Why I Started My Own Business

Elyse Barton | Plum & Oak Photo
Elyse Barton | Plum & Oak Photo

It's been only a month of full-time self employment, but I get asked a lot why I left my big-girl job, risked the safety net of a consistent income and started my own venture. I must admit, it's by far the scariest thing I've ever done and the most rewarding! Is this what parenthood is like? I'm going to pretend that it's just like that ;)

Somewhere along the road , we get caught up in the tedious tasks and responsibilites that consume our days. We think things like, "Well I have to work 9-5 at a desk in order to pay my bills...", "I have to work for a horrible boss...", "I have to work at least 50 weeks per year at a job that I just tolerate...". And somewhere in the grind, I realized that I was sticking to the concept of "I have to do this, I have to do that." Where was there room for the 'I wants'"? Usually just on my weekends. There are endless reasons why I created Plum & Oak, but here are few of the most important "wants" that I knew I needed in my life.

I Wanted to Add Something Beautiful to the World

It's cheesy and cliché, but sincere and real. I so badly wanted to add something positive and in it's simplest form, pretty, to this world. I didn't feel like I was doing that where I was before, at a desk and working for someone else. Don't get me wrong, you can do incredible things in nearly any position you're in, but I knew I had to pursue my unending love for photography in order to make that happen. I knew I had to foster my creative juices on a daily basis or life would be too mundane for me. Most importantly, I had to create. Creating images was my outlet and I wanted to make it my career.

I Wanted to Add Something Unique to the Industry

In becoming a wedding photographer, I didn't want to replicate what others in the business were already doing. I felt there was a gap in wedding photography, where honesty, authenticity and real images were missing. There are a few photographers out there that are absolutely nailing this, and I wanted to add to this movement in my own way. Less posing, or at least, less unnatural posing. More depth. Less "business" between me and a bride and groom, more real connection. This is my poorly concealed way of saying, I want to be your best friend by the time you're twirling on the dance floor of your reception. No, but really...

Elyse Barton | Plum & Oak Photo
Elyse Barton | Plum & Oak Photo

I Wanted to Work With Good People

"Be a kind human." That's one of my favorite sentences of all time. Working in customer service for many years can take its toll on you...oh boy. It's a funny concept to work in customer service, the fact that this is an actual category of work. But it exists and when you work for someone else, you don't have much control over who your clientele is. At the end of this short life, I want to say I worked with some amazing, hardworking people. Ones that value marriage, creativity and authenticity. I want to surround myself with these types of people on a daily basis. And man, that's hard to find! While I know I can't control this completely, crafting my own business allows me, in many ways, to choose who I want to work with. Maybe not directly, but rather in the way I reveal myself and Plum & Oak's values. I want to support vendors that value professionalism, ethics and ridiculously gorgeous work. And I want to attract those earnest, lovely couples, who value a beautiful marriage over a perfect wedding day. The romantics of life. Because they're out there and I'm sure they are looking for the same type of person in a photographer. (Oh hey, here I am!)

I Wanted to Be in Charge of My Own Brand

Maybe it's the marketing and business background in me, but oh man, I love a solid, real, humanized brand! One that isn't afraid to be a little out of the box, fun or ridiculous, while maintaining their classy professionalism. A brand is more than a logo or a website. It's how you interact with people, it's what you post on social media and it's how you interact with a client on a wedding day. I've dreamt of creating a sincere and relatable brand for years! I want to be all the things I envision in a real photographer: one who will make sure you have a glass of champagne in hand right after you say "I Do", one who works with you to create an engagement shoot for the books, and shimmys (is this a word? It is now) with you on the dance floor (I can't dance, but I try...).

This is all a lengthy way of saying: I wanted to surround myself with good things and good people who value the big picture of life. Plum & Oak isn't for everyone and that is a good thing. That's a great thing! But I know who it is for: the beauty-seekers, the do-gooders and the romantics. Because life is far too short for anything less.

Cocorinna | http://www.cocorrina.com
Cocorinna | http://www.cocorrina.com
c/o one of my favorite and most creative designers, Cocorinna.