One of the things we love best about the work we do is getting to know our wedding professionals. We love to hear about how they got started, why they do what they do, and how they’ve reached their goals and successes. In our newest blog series “Your Stories” we’re going to share some of those stories with all of you.
Samantha & Olga Smith
Blu Velvet Photography
Tell us why you started your business. What motivated you to become a wedding industry professional?
I met my wife a little over 3 years ago and relocated from VA to TX to be with her. She is an extremely artistic person and ran her own photography business part time for many years. Unfortunately, due to her culture/religion she was only able to photograph people in her church. After coming out and breaking free from the walls that were put around her, her creativity has flourished.
I have an extensive background in sales and marketing and we were brainstorming how we could get out in the community to give back. We decided to start up the photography business under a new name and entity with the both of us. We wanted to make sure the community around us knew there was not only a professional photographer available, but one that was body positive and non judgmental.
Having both come from prior marriages, we knew the struggle of finding a wedding photographer, not to mention one that was comfortable capturing a same sex marriage. That is when we decided we would market ourselves so the LGBTQIA community to ensure they knew there was a same sex professional photography company available.
What marketing strategies have been the most successful for your business?
For our business, social media has been the largest marketing strategy. Since we work as a partnership, my wife does most of the photographing and editing, while I handle the sales and marketing. I am an avid blogger on our website; as well as, making sure our social media presence is consistent and updated often. For us, getting our name out there into the community is our main goal and social media platforms have been a huge success for us in accomplishing that.
What systems have you set up in your business to aid your success?
We just recently moved over to HoneyBook for our business and are so glad we did. It allows us to manage all of our clients, proposals and finances in one location. We love the ease of use, but more importantly, the ability to present a professional and user friendly model to our clients.
Moreover, we also have an email database that we keep current to allow our clients to stay updated with any promotions or mini sessions we are currently running. All of our email templates are streamed through HoneyBook now to allow for a quicker and easier response to large groups.
What is one thing you know now, that you wish you’d known when starting your business?
Coming from a background in sales and marketing, along with 6 years as a police officer, I wish I would have known to have more patience. I am an extremely punctual person and sometimes I forget that when our clients are choosing a photographer, they need time to make the decision. On the flip side, our clients always will get a fast turnaround on all communication from us, which they enjoy and often thank us for.
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
In 5 years, we see our business taking off. We love to travel and hope to begin booking some destination weddings that would allow us to capture the beauty of the World around us, along with our clients.