Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in photography but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kevin Tseng, Creative Director of Âme Collective Inc., located in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are a creative wedding company that uses photography, videography, and design to document wedding stories. Our customers are couples who have a story to tell, and they tell it through the journey of their wedding.
Tell us about yourself
Even before finishing film school, I knew there was no chance that anybody would be paying you to make a film right out of school. I turned to the wedding industry for just that: to work with paying customers who will pay for you to make art out of their story.
After working in a wedding studio for some time, I finally took the leap and started my own business with a partner. The goal was simple: to carve out a niche in the field of wedding storytelling. With my narrative background and documentary work, it was clear to me that the niche was to find clients who wanted more from wedding videos than what the industry had to offer, which at the time was heavily geared towards a refined representation of what a wedding appeared to be. Instead, we wanted to focus on the people at the wedding, follow the journey they took to get there, and present them in a heartfelt and genuine way.
We are now six years into the business, and I am motivated every day by the couples who trust us to tell their story and engage in our process of bringing those stories to life.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
One of my biggest accomplishments as a business owner is knowing that we've established a reputation in being a leader in the field of wedding storytelling. We do little to no marketing and have built a clientele based entirely on word of mouth.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things for our business is in building a team and keeping them close in a remote work setting during the pandemic. Wedding work consists mostly of freelance contracts and non-salary pay, which have been difficult to attract long-term commitments from talented workers. But the people who do stick around are gems who love doing what they do, and you do your best to hold onto them.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Know your industry and what you have to offer.
- The more you, you are, the better. You can't be who you're not. Stay true to your vision.
- Invest in people, and make sure they feel appreciated. They will pay off in spades.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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