So a few years ago you decided to leave the Bay Area, why the move to Tulum? & What is it like for a Bay Area girl to move her life to Mexico?
Ah, love this question. Why the move to Tulum- well in short, I was in need of a major life change. I will forever love California and the Bay Area specifically, but after 14 years there, I was ready to make a big move and challenge myself. It’s the only way we grow, right?
My intuition said to move to Tulum and once I made that decision to go, everything fell into place so easily. I believe it was 7 weeks later I was packed up and moving to Mexico. One of the best moves I’ve ever made.
The change was hard at first. I didn’t know a soul in Tulum. I was starting all over from scratch with zero support and a lot of frustration in a new country. I did wonder in the beginning if I had made a huge mistake. Career-wise, it was a really tough move as I was also starting over in not 1, but 3 new markets simultaneously- (Tulum, Miami and LA). I was exhausted!
Life here is good though. I love being so close to nature and surrounded by so many other people from all over the world who are on a similar journey. The rat race doesn’t exist here, and although I still work more than most, I’m able to more fully relax in Tulum. It’s a wonderful place to come home to after traveling.
There is also an endless variety of classes and workshops all day long offering yoga, sound healing, breath work, sensual exploration, embodiment, and all things metaphysical. The woo woo in me is in heaven here and I think this place lends really well to the work that we’re doing with our clients. It’s a place to heal.
What does your typical day look like?
My day starts with coffee and some relaxing time while I wake up. I’ll practice a combination of positive affirmations, meditation with crystals and Kundalini or Vinyasa yoga at my favorite yoga shala down the street.
After yoga it’s go-time with work. Lately this mostly consists of designing albums, ordering products, answering emails, writing and social media. (When I’m not getting to photograph clients of course).
Into the evening I’m typically meeting friends for dinner, hitting the gym, or relaxing with Netflix, tea and my kitty.
Tell us about your experience as a Fempreneur and if you could go back, what advice would you give yourself when you were starting your business?
Whew, it’s been a roller coaster for sure.
Truth be told, I didn’t know what on earth I was doing in the beginning. I knew I could take nice photos, but I had zero formal education or knowledge on how to run a business. I pieced it all together as I went along and learned SO many valuable lessons. Many of which were very painful and costly.
My first piece of advice to my former self starting out, or to any new fempreneurs, would be to get all your systems in place before you even take on clients. Get organized from the very beginning with templates, workflows and filing systems so that things can flow properly. Once the work picks up there is very little time to get these things in order and you’ll wish you had done it sooner! If you can’t or don’t want to do it yourself, hire someone to do it for you.
Which brings me to my second piece of advice- learn to ask for help and TRUST. Trust that done is better than perfect and that there are so many talented people out there ready to offer support. Do NOT attempt to do it all on your own. I struggled with this for way too long. Invest back into your business and hire help as soon as you can afford to. Do it even before you think you can afford to. Don’t let yourself drown.
Also, if you can, go to business school. Or take some business classes online. I’m speaking mostly to photographers here, as so many of us are focused on creating the art and don’t often have the business background needed to maintain longevity in the industry.
We read your article on how you wound up in Boudoir photography, what has been the best experience you’ve had as a boudoir photographer?
It’s tough to say what my best experience has been. Every client has a story to tell or a journey to celebrate and honestly, every single experience with my clients is such an honor. I wake up extremely grateful to live this dream job every day, getting to empower women as they heal and grow in self-love. The work in fact is healing for me too and I literally can’t wait to start work every day.
If we’re talking best places in the world where I’ve been able to bring my work, I’d say Plovdiv, Bulgaria tops the list. There I got to work with Vera Markova, owner of Revolucia, a zero-waste product company. Vera is one of the most beautiful souls I’ve ever met and that shoot itself was an important part of my healing journey and an experience that came full circle in such an organic way over many years.
What makes you different from other Boudoir Photographers?
A couple things I think stand out…
My clients consistently share with me and others how comfortable they are during their session. I like to think that my background in counseling really helps my clients relax into the experience. It takes some vulnerability to have your boudoir photos taken and being a big empath, I’m able to feel what my clients feel and match their level of energy output and comfort level throughout the process, never throwing more at them than I think they can handle.
The other thing that I believe makes my work different from other photographers is my personal style and aesthetic.
I’ve always been someone that likes to do things a little bit differently. It took me decades to embrace my eccentricity, but now I see it as a major asset and is one of the things I appreciate most about myself.
While some of my work may take on a similar traditional boudoir style to other photographers, I also LOVE to take our sessions outside to places like Bonneville Salt Flat in Utah and Palm Desert, California for a completely different vibe. The desert is my happy place and I think it’s an amazing experience for our clients to get outside for their shoot, take up all the space they want, run, dance and play. Our desert sessions are about thinking outside the box- they’re also about expansion and literally giving women more space to take up, which we desperately need to in society.
Our desert sessions tend to utilize wardrobe that is more unique and artistic, avant-garde even at times. I’m drawn to wardrobe that looks like artwork and you’ll be seeing a lot more of this in 2021.
The biggest difference I’d say though are our multiple locations that we offer: Tulum, Miami, Los Angeles/Palm Desert and the Salt Flat. It’s a lot of work and takes a LOT of extra planning, but I think it’s really exciting to be able to bring our clients to these incredible places. The personal growth opportunities when we’re able to combine traveling with boudoir, is something that inspires me every day. It’s something we’ll be offering a lot more of later this year.
Hope you enjoyed Part 1 of our interview. Stay tuned next week for Part 2 where we dive in further.
If you have specific questions you’d like answered on the blog, please leave them in the comments. We love to hear from you!
For info on our boudoir sessions schedule a call with our Studio Manager Stina below: