GET TO KNOW YOUR WEDDING PRO®
PODCAST TRANSCRIPTIONS - part 4

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

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, www.wrightweddings.com 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 www.wrightweddings.com, 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 www.bestmadevideos.com/podcastguest 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 www.jkiepkephotography.com. 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 www.bestmadevideos.com/podcastguest 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 page. This was like, no, like what are the margins when you print, you know, like physically pray. And I remember sitting there thinking like, this isn't even going to be a thing in lack, you know, five years and we're spending like weeks on this. And that's how I kinda got into video. That's so fascinating. And that you kind of felt, cause we're a similar age and kind of went through that same kind of thing down at WSU, you know?

05:07 Right, exactly. Yeah. They were. And it was all taught by like these old guys, you know, have been in the industry for like 30 years and stuff. But yeah, things are changing. I think the program has changed a little bit now too, is our kind of herd down my grape blah grapevine. So, yeah.

05:23 And that's also fascinating. The, you made a pit sabic two 13, which is also where I made a pit stop many years after you were there.

05:31 No, La. Oh, funny.

05:33 Yeah. We spent, that was the last, well they, they, they were, drove me out of the news business, so we had quite similar, a wonderful experiences there. But yeah, that was what drove me. I, uh, this is a sign that, yeah, when I put it in mind now this, the news director came up to me and I said, well, you know, I've, uh, spent the last nine months building up this business, like it quit. I said, if you go, I imagine if you guys said, harness that energy here a what we could have accomplished as opposed to me working in that and starting the business. So, um, what was it about, you know, advertising the communication, you know, that kind of started your path at a, in college? Like what was it about that, that excited you?

06:15 Um, I think it kind of goes back to almost my childhood. Um, my, my family had told me stories like when I was a kid, you know, we're all sitting around watching TV and they're watching their show and then all of a sudden the commercials would come on and I would stop what I was doing and watch these commercials. And I still remember some of them and like, you know, sometimes I see like old clips on TV, you know, if you watch those, like I love the 80s. I love the nineties Kinda shows, you know, back on VH one. I remember certain things. Um, and so like advertising always stuck with me. I don't know if it's because I had like add or what, like, you know, kids just find those more fascinating or like short, fast clips. Um, but I've always just kind of had a creative mind like that.

07:01 Like writing was always a strong point for me. Um, not so much the math. So my, um, my baking journey actually began as a kid too. I would bake at Christmas time with my grandma. We'd make these frosted sugar cookies and I would, you know, slather frosting all over them and throw sprinkles and, you know, call it beautiful. But, um, those are kind of some of my earliest memories. So the creative side of it definitely comes from her side of the family. She's an artist and all of that. And I can't really draw per se, but it comes out like in my work with like buttercream and stuff. So I knew, um, you know, communications and advertising would probably be a good route for me cause it was kind of creative. I don't know what, you know, aspect of it I wanted to go into.

07:45 Now in retrospect, I think I would have been really good with like branding, helping, you know, companies like brand themselves come up with like slogans and stuff, which I use in my own business. Like at the Seattle bride event. Um, it was kind of like a nautical theme, like rustic beachy themes. And I don't know if you saw the dessert table that I did upstairs, but I kind of um, correlated my desserts to like beach theme. So for example, like my chocolate covered pretzels, I called them driftwood and then, um, the, I think I did some like coconut cupcakes and that was like, um, sea foam or something like that, you know, so kind of like taking what it looked like and then calling it something else just to kind of help play on that imagery. That's something I like to do and I try to do, um, with dessert too.

08:33 That's funny. I, uh, we, they, I now that you talk about the desserts, we, there was a lot of wine at that event and uh, there wasn't as much like food and so I definitely, cause we were, we were going to go next door I think w Anthony Anthony's or whenever, cause I told during these I got to eat, I said I, you know, I don't know how we're going to do this. And I ended up just having my was a those pretzels and everything else from that dessert table. So I want to say thank you very much for your contributions there. It's probably the only way that got me through that night. So that was a, but I know it's funny when you talk about that and like, you know, thinking on that level, because you know, even nowadays, like so many people like want to do video or I want to do this and they don't necessarily think about kind of all the bricks and everything like you have in terms of like even out, you know, matching the things to the, you know, to the event and, and you know, brandy and coming up with the taglines and stuff.

09:26 I mean, do you feel like, like obviously you said that you signed as a strong point, but is that really helped you kind of stand out over the years? Um, in terms of kind of building a, you know, you're, you're baking and everything.

09:39 Um, I think the, the niche I kind of saw with this whole like baking journey was the lack of for custom desserts. Like, you can't go, you know, you see all this cool stuff on Pinterest, right? Like moms or, you know, my friends or whatever are going on Pinterest. I'm like, I have this party and this is what I want, you know, or a wedding. And they're getting inspiration from Pinterest because it's all visual. And so from that people are seeing these like cool, you know, imagery on there but they can't find those things and like quote unquote real life. This is specifically to have more so to baking. Um, you know, all these trends that are kind of like come and gone over the years that I've seen, like Unicorns are really popular for awhile and Mermaids and then now it's kind of like llamas and stuff.

10:28 Like there's all these like really cute little things that you can do as cookies, but there's not a lot of bakers out there that are really promoting themselves in that way. And I think that's kind of a weakness that the industry has is like, yes, there's bakers out there, but their websites are really stuck and like that early 2000, you know, period. And so they don't look credible. They don't look up to date, you know, they don't look like current. And the bakers that I've seen that are getting more and more business are the ones who have an updated website. They're easy to contact, they respond to email. Um, and I respond to my emails pretty much instantly. People kind of freak out like, oh that was so fast. You know, cause they don't hear back from these vendors right away. And I'm not saying you have to respond in like 20 seconds, you know, but they're not getting back to them.

11:13 And so people kind of creates like a distrust almost. I think. So. Um, I guess I'm saying that my knowledge of, you know, websites and internet and marketing has kind of helped me put that at the forefront of my business to get in touch with those consumers that way. And I actually prefer people to email me cause it just keeps me like, you know, in check. Okay, what were we talking about? What kind of cookies do you want? What colors were they? All that stuff because the pen and the paper, like it gets lost. And, um, so I tried to keep everything like a really good, strong, uh, quote unquote paper trail, but online.

11:52 Yeah. It's astonishing as someone

11:54 that, you know, we plan their wedding, we're three years in August, uh, and it astonishes me how, you know, communication with vendors and stuff. Uh, you know, we were planning and even a couple of years ago and how we would have stuff booked and then weeks later we would hear back from people and it's like we, I mean we're already like moved on to, you know, step seven, eight and nine here in out. And I just don't know if people, I, you said it doesn't need to be like an instant thing, but um, you know, so definitely kind of like starting, I think starting the booking process off on a good start. Um, on a good note like that, it's important, you know what I mean? Yeah, definitely. My husband, we got married five years ago in August and I definitely chose certain vendors when I was reaching out that were more communicative and more responsive than others.

12:43 And for that exact reason, like if you got back to me, you know, and you were like in my budget, you know, great. I'm going to, I'm going to book you. I'm gonna work with you. Um, there was actually, and this was before I made cakes, I did my own desserts. I didn't do my wedding cake, but I reached out to some very well known bakers in the industry. I won't name names and they never went back to me, you know, and I was kind of, I was shocked by that. Like, you know, they had a shot at business and, um, you know, they didn't take the time to respond or, or, you know, reply to me. So I was like, okay, well I'm moving on.

13:18 Yeah. And please, for the love of anything that, the email thing, like you said, kind of creating that paper trail where, you know, these phone calls I get at eight 30 in the morning and then, oh, hey, we're thinking about doing the video tomorrow and, uh, you know, this, this, this, this, this, what do you think? And you're like, oh, well, you know, even if I had an email that would give me 30 seconds to kind of process this before I'm, you know, trying to get out the door here. But yeah, definitely kind of the, the communication, the email and everything. I want to hear more about your and the Pinterest blogging kind of post-college and then how that segwayed into, you know, making the leap to say I'm starting your business. Cause those are two very different things.

13:58 Yeah, I started, um, so as I was mentioning, after I graduated college, um, Pinterest became, you know, more prominent and I, um, my husband and I, we were, you know, in our first apartment together and, um, my now mother-in-law, she gave me an extra kitchenaid mixer, which I knew was a bad combination because again, like I grew up and I loved baking. Like I would they get any chance that I could get if there was any cake mix or something in the Pantry, like I would make it. Um, so I was like, oh boy. I knew if I, if I got a kitchenaid mixer, like it would be the end of me and kind of am now. But basically what that journey looked like was, yeah, again, me like finding recipes, making them, and then, you know, being somewhat health conscious, not wanting to eat them all and sharing them with other people.

14:45 But for me that, that gratitude came from sharing my desserts with people, not really so much like the baking and you know, people would praise me for it and obviously praise feels good. Um, but I love sharing my desserts with other people's, it's kind of like an extension of my love, you know, like, um, so people kinda then challenged me to do other things, you know, like, oh, can you make kick pops and can you make, um, you know, this kind of cupcake or this kind of cookie and stuff. So I started taking classes locally and um, from that I, you know, just kind of learn. So again, I'm pretty much self taught, if you will. Like, I did not go to culinary school for any of this stuff. I just, you know, grew up baking, loves baking, um, and then just trying recipes out and, um, reading a recipe and kind of like knowing what works and what doesn't work, but I'm just, it's just like a science project really.

15:42 And I think that's why kids like baking so much, like it's you're baking, but it's kind of sciencey and you get something tasty at the end, you know? Um, same thing still holds true today really when I'm trying out new recipes and stuff. But, um, yeah, so I started taking these classes and making, you know, these cookies and whatnot and um, decorating them. And um, at the same time I remember, I think that's when the Seahawks were doing really well and we went to the super bowl those two years. So I'd made some like Superbowl Seahawk themed cookies and people went crazy over those and stuff like that. But again, this was still just out of my house. So it was just very much, um, you know, like the very beginning stages of this. And I wasn't really like, I don't know, like I was making some money but I didn't really know how to charge people and I didn't, it was hard to charge people for these services.

16:30 I felt like such a novice and you know, not like a professional and stuff. So, um, it wasn't until I met my friend Holly on Instagram and that's kind of another crazy story. She's my now business partner, um, in a way. But she had, I saw her Instagram profile and I was like, oh, she's a cute young girl. Like, and she has a baking business and oh my God, she's here in Washington. Like I should reach out to her cause I have these questions about baking business specifically. Like I can ask my parents for, you know, just general business advice. But I wanted to get into the nitty gritty of like baking stuff cause it is different. There's um, cottage law and there's um, what I do now, which is like the, the food processing, um, food handler processing permit. So, um, I wanted to like feel those out. And so I talked to her and we had a really good conversation and we've been like best friends ever since then. We hit it off really well and stuff. So she really helped me take my business from just like a hobby and I should say turning it into a business and actual business. So

17:36 was that kind of scary making that leap? I mean, did you end the path from the, you know, I think you said you were working and you know, kind of leaving mad. I mean, was that nervous or what was that kind of that process like to make that leap? Yeah, it was

17:49 absolutely terrifying because, you know, once you turn it into a business you have to do, you know, reporting, you have to report taxes and earnings and income and all that kind of stuff. But, um, I was able to find a commercial kitchen to bake out of here. I live in Linwood, um, and it was just kind of down the street in Linwood from me. So I started renting a space out of this kitchen, uh, which then allowed me to get my licensing. And, um, and not have to go the cottage law route. Briefly. Cottage laws when you want to do it in your home. And it's totally doable. Even if you have kids, even if you have pets, you just have to kind of like do a little extra homework on it. But it's totally possible. Um, the only problem with cottage laws, they cap you revenue wise pretty significantly.

18:35 I think in Washington state it's only like 20 grand, which is a year, which is nothing to live off of. You know, that's still very much a hobby. Um, you can have a business where it's like a business hobby. So for me, I was like, well, if I'm doing this, I'm going to go all in. So I went with the commercial kitchen route and it panned out pretty well. So I started doing that in 2008 2016, 2017 and um, and was in that commercial kitchen space, which allowed me to grow my business with very low overhead. So that was kind of Nice that I could feel out, you know, my, my seasonality. And at the same time I started getting more and more into weddings as well. That was more my, my focus cause summertime was actually kind of Kinda slow for me. Um, people are kind of out of town a lot and you know, there's a lot of bridal showers or birthday parties and baby shower, stuff like that. But weddings, you know, here in Seattle that's, you know, June through September, that's like ergo season or busy season. So I was like, I wanna I want to get into the wedding industry a little bit more.

19:34 Yeah. I mean I couldn't imagine kind of entering in and just all the different hurdles in terms of doing food and stuff. Do you have to deal with compared to like, you know, a lot of other vendors, they just don't have to besides all the other headaches of running a business and kind of everything else, you know, it just seems like it's not much more challenging to kind of, you know, move into a commercial kitchen and do all that sort of stuff.

19:56 Yeah, you definitely, I mean it's definitely more homework cause yeah, if you just start a regular business, it's not like you have to get a food handler permit and then you have to get your plant licensing fee and, and you have to get, you know, you get checked every now and then by them to make sure you're handling food properly and stuff. So making sure it's, you know, safe cause people have to consume it, you know, so you want to make sure that you're not going to get sick. Obviously baked goods is very low risk. It's anyone's even considered a low risk food. So my um, um, I don't know, check-ins and stuff by the inspectors are very, they're, they're really easy. It's not that big of a deal. I'm not handling like raw meat or unpasteurized milk and all these crazy things. So it's a little bit easier for bakers. But yeah, it's still, it's still extra work for sure on top of Ya running the business kind of stuff.

20:42 How did it go kind of starting out? I know you said you really focused on doing custom orders and things like that, but how did you kind of, how did that initial kind of growth thing go once you decided to start doing this and moved in there?

20:57 How did, how did it grow? How the business grows?

20:59 Yeah. And how did you focus? Was it just kind of on focusing on like the custom stuff or how did you kind of start putting those blocks together to build your client base?

21:08 Yeah, it was all referral base pretty much, you know, like, um, once I got my website up, cause every time I made an order, um, and these were all referrals basically, you know, moms or um, you know, friends of friends, you know, oh I have a bridal shower coming up, can you do this, my kid's birthday, you know, Yada, Yada, all these things. So I would take pictures of them and I started creating basically like a profile and people are really good with staying on trends. So it's kind of helped my business stay on trend, but it's also kind of allowed me to grow creatively cause I had to learn how to make like a naked style cake or ruffle cake or you know, whatever. People show me pictures and I'm like, well I don't know how to do that, but let me find a youtube video that can teach me, you know, once I had that terminology and stuff.

21:51 So, um, yeah, basically it all started off with referrals. I mean, referrals are your greatest source of business, you know, obviously if they order from you, they like it, they'll refer you to their friends, uh, the order from you again. Um, but then again with the social media, like I really haven't spent too much on advertising per se. Like I could, but you know, I'm just a one woman show here so I can only take on so much at a time. Um, but honestly having my website dialed in and again with my marketing background and my SEO in the backend of my website, um, is huge. And I built my website in wick, so it was very drag and drop. Um, but I actually for a short period of time worked at a Web, uh, web agency. So I kind of saw like how websites were built and what you needed and all these things. So that allowed me to then take that information and put that on the back end of my website. And I have certain keywords that I kinda target like, you know, custom desserts, custom cookies, custom cakes, all these things like custom is like a big, uh, keyword of mine that I use on my website. Um, and you know, Google makes it really easy with all their tools as well for analytics and you know, seeing how you're coming up, um, what people are searching for, things like that. Does that make sense?

23:07 It does, yeah. And I mean it's like I said [inaudible] you know, just says that, you know, Kinda like me, like one person show kind of doing everything. Where do you find, you know, obviously we know, you know, with your advertising background and obviously a lot more savvy with Pinterest and stuff like that, where do you find the things are that you seen that you need to work harder at to, to get there? You know, like for me it's, you know, idea county and stuff or whatever. Like where do you find, uh, things that you have to work on a little more?

23:36 Oh Gosh. Yeah. The, so recently, um, I was, I was mentioning my friend Holly and I, so we're both in commercial kitchen. She had way more of a nightmare place than I did, but, um, we both knew that in order to grow our business, we needed more room. And, um, so we signed a lease in March on a space in Kirkland and we're still the back, the back area with the bakery or we do over work is all done. We're still working on the front end, but now I'm at this point where, yeah, it's really like, I got to figure out how to scale. Um, and I'm, I'm really at that tipping point too. It's like I'm still working part time for my family's business just so I can have that steady paycheck and everything while I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to grow this business and where I'm going to take it.

24:24 Um, you know, right now, again, we're still just licensed of process food, not with the health department, which is where you can like sell food out of your front, your front end, like any restaurant or coffee shop and stuff. That's a whole nother thing. So this year is going to be a lot of like soul searching where I want to like take this business and how I want to grow it. If I want to keep doing what I'm doing and kind of keep it smaller. Um, or if I want to, yeah. Have like shop hours and do all that stuff. But that, that is so terrifying to me right now. And obviously the accounting part of it is a huge aspect of that. Like, how do I hire employees? How do I do payroll? You know, I probably have a, a bookkeeper or something, but right now I'm doing all that stuff.

25:05 So I'm managing my website, I'm doing the baking, I'm responding to emails and tracking my expenses, like all of these things. And it's really overwhelming and I understand now why being a business owner is so stressful and so hard. You know, like especially when starting out, you're just wearing so many hats. You have to learn where to delegate and where to kind of branch off and say like, you know what? I don't need this in my life. I'm going to hire this out and let someone else do this. At the end of the day for me, I really just want to focus on the baking. That's what I enjoy doing. So all this other, you know, stuff like building out a space and, and all this, you know, like just data keeping is just really daunting to me and I just really don't, don't like it. Again, I'm not a numbers person. I'm more of the creative person. So that's kind of where I want to stay with my business. But it's, it's hard.

25:56 Yeah, it's a, it's quite a leap from, you know, doing, you know, wherever we all start out. And you know, studying advertising and then you know, the blogging and now it's like, well Jesus, I'm trying to like build, you know, move into this thing and what am I going to do? Me, it's, it's crazy how the year is kind of looking back and to think of where you are versus where you started then kind of trying to figure out the next step. You know what I mean?

26:19 Oh yeah. It's crazy. Like again, I still think back to my coworker who's like, you should start a bakery. And I'm like, no way. You're crazy. I would never do that. And then, oh gosh, here I am. You know, I guess I'm starting a bakery so, oh boy.

26:35 So you talked kind of about, you know, getting these orders, wore a condom on trend things and you know, kind of helps keep you on. I mean, what are you seeing nowadays with weddings? And it could be other events too, but what are the things that people are really looking forward today? And is that, you know, when you think of that compared to, you know, the, the years that you've been doing this now?

26:56 Yeah, it's, it's interesting because I follow a lot of other bakers in the area as well. Like I admire their work a lot and the style that, and I think every Baker has their own style and every couple of who's getting married obviously has their style as well. And it's just a matter of finding, you know, those vendors who fit in that style that you're wanting. So for me, you know, personally cakes aren't my favorite thing to make. Um, they're scary. They stress me out every single time I do it and I'm just like, oh my God, what if something goes wrong? But, um, I like to stick to just simple buttercream style cakes. So a lot of my couples that I'm working with, you know, for weddings are in that kind of style. Um, and in this kind of style is just, you know, simple frosted buttercream or maybe they have like those horizontal lines, which are kind of called pleats.

27:51 Um, maybe they're kind of that, um, birch tree kind of look, I get a lot of like earthy kind of style requests, um, you know, simple flowers on it and things like that, you know, nothing crazy. Um, there's some really amazing bakers out there that do, you know, the sugar flowers, the gum paste flowers and stuff, and I just don't have the patience to do that kind of stuff. Or I think really like the finger dexterity to like kind of like pinch these little flowers and paint them. And I mean there's so many hours just making a flower. And I just, again, as a one woman operation here, like I don't have the bandwidth to do that kind of stuff. And they're working with a team and you know, they're prepping weeks in advance and stuff like that. So I think in terms of style, again, it's just based on the baker and everyone loves doing certain things.

28:38 And I, in my business, I only want to do the things that I love doing. You know, if I don't, if I'm not interested in the project, like I happily say like, hey, you know, I'm sorry, that's not what I do, but I know someone who can do it and you should reach out to, you know, this person or that person. Um, because I know they would do a better job for you. And I'm not afraid to turn down that business. Like, you know, you can't have a monopoly on just, you know, baking or videography or florists, you know, there's so many different vendors out there. Um, and I'm happy to, you know, collaborate with, with those vendors and kind of keep them in my back pocket, you know, for when those orders do come up. Like, you know, I don't do that, but this person does. So. Yeah.

29:19 That's awesome. I mean, you talked about, you know, your guys' wedding, uh, I think you said five years ago. What, what was that like? I know you said you Kinda did, uh, the desserts for it, not the cake, but what, what was that process like, just kind of going through that now and then how does that help you, you know, deal with brides and grooms nowadays? I always say that I'm a better wedding, better now kind of having gone through the process myself, not be, you can't, you know, be away they met or not, but I feel like I have a little bit more empathy for some of this stuff that people are going through.

29:48 Yeah, definitely. I mean, being married and understanding like the back end of planning is huge. Like I've, yes, I've been a bridesmaid in all my friend's weddings and stuff, but you know, and I gave my input and like, oh yeah, those flowers are pretty, or oh yeah, you should do that color, bridesmaid dress, you know, but you, you're not making the decisions really. So, um, doing your own wedding and understanding. I mean, I planned the whole thing down to the schedule. Like, I made my own timeline and everything and I did it in nine months. And that's like, you know, a lot of work. So I would say, you know, meeting with my couples now, I always, when I'm, you know, doing my tasting consultations, I always ask them for, you know, all the information, like what time does your ceremony start at what, what time do you get venue access at?

30:35 Um, are you working with a planner, you know, all these things. Get all those details. So then, you know, I know, okay we're coming up in July, you know, this is our hottest month typically. So I have a couple of weddings on the 27th this year. I know that day can be really hot and if a cake is sitting out, you know, I need to know if it's attempted or if it's going to be indoors, et cetera. And that also helps me to kind of consult what flavors they want. You know, cause it's like, well if you want a cream cheese cake, like that's going to melt in the sun. Like you have to keep that refrigerated. Do you have refrigerator space on site? Like all these little details. I can go into the cake. I did a wedding last Saturday that was up in Anacortes and it was very cool out, you know, maybe low seventies so the cake was under, you know, indoors, but it could stay out.

31:23 It wasn't going to just melt off the plate. So there's all kinds of logistical things like that as well as, okay if your ceremony starts at four 30 it's a 30 minute ceremony and then you have a cocktail hour and then you're going to eat. So you're not gonna cut cake until like seven or eight o'clock. So that cake has to sit out for four hours, you know, by the time I deliver it. Cause they're always like, what did I mean and deliver it. So I kind of, you know, aim for, okay if your ceremony starts at four guests arrive at three 30 I need to be there by three and then you're going to cut the cake at eight. So then I need to know like, okay, you know, based on these flavors that you picked, it might need to go in the refrigerator and you might have to have the caterer ticket out. Like all those things. There's so much that go into it. And I had one couple that I was talking with, they were like, wow, you really know your stuff. And it's like, yeah, it's interesting. Yeah, that's kind of, that's the timeline I had. So yeah, being married definitely is a benefit, but obviously, you know, there's plenty of event planners out there who aren't married that do a fantastic job with all this stuff, just through experience and whatnot too. So

32:24 it's so funny. Yeah. We had, we were getting ready at the hotel on Saturday and so the bride, we got there like right as a bride was coming back from getting her hair done and she was just going to put the dress on and like I, I'm helping them get stuff out of the car and they opened up the back of the van and like they just have the KT sitting back there. And I was like, wow. As it, you guys are so brave. If they said, yeah, I know we just, this is the only thing I wear to this driving rose line. I don't know. I'd have to look at whether Baker was that. I was like wow, that is taking a big leap of faith.

32:57 Yeah, driving, driving with cakes is really, really nerve wrecking. That's actually probably the worst part. Um, I think I would probably say the, the worst venue I've delivered to just in terms of like the road getting there is trinity tree farm is a aquatic like going up, it's like a gravel road with like switchbacks and potholes. I mean it is crazy. So that always makes me a little nervous. And I have a few weddings or this summer, but I love that venue. It's, it's beautiful. But you know, again, in those consultations I'm like, okay, we might need to rethink not doing a three tiered cake, you know, but maybe a two tier and a sheet cake or you know, whatever. But

33:36 no, and it was so funny because you're talking about timelines and we had, we were at lake wilderness a couple of weeks ago and it was, they had all of us booked for photo. Video were very short, so they wanted like, we, they were going to come in, you know, uh, tell us real quick and then they were going to cut the cake and then we were going to leave like at six and then they were going to, you know, they have the place to like town or whatever and, but they didn't anticipate that every family member of both sides, big African wedding, you know, all the, I think the toast video I delivered, the dad was like two hours in 10 minutes. Like it was really, really long. And so we're sitting there and like, you know, not only are we concerned about time and like, okay, we're, we haven't got to get going here cause we are, you know, we're contracted.

34:20 And whenever I look over in the corner and I just see the cake, like slowly like melting into the wall and I'm like, I pull the sister around. I'm like, we need the as like, I don't even care about us leaving right now. Like we need to cut this cake before it falls off the table. And so they, I can't, you know, she brought it over and they like how to prop it up with like Napkins and stuff so that could cause it. He just, I mean, he hit it sat out for, you know, three hours. It was 80 degrees outside. I mean, you know, what do you want to do? It's just not right to see. I remember I said we got to, regardless of anything else, this cake isn't going to make it longer than these toasts are going to go on.

34:57 Yeah. Last summer, um, again, and in July I had a wedding. It was a three tiered cake and I have deliver it to Redmond, um, the, the red barn farm, just kind of like a newer venue and um, you know, so this is a big cake, but thank God, I mean a naked sal cake, which is just a little frost, like a crumb coat on the cake. It's not a lot of frosting. So it's not like it's gonna melt off. But um, I delivered it and it was a three tiered so I had to set it up on site and they wanted it on, you know, like a wine barrel and it made me so nervous because it's like, okay, like this thing if it's, if it tips over or you know, and it's kind of like it's been in the refrigerator so there's like condensation on it.

35:37 It's, you know, coming up to room temp and stuff and I'm just like, oh my gosh. I went up to the planner. Um, I think it was Christina from, it's your day events and I was like, honey, you might need to cut that cake like right after the ceremony and just get the picture. Like keep an eye on it. Cause it was 90, it was over 90 degrees that day. I want to say it was like 95 degrees. That barn had no air conditioning, just some fans and you know, get, you know, then add the bodies in there. I was like, oh my gosh, this is going to be a nightmare. But like, keep an eye on it. If you need to cut it, like cut it asap and then like roll it in the back or whatever you got to do. But it withheld.

36:12 I texted her later and she was like, nope, it's all good. So whew, thank God, crisis of burden. But I was really, really nervous about that one. But, um, yeah, I've, I've heard horror stories with the cakes, like melting and stuff. And I mean, honestly that's, that's why I really suggest like hiring a professional or someone who knows really what they're doing because, um, yeah, there's so many horror stories about that. You have to use structure in the cake. You have to put straws in there and um, use it to support the cake. Because if the cake, you know, if you got a two tiered cake, I mean, those cakes weigh like 30 pounds. Plus like when you're carrying this, you have all that weight just like squishing down. It's just a matter of time before gravity just like oozes out all the, you know, once it comes up to room temp or more, it just, it'll uh, it'll just melt out.

36:59 So yeah, I would highly suggest hiring someone who knows somewhat what they're doing. And I did a wedding last fall where I did like, um, a cake table where I did a bunch of like smaller cakes in different flavors and it was really cool and it was one I was so excited when, um, the Gal, she told me what she, you know, her vision was and I was like, Oh my God, I've been wanting to do like a cake table with these little cakes. And Yeah. So I was really excited to work with them. And then they had, I think a friend, um, do like a three tiered cutting cake. And I get there and I'm setting up and she's kind of doing the finishing touches on this small three chair cake, but it is wobbling like crazy. And I was like, Oh, you know, just talking to her a little bit. And she said she worked in the bakery before, but I'm like, I don't think she's, she has any structure in this cake and it's making me really nervous, you know? But it's not my cake, so, oh, well, you know, but yeah,

37:53 yeah. I had to do, I did a tutorial, was it three or four years ago? Friend Bakery downtown and yeah, I had no idea, kind of all the stuff that went into that and you know, how put in the, you know, like you said, this support beam saw that stuff. I mean, I learned, yeah, it was just bad additional for me just to kind of learn all the different architecture that goes into that too. I had no idea.

38:13 Yeah. Who knew you had to be an architect and marketing and a business owner. All these things just make a little cake, you know? But uh, yeah. So

38:23 yeah, I suck. I just want to, I just want to bake. I don't want to deal with all this stuff. Right. So you said, you know, cakes more desserts. And I know that that's kind of the common nowadays is, you know, maybe other desserts, other things. Is that something need that obviously that you're seeing and that you work with and people doing besides just like when you would think of like the traditional k kind of like experimenting, like you know, the stuff that you had at the Clo Bryan event?

38:49 Yeah, dessert tables have definitely, um, have picked up in the last year, few years since I've gotten married. I did a dessert table for my wedding, so I did cookies, cupcakes, cake pops. And then actually we have, um, my husband's family has this little, um, the volt Rishi is, it's a Polish dessert and it's like, um, it looks like a little mini croissant. It has apricots filling. Anyway, so my mother-in-law made that, um, and it just, they're kind of, I would call them more like grazing tables now, you know, like people, those short coonery kind of tables and stuff where people can like nimble on things or kind of popular and, and same thing for desserts. I think they're really, really fun option for guests that are different because I know so many people are so burnt out of cake because they haven't had good cake because back in the day, you know, those gaudy cakes were built for structures.

39:41 So like their, their cakes are like a hundred percent flour instead of like a cake flour kind of ratio to make it lighter and fluffier. You know, they are, they are built to be built basically. And, um, you know, nowadays I think cake is kind of getting a bad, or it did get a bad rap, so people are kind of burned out on it. So they're looking for different options. But, um, I mean, I've always gotten compliments from my couples on the cakes that I've made, so that feels really good. You know, I'm like, yeah, my cake tastes good. You know, my buttercream is real butter cream. It's not the decorator frosting that you get from Costco, like, you know, so I think there's room for desserts, obviously. Yeah, they can be a little bit more expensive because again, the more you are offering the guests on where they're gonna want, so they're gonna want, you know, one cupcake in one cake pop or you know, instead of just having one slice of cake, like people kind of lose control a little bit.

40:31 So I would say like, you know, yes, if you're doing a dessert table, like plan on having at least, you know, two desserts per guest or you know, having, um, a good equal amount of everything and not like 6,000 cupcakes and two dozen cookies because their cookies are going to go really fast, you know, so having a good balance so that, you know, every guest gets a little something is really nice. Um, and I've also seen desserts, um, dessert tables incorporated in weddings that are kind of like, oh, hey, my aunt, you know, made whoopie pies. Like, it's a really big thing in my family. Like, can you make them for us? Like, it's kind of, if it makes it more special, right. Like that. Their family kind of has this like inside joke or favorite dessert that they want to incorporate. It just makes it more personal I think too.

41:16 And kind of fun. But um, yeah. And, and same thing kind of goes for cupcakes too. The burnout thing. Like, you know, cupcakes are great. Obviously if they're there, people are going to eat them. But I do social experiments when I do dessert tables. So like at the Seattle bride event, I was like, okay, what's leftover, you know, and what first. And I can, you know, ladies, we like to it, we're dainty eaters. We don't like to eat in front of other people, so we're going to go for the least messy thing first. You know, maybe like that Pretzel Chocolate covered Pretzel or um, you know, a cookie is easy to eat, but the last thing we're going to eat is a slice of cake or a cupcake because there's too much for all saying. We gotta like you gotta open your mouth really big and it's just, it's embarrassing to eat. So you don't want to eat that in front of other people. You know, I don't know. Have you seen that?

42:01 It is so funny. Yeah. Now my, yeah, during the we'd definitely be the same way and it would be a way out where there's the least, I'm gonna make a mess on myself or making, you know, Megan embarrassing. So

42:11 right. Like, yeah, you have to shove, especially mini cupcakes. It's like, do I go for the whole thing or do I take three bites? You know, like my husband just like slams it and I eat it in like three or four bites, you know, like so

42:24 and so we had that in September. We had one of those, it was like a, it was like a Chinese way, but they have like a bunch of different desserts. Like it was all like, um, like a bunch of different colors and somebody was like, they probably had like 27 different things like on the table email, like a bunch of, I don't even know what the hell they were like, they were like pacing. Do you know what I'm talking about? Like, have you seen anything like that?

42:49 Um, I don't think I have.

42:53 Well is they, it was basically, it was like a dessert table but then a lot bigger and a lot smaller and they had, people were going up like the apocalypse was coming and they would put, they have about three plates full. A lot. My keeping now for, I said, oh is that just for you though? That's for our table. Okay. Go back and there'd be like two people sitting at the table. You're your, I don't really know about this than the other mouse working out on that one.

43:15 Right. I know. And I always end kind of like against the, the caterers like putting plates on the table for that exact reason because it's like if we've only allotted like two desserts per person and you put plates out, people are just going to pile up and take it and then it's not going to get eaten. You know it's going to get left. Cause then people start dancing and kind of forget about the desserts and stuff. So, um, I think it's better if people just have like Napkins and kind of grays a little bit more and you're like, oh, let me just grab a cookie and a pretzel stick and then I'll come back for a cupcake later. You know, things like that. Otherwise, yeah, people will just go nuts and think it's like a buffet who likes with the food buffet line, unless you, I mean, you could get water for that, that's fine. But, uh, just before Warren, you know that they're going to go pretty quickly.

44:01 Yeah. I remember when did the first, uh, you know, when, when I was starting now I'm, I still don't do you like a ton of walkthroughs, but I went and did, um, we were doing the wedding that say it was Safeco field and I felt like, okay, I need to go like kind of do a walk through here. And I remember, uh, they were talking and they were trying to figure out like, where the desert was going. Like, I shouldn't really need to do a, been there for like all this, these kinds of decisions. And they were trying to figure out like, okay, we're, where are we going to put the cake, where are we going to cut? You know, cause they had, they got married on Pi Day so they had like pie, you know, all sorts of little mini pies and desserts and stuff.

44:34 And I remember them saying like, well you know, if we put them out too early the guests are going to see him, am I, you can't, they won't be able to help themselves. Like people just see food and they go for it. And I remember sitting there thinking like, that's insane to me that you, that they're, I mean they were really worried about it, but now having obviously done weddings for six years and people can't, there is no control them all. But if they see it, it doesn't matter if the couple is even at the venue yet, if he'd even gotten married, if they've cut the cake, like if people see desserts, like they just kind of go for it.

45:05 Oh yeah, totally. Actually that kind of happened at my wedding. You were kind of like snacking on them and stuff like that. People were pretty good. But um, that's funny that you bring that up because recently when I was doing a consultation this year, I had a couple of bring up that exact thing. Like we don't want people eating the desserts before it's time. And it was something that I was kind of thinking in the back of my mind as well. Like, I should create a sign for like a nice, you know, neutral sign to put on the dessert tables. And I did. And, um, I've been using it now for a couple of weddings and it was, um, a good choice on, on my part. It was a good, uh, $10 investment or whatever, you know, to um, have it designed and it says, please don't partake until the newlyweds cut the cake and it, Ryan's is cute and stuff, you know, so people like get it like, dude, no touchy, no touchy, touchy, like do not dive into the desserts.

46:00 And then, um, I did a wedding in May that it was a dessert table and it was that really hot weekend that we had where it was like 80 degrees all of a sudden. And um, again, all this stuff had to be refrigerated cause they had mini cheesecakes and those will be pies. And I was telling the event planner, I was like, honey, I'm sorry I can't put any of this stuff out. It's just gonna melt, you know, by set up all the stands. She's like, it's okay, I'll put it out. And then literally she said as soon as they cut the cake and she took that sign down, it was like the apocalypse zombies, like we're are like going on the day crazy on the desserts and stuff. Um, so yeah. And then, uh, two weekends ago our friends got married out in Leavenworth and I did the small cutting cake and cupcakes and I forgot to bring that sign because we had the Seattle bride event.

46:48 So I had all my stands, like already packed and stuff. And I had taken that sign out of my box and I forgot to put it back in and we get there and I was like, oh crap, I totally forgot that sign, you know? But luckily I was there and people knew that I had made the desserts and stuff. So like, Kayla, can we eat it? I was like, no, don't you dare not even want. No, because as soon as you have one, everyone's going to have one like, fine. Okay. So I was like, I was like practically like guarding the dessert table. Like, no, get away from there. Like a little ring, little ring bearer and flower girl. You back away.

47:20 Yeah. Yeah. It only takes one. It only takes Alonda and then it's a, it's a slippery slope. It's all over. Yeah. Oh my gosh. Ah, we're Kinda, why, why did he down here, uh, before I let you go, what, what do you wish more people knew about, you know, you and, and uh, it could be personally or it could be kind of what you offer, but what do you wish that, that more people knew or asked about?

47:43 Oh Gosh, that's a good question. Um, stuff. Yeah, sorry. Oh Man.

47:50 I think,

47:52 you know, just kind of everything we talked about here today, you know, like kind of my humble beginnings, like I'm not like a professional baker. Like everything I do, it comes from love and I put a lot of love into my product and if I don't like it, like I'm not going to serve it. If I'm not happy with it, I'm not going to, you know, you know, give it to a customer or, or whatnot. So, and I think that's really important as well as, you know, communication.

48:17 Um,

48:17 I'm really responsive. I'm really communicative and um, I know my customers really appreciate that, so, yeah.

48:26 Yeah.

48:27 Awesome. Well this has been great. I, it's been so great. I'm so glad we got to connect to the event and I'm so glad that you got to come on today. And like I said, you know, with your website and presentation and having the video and you're checking a lot of boxes and I just think it's great. We talk with so many people on here that, that, you know, obviously everyone struggles with things, but I think a lot of things that people are constantly trying to work on, I think that you have a good handle on and I think it's good to kind of get your insights and especially someone with the background that you have. And uh, I just really appreciate you taking the time to, you know, come on and share your story and, and be a part of the podcast.

49:03 Yeah. Thank you so much for having me again. And Yeah, I'm glad we connected and, and stuff too. And everyone stay tuned for when I opened this bakery I think maybe in September, so we're going to do like a big grand opening and stuff. So

49:14 yeah, people, and I was going to, if people want to learn more about you and your company a, where would you have them check out, you know, your website and then plug in any kind of social media or anything that you need.

49:24 Yeah, definitely. So Instagram is always a great way to see like my latest work and stuff. And I'm starting to get better at posting videos on there. Me like making stuff, but that's @Seatownsweets, Sea town like Seattle. And then same thing with Instagram, @Seatownsweets and then www.seatownsweets.com.

49:40 Okay, perfect. Well, thank you so much again, this has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro®. If you are interested in coming on the podcast in the future, if you are a wedding vendor, you can go to www.bestmadevideos.com/podcastguest. There's a nice questionnaire that you can fill out if unlike Kayla here, we haven't, you know, connected previously and you're interested in coming on and that will be a good way to kind of get the ball rolling and about coming on and taking part in the podcast. Thanks again for listening. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much.

Jessica Burnett, Seven of Hearts 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 a a long time friend. I was trying to figure out, I think we first met at a like a, an event. It wasn't even a wedding and I think it was like a car show or um, I know we did the one that like Under the Sea Atlantis or something or other. I think that was you, uh, downtown. But anyway, it's Jessica with Seven of Hearts Photography. I want to thank you so much for coming on today and that, why don't you introduce yourself, tell us who you are and what you do.

00:43 I am Jessica, obviously Seven of Hearts Photography, a wedding photographer, a boudoir photographer, um, anything but small children cause they don't listen. I've been doing this for about 10 years. The first five years I was absolutely horrible because I'm self taught. I wouldn't have hired me in a million years, but that has definitely changed. Um, I got my, my big thing of seven of hearts. I took my grandparents' brand for their cattle. I didn't want to start a farm, so I decided to use it for photography instead. It's a lot less dirty. Um, but yeah, I like what I do.

01:17 Yeah. And your based north, right? You have a studio in, in Everett?

01:21 I do. I have a fantastic studio in Everett. It's currently shared with another business that I was running, but in October I take it over and it becomes all photos, all photography.

01:30 Perfect. And so kind of, I know that we've met and talked and we, you know, we've worked together and weddings and stuff. Um, talking about like you really do do kind of the gamut of apply that, like you said, you know, and you think it's about small children, but like talk about kind of why you do the things that you do, why you enjoy taking fun on us and making our like that.

01:50 Um, I like to be able to show the world and people in general how I see them. I was explaining food war to my 10 year old daughter, which was a little awkward cause she was getting embarrassed looking at the photos and I had to sit her down and be like, no, that's, this isn't anything dirty. This isn't anything to be embarrassed of. It's just sometimes we forget to see ourselves the way the world sees us and then to see ourselves in that light. So my job is to show you, um, how I see you, how the world should see you and how you should see yourself, which is obviously gorgeous. Um, but yeah, uh, weddings are easy, but food bars more fun.

02:25 Yeah, exactly. I mean it does seem like it's kind of this thing in the last, and, and I mean, I know I was not really in this world until, you know, I kind of started Best Made Videos® to like, Yo talk about Gurudwara and the media. Is it kind of becoming, you know, I see a lot of like grooms get in, I'm like their wedding, they guests like talk about the context of that and why people would choose to do something like that.

02:45 Um, well even today, I ha like later today I have a bridal boudoir session. But honestly, most of the, the women that I'm working with are choosing to do this for themselves. They pick it up and they are like, you know what I'm having, I'm having a bad month, I'm going to go take my clothes off for the camera. But they come in super nervous and they leave and they feel fantastic. And I, I'll say about 50% of my current clients are repeat so that they come in quarterly and do a shoot and they just, it's a confidence building thing. Um, a lot of brides do come in, so I have quite a few bridal options for outfits in studio. But uh, yeah, no, it's mostly about themselves in a confidence boost.

03:24 Yeah. Do you find that people are really shy when they come in or nervous the first time and how you kind of worked through that?

03:30 They're always really nervous. It's kind of weird to be like, Hey, let me put on some lingerie for a camera. But it's super easy for me cause I'm, I'm definitely a little bit weird myself. So if you just talk to them like they're normal people and treat them like they have their clothes on, it's a little bit easier. Um, but it's mostly just about being social and talking them through it.

03:52 Yeah. It's funny. I mean some of the funniest moments we we've had at weddings I remember is like, you know, the groom kind of getting that book and whether it's the first look or while, you know, maybe she's still getting ready and um, you know, he'll look and it's always stuff I need to kind of see their reactions and like they don't to turn it away and as soon as it's just there, it's like they want to hide it, you know? Cause you know, it's cool to think like, okay, here you're getting married to this beautiful woman. And she took the time to do that. And I think it's really neat.

04:20 Yeah. A lot of, a lot of clients will give it to somebody, they'll share it. Um, couple of them are like, Instagram, it's all over Instagram. I'm like, that is not somewhere my dad would be happy me putting photos but like get it girls get it. Um, no, the grooms definitely get excited as some don't want you to share it, which is fine. So I'll say about 90% of my clients, I don't, I don't share their images. So my portfolio, I have to have models come in from my portfolio. Yeah.

04:49 Does this really, you know, a really personal thing, right? I mean it is, it's, you know, I feel bad enough kind of bombarding certain couples with like taking them and like wedding photos or, you know, cause they were like, you know, you're, I'm sure they're like, okay, we get it read. Like we're kind of done with this business. Another thing when it's kind of this intimate moment. Right. And you don't necessarily want to like share with everybody.

05:08 Yeah. Most Times the times I don't, yeah. Able to share it. And then I have my clients that come in are my bread, so I'll go work their wedding later. So I'm like, we've already got a great bond when we start their wedding as well. Um, but I there even then they're like, yeah, you can share the wedding photos, but definitely not those. And it's, it's a respect thing too.

05:26 So kinda how did you, you talked about being self taught and how did you kind of get them photography and kind of walk me through kind of the origin story.

05:34 Um, I had a kid at the time, I was married, my husband told me he was taking her to the studio too much and that was probably true, which is versus that I was taking her to like full Walmart photo studio, which if I look back now and I just want to shun my younger self and be like, what were you thinking? Um, my ex bought me a camera and I think within a week I had sold that camera and upgraded to a new one. And then three months later I was like, yeah, no, I like this. This is way better than being a billing specialist. I don't, I still have to deal with numbers, but in a completely different sense. And then it just, for the first five years I worked everything and anything I could get my hands I ever worked at and I was terrible. I don't understand the camera at all. And then I think one day it just clicked. And so I've been doing this, my daughter's 10 years old now, so I've been doing it for about 10 years.

06:23 That was crazy. So yeah. So you kind of started off needing someone to take better photos of your daughter, right?

06:28 Yeah, I did. I was like, I just, she was so cute and I had that like mom hormone where I think she's super cute, but babies are, oh, she was so funny looking. She grew out of it though. She's adorable now. Yeah.

06:42 So is that where you, have you always kinda been something and someone that kind of dive in and do things like that? I mean it seems like that's to go from just buying a camera, you know, this whole spiral downward.

06:52 For the longest time I still worked as a billing specialist. So I ran like, I worked a full time job, I was a mom and I ran a business on the side and it was exhausting, completely exhausting. And then there was one day where I was like, I just don't want, I want to do this anymore. I don't want to sit in the desk. So I dropped it and jumped into it, which I think was terrifying if I remember. Cause even just opening a studio was terrifying, but you don't know until you do it.

07:18 Yeah, I was, you know, talk to me a little about that. When they kind of make that leap and like the fear, was there like a confidence in that or were you, did you may have a fallback plan or what? What was kind of the mindset?

07:30 Thank you. Younger me was like Gung Ho about everything. And I think the older I get, the more paranoid I get. I think there's just so much more writing on it. Um, I decided to jump in because it was either I'm gonna continue only shooting weddings if I, and I don't want to only shoot weddings, I want to shoot both, I want to do the good water as well. And I was like, if I don't do this then I'll be stuck in this mode forever. So I just, you have to jump and it's okay to be afraid. It's okay to be scared of everything that's going on. But I also have an extremely fantastic network of friends and family and they are always rallying behind me. So

08:08 did you kind of grow up artsy, they kind of get into this or what was your passions kind of growing up? Did that kind of lead you down this road?

08:15 I have always, I think I didn't get any of like the linear thinking at all. I am all art. I'm all like wavy lines as far as like thinking process goes. I have, I did photography and I was like 10 years old for my little brother. He wrestled. And so he had to travel all the time and my parents were trying to shut me up, which was nearly impossible. So they gave me a camera and they're like, go take pictures. Like just get away from us. But that's back in the day of film and I just like lost like wasted so many rolls of film. It was incredible. Um, 7 million dog photos later. I ended up not doing that. I've painted, I draw, I'll do any sort of art you want. Like I have a craft room, I, so I need all my daughter's clothes when she was younger. So yeah, definitely like a little bit of an nerd when it comes to art stuff. And then

09:05 I see, are you, you said you were doing billing specialists and kind of more kind of office jobs, right? So was that, you know, difficult to feel like you were more maybe cooped up or when you want it to kind of be more expressive or what was that Kinda like?

09:18 It was, I, so I worked for five years as a billing specialist and it was the worst experience ever. I would make phone calls and let people know that the company had messed up and that they owed us like $6,000 back bill, blah, blah, blah. And it was, they would just yell at me all day long. Um, and beyond that it was working on numbers and I like numbers, they're fine and they make sense. But it was a union job. So I was done by 10:00 AM, I was like eight 30 to 10:00 AM I completed all my tasks for the day. So while working there, I joined every committee possible. I started like all of the volunteer outreach programs that they have, which are still going today and it's been like six years. So I was anything like birthday committees, decorating, whatever I could do to not be at my desk. So yeah, no desk is not from it yet. I'm at a desk all the time now, but it's different.

10:07 Yeah, right. I mean I'm, yeah, I'm on the computer all the time, but yeah, it does feel different when it's something that you're more, you know, connected to what you're passionate about. Right.

10:15 It's completely different than sitting there and dealing something, something and having somebody tell me what to do instead. I have a really demanding boss and that boss is me. So

10:26 did you, did you have any, uh, what did you think, you know, when you were going to start the business, did you think like it was going to be easier or did you think certain things were going to be, you know, well easier than they were where you, you know, certain challenges or what, what were kind of your thoughts entering into doing photography?

10:44 I think younger, I was very much like super optimistic. It was going to be all super easy at anyone. Think about the fact that like I had to get a business license and pay taxes and actually learn how to file my taxes. Um, the business side of it isn't exactly what I want to be doing, but it allows me to do the art side of it. Um, even now I still don't like the business side of it. I just want to go take pictures for free. But that's, that's not how you eat. So yeah, it's different.

11:15 Well, are there things that you feel like you used to really struggle with and now you're better at?

11:19 Uh, lighting in general? Uh, calling clients. I used to cause I was on the phone before. I used to just hate the phone. Um, I can call my clients now and not have a problem scheduling meetings. Basically anything that actually has to do with like the business side of it, which is what I went to school for. It makes no sense that I'm like afraid of the business side of it and yet that's, I'm actually pretty think good at it when it comes down to it. Um, that like taxes scared me for the longest time I had somebody else do it. Now I'm doing my own taxes. So it's just a couple of buttons. If take the time to learn at you, you'll figure it out.

11:56 Now see, that still scares me. That's the one thing that I never, I had a higher number you guys. Just a quick side note that I had, I think it was like the third quarter or something that was getting me to do and I made the mistake of having just one credit card and then thinking that I would split everything and got to pull this business. And then you know, when you start a business, like you should just have like a business credit cards from the first second. And so it came time to file on and I like opened up my quickbooks and I hadn't like categorize anything for like, you know, nine months and I was like, Holy God, like what is going on? And so luckily I just gone to, um, I have a west Seattle Chamber meeting and so I looked at by me on the, I like an accountant. Am I the West Seattle? It's cheaper. It's like called out. This is like this Guy Brad answering. I was like, Brad, I need you.

12:38 Well for me. So that's good.

12:41 Maybe you're better off about that. I have,

12:43 yeah. My mom was an accountant so I should've figured some of that out. But yeah, I still thought I was just like absorb them, her energy and her, her knowledge. But now I was like, hey mom, will you do my taxes? She's like, no. It's like Dang it.

12:57 So when you said you kind of went to school for business, so where did you study?

13:01 I'm a business admin. I thought I was going to take a completely different path in life than I actually ended up taking, picking up a camera, changed everything and all for the better.

13:12 What was your goal? Your original goal?

13:14 I am, I'm not sure what my original goal was long term, but I know that I wanted to go like work as a buyer somewhere and uh, like just work like, so like a clothing buyer for like, uh, my, my aunt had done that and I had loved the fact that she constantly got to travel and so I was gonna I was going to go do that and then I realized how often she isn't home so, and I wanted, I wanted to be home, the whole kid thing and then camera just changes everything.

13:42 Did you kind of weigh the, in your, uh, when you got into weddings and things like that, had you had a lot of experience in the past? Like I knew nothing about, well I got him to guy that even attended the wedding when I shot my first wedding. And like what was that like kind of getting into that world?

13:57 Um, I shot a bunch of backyard weddings to start, but I had no idea what was going on at a wedding. I was like, send me a schedule if you have it. And still to this day, 50% of my brides are my grandmas. They, they had like a basic idea of what their schedule is, but they really don't. They don't know. Now if I was to like plan a wedding, I could plan it out 100%. Perfect. So I offer my clients, like if they are having troubles with that, with a couple preset schedules that I have just on hand because it's easier when they do have a schedule. But when I first started I was like, ah, I'm just going to take pictures, have a good day. You figure it out.

14:33 Yeah. Cause it does seem like nowadays I feel like we're relied on, you know, if the planner or if there isn't a plan in there, it's like you're relying on a lot to kind of figure out what's going on. So,

14:43 oh yeah. They'll constantly ask me what's next? And I was like, it's your wedding. I don't know. So I know you figure it out though. I feel like half the time I am a planner.

14:53 So where were you like kind of used to being in that world and kind of ideally with all that stuff? For me and I know that like there's just a lot of like, um, I guess internal knowledge that people have in the industry. Like I didn't know kind of anything in here. And then you're like, I looked back now and I think like, I didn't even know like when it first look when I was like, I didn't know what I was like, oh I guess I shoot to shoot some of these like portraits or like the ice has kind of fallen around the photographer. Like, I didn't know

15:20 I googled a lot. So I, if I don't know something, I'm going to, I'm going to Google everything and I'm gonna try to figure out the little, the little nuances and the details. Um, I had no idea what a first look was. I didn't do that. I'd been married once, but I didn't know, like we didn't, we didn't do anything and I relied on my photographer, um, in the way that I shouldn't have totally am guilty. Um, no, I, I had no idea what was going on. I had a second shot a couple times as well, which ended up helping out a lot and I still second shoot. So if I see a photographer, his work that I absolutely love, that's like on a different level than I am, or they shoot with a shoot a different way than I do, I'll go second shoot for them. If I can, I'll, I'll look them up and see if they're in the area and if I can a second sheet of wedding just to see how they work.

16:02 Uh, yeah. I mean, what do you, what do you find that you're constantly refining? This is their processes. Is it, I mean obviously you have technical skills down. Is it trying new things? Is it, what do you, what do you find your, you're working on now?

16:14 Workflow is always my workflow. How can I be more efficient? How can I get things done faster and how can I get my clients their images quicker?

16:23 Do you find that it's the case people why it's like Wah want or

16:27 they, well, do you find that like certain, like certain clients are like, oh, don't worry about it, no time rash. But they are really appreciative when they get them within like, or I want to get a wedding done with no, no longer than two weeks as far as turnaround time, uh, and trying to get that done when you have five or six of them is a little bit difficult. So just trying to figure it out.

16:49 What do you think, you know, you've been doing this a long time now. I mean 10 years, you know, I, you said you were kind of learning, but you know, kind of in the industry, what do you think is kind of the biggest shifts that you've seen in terms of photography in 10 years? Is it, I know that there's like a lot of styles nowadays that are really like pervasive or you know, the way that people work or chart, I mean, you can take your kind of any direction you want, but where do you think is kind of the biggest change that you've seen? You know, a decade in an industry has a long time to kind of witness change.

17:16 Um, mostly cell phones, the way cell phones are able to take pictures now. People are like data. They think that the cell phone can do it then that that's all they need. That's all they need to do that. And people getting in my way when I'm trying to take a picture. You'll have family members that, because they want them right now, they want it now and they have the access to it to be able to get it right now. Family members. I had, um, wedding on Friday, an gentlemen literally wrapped his camera phone on my head. Like I could feel his camera on my head. I was like, and I was like, what are you doing? But he's so old that I was like, okay, well I guess I'm your balance today. You just got to go with the flow. That and the programs we have to like manage, manage things, how to deliver a product, how to, you know, you can I go through ShootProof. So You, I upload my images and as a client wants to buy images, they add to their cart and it goes immediately to the lab and it's mailed to them. Like I don't have to be hands on about any of it. It's all online.

18:14 Yeah. What you're talking about with you normally like family staffs and you know, people kind of get in the way. Like I usually try to kind of not let that bother me, you know, usually. But like we just had a waiting on Saturday and it was like the same kind of thing. Like we tried a couple of first dances or like, uh, you know, it could be father, daughter, you know, whatever, those groupings of dances the last couple of times. And there's been people that, you know, like we're all filming one way, right? Like photo video or like, or like, you know, a couple like, alright, we're filming this direction towards like the pretty stuff. And then there'll be someone that comes up behind and is shooting against like all of us. And it's always just like frustrating because, you know, I, they wanted to come around and like be part of the like, you know, whatever or the other. But it's like you are now in like everybody shot, you know, like my shot and the photo and like, so that is, that's frustrating for me. I mean, I try not to really, you know, during the ceremony and stuff and people on a complaint and I'm Kinda like whatever. And it's 20, 19. But that to me is when you're now like in that moment with everybody, which is different than just somebody taking photos, like alongside you. Right?

19:24 Yeah. I'm usually, I'll add it, there'll be times where I'll ask them to move or I'll ask, um, I that can be pretty bold about things. Um, I'll ask a bridesmaid or somebody who's next to me that maybe knows them to be like, Hey, can you call move them. Um, and if they don't want to move or if they want to give me Sass and attitude, I'm just like, well, they're your photos, not mine. So I get ballsy.

19:46 I was trying to wait. Yeah. Like I was trying to way of tasks, like I think it was the father, daughter, mother son, and I was like tried to wave pass. But then I'm like, okay, now I'm like distracting them. Like I'm not trying to like ruin them.

19:57 We're like, Hey, can you, can you, I'm like, you gotta go, you gotta go take yourself and move. It's like trying to shoot at a public beach and like, all right, well let me bring the biggest reflector I can to get people out of my way. The Newcastle

20:10 like two weeks ago and we were going to go up on, we just wanted to do like two really quick shots with the bridesmaid sandy in there and like these guys were sitting there and like I kind of like walked over and I was like, Hey, I said, are you guys like, are you just sitting here? Are you like picnicking? Cause if you're like pick the Camden that I get that that's a lot harder. They're like move, yeah we got a blanket in the physical bike. But if you're just sitting on the grass with a beer like could you, could you move five feet over for a minute? And like they were so rude about it and I was really kind of like taken aback that I didn't, I said I felt like I cognitively went up. It was like trying to figure out like what's going on and I'm like how much work would it actually them to move? And like it was very minimal effort just to like slide over, you know,

20:51 it's the entitlement now. Like there's like a, I'm here first. I got it. And I'm like, it's a photo. Just move three sec. I don't need it for more than like 20 minutes Max. If I'm shooting at like a whole, a whole shoot. But if it's like five minutes, like Kerry park, like I'll roll in there and just ask you politely to move. And they're like, mm, I'll put my scary face on mom. Voice me if I have to.

21:12 I remember one of the weddings we shot is Scott and Aaron and like we were sitting during the bookie meeting and they were like, where's and this was still like, I hadn't, I haven't, no, this is a couple of years ago, you know, I was still kind of newer and you know, really nervous talking with clients and they're like, hey, so, um, how, how forceful do you think you are, you know, with, with guests because you know, cause you are on your booked with them. And they were like, is it Jessica says that you're really, um, forceful, um, or could, you know, could be tactfully forceful when, and I'm sitting there in my head like, what the Hell did Jessica tell him? And I was like, well I still, I guess cause that's really what we want. We really,

21:53 you're super polite about things though. You're so nice. And I'm like, hey out of the way. And you're like, could you please move? And I'm like, no out now. But I've got you. You're, you're usually on point with being polite and they'll listen to you. But I dunno, I'm just mean about it. I don't have time for you.

22:12 Well it doesn't matter. The thing is people don't get, when we got like, you know, 15 minutes to get stuff done, then you know, you kind of got to go,

22:18 I've got 15 minutes to get all of your couples photos done. Like hustle, move it. So you know, you sometimes, sometimes I think it's a challenge to be super polite, but at the same time make sure you get what you want out of it.

22:32 Well exactly. And you don't want to like, you know, made this situation uncomfortable or like have come across like a, I don't know, like,

22:39 like, like a main part that I always do it with a smile on my face, which is why I think I get away with everything. It's cause I just smile through it. I'm like, Hey Moo.

22:49 The worst one I ever had was we were shooting a wedding and uh, I went over it to shoot the, um, like the, the Arbor or whenever and the DJ was kind of like off in the corner and I was like, uh, like can you, and I know as a DJ I had this thought it was like a franchise. The guy, excuse me, like, can you get out of the way please? And he like turns around and he's like, oh, like your assistant just told me that I can be here and that it was fine. And I was like, and he like turns me sick. Yeah. Read could be such an ass. And I'm like, [inaudible] like, like I said, then I like, I learned that because he had even asked, like, he had asked my assistant, I said, I was like, oh yeah, that's fine. You and I run over like a big bulldog. And I was like, oh, I need like check my a check my focus here. How do you, how do you kind of keep things fresh nowadays and how do you kind of stay excited? And I know we talked with a lot of photographers, you know, it's like, same thing we going out to weekend and you know, obviously like new couples and you've been using stuff, like how do you stay excited? And

23:46 um, usually now I'm like, I get excited over, I'll have like a, a mix of things. So I don't, it's not just weddings. If I did only weddings, I think I would get tired very quickly. But I do like at least one wedding a weekend. And then I also do like, I have a good water client coming in today. Um, but the mix of things to edit keeps my, like ADHD at bay. So I have to like constantly have something new that, and I've just started food photography. Food doesn't blink, it doesn't talk back. I just get really hungry when I edit. So I'll just go down different avenues if I'm like, Eh, I'm going to go get excited about food. So food and drink is easy to get excited about.

24:22 Are there a lot of, and I think we've talked about this in the past, maybe we just kind of, you know, BSN, but is there a challenge? I mean, I know that there's like totally different worlds, right? Slightly. There are obviously challenges that come in with that and like whether some things that maybe people don't think about like doing food, like, I don't know anything about food photography,

24:39 a light, it needs to like your best shot in the morning. I'm not a morning person, but I definitely got up in the morning for Pasta, like Pasta for breakfast, send me up. No, but yeah, I love it. It's, it's mostly about lighting. And then, um, just so I actually shoot the actual food. I'm not gonna shoot the fake food. I'm not going to make you use like Elmers glue for milk or anything, but we'll shoot the actual fit and then, but people don't understand is that it's going to take me more than like one or two clicks to get the photo just right. So it's gonna and if and if you bring it out and it doesn't look pretty, it's still not gonna look pretty on camera.

25:16 Yeah, I'm sure there's like all like misconceptions with that.

25:18 Yeah. I'm not a magician, I mean a cookie.

25:27 But I mean you do really kind of switch it up. I mean even on your site where like the corporate email, I mean there's not a lot of photographers I talked to you that like really defined like a bunch of different niches that they kind of do. Right. And in a lot of the people I know are like portrait or Ike and that includes weddings, right? Like people are where they are. But like target, you know, diversifying. Is that just to kind of keep your mind fresh or you know, like obviously even doing like corporate stuff, like you know, the events that we met out, like more lifestyle stuff.

25:56 I kept, mostly it's if I want to go do something or see something, it's photography has taken me there and met a lot of people through a lot of different worlds. Uh, during my slow season, which is usually wintertime I'll do trades with other professionals, which is fantastic because I met a tattoo artist and I get tattoos and trade. Um, but, and it's a different, like I'll shoot his work too. So like I'll go in and I'm going into the Tattoo Expo to shoot his work and then I'll come back and like I'll get a tattoo out of it and he's awesome. So it's, it's that keeps me, my mind active though as I'm like, what do you do? What is your art? I want to learn about what you're doing over here because I get bored quickly. I already know what I'm doing. But yeah, I did get a ticket like I have, I think I have three tattoos from him. So it was awesome.

26:42 Do you, it kind of as this like, like I would say you're on, you're pretty like outgoing, creative person. I do enjoy like making those connections with people and kind of like seeing that other people's minds tick.

26:52 I love it. It's so much fun to see how somebody else thinks and if they're like, like what's their sense of humor and how, like why do you do what you do? What are your little nuances? Um, I've connected, I'm build my clientele basically through that connection cause you build an interpersonal connection with somebody when you're doing a trade with them. And so I build that and now they're referring me and I'm referring them. And so I've got this little network of like super awesome people. Um, and I get like fun things out of it too.

27:22 How do you, how do you balance kind of work life, uh, or own work life balance? How do you kind of manage that and obviously with a little one and how do you kind of keep everything in order in that way?

27:33 Take off her grandparents, but I didn't know my mom this wouldn't work. Um, I uh, she's with my mom, my parents all the time and it's, I'm like, okay, you guys are here, you guys are home. They're close by. Um, that her dad is pretty active in it. But beyond that it's like I'm, I'm like, Hey, you want to watch a movie? And she's like, okay, are we watching a movie or are you working while we watch a movie? And I'm like, Mommy's totally gonna work while you watch a movie, but I'll be next to you. So she's getting smart to it now. She's like, so I, um, I have, she's 10 now and she's a little bit of a nerd. She's artistic and Nerdy, so I'm like, all right, here's an old laptop, sit down and learn Photoshop. By the time she's 15, she's going to be working for me.

28:20 You kind of already expressing, right? Like kind of interests and stuff. Like, what kinds of things is she interested in?

28:26 Um, she doesn't ever want to be in front of the camera anymore. She just wants to take the camera and go take pictures. And I was like, but if you're going to go take the camera and take pictures, you need to learn how to do it right. But then she's also like a 10 year old, so she's spazzy well that doesn't really work out. And I was like, okay, well then here's a, you know, here's Photoshop, here's certain things you can do in her, like 10 year olds. Attention span is like a quality six minutes here or there unless they're on their phone. So she got interested in it. I just need to get her to the point where focusing can last for more than like three minutes unless it's a video game.

28:58 Is that an age thing or is that the 2019 thing

29:01 as a 20 1910 year old? Um, I think it's also an age thing too. I think that like, if you're, like, I've always been spazzy so she's pro, she's a mini me. She's definitely gonna be just spazzy in general, but if she finds something she's super interested in, she'll dive into it. Um, full on. I've seen her do it before, so I just need to like spark that interest and maybe maybe photos and learning all of these technical terms isn't exactly a 10 year olds interest level. Ah,

29:28 but I mean it seems like you know, a lot of, you know, your work kind of bleeds in and it's kind of this whole, I mean I just think it's interesting with like kids and like, well I know a lot of vendors have kids and families and stuff like them of growing up in, you know, we have had them photographers for their kids now help run photo booths or help them run, you know, do just, you know, small jobs help them. Well, you know, whatever. I mean, but there's it. But is it, I think it's really neat to Kinda, it's a different way to bring kids and family and stuff. Kind of like up into a business. Even if it's just kind of trying to give them different interests, like inspire them.

30:02 Oh, I make her come in here and clean all the time in the studio. Let's be real. I was like, you're going to earn your Keith Kiddo. Um, so I definitely, I'm like, you can come in. But then she also like, she'll sit down and I have a TV in here so that the kids can watch Netflix if we're doing stuff. Or like even little kids. Like I'm like, okay, we'll put on like what does that Shark Song? And then they, if I'm doing a family session, I'll get their photos down and bribed them with like some doodoodoo shark thing. So I don't even know. Weird things. Just, yeah.

30:35 Dire about your fos food. You do like family and stuff too. And babies and, and you know, obviously being a mom and he talked about just kind of how you approach that and kind of try and make that your own.

30:47 Um, usually, well with the studio now it's easier. So it's low season. I'm like, all right, there's not a lot of weddings happening in the wintertime. It's cold on summer is crazy busy. So my downtime in the winter, I'll set up a portrait sessions and stuff for families and it's, it's super easy and super relaxed. Um, but in order to make it my own, I think it's more of like, this is my, I can set my own backdrops up now, my own like set up and I don't use actual backdrop. So it's always like props and different things like that. What am I going to bring in to do it for Easter, I brought in a live bunny and we did live bunny photos. It was the funnest thing ever because I got to pet a bunny. I was super excited about this nine pound bunny. Um, but it was even a funner to watch like a two year old sit in a wagon with this bunny that was just like, yeah, you got carrots blossom and it was still fun.

31:40 Uh, and then for weddings, you know, what kinds of couples are, do you find that you want to work with you? They are excited. Where work easy that you're inspired by. What kinds of couples do you feel like you meld with the best?

31:52 I'm usually like humorous, like I gotta have a sense of humor. They gotta be upbeat and they're usually more like fun. Like the whole reason they, if they're going to book with me. It's because of my attitude. And I've been working with, um, lately a lot of people from out of the country. So like I have a wedding that's uh, I just had a wedding. I have like a German girl and an Indian man that met in Mexico, which was super fun cause I didn't like Mexican tradition and like Bollywood dancing, which I was super happy cause a whole mesh of things. And then I have a wedding, I'm with a girl. Oh, where she from? Denmark. She's from Denmark. She's flying in American guy here. So I'm working with a lot of different cultures and different like cultural experiences. Uh, and I think that they're booking with me because I'm just like, yeah, do whatever. Let's do it. How have you,

32:37 you have you market yourself, it trying to let the works sell itself, like your personality, kind of a mix. Word of mouth. I mean, how do you kind of try to market

32:46 mostly right now it's referral, it's word of mouth. Um, and if, and if they're coming to me, they have somebody told them about me, uh, marketing. Now I don't want to put a whole bunch into like online stuff and running into couples. I've ran into couples that I'm like, okay, I don't think we're a good fit and I won't, I won't work the wedding in front. Not a good fit. I've done that before and it just doesn't work out for both of us. I don't want to be stressed out and I don't want them stressed out. So if it's, if it's not a good fit, that's why most people who have heard about me, they know, they've been warned, they know what's coming. So

33:18 no, that is the hardest thing I think for a lot of like new businesses. It's like trying to figure out, like being able to say no or not. Um, I just had, that was the last week where we had done. We'd emailed back and forth and then I had sent him over work and then like we got on a Skype call and it was like, well this is, you know, can you do this? And I was like, well that's not like, especially for like video, I feel like I'm really able to send you like kind of exactly what you're going to get. You know, where like I think photo too, me, I can't, I just, I don't live in that world. But like I can give you an eight minute thing that shows what you're going to get. And then when you're like, well actually we really want like wow was your after effects game and how do you work with it? And I was like I don't like do I, you know, and someone is, but it's not, it's always interesting having those conversations.

34:01 Yeah. I have lately been delivering, cause I've got clients I'll deliver and like the Chris snaps, crisp, natural look. And then I also have a filter that I created that I use as well. And so, but because I would want both, I've been sending my clients the option of both. And it's like, all right, you want like this muted look here and here's the actual photo because who knows, in 10 years if that muted, like you're just gonna look back and be like, oh goodness, it's like color pop on black and white. We're just like, oh I did that. I totally did that. It's not cool anymore. Uh, so I want to give him the option to have both sets.

34:34 Yeah, that's tough. We talked to them a lot with photographers around here about like, you know, style and did this was always, you know, new styles and with video too. And like you said, like, I mean nowadays it's like bright highlights, like super, super bright. Everything's so bright. Like it's so bright. And I don't know if in 10 years I'll hold up or if, you know, if it looks like, I don't know. I mean, what do you, what do you think about kind of current photography styles?

34:59 I shoot, um, I've got, I want to just show it how it is. I don't necessarily want it super, I'm not a super bright and light and airy photographer. I'm like, uh, here, this is what it looks like and this is how you can see it. Versus I like the details. I want to see that. I'll drop my highlights down just so I can see those details. Um, and skin tone is, is a good thing. I like, you know, non orange skin tone. That's great. Uh, so I think that I, in the years to come, it's to like bounce back and forth. It's kind of like fashion, like bell bottoms are coming back already. And I was like, all right, well give me 15, 20 years, this'll be back. But it'd be back slightly different how, I don't think anything's permanent, but the here and the now like the actual photo that like the original federal had it straight out of camera is more I think applicable longterm.

35:44 I would agree with that. Well, so it's interesting that you kind of send over those options.

35:48 Yeah, usually. And usually they'll use the, the like um, edited one for like Instagram and Facebook and all that. And I'm like, all right, glad I sent it

36:00 or that. Well I'd rather your filter though than them kind of adding a shelter.

36:03 Oh they'll put a filter over it. Are you kidding me? And I'm like, I'm not wanting to get upset about it. I'm like, they do you. That's what your photos, how far. But that looks awful. I was like, don't tag me in that.

36:13 Well we had a friend that yeah she was talking about her photos and she's like wow, I didn't really like them. But then I found like one filter that made them, then I liked him. I'm like that's not how that works. Like it's not at all like combat that you didn't like 'em and then cause you added the one filter and made it like you know is stomachable for you.

36:32 That's not how, that's not how it's supposed to. Where you're working yourself to find the photographer with the right look that you like in general. Not supposed to be throwing them on Instagram to like them, like seven different Instagram pictures.

36:47 What do you wish more people knew about you? I am. It could be personality wise, it could be, you know, photography you questions you wish clients asked kind of in the booking process. What do you wish that more people know?

36:59 I don't really have that. I'm, I usually am straight forward about everything and if I want you to know it, I'll tell you it. Um, and then I'll tell you in an email, I'm not gonna there's nothing there. Um, I wish that they would be aware of pricing though ahead of time when it comes to studio work. Um, and to put a value like if you don't, if you're not going to value it out this and you're not going to read my email that like maps it out for you, don't get upset with me because you can't read. So what do you mean the pricing's out? So like for in studio sessions you have a studio, a set studio fee, and then it includes like maybe five images, but they're expecting for that set studio fee to be delivered all images. And I was like, that's the ones I'm delivering to. You are already edited a few. You would like to pick ones to be edited, we can do that. But I'm not really seeing good war images that aren't edited. Yeah.

37:50 Cause that's probably a little more, could be stuffing out and maybe you don't wanna see, right.

37:54 A lot of work in those and you've got like skin, then everything has to be touched up. And if you don't have proper makeup on, then it just ruins everything. So that's why I have a makeup artist that works with me. She's freaking awesome.

38:08 Uh, finally kind of wrapping up here, what do you, when you're not working, and obviously, you know, mom, you have an amazing kid. What do you, what do you guys do for fun and what do you do to kind of get an outlet from, from the studio kind of photography life?

38:20 Um, I take, I, this is like my first year of actually taking time off. Like I booked like blocks of time out on my calendar cause I was so burned out last year I had to take all this September off. I was like, my feet hurt. I'm not doing this. I just went to Vegas. Uh, for a concert and I've ended up in three days seeing like four or five shows, which was fantastic. And I'm taking a week off and I'll be home for part of it and I'm going to Portland. Um, I kicked the Kiddo out with my, with my parents for a while cause I've got her Monday through Friday and we're always at the beach together. So that's why during the summertime I have a tan in the winter time I'm still in the dark. Wait, so what did you see in Vegas? Um, we went and saw the whole point was to go see black bear, but we ended up seeing, uh, title or signed G E Z, not GCP. Saw him before. We saw a $10 sign, Diplo, uh, DJ shift and there was another artist. We were, I was so tired. It was, it was the most, I had the biggest blisters. I was like, I'm going to need a week before this wedding. So I didn't do anything for like three days, but like stay off my feet and work. And I got like works like, so I flew in on Tuesday and Tuesday afternoon we got home and first thing I did was open my laptop and start working and I took like a 12 hour nap.

39:35 Yeah. And I was like, cause we were getting ready for this and the constantly eating like wound editing right now. And then I have a client coming in at three and you know, it's like trying to, you know, you gotta get it in when you can.

39:45 Yeah. And I'm like, you know what, Portland's next, I'm going to go down there and I'm going down with a friend, we're going to go have some fun just for a weekend just to get out and not, and not bring my camera with me and I'm leaving. This was the first trip I think. And like since I started photography where I didn't bring my laptop with me, so I didn't have, I didn't even have the option to work. Was that hard? It was terrible. I was like having almost like a panic attack of a play and I was like, I need my laptop. But I figured it out. I still sent emails, I'm not going to lie still or sending emails via my phone. I still responded to text messages and questions and you know, released an album if I needed to. But I definitely did not edit photos while I was on technical vacation.

40:28 We're a last question. What's your five year plan? Where are you trying to grow? Where are you trying to build a, where are you trying to kind of expand out?

40:35 I cannot wait to try more photographers and contract work out to them and travel more. I've did, I've done a couple out of country weddings, couple out of state weddings, but my goal would be to travel long term and just shoot bud wire if possible and train other photographers to come in and do the work that maybe I don't want to do, but they do.

40:56 That's awesome. You build building an army. Yeah.

40:58 Yes. I'm going to take over.

41:02 Uh, this has been a, you know, so nice to kind of get to catch up and I know we kind of talk on mine a lot. It's been forever since we've seen each other face to face. I really kind of appreciate you hopping on and doing this in a, it's just been so fun. If you want people to know more about you and your photography and corporate and food and lifestyle and mood voir and everything else, what would you have them check out

41:23 my website www.sohphotos.com just go there

41:27 and that's a, that's based on your grandparents' farm, right?

41:30 Yeah. Seven of Hearts, www.sevenofheartsphotography.com is active as well with this really long to type in so www.SOHphotos.com is way easier.

41:39 Sounds great. And obviously online and Instagram. Yeah,

41:43 you can't get rid of me.

41:46 Perfect. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro®. If you are a wedding vendor or interested in coming on the podcast and sharing your story, you can go to www.bestmadevideos.com/podcastguest. I have a nice a questionnaire. I did not make you fill it out cause I know you and we go way back. But if you're someone I don't know yet and you want to get on the radar, that's a good way to do it and we can get you scheduled to come on and share. Sorry.

42:12 Woo.

42:13 Well, thank you again. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro®. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much.

42:21 Bye.

Stephen Morton, DJ Stephen the Stylist

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 today I'm joined by someone who, I think we've been talking about doing this since, I don't know, probably I think you were one of the second or third people to fill out my form and it's just been trying to schedule and crazy busy over the year. And I want to appreciate you so much for coming on today. Kind of, you know, it's really ramping up in the wedding season. It's DJ Stephen the Stylist and that, thank you so much for coming on. Why don't you introduce yourself, tell us who you are, what you do.

00:00:45 Yeah, you bet. I am a DJ Stephen the Stylist and I primarily do weddings now, but I know I met Reid a couple of years ago at a wedding and had a very exciting wedding with, with you and a, I don't know if this is a safe platform to go over that, but I, uh, I've, I've come to call her the bridezilla. The only one I've ever had that actually was, was uh, working with you and we will use no names or locations so that, uh, none of that gets out of the bag. But I, uh, I love, I love the wedding industry in general and I just love people. I am a DJ Stephen the Stylist, as you said, and I am a hairstylist and am a DJ. So that's where I tried to combine it. Um, I like to, I like to let my hairstylist clients know that I'm not leaving them and so I combined the name to let them know that I will remain a hairstylist and I, but I'm going down this road as a DJ and I'm just loving every minute of it.

00:01:54 It's been about a 10 year process, but I'm just, I'm just digging it up. Had I've been a hairstylist for 25 years, uh, right out of high school who went to beauty school. It was one of my three, one of my three, uh, what would you call it? A dream jobs I guess. And uh, the other two were rock star and comedian. So to I'm touching ground on the rock star part as a DJ and uh, also been able to do some standup comedy and actually I've had some success doing it. I love the microphone. And as I was telling you a minute ago, people say I tend to love the sound of my own voice and I, I rarely disagree with that. So I, I don't have a good argument for that because a, I will go on and on on the microphone and I happy to do it. So that's kind of where that all goes as well. No, and it's

00:03:00 kind of as a DJ/MC. I mean, you really do get the flops a little bit in that comedy, a little bit of that rock star. You get to be a little bit, you know, for show man. So I think you've probably hit on all, all, all aspects of your dreams when you were a kid. How, who had the thought,

00:03:14 Oh man, I, I'm living the dream man. I know we're not a day goes by where I'm not excited to get out of bed and go to work and uh, and do what I do. But yeah, for sure I from, and I still do some comedy. I do about five or six shows a year privately for private shows. And I, I'm on the microphone a bit. I do corporate events where I get to emcee auctions and, and even do some oxen eerie and yeah. And then the DJ stuff, the music plays and we just have fun with that. So that's the, that is the fun part. But I, I'll tell you what, meet, uh, interacted with people and engaging with even, you know, guests at a wedding. I'm not, I love to interact and meet people. And so, you know, during dinner or cocktail hour, I'm out and about walking around, introducing myself to people, getting to know people.

00:04:10 Cause, uh, I think that helps too with, um, with, with where the night's going to go and how I can interact with people. And I think that helps quite a bit where I get to engage with people and I'll walk around and understand, even even take some music requests at that time to kind of see where they were they might want to go. And so I, I mess around with, with people a little bit. I don't, I don't like to use weddings as a show for myself. Uh, I will definitely be more into their big day. I think as a hairstylist, you know, hair socks for 25 years, I've come to understand these moments in people's lives. You know, it takes for me, I get that intimate conversation, that intermittent inner, uh, interaction with people with where, you know, anytime that I do what I do, um, searching and serving to make people happy.

00:05:12 And one of my favorite books is from my hairstylist and it's called life as a date maker. And that's Kinda my mentality is like, I just want to make people's day and what an opportunity at somebody's wedding to really be that guy. So really instigate, you know, a fun time, a loving time. There's family everywhere and it's awkward already for the bride and groom in general because we're, we're mashing up two totally different families. And I think I do a pretty good job, especially with the comedy background comedian and being able to just, uh, work off the fly off the cuff, you know, and Improv with people and really creating, just breaking down walls for people and being able to connect and just get the awkwardness out of the way. I don't have a problem with what's ever be an awkward, I, I don't, I just break down that wall right away.

00:06:14 You know, it's a big smile and a, hey, how are you with Joanne? I'm not afraid of people. And I've been, like I said, doing over 25 years, I've had to, I've had to reach out and engage in the stranger's lies, have them sit down and all of a sudden there is their be intimate with me and I'm, I'm getting out there dark as their deepest secrets just by just having a conversation. And so people tend to trust me right away. And I don't, I don't know if that comes from how I look them in the eye and created a conversation or if it's just my natural big smile and a joyous appear. But I just, I honestly, it all comes back to why I do what I do. Um, it is the people and when I'm cutting hair and engaging in one person and making one person happy, when I'm doing a comedy show, I'm engaging in 200, 2000 people, uh, and making a thousand people happy. Same with, at a wedding. You know, I get that. I get to be a part of the instigation of a good time and I just love, I love watching people have fun and really enjoy themselves. So go for it.

00:07:42 You're on. No, you are. And it's, it's interesting because you know, I, I do think it's important for, for the DJ Mc, like you said, to really kind of engage fuel because I think, you know, we really take it for granted nowadays. Like, oh we go to a lot of weddings and like, oh people should know what's going on or what's happening. And like people don't like people go to their weddings and they're like, wait, what's going on? Like okay, we're going to dance now. Like you really do need someone, you know, we shot a wedding a couple years ago and the ceremony was done and no one was there, you know, like a DJ, antsy, whatever. They'd be like, Hey, okay we're going to do cocktail hour this. And like how could people just up and left and went home? They thought it was over. We went out to do like family photos in the bride and groom. We came back inside and have the people laugh because no one told them, hey guys, just going to be, you know, dinner, dancing and stuff. So, like you said, when you tried to go over it. Yeah. So you know, like when you said you tried to go around and say, you know, I do think that's so important, right. To really, you know, you kind of got to take command of the room and talk about that.

00:08:44 Yeah, for sure. That's, I know I always laugh because people, I'll walk around and, you know, they're like, okay, so you're the DJ, right? Uh, so what are we going to do? And I think in the industry, you know, we're doing this weekend or week and we're, we're doing what we do. And I hear the question of like, what do you mean, what are we going to do? Or the wedding like this is, we're, when did he understand the question? We're gonna, we're going to have some cocktails and hors d'oeuvres or if you will, some snacks and then we're going to introduce sobriety and grown. But yeah, a lot of it is really controlling the room. And that's what, um, I've even had compliments, which I don't, I don't like to boast about who I do or who I am. And what I do and um, but uh, sometimes I'll, I'll see other vendors and they go, man, you really have a way to control people with your voice.

00:09:39 I give a natural command when you talk into the microphone and I think it's really important to be able to guide people, uh, 200 people into a corner for a big photo. I mean that's, and even while I'm doing it, there's people in the room going, what are we doing? I'll understand this is picture time everybody and just go follow the crowd doing everybody else's doing. You've been doing it the whole time anyway, I'll read, oh they're really being able to have a good time with that too. And you know, people are already feeling awkward and they do need to be told what to do and I think I definitely have an understanding of that because I want them to be able to follow and understand what's coming up next. Hey, in 10 minutes we're going to introduce the Bryant and the bride and groom and the wedding party.

00:10:34 We're going to make some lot of noise, but we're going to have fun. Fill up your drinks, find your table, you know nowhere. You're going to sit in 10 minutes. You don't have to sit now, but have a half an understanding of where you're going to be. Um, and then that's going to take a half an hour. They know cocktail hour, what's cocktail hour? It's like, well the word hour is in that. And that's actually a conversation I had with Brad and you know, we're talking about their day and they're like, I don't want people to have to wait during cocktail hour. Like we want that to be like 10 or 15 minutes. And I'm like, I said, well, there's way too much to do in that 15 minutes, not just for you guys, but for the guests to like stop wandering around and you know, where do we go?

00:11:26 Well this looks like a place where they might have a party, you know, or, or sometimes it's clearing out the room. We had last weekend I had to flip a room or you know, be a part of flipping the roof from ceremony to reception and everybody had to go out on the balcony. And A, I don't know how many times I had to announce that. Like we need everybody out of the room so that we can set up tables and you know, even even telling you like it five times in 10 minutes each time, say it with a smile and maybe getting a little bit sarcastic toward the end. Like, all right guys, here's the thing, we can do this with you guys in here. Um, but yeah, people definitely need direction and, but you know, that's what, that's what's fun about what I do. I get to be that person.

00:12:16 And in fact, the more I'm on the microphone like that, the more they get used to me being a part of their day. And so the more announcements I have to make, I feel like that's just better for me to get to know people, to get to Kinda understand what this, how this crowd is going to respond to me anyway. Not to say that none of them listened, but come on, you guys just go outside, watch every grade there. We just all listen and then we can, but no, and even at, so when I was playing in that wedding, they were like, yeah, we're going to do that about 15, 20 minutes. They're like, Oh and you're going to take 1520 pictures with 30 different people. And like, so I think, I think bridegrooms they worry about people waiting and then that's an opportunity for me to remind them like, look guys, this is your day and they want to be here for that. So an hour, you know, it's never going to take more than an hour, but be, be flexible with that, that 20 minutes or 60 minutes where you feel like people are just getting anxious about what are we going to do next and they're getting hungry. And so, but yeah, that's, I mean that's the fun part for me for sure is engaging with people and uh, you know, having those conversations. But

00:13:49 we should, you know, when you're shooting cocktail or it's, and I always, I never figured out like, cause there's always a couple of people that like, you know, they don't, I, you said don't want to go outside or don't want to fall and like need finally attended the wedding. I in April, our friends got married over in Spokane and I was like, I was totally that guy where I was like, no. I'm like, I'm still waiting for my dreams. Like I'm really not down with this conversation like Ong until when. And I'm like, man, if I was shooting this wedding, I would hate it. I was like, man, I'm sitting here, I'm fitting, you know, I haven't seen my buddy in six months. We're catching up, man. I'll hit you up and we need to and we'll, we'll, we'll move outside.

00:14:24 Oh, right, right. Yeah. I know. As a wedding vendors, shame on you, you know? Yeah. We got a show around my friends.

00:14:38 So talk to me about origin stories here. How does a kid out of school wanting to be a hairstylist? Where does that come from?

00:14:45 Hmm. Wow, that's a, that's a great question. I get asked a lot because I don't fit the mold, if you will. And I'll leave the details out of that. But I definitely don't fit the mold and I'm going to, that's, that's as far as I'm going to go. But, um, so it happened to me. I, I've been an artist my whole life details were always important to me. The finer things I could see little things. I think I would still call it OCD, uh, but I'd call it artistry. Um, and so anyways, I was in sixth grade. I know it goes way back since I was 12 years old. And, uh, I couldn't get my mom to take me to get a haircut for nothing, like hardly ever. So my hair would grow over my, down with my ear lows down my neck. And I looked like a, just a Shag, just bummed kid.

00:15:41 And I felt bad about that. I did not like being that kid, but I, so this one summer I finally talked a, he goes, cause pictures were the next day, pictures were the next day. And I was like, man, I gotta get a haircut. This is just so embarrassing. And at 12, you know, it really starts to matter. Like, you know, no more wedding the bed. No more like girls are stuck, girls are showing up on your interest list. And it's like, I need to, I need to look good. I got this starting to mare. My friends are wearing deodorant and Cologne, like the least I can do is have a haircut. So anyway, she finally took me in it. It was your gaps again, I probably should say, but fantastic. Sam's maybe ruined my life or, or set it to a course, uh, set my life on a course that I could've never dreamed.

00:16:38 So I go to fantastic sams and I didn't make it back to the car. I'm balling because my hair looks so bad. And this particular haircut, I had my brother there because he had the hair cut I want to use. He's a few years older than me and he had the hair kind of one. I was like, just cut it. Like, if you can do it like kiss work at Dow Lin, boom, boom. And when I was done, it was, it was nothing like my brother's haircut, zero, I mean zero resemblance. So I'm brawling in the parking lot. My Mom's like, what do you want to go back in? I was like, oh, they missed it out. They're not going to be able to fix it and they can't see what's going on. So we go home and we actually got out of the dog clippers. We had clippers for a, uh, we had like a cockapoo and we got the doctor out and I just start shaving the side, saving the back.

00:17:37 And uh, so it was kind of weird that all of a sudden it just looked a little bit better. And then it got a little bit better. And I, at the end of it, I thought, why would I ever pay for another haircut? And so since I was 12 years old, I started cutting my own hair, which I do to this day. It's just the easiest. It's just easiest for me to make an appointment with myself and, and get it done. But I really think that that haircut changed my life, if you will. And I'll say for the better now that the story is ended. But, um, she, but since then, and then by the time I finished high school, I did football, basketball, sports, I did track, I did all those, all those guy things all the way through. Um, I graduated high school with a 3.0 and the reason why I was a 3.0 because every semester I had five, four or five art classes that I ace.

00:18:40 So if you can imagine how much I had to bring up that GPA to get a 3.0 with art classes. Um, so I've always been into the arts and hair was just another appendage to art and I'm able to create and design and, and most importantly, so this was a big decision to, um, a big factor. I actually went to the Seattle art institute at that time when I was senior in high school and they wanted, you know, they're telling me about everything. And at the time I was, I was drawing and doing all kinds of fun stuff. I, I designed lettering even now, like I designed my own logo and, uh, I love, I just love to doodle and sketch and all that. But at the time the, I went to the Seattle Art Institute and they said, Hey, we got good news. What's cool about when you start here?

00:19:34 Uh, everything's going to be on computers and everything's going to be through the two computers and digital, which was actually the worst news for me because I wanted to draw and use my hands. And so, um, and now all of a sudden I'm like, I'm looking for other venues. I'm cutting all my friends hair like I, what am I'm going to do with the rest of my life while I'm cutting my friend's hair? And I mean, it literally was like that. It just, it dawned on me that, wait a minute, if I think, if I think about it, I think people make living and they can make a living doing hair. And so that does, that actually kind of sent me down that road. I started checking out community college. And I know that's a weird concept for a guy like me, but I went to beauty school, followed that path, and worked for a pretty large company for 20 years as a, as a senior stylist educator, motivational speaker.

00:20:36 Uh, I taught men's cuts, women's cuts, BYOBs. I specialize in short hair. So I did a lot of razor work on the females and, uh, the short haircuts, I really did. I enjoyed that. Still is those real trendy Bob's and men's barber works. So that's, that's what I do now. And then, um, but if I go back and forth here, six, about eight months ago, I started working out on my house, uh, so that I can really get a handle on the DJ, the business side of being a DJ. And, uh, because, you know, probably like most Djs, it starts out as a hobby. And, uh, but I, you know, 10 years ago when I started doing this, I wasn't sure where it was going to take me. But like I said, in the very beginning, I don't think I can ever hang out with my scissors.

00:21:32 Like, I'll never leave my hair clients like, cause I really enjoy the people. And so back to the art school, you know, which was probably the best thing ever, was not going down that direction because come to find out doing hair is an art. I actually get to work with people one on one and a really still enjoy the interaction with people. So that was it. It really was a good saying that bad haircut was a good thing. And I should, I owe the lady thank you card. Whoever was that jacked up my hair if you hear this recording. Thank you. Thank you very much. So that's the, that's the style is part. And uh, you know, I've always been an entertainer, like I said, wanting to be a rock star comedian. I mean that, that's still a part of what I do. I, and I was um, I was in a band for a little bit as lead singer.

00:22:38 Um, but people, I, this is so funny, I actually working with people as difficult were cute for people and uh, if you know that, and maybe that's just in the band sense, like working with the drummer and the drummer telling me what songs I should sing on time. It was like, no, no, no, no, no. You play the drums, the songs I sing, it's so much easier to, to do that. Like if we're going to cross talent here, I'm going to see these songs and I mean drones, I'm not gonna play the songs you think I should sing. That doesn't even make sense. I don't want to learn them. I don't want to sound like that.

00:23:22 So that was funny cause that quickly turned into just fun Karaoke nights with my kids and friends. Like we would have, I'd set up, I set up a pretty legit karaoke in my living room. And um, and uh, that kinda turned into just, it kind of grew a little bit. And then I finally found a, uh, a venue down here in the, down in five Louis GS. And we started an all ages karaoke night. And I would take my kids to, and that was kind of part of it. Like the kids were blasts and kids are fun to work with. So I did an all ages karaoke night and that kind of just kept, I think that really helped me grow the personality side of, um, DJ in an MCN and all that. Um, at the same time, I think, so my comedy jokes were ready for the stage.

00:24:18 And so at this while I'm doing karaoke with my kids on a Wednesday night, I'm down at the comedy club the other night. It's trying to get stage time and, and work out, you know, who knows, who knows where this is going to go. The comedy road is no picnic. It is the, it is a dark tale. We, we get into on my next podcast, Oh, if we have time for that, we'll go back. Um, but so I'm doing karaoke and all of a sudden one of the mom and dads comes up and they're like, hey, we really love what you do here. Would you be willing to DJ our wedding? And, uh, that was like this huge responsibility. I was like, man, the last wedding I went to was mine, right? Like 15 years ago. Oh, what? Oh yeah, sure. So man, and when I, when I say yes to something, I'm going to take it all the way.

00:25:22 I'm all in all or nothing. I, I will definitely do my best and understand what it is to be wedding DJ by the time your wedding rolls around. And that was so much fun. And that wedding, if you can, even if you, you know how it is, you've been in the industry, one wedding turns into two machines and a multiplier just keeps growing and growing. By the time I'm like, you know, I think I'm a wedding DJ just so I've done weddings. Zane, I think I'm away teaching. So it was a, that's a, it's funny, I, I used to be more of a fitness fanatic and uh, one day I to, I kind of use a story a lot, but one day I, I thought I should just run a mile to see how fit I was. And so I ran a mile and I was like, okay, that's pretty good, that's not bad.

00:26:28 And then I ran a mile, like once a week for a month, and then all of a sudden I was like, you know, I should see how I could do two miles. And I did two miles, two turned into three, three miles, turned into a 20 minute run, a 20 minute run into a minute run. Next week I'm running a half marathon, I'm running rainy or Pacific, I'm doing, so I have this time in my lap, I've go about four full marathons, which if you don't know, cause you're in the industry and you don't have time for marathons is 26.2 miles of running. And so to trade for that. So, and even at that point, when I finally signed up for my first marathon, I had somebody said, I didn't know you were a runner. I go, I go, oh no, no, I'm not a runner, I'm not a runner. And I was like, well wait, I run, therefore I'm a runner.

00:27:28 That's how, that's kind of same with DJ. And I'm like, I'm not a karaoke, I'm not a Karaoke DJ. I'll do a karaoke show. I'm not a wedding DJ, DJ your wedding, but I'm not a wedding music. So some of those things, it's amazing how the process of life and just taking it as it comes and really just letting those things come into your life and, and be a part of it. And I'm a sucker for change. You know, today I got this monster beard, uh, you know, in two weeks, who knows? I don't know if this beard will still be here. I'll shave it down to another Fu Manchu or some kind of another look, say girl the signs out a little bit, get rid of my heart part, whatever. Oh, I know you guys can't see this wants to order heirs, but, uh, here. Um, so anyways, I, I just, I never know, man. I don't, I don't make plans of who I'm going to be in 10 years. I'm going to be a great husband and a great father to my kids no matter what. And uh, I'm looking for ways to make that happen. So in a nutshell. Great.

00:28:41 Did you, you know, when you are asked to do the weddings and stuff, like you said, so the last wedding you had been to was yours. So first off, maybe talk us a little bit about your wedding and then maybe kind of did you have any preconceptions or whatever kind of going in to start doing? Um, you know, like, like you said, even with beauty school, I'd maybe you don't look like a traditional, someone that would be heavily involved in weddings or whatever. I mean, I certainly never viewed myself as someone that was going to be involved in weddings and like high end, you know, whatever event. So kind of walk me through your thought process leading from your wedding in and then kind of entering into that industry as a DJ.

00:29:18 Oh Man. A lot of it's just having an open mind, which to this day I don't, I just keep an open mind because like I, like we said earlier, you know, we're, we're, we're literally crash coursing two families that just met yesterday at the rehearsal. I mean, well, I don't know how this is going to go. I don't know. I mean, I've announcements on the, I've had announcements from the, uh, the officiant the day as, as the wedding has begun and they're, they're making announcements and I'm like, Whoa, all right. So I ended, okay. Changed my mind, you know, we're going to go through this whole thing a little bit different. And, uh, so I, I, and I think to my, my comedy, being able to Improv and, uh, kinda go with how things go is, has been a blessing to me because, you know, that keeping that open mind and being able to be flexible with how to deal with things from my wedding.

00:30:25 I, you know, I feel like ours was pretty traditional. You know, we had our first dance, we cut the cake. We, we did what people do. We walked down the hour, we had a celebration. Um, we had a pretty legit DJ at the time. This guy, uh, our DJ was a friend of my wife's. She was in the skating, she was a speed skater and she actually beat skated with some pretty famous local folks around here, um, of, I'm not drop names cause I'm not name dropper, but his name is no, I'm just kidding. Oh, so let's see. So she knew some people and in the roller skating industry you actually happen to know a couple of Djs. So, and this time this guy had really kind of understood the wedding and in the preparation of hall I was like, yeah, they have just go, I'll show up.

00:31:20 Just, just like, I get that a lot from guys now. You know, you're planning a wedding with the bride and the guy's like, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I can't, I get that. I get it. And so I don't, I don't try to, um, I don't pressure the guys too much, but when we're, when you're planning it out and, and I, I guess I just, that's the only thing I knew at the time. So I watched youtube videos, I watched full, like the weddings on Youtube, like see what people do at weddings. And so, so of course by the time their wedding rolls around, I had this preconceived notion of a packed dance floor of big announces big who Roz. And um, it's funny cause this particular wedding, 90% of the people were from out of town and I've come to find out that's not too unusual, but 90% of the people from out of town.

00:32:19 So when I got the dancing going and I, you know, of course I was like, alright everybody, let's do it. Let's have some fun. We're going to dance. And uh, I think we had one kind of successful dance and then most of the people literally went outside and just, we're catching up for the last four hours. Like, like you might have done not a wedding recently, or you went to Lee. So this was, this was 90% of the people were outside chatting the whole time. And I'm literally inside practically babysitting about 20 kids on the dance floor. And I'm avoiding their request because I'm thinking that one, I'm gonna play something that's going to get everybody back in here to want to get this thing going. And the, you know, of course I'm, maybe, I just didn't know how to read a room at the time and I'll give myself that.

00:33:16 But, uh, the, hey, nobody's wanting to dance our babies in the kids. I got 20 kids and finally I'm like, okay, fine. I'm going to play your songs. We're going to, we're going to have some fun. And uh, but at the end of the night, I had two guys, two guys approached me, were like, hey man, I've been a DJ for 20 years. That was awesome. You did a great job. And I was like, Oh, I'm going to stand. And so I was like, okay, well that's cool. I did a great job and come with DJ said. So at the end of the night, um, you know, talking to the brighter grill and they're like, oh my goodness, thank you so much. I was so amazing. Um, what you did today was just so much fun and thank you for taking over the kids.

00:34:03 It was like, that was their intention the whole time. Like I said, I even told, I said, you know, how excellent would have liked for you to tell me that I was babysitting so that I would've gladly played their music. Like I could've done that had I had a little bit more of an idea what you guys wanted. And so it was, it was funny. It's fine. Um, but that's as, that's one of them and you know, also the music wise, this is another thing that I feel, you know, whether the dance floor is packed or not, I get most of my compliments and praise in my, in my five star reviews. Anytime I get praise from somebody, it's always from what I do before the desks or even opens. It's the energy I bring during the announcements. It's the energy I bring or, or the energy I, I take away so that we can have a intimate introduction to a first dance or that intimate introduction to bring the father out to dance with his daughter, you know, for the last time or you know, and making an announcement like, uh, after the father daughter dance.

00:35:15 I'm like, all right, a grown person. Let this be the last time, another man steps in between you and your bribe. So I could, so in that sense it's still intimate. But that weekend we broke the ice again and they're like, okay, cool. Yeah, we're going to have some fun. The grow gets his mom another chance to be intimate. But anytime I'm on the microphone, and that's really what kind of gauges the wedding and the direction of the wedding. And then the music. If you guys want to have a good time, I'm here. If not, you go talk to your friends you haven't seen in 10 years and whatever. But um, those are the times that I really look forward to is, uh, it's kind of before the dancing even starts. Cause that's, that's what sets the precedent of, you know, where this night's gonna go. So,

00:36:17 so when you're, so like you said, you kind that, you know, always trying something new. You know, you do weddings, you become a wedding DJ running the whole. So when did you kind of finally make the leap to say, okay, I like, I'm going to really do this wedding thing. I'm going to, you know, get business because a website kind of when, what kind of made you take that leap?

00:36:37 What was that process like? You know what, that's funny you say that because I know this will be on one of the, uh, wedding groups. I'm on Facebook, but man, I, I'm literally up till about five years ago. I'm just doing my thing. I'm doing weddings as they come. You know, I, you know, you, you have like, what separates you from other Djs? Like I have no idea what separates me from other djs because I don't, I don't go watch other djs. I can tell you a couple of videographers I like, you know, that are fun to work with. Um, but as for Djs, I don't know. I mean, I, I, so honestly, and this may be true for a lot of people, but I compare myself to djs that have videos on youtube. And so I'm like, okay, well, so I'm comparing myself to really great djs that have really great videos.

00:37:35 And so, man, I just hope I'm keeping par with these guys. So that's, that's the best I can do. Um, but then as for like, I think the wedding industry, there's this pressure to be, um, something that maybe is more or less than what should be like, you know, somebody, somebody referred to me to somebody as a DJ, uh, said, hey, Stephen's a great DJ, you should have him do it. And I'm like, Hey, what's this little rabbit hole? Oh, it's a group. That's great. Blabbity Blah. Cool. Yeah, I love to talk. And I was like, Hey, you don't have a website, you're not welcome here. So like, oh, oh goodness. I, I think I knew I better get a website. So, so then I got this peer pressure from other, you know, entities and, and you know, I want to be cool with these people too, because I also a referral from somebody or, you know, I want, I want to, I don't want to be 10 a standard.

00:38:40 That's pretty legit. And so it's, it's funny that this path to be in a wedding industry professional has been a little bit silly for me because I didn't go to school for the JN. I didn't go to school to be an MC. I didn't go to school to know how to entertain people. I didn't know how to, I didn't go to school to format jokes and you know, create this personality that can rock a dance floor, that can engage with people and of all ages too. You know, I, I uh, I love to tell this story because this happened at a wedding last summer. I'm doing, we do the shoe game. I do a fun table release game that people enjoy or, or really hate. A lot of Djs hate this idea, but I bring it, I'll, I'll mention it to the couple of, I've gotten weddings because of this game that I played to release table.

00:39:40 So I'm not gonna knock it because it's given me three or four other weddings because of it. So I played these games and this is the best. My, my most favorite compliment happened at this wedding. I walk over to the bar. The groom is standing at the bar with his buddy there, 25. Um, I'm not 25, but we're hanging out and I walk up and the guy that is talking to them, please excuse my language here and if you can bleep it out, do so if not, whatever. Here we go. But cause I, I don't even like to reiterate what he said, but this guy goes, oh my goodness, where do you get this mold? There's is the best time of ever. I mean he went on for a minute and I was like, hey, high fives bros. You've, no, not me. You know, you not me.

00:40:34 You as high. I do my little bro Hug, handshake, I turn around and there's this, there's this 80 year old woman right in front of it. Like I just, I'm just arguing the groom and his buddy, I turn around, this whole woman, 80 years old, looks at me, she grabs me, puts her hands around me, says, you are a door Annabelle. And I'm like, okay, I don't know how or what I did. But the, the age difference between this dude and this grandma are, I mean six years here and I will somehow in my interaction made this new take out with some crazy MFM. What guy? Like he's nuts, but at the same time doing the same exact thing. I had this old lady gone. He is just the sweetest thing. And so I didn't go to school for that. I really, I didn't go to school and be like, all right, what are the magic words or the 25 year old one or saying, hey, you're all gonna understand and I'm gonna make some magic here and I better get a license and a website for that.

00:41:48 So I don't know, man. I, I do and I do it like what you do, you are, you do a craft and yeah, you can go to school for editing, but, but it's in your eyes. It's what you see and it's what you create that really brings people to your table. This is man, he has an eye for video and what he does to capture the moments he captures, whether it's stage or not. I watched your videos, I love your videos, read, you do phenomenal videos and it captures moments that I know were stays because I've watched you do it, but yet they seem so natural and they create this idea of the perfect day. And you know when we all get to work together and be a part of that man, there's nothing better. There's nothing better than they happy brides of fire of groom. And of course the mom and dad who paid for it or like that was wonderful.

00:42:49 Thank you. You know, you must have a really awesome website and all right. And all comes back to that. So you know, and it's that process. I don't even understand the process. I just go with where I go. You know, I had some trouble with my logo. I'm like, alright, you know what? At my low school, I'm going to, I'm going to move some things around so that it'll be a little bit better for some of the things I need to do. That's, so I just do it. I don't, you know, the process is whatever happened yesterday is yesterday. The future is bright and I'm excited to be part of it. So you know, that it's all just, uh, uh, I mean a cluster of, of events that just kind of led me down this road now on DJ stuff from the stylist, the comedian, the auctioneer, the entertainer, the life of the party. And, um, I'm going to go from there, man. You know, say what, what is?

00:43:52 Yeah, no, but what is it, you know, that kind of inspires you, that, you know, even just kind of try to weave this world now, the urine you're doing these events, you know, dealing with the brides and grooms, you know, um, what is it about that that really excites you, that you find the inspiration?

00:44:10 Oh,

00:44:10 is it just a good time? Is it in the chat? I mean, you know, whether it's,

00:44:15 you know, it goes back to our modern kind of opening statement as a day maker, um, from hairstylist to comedian to DJ wedding, DJ, MC, auctioneer. Um, it all comes back to bringing joy to people on their best days. And I get to, I get to instance, I don't get to be a part of it. I get to instigate it. Like I'm the guy that is making that. So that gets to be, um, I mean it's really, again, it just always goes back to my love for people. And I love bringing joy to people. I know it sounds corny and Cliche, but I don't, I don't know how else to put it. I will instigate a good time wherever I go. And, and this, this is kind of funny too, but you know, and all the tests, I'm more of an introvert if you can believe that, because if, if that, if at any given party, my place is not to be the life of the party, I won't do it.

00:45:21 I mean, I don't, I'm not going to be, I'm not going to force myself, you know, you don't hear me coming down the aisle like, hey, we're going to have a party. You know, I, I find my place and if my places you hired me to engage and be bay and a big personality, then that's what I'm going to do. If you hire me to be a small personality and background noise, then I'm, that's what I'm going to do as well. And I'm going to do it according to making sure that you have the best day, that this is your best day. And I love being an apartment. I think about, you know, there was a weird comment or you're one of the DJ groups on Facebook that I kind of addressed and uh, my only address was, you know, this is a customer service industry. Like we're here to make people happy.

00:46:10 We're here to serve and to lift up. And that's the best feeling in the world, man. And if we can, when I get the chance to build people up and make them feel like the center of the world, there's, there's really nothing better. I, I say that about the service industry because there's other services, um, than hairstyle is wedding industry. Um, there's food service, you know, there's these services. And then there's the other side of services where you're a policeman, you're a plumber, you're a ditch digger. You've got to fix people's People's problems. And so when I think about the service industry that I'm a part of our part of making people's days and bringing a smile, people making people feel better about themselves. When I, when somebody walks in with the Errante haircut and it's something I get to fix, they always leave feeling better.

00:47:10 And it's just, it's one of the, it's one of the greatest feelings I can think of it. So, you know, Jerry Seinfeld as a comedian and he, um, he said he wanted to be a comedian since he was eight years old. And to compare it to that, he, they said, well, what was it? What was it that made you want to do it? And he said, well, I'll sit there and I told a joke and everybody laughed and he said, and I wanted to feel that over and over and over again, that, that process, that magic never gets old when you get to bring that joy to people's lives, it just never gets old. And so if I can be a part of that today, I'm going to do it. If I can be a part of it tomorrow and I, and I got to today cause I've been cutting hair all day, but, um, that's just, it's, it's what I keep coming back for and man, when I get to do that, it's, there is nothing better.

00:48:06 What do you see next for you? What are the next steps for, for growth? Is that, is it expanding DJ, is it trying something new? What do you, what do you see down your road?

00:48:18 Wow, that is loaded. I, speaking of plants, you know what, I don't tell anybody this, but I live in the secret's out. I don't have plans, man. I if, uh, shoot, I, where do I, what do I do? I'm a, I'm a, I want to add something to DJ stuff in the style is DJ Stefan, the stylist, the gas attendant. That's what I don't know. Uh, let's see. DJ Seven, the Stylus, PE teacher, male, whatever, whatever it is that brings more joy. The more people I, whenever I talk about being an auctioneer, um, I will have all the things that I do. Auctioneer is one of the most fun because as a comedian there's nothing more rewarding than an audience cracking up laughing. Right. That's the, that's probably the best feeling you can get is telling your story, creating your jokes and then making people laugh at that.

00:49:31 As a comic, you know, you've been there, you've heard people do professional speaking and they're talking about the wedding industry and they crack a joke. Everybody laughs like, Huh, that's so funny. And it, sure, sure. It is funny, but I guarantee that same joke would probably not fly as a standup comic in a room full of people. Like, okay, make us laugh. We're here to love. He was me. Wow. We're here to laugh, make it happen, knew it, knew it, and I'm up there like, alright, here we go. Shows on, let's do it. Okay. Hey, what's up? Hey, how's everybody doing? He goes down bit at a time and night. All right, let's do it. So, but then when you make people laugh and that was your promise from the beginning. Aw Man, is, is one of the greatest feelings ever. But the most fun. I mean, weddings are fun and introduction.

00:50:23 I mean, what is your blast no matter what? Like that's, that's as an auctioneer, you literally, there's no planning. You're like, okay, what do we sell them today? All right, I've done several. So I'm that I'm not just nameless up. So we're going to walk in. I mean, I'll have them send me the brochure like, okay, so we're going to vacation over here. These are Washington. Great. Somebody cabin. Cool. Ooh, cool. The hot air balloon with the Seahawks. Sweet. Awesome. Who's going to be there? All right, great. We got some important people. Beyond that, there's not much planning for the talent as an auctioneer. Like, I'm going to show up, so I'm gonna probably have to use my own microphone because I don't trust people's microphones and I want to sound amazing. So I provide, you know, whatever I can on my end, but I literally show up, go through the motions and have a great time.

00:51:20 In the meantime, we're, I'm having a blast. So I do charity auctions and, um, you know, benefit options. And so I'm not, I'm not trying to sell cattle really fast and having a, having a, having a habit. It's just not, it's not that kind of an auctioneer. But in the meantime, um, battery, I'm badgering people. I'm having fun with people. I'm getting people against each other and just dig in some, you know, just make a noise like, hey, you're not going to let her walk away with that for $500 are you? No, no, no. Five 25. All right. Now five 50. Let's keep, hey, don't let him have that for $550. Let's do five 70. All right, fine. And at the end of that night, I've told a million or you know, a hundred adlibbed jokes I just made up on the spot picking on somebody harassing.

00:52:13 There's no more of a, there's no, you know, we Djs, you know? No, no, no comedians, sorry. No comedian likes a heckler. But when that's part of the Gig, Yay. Like, Hey, yeah, you're going to make fun of me because I made fun of you and you're going to make, we're going to have some good times. And so at the end of the night of an auctioneer, I will auction. It's like, wow, that was, that was fun. No prep, just all straight out new times. And so my future, to answer your question, my future, I told my wife like, I'm going to retire as an auctioneer. So one day lugging equipment and doing all this stuff as a DJ, I bring, I bring our speakers to stuff's not light folks. There are some heavy pieces and I'm a woman. I'm a one man show, so, and I like it that way and it's fine.

00:53:05 But we're logins and stuff in one of these days. I'm going to be happy to just show up, grab the microphone, and just start ripping. And that to me sounds like a great retirement. So between now and then, I have no idea what's next. Read, you know, I'll take it. I'll take it as a columns. Corporate events are fun. I have a list. Corporate events are cool because they just keep calling like, you know, you do a wedding or two and that's the last you hear from that bride. But, um, which I'm grateful for the referrals and I love seeing, you know, past brides at weddings. Uh, I'm going to be at a wedding this weekend where I've, I've, I've been a part of three other weddings from this group. So all I've had, I'll have three brides that will be in this viral party, um, on Saturday.

00:54:04 So that's a, this, that's going to be a blast. So I get to catch up with them. I'll, you know, see what things are going. And then of course, I already know, I love the, uh, the playlists are all similar to this group, so I know it worked last time. And, um, but for, you know, the, the, um, corporate events are a great, cause I got three events a year with different companies and I just keep going back and uh, so that's Kinda cool. You know, the corporate fun. Uh, but weddings are magical. So, you know, I just, I, like I said, I'm gonna take it and stride. I'm an artists this week is blue. Next week it might be red.

00:54:52 Oh Man. Well where I was at a time before we let you go, I want to know what's the one thing that, well, we'll have to, we'll have to schedule a part two, hopefully not a, not a year and a half from now, which is when the first time I asked you what your, before you go, what's one thing you wish more people knew about you? I know you're, like, you said you're outgoing and energetic and star, but what do you, what do you wish that more people knew about you? And it could be how you work, how you operate or any of the Combo.

00:55:20 Wow. Um, that's a good one, man. I, you know what I, what I kind of Brag about is, um, being able to change directions on the does in an incident. You know, we that at weddings, I mean, they come at me just panicking about the bride can't find the guard or, you know, the bride can't find this or you know, uh, we're going to need another five minutes and, and the pen, you're just like, oh goodness, this could really destroy the wedding. And, uh, but it just really built like, Hey, no worries. Let's do this. We're going to try this. This is going to be just fine. Don't worry about it. Um, as a, as an exciting and outgoing personality that I am to Brag, I, I'm super laid back. Like nothing gets me worked up. Nothing. I, and I, and I mean that my, the whole, fortunately this is the end of the broadcast.

00:56:26 And so I'd be able to share something about my wife. You know, she, she'll want to argue and I'm just not willing to get worked up about it. And so I'm gonna take it. I, I, I'm kind of the epitome of laid back because I could definitely check my feet up and watch the world just be destroyed and it'll just be another good movie. And so, um, being able to flip on the fly, like being able to just transition and no problem, make a mistake and just move on from it. Um, I also do sports announcing, so, uh, sports announces a blast. And one of the things that you're seeing names, you're saying stuff on the flyer, you're just moving and constantly moving and, and people will see, hey, you know, that's really great, man, that'd be so fun. But I just worried about making a mistake.

00:57:21 Like, how do you handle that? I was like, I don't know. I Made 16 mistakes tonight. How did I do it? So it's just, it's, it's being able to cope in stressful situations and, and in general, a wedding is that, you know, a wedding is very high pressure. It's a high pressure event and being able to just be cool and chill and like, yeah, let's do it. We're going to have some fun tonight. And, uh, being able to do that I think is, is a huge benefit. And I think that it's why I do really well and what I do because, um, you know, I show up three hours early, I, I take my time, I make sure everything is gonna work and um, if some doesn't work, okay. Truth be told, I was doing a way, this was only a month ago, I was doing a wedding and I was really under the impression that the ceremony and everything was going to be in one spot.

00:58:22 And I know before everybody, you know, comments about this, yeah, I should have known better. I probably should've known. And yet somebody who's gonna, you know, get on me about letting your breath open the consultation. Yeah, sure. Um, but I thought the wedding was going to be all in one location, so instead of bringing a second sound system for the ceremony, which of course I would do, that's not, that's not a problem. I'm an hour away. I get to this wedding four hours early and I realized what happened. Um, and I'm like, okay, I've got to go home and pick up the second sound system for this ceremony. And I told the venue person was like, listen, I'll be back in plenty of time, but I got to go home and grabbed my stuff. And as stressful as I could have been, I, I went home, I came back.

00:59:14 I never, the bridegroom never knew about it. They didn't need to know about it and we just, we just had a fantastic day. That was, if nothing happened, then I did brag about it at the end of the night. You know, I was like, you get that last minute with the brighter grow. Hey, that was so much fun. Hey, you wouldn't believe this, but here's what happened. You know, I'm happy to, you know, I've never tried to hide anything, but I, I just want to be able, to me, everything's gonna be smooth and chill and laid back and I can definitely bring that to the table. So anyway, that's what I, that's Kinda like maybe I'd like for people to know is, you know, as big a personality as I am. Um, I'm pretty chill and laid back, so.

01:00:07 Well, perfect. Uh, I want a, this has been great. This has been, I really appreciate you bringing it, really bringing the energy today and really bring in some great insights and conversation. I really do appreciate it and I know, you know, kind of this time of year and, and, and taking time to, to do this sort of stuff. I really appreciate that. Uh, and I do think that your energy and excitement and passion really shows through and especially in the audio form, I think people are gonna have a good listen. If people want to learn more about you and, and I know you do have a website now and, and I have been looking at it, so if you want people to, to get in contact with you or more about you and contact you for your services, where would you have them go to?

01:00:47 Yeah, easily go through my website www.djstephenthestylist.com.

01:01:03 And I know you're on Facebook and Instagram and kind of all that stuff too. And so they can look you up on there as well. Well, thank you so much again. This has been a another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro®. If you're like a Stephrn and you want to take advantage and come on and kind of share your story. Um, we're kind of entering in the second year and a half here. I'm doing the podcast. I, you can go to www.bestmadevideos.com/podcastguest, that's a great way. It's a little questionnaire that you can fill out a to kind of give them the system and we can contact you about coming on. And again, a, I just want thank you so much for coming on and taking some time today to chat and open up and kind of share your story. It's been really a, it's been awesome. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro®. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much!

Janice Flagg - Greatest of Days

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 friend. We've actually spoken in the past about kind of other wedding events and things like that and now I'm really excited to have her on the podcast. It's Janis Flagg of Greatest of Days. And Janis, why don't you kind of introduce yourself, tell us who you are and just a little bit about what you do.

00:36 Yes. I started my event planning business in 2007 as a result of some people at a wedding reception. It was a friend's daughter's wedding that I had planned and they asked me if I did it for a living and then I thought, well yeah, I'm the first one that everybody comes to, whether it's family or friends, Jan can do it. So I decided to give it a shot because I had enjoyed making events no matter what. They were sentimental or comforting in the case of some events and creative so that it would take people from the point of stress to relief. And since then it's been an adventure. I could have never predicted. I never thought I would be writing a book, that's for sure. But I did. Okay.

01:40 Yeah. And I mean kind of been in preparation for the interview. And I want to thank you so much. You know, we were talking kind of off microphone about you coming on last minute to kind of bail me out. We had a, you know, a cancellation and that is so gray cause I yeah, I've seen you and obviously kind of we've talked about um, you know, on the phone before kind of helping to write your book and I always see you post online and so I was so glad when you kind of um, obviously made time today and working through a lot of, you know, troubleshooting and technical issues of this online recording platform. And so thank you so much. You know, really is kind of looking through your side and everything that you've done that you know, whether it's a event planning, wedding planning, you obviously public speaking and now the book, I mean, how do you kind of manage all those different creative outlets that you have going on? It seems like it would keep you pretty busy.

02:33 I guess I thrive on stress or something. No, I think as long as I can be in some sort of tradies the mode, I'm happy and I almost look forward to that. When a couple comes to me and they present a problem or I see a problem that's going to happen if they don't do something about it. The planning stages, I welcome that because that's a challenge and it can be as simple as someone saying, yeah, we want to have programs in all the chairs for a wedding reception at it's outdoors and we know that there's wind that can destroy a number of things that easily programs. What we did was we all threw everything into a rock ceremony and it was really kind of cool because the family of the bride had a cabin for decades, many generations on a lake. And so they collected rocks for the rock ceremony from this really sentimental cabin that lives in the family. It's just little things like that that can make the difference since solve a problem. And I think if you can make or use your creativity to turn a problem into something really cool, that's what I aim for.

04:05 That's awesome. So tell you know, tied to me kind of first and farm us, you know, Greg is a days, you know, wedding and event planning company. You kind of, what do you guys do? What is kind of your mission statement? How do you kind of view that in terms of, you know, your role in the wedding and event planning

04:22 process? Well our motto has been creating memories to bring a smile to your face for years to come. And part of what brings a smile to my face is getting to be around people. And I actually in 2008, um, had started a networking group that I had for eight years called South King County Event and wedding vendors. And I loved connecting people with venues and we had 60 meetings at 55 different venues in south King County during that time. And that was how I really got to hear what vendors were feeling and what they were experiencing ultimately. That led to my book along with them TV show. They made me mad and when they put the industry under the bus, took me awhile to get the book written. But it's out there. It's good in a couple months.

05:33 Yeah. Um, so why don't you yeah, we talked, I guess it was, oh, probably six months ago. I can't remember when it was that we kind of had our phones all about video editing. So talk about, you know, uh, wanting to actually sit down and put pen to paper and I don't know many that have actually gone through and written a book like that. So why don't you give a little bit of background about that?

05:57 Why I did it is when I saw the media in two different ways on the exposition shows, you know, it was just really popular to see all these things like Dj session charge anymore for wedding than for a child's birthday party. And I'm being there letting that misinformation get out there. That kind of makes me upset and it made several people in the whole industry set. And then I see all these shows that make it look like people can have a wedding that they can't have unless they have the budget of a TV production and people have to choose their priorities and get real with their budgets that it doesn't mean they can't have their dream wedding. That's where I think planners come in and start thinking of what we can do that will make their day special.

07:05 So you talked about how back in 2007 you kind of got, you know, for better or worse, we're kind of roped into planning and then you had done some friends and stuff. So kind of before that, what was your background? You know, what did you kind of study or want to do or what was kind of your goal growing up in terms of, you know, how you wanted to stay busy?

07:24 Well, in college I actually majored in education and elementary education and I think I am the best at communicating with rain Barisone um, flower girls if anyone out there. Uh, I just love them as unpredictable as they are. I think it makes you really conscious coming from an education type of background, you realize that everybody has a different way of learning things and like an engineer is going to be a much different client than say an artist. There's a totally different way to communicate with different people and how they think. I like just really finding out what people are all about. And then from there determining who would be a great vendor for them in different categories, but just to make it a pleasant experience as soon as something that's stressful. But it depends on what their learning style is and communication style.

08:43 So you went to school for education, uh, where was that at?

08:48 In Oregon. It was one of the top colleges at the time for education. It had like 90% placement when back when the dinosaurs roamed, there was a glut of teachers, but every class we were in from day one, it was like, okay, if you were to teach this, and I always felt sorry for the pre dentistry kids, but it was good for us to learn how to talk to kids.

09:18 So what kind of after college then, what, where did you transition to or what was Kinda your entry into the job market?

09:27 Yeah. I mostly worked at universities in different capacities. Uh, at one point that even worked at an international agency that was housed on a campus, I couldn't get away from universities. I love the environment where everything new and exciting was happening and I got to meet people from all over the world. And ironically, not that it's really been planned as such, but most of the weddings that I've done have been people with different races or cultures. I don't know why that is. And I'm also on the board for the Kenton International Festival, so I enjoy that still.

10:15 Oh absolutely. I know times of, you know, youthful energy and kind of lots of ideas and stuff kind of being in the universities. So how did you, like you said you kind of started getting roped into doing uh, you know, events for family and friends and stuff. So how did that kind of transition go into that where you found yourself all of a sudden, like here I'm helping to plan weddings that, you know, I never planned on doing before.

10:39 Organization and attention to detail that all fit in with everything. And I do like the tiny little details or ways to improve things like efficiency doesn't really matter what I'm working on. I'm always thinking there's a better way to do something like that. It's fun. And I found that actually having worked in those environments help me to just understand a variety of people in general, people from different countries and different backgrounds. It was nice.

11:26 What, what is it about weddings Zay excites you and inspires you to continue to work like you do?

11:33 Ah, oh, I also officiate weddings. And with that, I mean there's just nothing like being able to say words that bring about a look in their eyes that they've probably never had for each other. And you're right there in that moment when you pronounce them husband and wife. But for planning weddings I enjoy, I basically make France with everything I have. I still have one bride that I did their wedding many years ago and I get invited to all the baby showers and birthday. So it's really a nice thing to get to know them for such a special day in their lives. And when you can make that into a day that they feel relaxed and they're enjoying it, it's a different experience than what a lot of people have without a planner.

12:43 Yeah. I always say that, you know, we've had, um, kind of other wedding planners and coordinators, uh, on the podcast in the past now it seeing like, it's one of the hardest things to articulate the value of because if, if a wedding planner is successful, it's almost like they weren't there. Right. Cause the guests, everybody had a great time. Things happened as they were supposed to write. Like people only know, you know, if something bad happens, right? But if you do your job correctly then everything goes off. Great. So how do you try to, you know, convey your value to potential clients and help them realize the importance of having the wedding planner be a part of their deck?

13:25 I think it's important to put them into this shoes that they will be in on their wedding day. And the fact that the most common time along with videographers, by the way, choose or recognize the value of a wedding planner just before or right after the wedding, that's too late. And I think they have to really, somehow I need to relay the pictures to them of what the wedding day is really going to be like. And not be afraid to say, well, if you're going to do this or that, you need to think of a few more details. If they insist on something, I will just say, well okay, this is what you might be able to expect. Are you ready for that? But no, it's fun thing to just get to know the families too. And I'm sure a lot of people in the wedding industry, you know, we all, I say we're just like another one of the helping professions that we go in with our hearts and um, blood, sweat and tears.

14:51 Um, so

14:52 after you use kind of started doing right, you said some of the events for your, you know, friends and stuff, what kind of inspired to make the step to start your company kind of be a wedding planner, you know, how did that, did that light switch flip? I'd always been looking for something that I could do from my house and be something that I could [inaudible] I wanted to find something where I could just be creative and eight and found through all my, uh, so many different family members, weddings, you know, huge family and friends. In fact, I just found out that when I was writing the book that one of the mothers who was a friend of mine, but you know, I helped with her daughter's wedding. She thought it was her daughter's wedding that might've been responsible for me getting into the business and is it? No, it was so many. So yeah, it's really fun. That is think about what it was like and now how different it is and having written a book about the wedding profession and speaking up for vendors and giving information that kind of caliber counterbalances what they hear on the rest of the time. Yes.

16:21 Right. And your book is kind of about that, uh, getting rid of that myth behind that things are overcharged and everything. Right, because it's a wedding and, and kind of adding value. Right. Is that kind of in a nutshell and adding value, the value that vendor's ad and the monetary, talk about kind of a, you know, your elevator pitch for the book.

16:44 Weddings are pretty much as expensive as people want to make. And I stress that they have to choose priorities. And just because you have so much money left in your budget, you can't say, well, I really would like this person, so I'm going to see if they'll take that amount of money and do whatever. It doesn't look like that. So I've stressed that wedding vendors invest so much time money and yeah, they don't think about like insurance and transportation and networking and everything else that makes them um, as good as they are at what they do. It doesn't just happen where you show up at the wedding and you've either had hours and hours of prep time and on the other end of it, like this photographers, you have hours and hours of editing. I don't think people see that. So I tried in the book just to go through each category and let them see the nuances of what's involved just to get to where. Cool. My goal I guess you'd say with the book is that I would like to see consultation start with something other than what's your budget and how much do you charge? I think if there's an appreciation for what is actually going to be the product and what goes into it, that they won't feel like they're being ripped off, which I haven't met hardly any vendors that are out to gouge anybody.

18:41 Do you think, uh, how many kind of gone through and talks, you know, cause part of your book was going through talking with different vendors, you know, getting their processes. Do you feel like that makes you a more well rounded than me? Obviously as a planner anyway, you're talking to a bunch of different vendor types for, do you feel like you're even more educated now in terms of what goes on behind the scenes and all the different people that you're kind of help helping to wrangle for the wedding day?

19:07 Yes. It made me appreciate them even more and for what they put up with sometimes. So I really wanted to make it a win win situation for people who are planning a wedding, but also the vendors because I don't hear as many people saying anything from their viewpoint or they were afraid to speak. That's why I kept everyone anonymous in my book because I wanted them to be able to say what they really wish they could say without being fearful of them, you know, losing some business or something like that for the people that just wouldn't ever understand. It sounds like, you know, it feels good to kind of speak for my team.

20:06 Absolutely. Ah, so when you, like you said you kind of been looking to work from home, you know, find those creative outlet, you know, you're trying to get into weddings. Was the idea of and starting the business and kind of going down this road. Was that scary? Was that something that you felt like you had, I don't know, past history or family history about your entrepreneurial ship? I mean, how did that process go into like, well I'm actually going to make you go at this thing.

20:38 The knowing what to do for events wasn't nearly the problem is knowing what to do for the business part of it. I don't know what it is about creative minds not going over to the other side of numbers. And it was so frustrating with marketing, like what's going to work, what isn't going to work. And you know, why is this one year good and the next year isn't so good? But I don't know if anybody really thinks about that too much when you go into business that you're passionate about. But it probably would be really good to kind of review some accounting and that type of thing or marketing before you go into, you know, head burst.

21:31 Yeah, no, it's always funny when we talk with, like you said, lots of creative types where you know, like if you're a photographer actually taking, you know, photos is such a small percentage of kind of what you do day to day. You know, it's three 55 right now and I haven't edited any video today are shot any video, but it's been, you know, it's been nonstop all day. So what was kind of maybe, what was the biggest thing that surprised you about starting your business or that you maybe I lesson you learned or that you felt like you could've been better prepared for? Besides obviously like I always say, yeah, having an accounting degree with val helped me a lot more than happy to broadcast journalism degrees. So, okay.

22:12 Oh, I think the biggest surprise was how hard it is to get the word out of what you do and to get that word out to the right people. I love networking and I could really get caught up into that. I have to say that networking has been one of those things that has led to them most consistent repeats of sources you might say for business. I never would've thought that B and I would have been that, but I was in it for a year and I'm still getting jobs for, I guess if you're just in the top of their mind for a particular area and if you are kind of the one that stands out as being the unusual member in a group or the one that always has to check other, that that's beneficial I guess in the long run.

23:21 Well, absolutely. I mean, and like you said, you know, starting back in in 2007 like you guys, I mean, the world has, has shifted radically in terms of marketing and advertising and an outreach and visibility. It means, have you enjoyed kind of riding now though over the last 12 years or has that been challenging or how have you had to, you know, pivot what you did 10 plus years ago, the what you're doing?

23:47 Uh, that's a good question. I think that the part that

23:55 yeah

23:56 has helped is just realizing that there are certain things you should only do what you're good at doing. Don't spend time doing those things that are on the peripheral that you hate to do. I'm beginning to realize the value of hiring more professionals for the other side of it. Writing the book I had, I never knew there were so many editors that you would have to say what another one. But I was very fortunate to have some great people that it was, I don't know, during I learned that we're all really closely connected in one way or another because the first person that I had do some structural editing on my book, I fully expected her to not understand. When I explained to her what the book was about and I get done and she says, well, I know everything you're talking about. I meant what? I never heard that. And she says, well, a good friend of mine is Lo and behold, Angela profit. She does sports, um, celebrities, weddings in the southeast and she's, I notice keynote speaker at things like wedding MBA or something like that. So I've had all kinds of little tiny coincidences that just made everything fall into place that I'd never thought would be connections to the industry. And thank goodness it's an evergreen topic and people will always need professionals in the wedding industry.

25:57 Starting off in, in kind of getting into this, what, were you scared to kind of make that leap or did you feel inspired to follow this passion or what was, what was it like early on

26:07 I wasn't scared at all. Probably could've used a little bit more fear. I really wanted to learn as much as I could. And one of the first things I picked up was a banquet and events book and just, I went through every single page to just figure out all the ins and outs of like venues, what they required and what people should ask. And I had done it for friends many times that it wasn't like a totally foreign subject for me. But it was, yeah, I should have had more fear, just a little bit more of really realizing that well maybe that wouldn't work too well marketing in that thing. You know, I didn't realize that as an entrepreneur that there are so many people that are just like ambulance chasers wanting to get your marketing dollars and how can you really know what's going to work and what isn't. And it's different for different categories of wedding professionals too.

27:33 Looking back at some of those early weddings, do you uh, like I look back and some of mine and you know, like you said you kind of go into what maybe not having your head all the way on straight or kind of not, you know, I can definitely look back at things and I think I could have done better or worse or you know, different. Do you, do you look back and feel like you've grown at a time? Do you feel, are you able to kind of think back fondly on on early weddings and what kind of, was it like kind of getting started in in and your feet kind of going in the way that you need to go?

28:07 Yeah, I do look back on some and I'm going, wow, I've learned a lot since then and yet I think that if you have your heart in the right place, you're going to do a good job and if you're willing to think outside the box, but just always put the client first and listen like crazy to what they want, and I've got a pretty in depth consultation form that I actually include in the book. By the end of a consultation, I have a good idea of every category of who would be the perfect person that would match their personalities and their vision for their wedding. But F that's just another thing that people don't realize goes into our profession is that it doesn't just happen. You spend a lot of time getting to meet everyone, knowing who their ideal client is and creating a win, win combination.

29:22 What kind of clients do you find in, in couples that you like to work with or that light to work with you and have you a part of kind of their wedding and their debt?

29:33 I think the ones that have been through difficult experiences in life, I just loved them and I have a soft spot in my heart for one soon either been through a rough childhood or diseases or anything like that. I think those people just to have a different outlook on life. I find them to be the ones that give good reviews and the ones that maybe had it pretty easy going, don't always appreciate what you do that I, I try to pick and choose who I work with. Yeah.

30:27 Do you find now, you know, having done this for so long that you just have a lot of referrals that come in or how do you find, have you kind of had the chefs that you find clients over the years just because of kind of the range of time that you've been in the industry?

30:43 Well more and more it's referrals that I think that um,

30:52 it's in some ways they still find it unpredictable and I did take time off for the book pretty much for a couple of years even though the majority of the work was done in about three or four months time. But there's with any book, a lot of prep but it pays off in the long run. Just a lot of organization and I didn't want it to be just my opinion so I wanted to talk to other people and especially the ones that I hadn't worked with too much as vendors, I thought it was important to get in contact with them.

31:38 Yeah,

31:40 I enjoyed it.

31:43 Do you feel like, ah, how, what was your wedding like and you feel like that kind of helps? Um,

31:49 sure.

31:49 You know, direct kind of how I've always set up a better, you know, wedding vendor kind of having gone through that process and kind of did on both sides. Wow. What was your wedding like first of all, and then how does that kind of reflect now how you are as a wedding vendor and relate to the industry?

32:03 Things were so different back then. I don't know if I want to say how many years I've been married, but

32:11 just a few. Just a few.

32:13 Just say that it was okay back then to just have cake and punch and coffee and beds and minutes. Ben, you know it's at my parent's house and then the reception, two doors down at the school auditorium. However, I have always every single piece of wedding cake ever tasted or sampled and sampled and sampled. I compare it to the cake that we had at our wedding. There is, there's only been two that I found that were that good and I have to admit maybe there was an advantage there because person that baked our wedding cake bake the governor's cakes in the state. We were growing up in the capitol city. Yeah, that happens.

33:10 That's true. That's fascinating. Give me a, give me the background of that. That's too funny. Show me in on the details of that. That take? Well, no. How did you wind up getting that? That's funny.

33:22 Um, oh, it's just friends that referred people back then. You know, I just asked around, you know, my aunt actually knew the person that makes the cakes.

33:35 Where did she and where, where did you guys get married? What city?

33:39 Salem. Oregon.

33:40 Okay. And, and the capital of Oregon. So that was the case. And that's 2000. That's funny.

33:46 And I won't name any names except that it was just a good cake and it had all the check marks to check off for good take.

34:00 Do you find, you know, having, obviously I would hope, have you been kind of a joyous, um, you know, occasion and bringing together family and friends? I mean, being able to kind of replicate that for other couples. I mean, I can just see kind of the smile on your face just in general as you kind of talk about what you do. But do you find talking about kind of the fulfillment or are there how you do that for other people? Or do you find joy and kind of giving them this kind of experience that you had and that you've seen other people have?

34:31 Um, my own wedding was rather boring. I just be so vastly different than what I'd want to plan now for someone else.

34:45 Yeah.

34:48 But I do like to see people go from thinking that something is impossible to figuring out a way to make it possible. Maybe with a little bit of a twist or dual purposing on something that cuts some of the money out of the cause. That's just having been an industry. Just knowing things that never cross other people's minds. That's like planning your honeymoon first because those costs fluctuate much, much more than wedding budget expenses, um, for the wedding itself. And if people plan in that regard, they have more money for the wedding.

35:42 Oh, how did you, how did you transition, you know, cause they, even looking at your site here, you know, obviously Wayne's but business, corporate events, you know, birthdays, personal celebrations, anniversaries, you know, obviously, and then celebrations of life. How did you kind of, besides, was it just a natural progression to expand your services kind of out to those other areas or how did you kind of make that, you know, spread that web out in terms of the various services you offer?

36:08 I think that what you have to do a lot of times is do the things that other people don't want to do. Celebration of life event scare some people. And I think because I started my business at age 50 okay, I'm going to give away my age here pretty soon. Ah, you know, you've been through a few things like that and that was part of what I plan to. And believe it or not, those were the most rewarding events for me. The plan, because to make somebody feel better during that period of time and just hear them say, oh, this is perfect or this is exactly what he wanted or wanted, you know, it's, and I still connecting weddings and celebration of life events. I still say that a lot of the weird behavior that we see is usually at weddings and funerals. My theory is that the reason why people get so weird with a wedding sometimes too is that they don't know it, but they're grieving. It's a big change in everybody's lives. France are going to say, Oh, am I losing my friend? Mothers and fathers are going to be saying time is going by way too fast. I'm not 25 anymore. They see their kids grow up, it makes them feel old. There's just a lot of different emotions that go into weddings that I think people don't know what they're dealing with, but I do think it's grief in a different format.

38:09 That's fascinating. How did you get into the officiating as well as that? Just a natural offshoot as well or, or, cause I know a lot of planners in a lot of efficient, it's, I don't know, a ton of kind of dual purpose.

38:22 Yeah. Well first of all, my husband started out doing that and I was doing the planning and he got one bad review and you know, been scanned or whatever. Yes. As I'm not doing this isn't, this isn't worth it. And I said, oh, I don't like the sound of that. So I decided that I was going to a fishy too and he didn't do anymore that I got the privilege. I love it that, yeah, it was just kinda like, well, if you're not going to do it, I am going to do something about it. Kind of like my attitude and a lot of things like nobody else's are writing about this. I'm gonna write about it.

39:13 Seeing the words it kind of married. But do you enjoy kind of being, you know, I think with a planner a little more behind the scenes. Obviously officiating, you're, you know, a little more, you know, in this, in the center of things, right? I mean you're part of the ceremony. Do you, do you enjoy being on both sides or how do you kind of balance it too?

39:30 As a planner? It does come in handy and it makes people get some sense of relief that even if the person that's going to marry them that day doesn't show up for whatever reason that I'm going to make sure they're married and for that reason I request their ceremony so that I can do that no matter what. And it is very funny though to see how you're treated as an efficient compared to a wedding planner. It's night and day. Sometimes I almost have to laugh because when you're an efficient, people are so careful about their language around I'm like I'm going to be the one that slips up on that. Don't worry about it. And it's just a different thing where they have this morning all of what you do or something or they really are on much better behavior.

40:41 Do you enjoy being in front door and kind of being able to kind of run, run the wedding from the other side?

40:48 One thing I like is to be able to enforce the unplugged wedding. I really appreciate from that standpoint, you know like turn your phones off, turn your cameras off, put your tablets away. Because it messes up a lot of things. And like in the book, I dunno, that's my weird sense of humor, but I say flabby arms backsides and bald spots don't make good pictures. So think about it before you get to running into the aisle and blocking the photographer or the videographer shot, they're the pros, you know, let them do their job. And so at least I have a little bit of a sword fish to have some say in what kind of wedding it's going to be like that. Maybe you know, some friend that decided that he was going to do their wedding, wouldn't know.

41:58 Where do you find the most joy in doing I, in terms of just kind of day to day work, where do you find inspiration? Where do you keep getting excited to kind of every day the to do new things?

42:10 Oh yeah. Every time I have a consultation and I get a sense of people recognizing that they want help.

42:26 Yeah,

42:27 it makes it so that I'm excited to help them and that they, they get it. And I guess it's just a matter of giving them ideas that they might not have thought about. I've never ever had a consultation whether it was officiating or for planning, where someone hasn't said, Oh, I never would've thought of that, and I think about that like, okay, on the wedding day, but would it have been like if they didn't know about that, and it's just getting to know people on a different level that you can be perfect strangers and then when it's in a few weeks and a few consultations, you just feel like you've made a new friend and you get to spend so much time with them as a planner compared to most professions that you're bound to get to know them really well and for the most part, 99% of the time it's a good thing. I've found out that there are some professions in particular that if I know that that's what a couple of does, I say, no, you're not my kind of client. I won't say what they are, but they don't quite get anywhere near the creating part of the brain. Then it's just harder to communicate with them.

44:08 What do you wish more people knew about wedding planning in the process and the obviously email, you wrote a whole book on the subject, but I mean, what do you wish this is specifically in terms of like what you do in your role that you wish more couples asked or that you find your, you know, telling people you know more than you know, what do you wish more people knew?

44:30 Oh, I've got a book about that. Oh man, there's so much that they can't help it. You just don't know what you don't know and it's not something that they do every day that has so many moving parts that if I can get them to understand that it's a complicated day and not only that mother nature, Murphy's law, whatever, does not care one iota. If it's somebody's wedding day,

45:14 okay.

45:15 That you have to just get your mindset that we're going to enjoy this day and we're not going to sweat the small stuff because I can't guarantee anybody what the weather's going to be like or who's going to get a flat tire, who's going to show up drunk. I have nothing to do with that, but they have to see reality for what it is and that realize that I'm there to protect them. I'm nuts there to take over their wedding. What I'm doing is to make their day go more smoothly and hopefully they won't have regrets that they might have had otherwise.

46:03 What do you do when you're not working on, you know, all the things that you're doing and what do you do in your free time? What do you do if there is any, what do you do? The find pleasure kind of in your life outside of work, what do you wish more people knew about you, Janice? Personally?

46:18 Uh, it's been a long time since I've taken up some of my old hobbies. I, I love volunteering in my community. That's something that keeps me inspired. And I even had a business coach tell me that I shouldn't do so much volunteer work and I cut some of it out and I realized I missed it too much. And it's what kept me going. It kept me inspired in a different way, but it Gig kept my energy level up. And when I didn't have that know, I think that we all need to get involved in our communities and really be a part of a solution. And like I said, I'm with the international festival and it's the best experience.

47:21 Okay.

47:21 What is the, um, status of the book and is it out? Yeah, I feel like last time I saw we were getting ready or we are picking art are, so where's it at? What's the title? I know we've talked a lot about it, but what is the, the skinny of that if, if people are interested? Um, and when does it come on out and available?

47:42 I returned an edited version of the mockup and we'll designs all approved. And I am told that the publishing takes two weeks and I don't know how long they're going to do for the editing changes that I made, but we're probably looking in July or August sometime for the book PBL and Amazon and a book, an Ebook for him.

48:11 And what's the title of it?

48:13 Oh, it got changed just slightly. It's wedding planning. Dash ex unmasked exclamation mark.

48:25 And it's, and again it's, it's a little you, you went through, interviewed a bunch of different vendor types, Kinda got their processes, why people charge what they do. You know, why certain skills or you know, why you should invest in certain people and, and things like that. Correct.

48:42 Yeah. Did give them hours to just give you an appreciation for what goes on behind the scenes and how much it isn't just fun and games. Like people think they think that a DJ just plays music and that's just something really fun to do. There's an awful lot of work that goes into it and I want them to know that. And I also want people to not try to rip vendors off pretending it's something else that they want. I want him to be honest.

49:24 Cause that was kind of one of the things to this sparked it right? Was The yes. Didn't you to say it was saying if you tell people it's a birthday party versus a wedding and then yeah, that was kind of wet spiraled the whole thing, right?

49:35 Yeah. And that if you drove up to drove up to a floral shop and a fancy car, they would automatically charge you more when you know how hard people work. That was just hard to take. Absolutely. Yeah.

49:52 Well I want to thank you so much for coming on today, like I said, kind of last minute after I cancellation and, and kind of working through the technical stuff that we had to kind of get set up. And I really appreciate obviously you taking your time and you know, this is kind of a wealth of knowledge and years and expertise and it means a lot for you to kind of sit down. And I know we had chatted before and it's going to kind of catch up again and see you face to face, even if it is online here, if people want to learn more about you, uh, Janice and your company and why are you planning and things like that. I'm obviously, we've talked about the book too, but where would you have them go to the checkout about your wedding planning company,

50:30 www.greatestofdays.com And for updates on the book. The Facebook page is probably the best place. That's Greatest of Days on Facebook. So yeah, it's getting really close. I'm hoping that we have a book signing soon.

50:51 Well that would be exciting. We'll have to add a lot to share and keep me posted and we'll, we'll promote it and get the word out there. And I so appreciate your time today. I know it's especially this time of year, it's busy and days off or at least you know, hours off or are very needed. And so I appreciate you taking the time to do this. You know, when it's a beautiful day outside and we're here catching up in line. So

51:13 yeah. Well it's just fun to do things, you know. Hey, we have to turn on a dime anyway. Right?

51:19 We gotta do it! This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro®. If you are a wedding vendor and are interested in participating on the podcast, we do have a link you can go to www.bestmadevideos.com/podcastguest and that's uh, a little questionnaire that you can fill out if you'd like to submit. Obviously I kind of knew you previously, didn't kind of make you go through that, but if you're a new vendor I interested in and kind of participating in this fun experiment, that experiment that we've been working on for the last year and a half, I would appreciate, uh, you taking the time to fill out that questionnaire. We can get started. This has been another episode of Get to Know Your Wedding Pro®. Check back next week for another wedding vendor interview. Thanks so much.