked clients where I feel like we both are right for each other and when, when that is the case, um, I think the couples that really want this experience to be as amazing as a candy are our whole heartedly, I'm available when those times come that we need to do these things. Um, you know, when it's like, like I said, over a year, we've, you know, we've met 10 times, you know, once a month, you know, if you can't, you know, break away once a month, have a meeting, um, then you really aren't invested in, you know, what you wait, you said you are.

34:10 And so, you know, I really haven't got too much pushback. Um, I have one couple who's really, um, a little, a little bit too busy right now, um, like the brightest, you know, in medical school and you know, that kind of thing. And so, you know, I understand that. Um, and you know, we're doing what we can do and they kind of look me more, more last minute as well. So like, only like three months ago. So it's been a little more difficult than that when that happens. But, um, for the most part, I think that a reason why they really are excited about booking me is because of that experience. Um, they want somebody who really is invested in them and invested in the whole experience that they're receiving. Um, and so I find that it's, it's something that they're excited that I'm so excited about. You know, being able to capture their day for them and giving them such a great experience. Um, and so I think just to kind of like tie everything that we've talked about together, um, in why I really do that is this, if you have a wedding photographer who isn't invested like I am, they book a client, they talk a few times on the phone, they show up at a wedding.

35:38 The level of comfort that that client has with the photographer is zero. There's they're two strangers. Um, and that photographer is going to be taking very sterile folks. And to me, a wedding day is no time to be taking a sterile photo. Um, for me, since I've created these relationships that are so deep and so intense, I'm able to capture those clients in their most intimate, most romantic moments, especially doing their, their, their wedding portraits. They're in such a time of like emotional bliss that they don't even care them there. They're just sharing a moment with each other and are, and getting to step away and really like reflect on that moment. You know, we just professed our beautiful vows to each other and now we get to step away from everybody and just kind of like enjoy that moment and just talk to each other and you know, really, really get the feel what it's like to now be married. And I get to be there to capture that. And being that I've spent all this time creating that intense, deep, intentional relationship with them, I can capture those moments without them feeling like I'm intrude because I'm, I'm there with them that, you know, I'm their buddy in their [inaudible] and their friends and you can't capture that same emotion with a photographer who doesn't invest that time. That couple doesn't feel the level of comfort to be able to step away and have those moments while somebody else is there. That's a stranger. Okay.

37:33 Do you find that, um, your, the way that you approach it, are you talking to other photographers, other vendors about this? Do you find that they're receptive to this or do you find that this is something that, that you're, you're doing and people just don't get it? Or how do you feel about that?

37:55 I mean, I feel like there's a certain, that certain aspect of the industry that does similar to this. Um, you know, and that's kind of all goes back. Um, and I'm gonna give a prompt to get your Robert because Robert is actually the one who, uh, who opened my eyes to the importance of this. Uh, because before that I was taking stair on photos. Um, I didn't understand about actually capturing the emotion that was, to me it was more about capturing two beautiful people on their wedding day, um, and just taking photos. But it's so much more than taking photos. Um, you're capturing emotion, you're capturing memories. You're not just taking to people and posing them and taking their photos. Um, and going back to that, I don't post my photos at all now. Um, my couples will never ever be posed by me. Um, I may have put them in a location.

38:56 Um, I may make them stand in a certain direction because of the lighting, but after that I let them interact 100% naturally. Um, because I don't want to capture a about, this isn't a portrait, a family portrait where you want, they're looking at you and then you know that you want to hang on the wall. That's, that's a sterile photo. This is emotion. I want to capture them interacting with each other. I don't want them in it. I don't want to capture them looking at my camera cause that's not them. I want them to be looking at each other and really engaged and really, really getting memories that they look up, look back on and think about, oh my gosh, why you took this photo. This is what we were talking about. This is what we were thinking. This is what we were doing. Um, which is so much different than, you know, if you take a photo of somebody looking at your camera, there's no memory there. There's no emotion, there's no nothing, there's no stories. Uh, and so that's why going back to, you know, me saying my style is photojournalistic I'm capturing a story, um, that these two people are creating on their wedding day. Um, and I want to create that story and tell it, tell that story in my photos so they can look back and look through their wedding album. And every time they look at any pictures and they're like, oh yeah, this is, this is what I was feeling. This was what I was thinking when you took that photo,

40:22 do you, does these, uh, you know, the relationships that you're building and like you say, kind of these, you know, long form discussions, obviously that's kind of helped too with, you know, all the other aspects of the wedding. Right. You know, their families, you know, getting to know that bright bridal party members and stuff. I mean, do you feel like that kind of permeates the whole day? That it's this, that you just have more comfort kind of in general with, with all aspects of it?

40:47 I do. I'm an, in fact, most of my, um, most of my couples, um, I have met their families. Um, most of them I probably most of their wedding party, unless their wedding parties, you know, coming from out of town or something and of course it's not super feasible or really getting to know the people around them that are important, um, and an important part of their day, um, really lends to that as well. It really lends to that comfort level because, um, I can say, you know, hey Susie, I need you to do that instead of, Hey, I'm, you writes me. Um, you know, and it really, I, that not only does it make things easier and more comfortable, but I think that the fact that I know all the Brian's names and Grossman's names, um, makes them feel like so much better as well because I am so invested in not only the and room, but I'm invested in the other people around them that are important to them to be there for that day.

41:59 I'm so guilty of that like, Hey, pink tie. Hey, darker. I mean, I'm, I'm the worst. I mean, even our wedding yesterday, like there was two Kyle's and I'm like, okay, who is, I mean they was, but you know, I, I would, I would agree that that is probably something that I could, I could grow tremendously at Terrance. It'd be in a wedding vendor.

42:22 Well, you know, it all come down to just a questionnaire that I give them that, you know, I get those answers on that questionnaire and then, you know, I can go, you know, look those bridesmaids, I'm on Facebook and, and find out about them and, or their Instagrams. And, you know, really, I really do a lot of research behind the scenes, um, of the important people that are, you know, involved in, um, in their special day. You know, and even even like this couple that I'm, I'm shooting them in August is the last time I was in medical school, um, on Friday, um, which was also the rehearsal dinner for this big wedding that I'm doing on Saturday. And on, on Friday morning, I'm actually meeting with this other couple, um, who's, uh, mom and sister are, are coming to town. Um, and I want to be able to meet with those people before, um, and kind of get to know her mom and her sister.

43:15 Um, and we're gonna, you know, work on creating their timeline that morning, um, and just really get to know that family. Um, so the, on the wedding day when I show up, I'm like, hey mom, have to go in, you know, you know what's going on today. Um, and sent a Mila being like, uh, you know, I show up to the wedding and the bride having you say, oh, this is my mom. I already know her. Um, and it makes for such a different experience for the whole family in the whole wedding party. Um, but it also, Nixon feel like this guy really cares. No. You know, it's not all about just making a paycheck.

43:55 Oh, I get it. I how, how do you do, I'm curious how you do your father reveals and how you do your delivery for clients.

44:03 So I always do a sneak peek, um, like three to five photos within a day. Um, depending on how later or where the wedding's at, I'm, I try to get them those, that, that evening, um, as far as delivery in front of reveals. So, uh, we didn't actually talk about this before, but in my initial phone call process, um, I really talked to my clients about wedding albums. So wedding albums for me are super, super important for my clients. Um, it's, it's like the only thing that they can have that they can keep forever, that's tangible, that actually tells the story of their day. Um, and so with my clients, I would say 85% of them get like a full on wedding. Um, and so with that, basically once I've done it, edited my photos, um, I've chosen the photos that I feel are the best photos for, um, for their album and created that story.

45:17 Now at that point, um, I have them come to my house, uh, if they're local, otherwise this is done via like a Skype caller, um, in call. And the first thing they get to see before they see any of their photos is I create them like 150 photo slideshow. Um, and basically in the slide show I pick like the 150, probably most emotional photos that I feel really tells the story of the day from start to finish. Um, and after that slideshow, of course, they're both like typically crying. Um, because they are like now getting to relive like that day. And because of the fact that I'm able to capture that really deep wide motion, like it really brings that back to them. Um, and it really like, Whoa, this is like, this is real. Um, and so from there, um, I show them their wedding album layout, um, and show them, you know, what I have created. Um, and from that, um, they're like, oh my God, we love this. This is perfect. Or, um, hey, can we, you know, can we add this photo in or take this photo out? Uh, and a lot of times, a lot of times, not all couples, um, we'll, we'll have paid for a full hour. So each of my collections have a certain amount of album credits in them. Um, and so, um, at that point in time, I always creating a problem that's full or even sometimes over fall.

47:09 And from that, the client then gets to choose, you know, do they want to narrow that album down to what they paid for or do they want to, you know, actually get what I've created for them. And actually have the full story, um, told, you know, in the amazingly romantic way that they can have forever, um, very few of them downsides to what they already paid for because they want everything they want their whole wedding day. They want all those memories captured in their album. And then from that I then actually give them their, um, their full gallery. Um, of course that's given them, giving them to them in a link through ShootProof. ShootProof is basically a gallery program that, uh, allows them to, uh, not only view their photos but download their photos. Um, it also allows them to order prints directly from a shoot.

48:15 So that's kind of cool work. If a, uh, if they want to get some pictures for their walls, then they can actually order that directly off of them. Um, they also get something kind of cool and special that I don't have two departments during this, but, um, I basically have a really cool, um, teacher entitlement shoot roof that's a coupon code. Um, and it's basically set up so that, um, before the wedding, I have my clients basically gather email addresses from all of their guests. And so when the wedding is over and I'm delivering the gallery to the clients and then sent out an email to all of their guests with a link to the gallery. And what that link gives them is it gives them a coupon code that gives them two free, four by six prints from the wedding. So they can go through the whole wedding gallery and they can pick out two photos, um, two, four by six photos. They have to pay for shipping of course. Um, but they get two, four by six photos, uh, and it could be, you know, photos of them with the bride, you know, that they really loud and they, you know, now they can get a free print of that. Um, and so it's kind of a cool, uh, gift from me to, to the bride to be able to give to all their wedding guests.

49:35 Yeah. Cause there's always someone that even yesterday we were doing family photos and you know, uncle Bob or whatever is got his cell phone and he says, I said, Oh man, you know, I say, well you gotta get down there so well I got to take these cell phone photo cause I'm never going to get, never going to get any of them. I'm never getting to get to see any of them. Right. Well here you aren't kind of taking care of that where he could kind of log on and do that and get a copy of it. Right,

49:58 right. And for me, the importance especially, um, of, of having my clients, it's a win win for me and caught it because a, I get to give the client and their guests something really cool and special. Um, but the, I also get that tech cell phones out of people's hands so that they can enjoy the wedding. They're not going to have to worry about, oh, I missed getting this memory that I wanted to have for this day because I'm chaptering those memories and they're going to have access to them. And that's not something that many photographers do. So, you know, like you said, you know, George from down the street, he's, he's never going to get cds, photos. Um, and you know, so he wants to make sure he gets that cell on Selfie with, you know, with it. Right. Well, that's not the case with me.

50:52 He actually can put us off in a way and you know, and enjoy the day and enjoy the couple and not worry about that because they're getting access two, getting these photos. And if they decide to, oh gosh, I want 10 photos, well then you know, they get two for free and they're gonna buy more. Um, and so, you know, again, a win win for them at me because now they're going to pay me for eight photos and they get eight more photos that they can keep in cherish forever as well. So it's, it's kind of a, it's kind of a cool feature and it's something that I've never had a writer group and be like, oh no, I don't want these people having my photos. They're all like, well, that's super cool. I really like that, you know, that's such a special gift you can give, you know, all my guests.

51:35 Uh, it's awesome. Well, um, you know, we've talked a lot about kind of you and, and your process. I want to, before we let you go, I just, you know, tell me when you're not photographing and doing this, you know, what, what makes you tick? What do you do in your free time? What do you do? The kind of extracurriculars, what do you do that makes John who he is when he's not taking wedding photos?

51:55 Well, in my free time, I do a lot of hiking. Um, I like to do it, you know, as an adventure wedding photographer, I'm a pretty adventurous person as it is. Uh, and so I like to do fun, adventurous things yesterday with a over to, uh, mop in Oregon and, uh, this might want to wrapping up this the river. Um, which is super fun. And I would say I'm still a big techie, so I like kind of like my home theater staff and actually just bought a new 65 inch Sylvia led TV. It's pretty amazing. So, which is what I'll be using, uh, in the future to actually show my clients, uh, their gallery zone, which is super cool because most people that just have a regular TV, um, or even in even a standard high def TV, um, don't realize that our photos are so much bigger than the resolution of a TV.

52:57 They're like twice as big as four k. And so putting them on a four k TV, you actually get super realistic, um, versions of these photos. And so it's super, super cool. And I was, I was actually just doing some testing on it, uh, yesterday and, and it was like, I was amazed at, uh, how amazing looks and actually has that. There's actually a picture, um, setting, um, in like a color setting on the TV. So you're shining pictures, you can put a picture about. Um, the color is like compared to my, uh, Mac book pro screen that's on the screen, like look almost identical. Um, so I was like super, super stoked on that. Yeah, I like the high gotten hood fish. Uh, we'll just, anything outdoors like skydive, you know, it's pretty much anything that's thrill-seeking I like to do.

53:55 That's awesome. I mean this has been such a, such an insightful conversation. I think you're really killed it, you know, in terms of coming on on, you know, telling who you are only really kind of given everybody kind of a snapshot of how you approach everything. I think it's really inspiring. I think a lot of people could take a lot of advice from it in terms of, you know, even me personally in terms of processes and stuff. And so I really, you know, want to thank you for your time today and coming on and spending time with me on an early Sunday morning. Uh, if people want to learn more about you, you know, your process, see your photography learned about you, where would you have them go and check out?

54:31 Well, they can go to, to my website, which is I'm also J Kiepke Photography on Instagram and Facebook. And those are probably the best places to find me.

54:53 Perfect. Well, again, thank you so much and, and for spending time on a Sunday, I just want to say thanks again. I know it's, you know, crazy time of year and I'm always hearing back from vendors say, man, you know, it's wedding season. I said, I know, but we still got to do the podcast every week. So I appreciate you making the time. Uh, you're a true champ. Uh, if you are a wedding vendor and the wanna, um, aren't interested in participating in an upcoming episode, you can go to and I have a nice easy questionnaire a set up that you can fill out to get involved. And, uh, John, just want to thank you so much again. Um, this has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro®. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much.

55:35 All right, have a good day.

Kayla Heffner, Seatown Sweets

00:01 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 Kayla Heffner of Seatown Sweets and we connected a few weeks ago at the Seattle Bride event, uh, down at, uh, where was that kind of outside of Ballard. And, uh, I think my wife kind of talked to you and they coming on or kind of planted the seed. I want to thank you so much for coming on today on the podcast. Why don't you introduce yourself, tell us who you are and what you do.

00:40 Yeah, thank you so much for having me. Excited to be here. So, um, yeah, my name's Kayla Heffner and I started my company Seatown Sweets a couple of years ago I actually started as a baking blogger and that was in about 2013 when Pinterest was really kind of taking off. And I would see all these like cool, crazy baking recipes and whatnot. And so I'd give them a go and I'd make, you know, like 50 mini cupcakes. But I didn't want to eat them all. So I would take them into coworkers, um, at my then day job in downtown Seattle. And everyone's like, oh my God, these are amazing. You should, you should, you know, make these for a living, you should start a bakery. And I was like, you're crazy. But here I am about, you know, six years later and my business. So, yeah.

01:30 Yeah. And I'm, I'm so interested in talking to you because, uh, and I was kinda reading through, you know, your background on your side and, um, you know, you have a great video that just kind of shows you know who you are, which is awesome. And it's interesting to me cause we talk a lot on the podcast about, you know, creatives that want to do, you know, be it photography or baking or for all, and not necessarily having the strength, uh, like the you do in terms of like advertising and marketing and, and like you said, you know, Pinterest and kind of doing all these things. So I think it's interesting to talk to someone like you that almost started on the other end. And then kind of found your way into this. Um, talk about where do you find the strengths that you have in terms of kind of running your bakery besides outside, obviously making like awesome tasting desserts and things.

02:20 Yeah, so my background is in marketing. So I went to school at Washington State University and I studied advertising and communications and I remember, you know, in school I graduated in 2010, so not all that long ago, but they were still teaching those very primitive forms of marketing, print, you know, advertising, radio, TV, which has fallen by the wayside. And I knew, you know, in college I wanted to do marketing, but I was really interested in the internet and I loved being on the Internet and surfing and you know, back in those like chat messaging days and stuff too. So, uh, but it wasn't being taught. So I actually did an internship at, um, cute 13 fox, the local Fox station. And I started their social media pages, like their Facebook page, what be way before there was even such a thing as a Facebook page for a business.

03:10 It was just a car. I remember what it was, like a group page or like a personal page event. And so I started scaling that and creating content, all these things. I'm like, wow, this is really cool. So is I wanted to do, um, but again in school, like they didn't teach that. So afterwards I started in advertising sales, which I absolutely hated and it was during the recession, so like no one was spending money on advertising. Right. That's like the first thing to get cut in a recession. Um, so then I found my way into more digital marketing and um, actually still worked in my family's business. Now they own a chain of local mattress stores. So I do all the um, online marketing for them, digital marketing, social media, marketing, stuff like that. So it is something I'm still really passionate about and I kind of parlayed that into my business and that's kind of where my business, I'm kind of paralleled with my marketing background and took off with the social media and stuff. So I would take pictures of my work as I was making and you know, baking things and then I would post it and you know, people would comment and like it. And then it kind of snowballed into a business from there as I just sort of unbeknowing Lee promoted myself and my work on social media.

04:21 That's fascinating. Yeah, I feel like I have a very similar, we, you know, when I was at Gonzaga and I was in journalism and they were same kind of thing, like they were, we have a whole class about the physical layout of like the home page of a newspaper for like weeks. And I remember thinking like, you know, well this isn't like how do you write good copy for a website? You know, for like a front