Here we are. My third post of what I hope will be many, many steps towards the vision I can see in my head. We are on a roll.
I don’t mean to sound cryptic with what that vision is, it’s just that, well, it’s personal. And it’s my story that I am writing here, so I am going to lay it out the way I want to . Slowly. So that I don’t even freak myself at how daring it feels. I said that already didn’t I?
I did something drastic today.
So drastic, that I can’t turn back now. Black Friday was upon us. And since the structure of the business will be majorly changing, I wanted our last few normal months on the calendar to be full, to go out with a bang! To give every woman that ever dreamed of having a shoot with us a last chance to book it at a super affordable rate. So we launched an incredible Black Friday sale.
Today we also announced that in April we will be raising our prices to start at minimum $1300 for a photo shoot with us. Like I mentioned, I really wanted clients who have wanted a shoot with us, but are on a budget, to have to chance to get in. It’s helpful that I had the incentive of Black Friday, because man was I timid about it. I mean our shoots start at $220 right now. So let me pause to do the math. Ok, so I think that’s like a 600% increase. It was scary. But it was time. I’m excited about the change. And it felt so good to just come out and confidently say it. We are changing, and that’s ok. We are allowed to evolve. I mean we are artists for Pete’s sake. Whoever Pete is anyway.
We sold 135 Black Friday photo shoots for 2017. Almost completely filling the four months of the years calendar for us.
I’m not sure if you can comprehend the stress that takes off my shoulders as a business owner. The obsessing over how to market, and where to spend our hard earned marketing budget, with a full time staff that will be taken care of now completely with bonuses and commission, as commission is obviously important to both them and to me! All while shooting on the regular. I love marketing, SO MUCH, we have taught workshops for years on it. But to know I am entering my busiest season yet and to have that area on cruise control!? Ah. So cool.
This sale brought me to my knees in gratitude. I felt a hallelujah reverberate through my bones. Ha-le-lu-jah. And even more I still had some debt from our big studio remodel in 2013. And these deposits made that far more manageable and then insured a successful first half of the year for our studio. Thank you God.
May I also say “No, thank you.”
No thank YOU, to the few emails I got from people telling us how expensive we are to begin with, and they didn’t even want to pay for an overpriced shoot with us even with this sale. I wrote back and said “Well, I am sorry that you don’t think I am entitled to govern my own life, to believe that I and my staff are worthy of a professional’s salary. I work very, very hard, long hours, and I’ve taken a substantial amount of risks too…..” That’s when it occurred to me. I don’t need to justify myself to anyone. That’s half the reason I am who I am.
Because I believe in my instinct and intuition and I follow it.
And from now on, I think I will follow it unapologetically. For the most part. I deleted my ranting email that I didn’t really ever have the actual intention of sending in response to this client. I also deleted the FB rant in my head that I had equal intention of not posting.
Later that day I had another “Rise” moment that confirmed what I was thinking. I was watching an Oprah Super Soul Sunday, as I often do while I stairmaster it out at LA Fitness. The brilliant musician India Arie said,
“Be clear about your intention and the universe will RISE to meet you wherever you are.”
Hearing her say that, after how much I have been focusing on the word rise, well it’s kinda hippie-ish to say, but hearing her say those words was the universe [God] RISING to meet me where I was. And that I was was on the right track with where I was. It felt exhilarating. It had been a really long time since I felt so excited and alive about my business plans.
All that to say, there is my step number two in the unfolding of my story I am writing. It’s this; we are significantly, raising our boudoir package prices in April 2017. Unapologetically…… but I also must say this…
I have loved the business model we have adhered to for years. At moments, it allowed us to have a big team that felt like a big family, afforded Kimberlee and I to travel and do workshops, while still maintaining a salary from the studio. It opened the doors to us, it created a network of clients that felt like friends. It allowed us all to shoot what we loved everyday. It provided me the opportunity to feel like a real business owner and a legit entrepreneur. To learn an enormous amount about marketing and branding and running a full fledged busy business. Not only as a photographer. I mean, we had 8 people on payroll at one point. I will always be proud of those days. Here’s a little glimpse into the past if you weren’t able to be a part of it with us, as SO many awesome photographers and clients were.
I have big, big plans for the future. And they don’t just involve boudoir. I mean they definitely will involve boudoir, that’s my first love. But it’s going to be more of a production (that’s the first hint) than what it has been. I am eager to explain more in future posts and have my site evolve more and more.
2 things I will leave you with:
You may have already seen it, but here’s a blast back to a few months ago, our Black Friday Video
The India Arie video that I just love. Please watch it.