Last month I had the pleasure of photographing my friend Beth for her new event planning venture Feast & Spectacle. About 6 years ago we were co-workers at a Seattle ad agency sifting our way through project plans and budgets trying to find ways to make the creative team happy and to help the client hit their goals. Now we're in completely different boats and thankfully we've been able to keep in touch through all these crazy twists and turns during our careers. This shoot was such a fun collaboration. We tackled things that we knew we'd be able to accomplish at this phase and dreamt about what we could do in the future (hellooo, styled tables in a giant field), I even managed to sneak in a couple of photos of her daughter, Clementine (my assistant on the shoot) during costume changes. I asked Beth to answer a few questions and share a little bit about her experience of taking the leap and starting her own business. Here's what she had to say.
What made you decide to leave a full time gig and go out on your own and start a new business?
I had lost that feeling of fulfillment, the excitement of new challenges, professionally, and have always had a desire to "do more". I knew that leaving a cushy job was what I needed to slow down, discover what my core values are, and translate my skills and experience into a career I'm passionate about every day, even the bad days. My desire to "do more" has everything to do with pouring my heart into a business that I believe showcases our best selves, connects our true selves to each other in moments of pure joy. It seems a heavy load, but unfortunately there's so much to be sad & angry about these days - I'm just trying to help people have a good time in the midst of it.
Do you have any fears around taking this leap? How do you challenge those fears?
All the fears; what if it doesn't work, what if my vision isn't desirable, and on and on. I try to face them head on by working on my brand, working on different parts of my business, and continuing to tell myself that it's ok to take risks. But it's hard, and some days I just don't want to, and I think it's good to take a beat and come back to it re-energized. I've been so fast-paced for so long that now there's this weird guilt about giving myself time to think and plan! BUT YOU HAVE TO. 'Mostly intentional' is my current motto.
Feast & Spectacle is such a great name! From a brand perspective, why did you choose it and what do you think it conveys to your clients?
I've always pushed against convention in some form or another, so that's what I wanted from a name. But I still wanted to give a nod to the event planning industry in a way that felt fresh and playful. I'm trying to communicate that it's more about the experience you and your guests have collectively, or the feeling everyone walks away with, than it is about the action of getting married or having a party. I also hope it says the brand (and I) have a sense of humor.
In terms of wardrobe and props, do you have any styling tips for other creatives who are prepping their own photo shoots?
Hone in on your brand's personality, or attributes, and pull together what's real and true for those. Come up with elements that feel unique to you. It sounds trite but I can tell you from experience that if you don't know who your brand is, you can scour Pinterest all day long but everything will feel off. I actually started with a completely different vision for this shoot and up until a week before, was trying to pull something together that just wasn't inspiring me (her inspo board is below). I did find inspiration from a florist I was following on Pinterest, and that just set the course for these photos that I'm absolutely obsessed with - it just takes that little spark, usually from somewhere unexpected, and trust your gut. Always trust your gut.
Finding work/life balance is so challenging these days. What things do you do to help you find it?
If someone has figured this out, please call me. Seriously. I have two little kids, and a third on the way...I'm busy and still trying to figure it out. And it'll evolve as the kids get older so balance for me right now is giving more personal attention to my clients and to my family. I'm slowing down, taking on less, really focusing my time and my energy where I want to go in that moment. I'm hoping that by saying it aloud, and writing it down, that it holds me accountable too. But I'm screaming on the inside to go, go, go. It's hard.