Rapid Fire Interview: What to do when life shifts you
How does faith play a role in your business?
Love this! We are a homeschool family of five and self-employed and faith is a HUGE part of our family journey. My husband was a worship pastor and a youth pastor before Covid, now we are volunteer young adult ministers and leaders in the children's program when we can. We met at Bible College and we always vowed to raise a Godly family and to make Jesus the foundation.
What do you do in a sentence or two?
We do a little bit of everything. We build tiny glamping wagons, make home decor, reno homes, rent our studio space to local creatives, coach photographers, wrangle children and mentor other young people in the local area.
What three things are you good at in business?
1. Encouraging others to start a business, give them the tools to maintain the business and think outside-the-box with creative and cheap marketing strategies to stay busy all year.
2. Creating content through photo, video, graphics & social media and other mediums to tell stories and connect with audiences
3. Knowing a lot about a lot of different kinds of things so that I can mentor, teach and train creatives with processes, tools, tips, equipment and more.
What have you accomplished- what is your story?
I started shooting photography for friends and family from the knowledge that I gained from watching YouTube videos in 2011 with a $400 camera from Amazon in 2011. The first year, I carried my 6 month old daughter on my back to work everyday- shooting events, nonprofits and weddings.
We became a licensed business in Chesapeake, VA in 2012. We have added videography, an event photobooth, social media management, marketing & graphic design to our list of services that we taught ourselves.
We have shot over 55 wedding, 100 family sessions, countless other seniors, headshots, products, food and events over the last 10 years.
We worked with an average of 14 to 20 different brands and small businesses each year- creating contact with them each and every year through graphic design, websites, marketing co suits branding and logos
We have been featured over 70 times on various online publications and we were voted "One of the Top Wedding or Portrait Photographers" in Va Beach in 2016,2018, 2019, 2020 & 2021.
In 2020, after the loss of my husband’s minister position, we started not one but two different businesses for him. He specializes in home renovations, reclaimed furniture creation and tiny homes.
Now me and my husband run four businesses full-time and we homeschool three children. Our house is a constant construction zone and creation zone. Besides homeschooling, I mentor other photographers in the area and my passion is educating other business owners to create and manage successful businesses. We rent out our studio space to the community and host local events and meet-ups
What is something that you have learned in business over all these years?
"What to do when life shifts you."
My life has morphed and flowed through the years- before even getting married- wanting to become a missionary or a music teacher. I landed on teaching. But after a terrible student teacher experience, I decided to get my Master's in Education. I looked for work, but after one month of getting my masters (we were already married at this time), I became pregnant, so no one would hire me.
We worked for a non-profit while our daughter slept in our office and found out that we couldn't afford to live in the DC area. We became temporarily homeless- living in someone's spare bedroom with a young child.
I decided to leave my career permanently and not use my Masters to stay home and be child-care for my daughter.
What an isolating experience. Alone with no one around- no job, no community, no mission.
Then we miscarried. During this dark time- I decided to buy a camera and start learning to take pictures of my daughter. Graphic design was a natural skill since I had a lot of time on my hands.
That year, I was asked to take pictures at an outdoor camp for kids but I had to carry my daughter everyday in 100 degree temperatures on my back.
Then I got three weddings and countless shoots from the parents and staff from the camp. Little did I know that this little distraction coming out of depression and the loss of a child would be my job for the next 10 years and I would never see the classroom again.
After starting a business and raising now three children, we decided to homeschool so that my daughter could have more accommodations since she had behavioral and attention issues as a young child. Any nights and weekends that I would be working would have to come to a hault because of the school work load.
Any dreams that I had had of becoming a top tier producing photographer had to come to a hault too since I was running my self ragged staying up all night editing and raising children during the day time.
So I gave up weddings, photobooths and focused more on the children.
Then 2020 hit and my husband lost his full time pastor job. What would do now? I had left my career, started another career that was actually catching momentum, but I had to give that up to be child care and homemaker.
We had to really trust God in this season of listening and waiting on Him to provide the wisdom, the contacts and works and literally provide our “daily bread” as we decided to start a home renovations business in the midst of a global pandemic. We didn’t know sometimes if work would come or if our phone was going to ring. My photography clients completely dried up for portraits and weddings.
I started switching my business to social media management, website management and corporate media, while building and fixing homes and homeschooling for the last year.
It’s been a crazy journey, but hopefully my story will encourage so many people that the road to “success” is never a straight line. True successes lies when you learn to roll with the punches, morph, change and shift depending on the season.
How can your story Encourage other’s?
Hopefully they will see that God has a plan through it all- that loss and doors closing in one direction DOES NOT mean that your purpose and destiny is lost- it just means that "He is going to do beyond what you can even think or imagine"
Just because you have a "dream" in college about what you think your life will be- who you will marry, how man children- and you don't get it- doesn't mean that you "missed out" or "lost your dream." It just means that God's ways are higher and deeper then we can ever comprehend. We can trust the story- the one that has been written from the dawn of time to now- how we are caught up in the epic story and God is the Same yesterday, today and forever. Hw is the Author and Finisher, so just because we can't see the never chapter, or even the next page, we can trust that He will do what He says and promises.
What my short bio?
I am a child wrangler, a girl boss, a media creator, a business mentor, a professional domestic engineer, Captain of the Hot Mess Express and most importantly- an imperfect but constantly progressing disciple of Christ.
We coach, teach, shoot, set up events and build reclaimed decor and adventure mobiles out of our home studio in Chesapeake, VA all while raising three amazing but crazy children.
Follow our loco lives on our IG accounts: