97: Carly Romeo, How to Be a Disruptor - the Creative Empire podcast

This episode of the Creative Empire Podcast with Carly Romeo of Carly Romeo & Co is all about how to be a disruptor in your industry! Carly shares how she founded her unusual niche and gives advice for people looking to find what makes them happy AND pays the bills. The trio discuss how to have a mindset that doesn't compromise even when it's hard and/or scary, how to say the unpopular thing, and why we need to be courageous enough to say the things we believe in. Also included in this episode is how to really niche down to your target audience. 


Show Highlights:

  • How Carly found her unusual niche
  • What happened when Carly published her feminist manifesto
  • How to figure out what makes you happy AND pays the bills
  • How to have the mindset that isn't willing to compromise on your values even when it's hard + scary
  • Why she cofounded Catalyst
  • How to hit publish (or say the unpopular thing)
  • How to really niche down on your target audience
  • Why we need to be courageous enough to say the things we believe in

Show Notes:

Carly’s Bio:

Carly Romeo is a photographer, feminist, and serial project-starter. Since graduating from the University of Virginia in 2008, she has been a nanny, record store clerk, barista, Planned Parenthood intern and staff member, fake Princeton student, and member of Gloria Steinem's staff. She's a pure extrovert and though she loves the problem-solving nature of running a small business, she misses having coworkers. Her current projects include running a program called Feminist Camp, being a co-founder of and hype woman for Catalyst Wedding Company, and owning and operating a feminist wedding photography business called Carly Romeo & Co.

Carly’s Social Handles:

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95: Alisha Johns, How to Position Yourself to Do the Work You Want To Do - the Creative Empire podcast

Joining Reina and Christina for this episode of the Creative Empire Podcast is photographer, social media strategist, and founder of LISH Creative Alisha Johns. Alisha shares how to find your own visual style, why you need to curate your portfolio, and how to stand out from the crowd. The trio also talk extensively about how to become an influencer, how to make a memorable and favorable pitch, and what you actually need before you start contacting companies. 


Show Highlights:

  • How Alisha got to where she is now, owning her own agency + working with big brands
  • Why you need to curate your portfolio
  • How to find your own visual style
  • How many followers Alisha had when she started getting contacted for influencer services
  • What you need in order to start contacting companies to be an influencer
  • Why Instagram stories are on the way up right now
  • What makes a good pitch + some fun ways to make them more visual
  • How to stand out from the crowd
  • Why having a physical space that's your own to create in is important
  • What advice Alisha has for someone who is starting out + wants to be an influencer/work with big brands

Show Notes:

Alisha’s Bio:

Alisha Johns is the the color-loving photographer and social media strategist behind LISH creative - a content agency and consulting firm for lifestyle and hospitality brands. After graduating with a degree in Marketing from Virginia Tech, she turned to Instagram to build a creative portfolio for the advertising industry. 3 agency jobs, 3 features in Mashable, and one vibrant community later, Alisha left her 9-5 to work for LISH creative full time. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Alisha now lives in Los Angeles and has done work for major brands including Dunkin Donuts, Method Home, GE and Lenscrafters.

Alisha’s Social Handles:

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93: Rachel Gadiel, How to Focus in on Your Brand Message - the Creative Empire podcast

This Creative Empire podcast episode Reina and Christina interview Rachel Gadiel, Australian Digital Stylist + Writer + Speaker + host of Femme Boss. This episode is all about getting really clear on your brand message and focusing on doing one thing really well. Rachel shares the 3 principles that go into your brand and how to create a mission statement. Lastly, the trio discuss how to find what differentiates you from the rest of your field and include examples of how wedding photographers can find their unique angle.


Show Highlights:

  • Why consistency is important in branding
  • What 3 principles are incorporated into branding
  • Why you need to be clear in all of your messaging
  • How to create a mission statement (+why you need one)
  • How to figure out what to focus on
  • How people can find their unique angle

Show Notes:

Rachel’s Bio:

Rachel Gadiel is an Australian Digital Stylist, Writer + Speaker currently based in San Francisco. Through her blog, coaching and e-courses, she teaches bloggers + creative entrepreneurs how to intentionally create an online space they truly love. She fuses together 10 years working as a Digital Marketing Strategist with over 5 years blogging and creating a multitude of online spaces. Rachel received her training from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and has a Bachelor of Arts/Business.  She is on a mission to inspire authentic living, infused with health + happiness.

Rachel’s Social Handles:

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Episode 87: How to Craft a Business with Intention, with Ali Edwards - the Creative Empire podcast

Reina and Christina interview Ali Edwards, creator of memory keeping products and classes, this Creative Empire podcast episode. Ali talks about always connecting everything she puts out back to her reason why, how she is very intentional in everything she does, and why she prefers slow growth. During this conversation, the trio discuss thinking ahead in launch strategy and share tips on how to authentically share your story with your audience.


Show Highlights:

  • What One Little Word is and what Ali's word for this year is
  • How Ali uses her website to get her customers to focus on certain projects
  • How to create & use a launch strategy
  • How to intentionally create products/classes that matter to you
  • Why Ali encourages everyone to connect with their reason why
  • How Ali's business has evolved
  • What tips Ali has for people wanting to authentically share their story with their audience
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Show Notes:

Ali’s Bio:

Ali Edwards' passion resides in that very special place where the stories and images of life intersect. Designer, blogger, workshop instructor, and author of four books about memory keeping, Ali is well known for authentically capturing everyday life with photos and words and creating memory keeping projects from those moments that pass by in an instant. Guided by simple principles such as not making things more complicated than they need to be, focusing on the things that matter most and embracing imperfection, Ali Edwards is proud to be a work in progress. She believes without a doubt that there's no right or wrong way to do all this, that the real stories are worth telling, and there's a whole lot of celebrating to do even in the midst of the challenging pieces of life. Since 2004, Ali Edwards blog, workshops and memory keeping projects have inspired tens of thousands of people to share their own stories and enrich their own lives through the process. Ali lives in Eugene, Oregon with her two children and their cat George Washington.

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85: How to Collaborate on Styled Shoots, with Shea Hopely - the Creative Empire podcast

This episode of the Creative Empire Podcast with Shea Hopely of Shea Hopely Flowers is all about styled shoots! Reina, Christina, and Shea discuss how to be intentional about which ones to participate in, the etiquette behind asking another creative to collaborate, how to keep the shoots fun, and why to keep them small. Shea also shares what she looks for in an ideal client and what to do when the client's design style is completely different than yours but you really need the money. 


Show Highlights:

  • How florists can travel and work on location
  • What Shea looks for in an ideal client
  • How Shea decides to do a styled shoot with someone + what she looks for in a project before saying yes
  • How to keep the amount of people on-site at a styled shoot small
  • What the process of planning a styled shoot with other vendors looks like
  • What "enough" looks like for Shea
  • What to do if a client's design style is completely different then yours, but you need the money
  • What Shea's best tips/tricks are to asking another creative to collaborate on a styled shoot
  • What everyone should know about making styled shoots fun
  • How styled shoots have helped Shea develop ongoing relationships
  • What Shea hopes to see in the floral design area in the future

Show Notes:

Shea’s Bio:

Shea Hopely is one of Northeast Florida’s most sought-after floral artisans. Her designs are characterized by a creative use of texture, greenery and color.  Shea designs her events with careful consideration to the entire aesthetic – from luxurious linens to specialty rentals, each Shea Hopely event is a custom celebration tailored to her client’s vision. With over twenty years of experience in the industry, Shea brings a wealth of knowledge and skill to her clients’ events. Shea began her career in the visual merchandising department of a large retail store in Jacksonville, Florida. There, she was able to cultivate her eye for design and created custom displays that implemented fashion trends and styles.  Later, she went on to work for several highly acclaimed area floral designers until she began her own company in 2009. Since then, Shea’s designs have been featured in multiple publications, including the Celebration Society, Every Last Detail, and Southern Weddings. She is a regular contributor to area editorial shoots and has spoken and taught classes at a variety of workshops and retreats. Shea lives in Jacksonville with her husband and two children, and has a love of country music and roller coasters. When she’s not up to her elbows in garden roses, peonies, and greenery, you might find her sipping coffee (she’s a recent convert!) and enjoying a piece of her MeeMee’s pecan pie.

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83: How to Use Stock Photos for Business, with Alli Elmunzer - the Creative Empire podcast

Joining Reina and Christina for this episode of the Creative Empire Podcast is Alli Elmunzer, professional lifestyle + commercial photographer and founder of the Turquoise & Palm Stock Gallery. Alli offers great tips on how to use stock photography in your business, including why stock photos are better than DIY'ing it, how to be authentic while using them, and other ways to use them besides social media. She also shares candidly about how she decided to price her membership site and how she increased its value.


Show Highlights:

  • What the value is of signing up for a stock photo subscription vs trying to DIY
  • How to feel authentic while using stock photos
  • How to deal with people who steal your images
  • How branding helped her business + at what point Alli developed the Turquoise and Palm brand
  • Why it's important to be open to change
  • What ways you can use stock photos in your business besides in your Instagram feed
  • How Alli decided to price her stock photography site
  • How she increased the value in her stock photography site

Show Notes:

Alli’s Bio:

Alli is a professional lifestyle and commercial photographer at her studio Turquoise & Palm in Charleston, SC. Prior to opening her photography business, Alli attended law school in Boston and is a licensed attorney in both Massachusetts and Michigan. Feeling creatively uninspired in the practice of law, she took the leap into entrepreneurship in 2009. Her photography accomplishments include features on blogs and in magazines including Grace Ormonde, Style Me Pretty, Joss and Main, and Belong Magazine, as well as book features in the Knot Outdoor Weddings and DesignHER. Most recently she launched her stock photography site, the Turquoise & Palm Stock Gallery, which is comprised of both lifestyle and styled stock photography curated especially for small business owners, creative entrepreneurs, and bloggers.  Additionally, Alli is an online educator and speaker and is passionate about helping other creatives cultivate a more beautiful online presence through photography.

Alli’s Social Handles:

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77: How to Start a Membership Site, with Rachel Rouhana - the Creative Empire podcast

Joining Reina and Christina for this episode of the Creative Empire Podcast is Rachel Rouhana, graphic designer, photographer, and founder of The Styled Stock Library. Rachel reveals everything about her membership site to Reina + Christina, including what made her do one instead of a different business model. She shares what she started with, how she keeps coming up with fresh content, and how she balances retaining customers with selling new subscriptions. 

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Show Highlights:

  • How Rachel got her start in stock photography + how she grew her membership site
  • How Rachel knew she needed help + grew her team
  • What made Rachel decide to do a membership site instead of other stock photography business models
  • How to balance selling membership spots with retaining existing customers
  • How to keep creating new + fresh content
  • How much content to have before launching
  • What stops people from downloading all the content + canceling
  • Why listening to your customers is essential to running a business

Show Notes:

Rachel’s Bio:

Rachel Rouhana is a graphic designer and photographer who helps women entrepreneurs create visually stunning brands to attract their ideal clients. She founded the Styled Stock Library to make it easy + affordable for boss ladies to create gorgeous graphics that get clicks, likes, shares, and ultimately lead to more sales. Obsessed with gold, glitter, and all things pink, you can often find her sipping a latte and scrolling through Instagram for inspiration. Meet Rachel and learn how to add instant glam to your brand at www.hautechocolate.ca

Rachel’s Social Handles:

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67: How to Find Your Unmistakable Style, with Shay Cochrane - the Creative Empire podcast

This episode of the Creative Empire Podcast, Reina and Christina are joined by stylist and product photographer Shay Cochrane. Shay is well-known in business circles for her product photography and she imparts some of her own wisdom about how to find your unmistakable style. She shares how she first developed her style and how she tunes out all the noise to just create what only she can create. With a refreshing candor, Shay shares her views on copycats and failure and how to know what to try next. 


Show Highlights:

  • How to stand out from others in your field + tune the noise out
  • How to boost your creativity
  • How to not let copycats get you down
  • How to find your breakthrough thing that differentiates you from others
  • How to have an easier time bouncing back from failure
  • How to know what step to take next

Show Notes:

Shay’s Bio:

After eight years as a wedding and portrait photographer Shay felt her passion and creativity beginning to wane. After a light bulb moment in Homegoods (of all places!) she made the  almost overnight decision to jump head first into the unknown world of styling and product photography. She deleted eight years of wedding photography off of her website, landed her first commercial client and has never looked back. In her own words, "I have finally found that organic, creative, authenticity that always seemed to be missing in those early years as a photographer. I have found the work that my heart truly loves."  By God's grace Shay is married to her best friend of 10 years, has two curly haired girls and lives in sunny Tampa, FL.

Shay’s Social Handles:

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Episode 63: How to Brand Your Photography Business, with Vanessa Velez - the Creative Empire podcast

This episode of the Creative Empire Podcast, Reina and Christina are joined by destination wedding photographer and intentional brand strategist Vanessa Velez. She gives practical tips and advice this episode for photographers and non-photographers alike on branding and visual strategy. Vanessa curates a beautiful online presence through her website and social media and shares how she does so.


Show Highlights:

  • How Vanessa's background in marketing has helped make her a successful destination wedding photographer
  • What changes she's seen in the photography industry in the past ten years
  • How Instagram has helped her business + how she's grown her Instagram following
  • How knowing the client you want is helpful + how to figure them out
  • What photographers who are struggling to book anybody should do
  • What happens when you have a really strong visual branding strategy
  • What 3 practical tips she has for people to take their client experience up a level
  • What Vanessa's secret is to curating such a visual presence
  • What non-photographers can do to improve their Instagram feed + captions
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Show Notes:

Vanessa’s Bio:

Vanessa Velez is a Destination Wedding Photographer and Intentional Brand Strategist who has a deep passion for the creative business and weddings. She has been documenting events for the past decade and it is a romantic at heart. As a Destination photographer she has traveled to places like Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, New York and Paris. When she is not shooting weddings she is helping creative businesses create brands with intention, that can connect with their audience with authentic and true voices. She is also an advocate for community over competition as the Fort Lauderdale leader of Tuesdays Together. When she is not working you can find her cozy in bed with her daughter eating vanilla ice cream with an excess of whip cream and almonds.

Vanessa’s Social Handles:

53: How Micro Changes Produce Macro Results, with Katelyn James - the Creative Empire podcast

Photographer Katelyn James joins Reina + Christina to talk about making micro changes for macro results. First Katelyn talks about what people normally do when things aren't going well and what they should do instead. They talk about money mindset a little bit and she gives the audience permission to succeed if your heart is in the right place. She also encourages people to align their passion with their purpose, especially if they are just starting out. 


Show Highlights:

  • Why you don't need to take drastic measures when you're not experiencing much business + what to do instead
  • How to form a tribe
  • How it's okay to succeed and make money when you serve people well and give freely
  • Why you need to figure out how your passion plays a role in your purpose in life
  • How to learn your roles in the business when you work with your significant other

Show Notes:

Katelyn's Bio:

Katelyn is a wedding photographer who also happens to love speaking, teaching and blogging educational content for other photographers and creatives! Together with her high school sweetheart she photographs 15-20 weddings a year all over Virginia, the East Coast and beyond! Her work has been featured in magazines such as The Knot, Southern Weddings, Virginia Bride, Eco Weddings, Destination I Do, and Virginia Living. Katelyn has also had the opportunity to speak at various conferences and events such a WPPI, Creative Live, United, Pursuit, Reset Conference, Creative at Heart, Making Things Happen, Rising Tide Summit and intimate retreats. While her heart is in photography, Katelyn also loves her sweet little Bich-Poo Bokeh and her husband Michael, has a deep passion for decorating and loves the Lord with all of her heart!!

Katelyn's Social Handles:

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43: How to Tell Your Story (and why your brand needs it!), with Jasmin Black Ortega - the Creative Empire podcast

On this episode of the Creative Empire Podcast, the ladies are joined by Jasmin Black Ortega who is known for her visual storytelling. Jasmin starts with why your brand needs a story and how to find it. Then she explains how consistent branding plays like a movie with a beginning, a middle and an end. Jasmin goes on to explain how to interpret natural flow of thought to your visuals. Finally she talks about how you don't need to focus on one passion, but can follow your skills and interests where ever they take you, as long as they tell a story! 


Show Highlights:

  • Why your brand needs a story and how to find it
  • Why you don't have to focus on one passion
  • How to create consistent visuals for your brand
  • How to interpret natural flow of thought to your visuals

Jasmin’s Bio:

Jasmin Black is what you call a visual storyteller. This lover of laughs, mother of a fur kitty and wife is an expert at taking your vision and bringing it to life through intentional style while conveying your your story seamlessly. Jasmin’s love for storytelling is seen through her fine art skills as a calligrapher where she beautifully scripts a couple’s love story in a well written invitation to friends and loved ones, as a consultant for creative female driven brands that are looking to communicate their brand story in a way which captures their ideal client’s attention and also as a stylist and creative director working with clients to style their photo shoots for online and editorial publication. After years of traveling abroad and throughout the United States Jasmin and her husband have moved to America in Hickory, NC outside of her hometown of Charlotte where she left her high-level job as a nationally certified American Sign Language Interpreter for become a female entrepreneur and establishing her own company Estudio RoJo. Aside from dance breaks, gummy bears, delicious food and documentaries Jasmin is addicted to helping others listen to their inner creative voice. She is driven to inspire, educate and speak to others about how they challenge themselves from a more positive perspective and seek creativity from within and the fact that she speak four languages fluently allows her to relate and connect to people in a broader way. You can easily find Jasmin listening to music, occupied in her volunteer work or sketching at any time.

Jasmin's Social Handles:

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42: How to Build an Intentional Wedding Planning Brand, with Cassie Cherneski - the Creative Empire podcast

Featured on this episode of the Creative Empire podcast is Cassie Cherneski, a wedding planner and founder of Cultivate Retreat. First Cassie discusses how she does things a little differently and how that impacts her clientele. She talks about rebranding and her inspirations behind the project. Cassie offers a lot of advice in this episode for new wedding industry business owners, including to try to work for someone first before jumping in the business with both feet and how to price your services. She finishes the episode advising them to not be so concerned with appearances on social media. Instead, become an expert in your industry and build relationships with people. 


Show Highlights:

  • Why less inquiries can be a good thing
  • How and why to do styled shoots
  • What the 4 core values of the Cultivate Retreat are and who it's for
  • How to ask for feedback and why it's important
  • How to get out of a contract if it's the right move to make
  • Why social media isn't the best indicator of how well someone's business is doing

Show Notes:

Cassie's Bio:

Cassie Cherneski has been planning and designing stylish events with her company Flaire Weddings since 2005. A 2004 Graduate of Liberty University, Cassie spent seven years teaching English and Drama in a public high school, where she helped inner city students learn to read critically, write persuasively, and perform passionately. Cassie added a boutique rental company, Jax Chair Boutique to her portfolio of companies in 2010, and left teaching to plan and design full time with Flaire Weddings in 2011. Cassie is also the founder and hostess of Cultivate Retreat, an annual gathering of creative wedding professionals that has sought to encourage, inspire and educate wedding professionals through stunning locations, thoughtful design, and a curated experience since 2012.

When not planning events, arranging beautiful blooms, or designing retreats, you can find Cassie with her husband and two children in their 1919 home in Jacksonville, Florida, working on her currently unfinished YA novel, planning for the future zombie apocalypse, or dreaming about her next trip to France.

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41: How to Move Your Business Across the Country, with Shelby Steckbauer - the Creative Empire podcast

Shelby Stechbauer of Shelby Rae Photographs joins the Creative Empire Podcast to talk about how she successfully moved her business across the country. Many creatives may find it difficult for their business when they find themselves moving to a new city or state. Shelby discusses how she overcame this and built her local and online presence. She talks about how to create your ideal clientele and meaningful relationships with people. Shelby also explains how to cater to different types of clients so that they receive the best experience possible.

Show Highlights:

  • How to successfully move your business across the country
  • How to build your local and online presence
  • How to cater to different types of clients
  • How to create your ideal clientele
  • How to create meaningful relationships with people

Show Notes:

Shelby's Bio:

My name is Shelby Steckbauer and I am a portrait & wedding photographer based out of Atlanta & Wisconsin! I am a natural light photographer that thanks the Lord each and every day for allowing me to capture moments in people's lives. I found that my love was not just taking photos... but it was PEOPLE. This job has brought me to meet the most amazing clients & friends that I will cherish my whole life. My passion lies in the moments that I can connect with my clients, whether it be chatting about fashion with my fashion bloggers or planning wedding details with my brides… These are the moments I cherish. I have a little furry office assistant named Miss Lola that loves to welcome each client in to my office/studio with kisses and hugs.

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27: How to Learn From Your Non-Cinderella Story of Entrepreneurship, with Laura Foote - the Creative Empire podcast

For this episode of the Creative Empire Podcast Reina + Christina are talking with Laura Foote. Laura discusses her journey to creating her creative empire which has spanned over the last eight years. She talks about her windy, non-Cinderella story of creative entrepreneurship and how she has grown and changed with it. Laura highlights how people can learn from what they're doing right now, even if it's not where they want to be. She talks about how she has found balance between life and business, and found a sense of community and friendships despite moving across the country. 

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Show Highlights:

  • How to embrace the windy, non-Cinderella story that can be creative entrepreneurship
  • How you can learn from what you're doing right now (even if it's not where you want to be)
  • How to find community and friendships as a creative entrepreneur
  • How to balance different priorities in life and business
  • How to find balance when you're just starting out
  • How to grow and change with your industry

Laura’s Bio:

Laura Foote is a Kansas girl turned Floridian who specializes in branding and wedding portraiture. She has been featured by brands like Lauren Conrad, Emily Ley, and Glitter Guide. Laura holds a Master's degree in College Education and recently made the jump from advisor/instructor to full-time photographer, speaker and mentor! The intersection of learning/teaching/mentoring other creatives is the core of her heart and she considers herself a storyteller who focuses on the real, raw, beautiful life moments that are intimate and worth remembering. Any day that ends with good food, red wine, and conversations that go 10,000 feet deep are the best in her book!

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