The Sign Said Closed
Along your journey, no matter where you're at in it, you'll meet people that will have such a significant impact on your life and your business. Those that are well below water and still reach out to help you, those that don't hesitate to help another small business owner. This is not a blog post about being a photographer, this is about being a business owner and the day to day challenges AND rewards that come with it.
Exhibits are a thrill to say the least, they’re stressful, rewarding, time consuming, and costly! You first do what you can based on your budget, because let’s face it, we're not all loaded. And to put it another way, most small business owners don’t have excess cash laying around…we’re more concerned with making payroll, ALL the associated taxes with payroll, operating expenses, filing up your gas tank, oh yea, payroll...etc. But then you get the call, a large and very popular gallery wants you to exhibit. What do you do, say no? Fundamentally, this is a business decision first and foremost. There is nothing that you can do more for your business in terms of growth than to shoe-leather market. I'm not talking about having a website (those are merely parking places) or business cards, I'm talking about getting up everyday walking out that door and meeting people. Quit playing house and get out there and grow your business!
All the questions about the Exhibit start filling your head, what pictures, how many, what sizes, should they be framed/matted, where does that money come from? Just a few of the questions that have been on my mind. Shit, do I even have a cohesive body of work? AND…what the hell do I write for my Artist’s Statement, let alone biography! Bottom line here, it can be stressful…well so is running a business, so get over it and do what needs to be done. Honestly, I didn’t know where the money was going to come from for all of this. I had pretty much resigned myself to believing that my images would not be framed…know how much THAT costs?
On a whim, I decided to go talk with Brent Christensen from Warehouse Framing Supply, another local company here in SLC. I spoke with him once before, over a year ago, when I was looking at putting some framing supplies together for my studio. As fate would have it, it’s another one of those things that I never followed up on. On to present day, last week I drove over to his shop. I pulled up in the morning, went to the front door only to see a sign that read: “Closed”. Not closed due to timing, but closed for good (at least that’s how I took it). I looked in the window and saw Brent standing there in a doorway, I pulled on the door and to my surprise, it was open. I went in.
I pitched him with an opportunity for local exposure and what I was looking to do with the Exhibit. He said, I'm out of business and I've sold all my equipment. I felt that disappointment in my stomach and turned to talking business. I was/am saddened when I hear of a small business going out of business, especially one with over 10 years out there! He went on to tell me his thoughts on why it happened, and without going into detail, I'll just say that my wife and I have also been affected by the same unfortunate reason Brent is closing shop. No, not the economy, others use that as such a crutch! The news was significant because as a fellow business owner you feel the pains every day and one of biggest fears is having to become a papered employee again and going out of business. There are multiple variables that can take your business down, there isn't a big corporation that can absorb these, the impact is immediate and you have to deal with them quickly and decisively before they kill your business.
We talked business for a while and related on that common level and that’s when he said…you know what, let me see what I can do for you. So here’s a business, closing up shop for good, and still willing to put forth the effort to offer a full framing sponsorship for all my prints. Man, that’s emotional for me. Whether it’s a personal connection that we made over a year ago, or one from business to business, it’s still selfless. Brent took me into the warehouse and let me pick from the framing supplies he had left and said he'd put them together and just to pick them up in a couple days. I asked, who should I credit with the sponsorship, and in another selfless move, Brent said, would you mind putting my son's business name on the Exhibit? Brent's son, Richard, has opened a framing business called Tender Moments Custom Framing which will be the named framing sponsor for my Exhibit.
Please join me, along with my local sponsors; Printing - Nichols Photo Lab and Framing - Tender Moments Custom Framing, on Oct 14th at 7pm down at the main Salt Lake City Library for the Artist's Reception. My Exhibit is called: Roping, Riding & The Range: Utah's #Ranchlife - yes, I did put a hashtag in the exhibit title!
Keywords: business, business, nichols photo lab, photography, picture framing, relationships, selfless, small business owner, tender moments custom framing
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