It has been a long time coming. For those of you who have been with us from the very beginning (way back in January of ’09)… First of all, WOW! THANK YOU! But second of all, you have definitely seen some change from our very first days of business. The feelings and emotions and conversations we had while we were sitting at Spoons on January 1, 2009 are still very real to us. It kind of feels like it was just yesterday that we were dreaming about what we wanted to do to live a more meaningful life and hopefully make an impact on the lives of others. It was at that very moment that we decided to take my lifelong dream of owning a photography business and make it a reality. Within just a few hours, we had already sent emails to a few friends and trusted business mentors to ask: Should it be Elizabeth Ryan Photography, Ryan Elizabeth, Bower Photography, etc.? What had the best ring? Ryan quickly drafted up a logo and we were on our way to making this happen.
We were fired up and excited to take on this new challenge. Of course we were both in graduate school and both working full time jobs, but for some reason adding this extra “work” to our plate did not feel like work at all. When we probably should have been doing homework for our classes, we went to the Johns Hopkins library and studied photography businesses and other successful small businesses. We drafted a business plan (and with Ryan’s type A personality it was a pretty solid business plan complete with graphs and charts!). The business plan prepared us for a successful side business in children’s photography! (haha). Within just a few months, after shooting our first wedding, that business plan quickly became irrelevant! Weddings stole our heart and we quickly realized our specialty should be in wedding photography.
Of course we spent the first few years doing everything that we thought we were suppose to do. We designed our website around what everyone else was doing. We used “Elizabeth” because we thought it sounded more prestigious- not that anyone ever called me that! ;) We spent a lot of our time focused on what everyone else around us was doing and little time focused on us.
Gratefully, God blessed us with rapid growth and amazing clients that sparked every ounce of passion in us to keep doing what we were doing! Within 2 years, I decided to leave my “corporate” job and stop taking business school classes to focus on our real business full time. After getting through that busy wedding season in 2010 with Ryan still working full time in the corporate world, we started to dream about when Ryan could make that jump to being full time.
It was at that same time that we realized we needed to make some changes in our business. We answered a lot of phone calls asking for Elizabeth Ryan (who does not actually exist! ;) ). We received a lot of comments on Facebook and other reviews saying how great “she” is at photography. I am not one that takes credit very easily, so it was always so hard for me to see Ryan get left out! He has been 100% apart of this dream and this business from the very very beginning. His support for me to follow my photography passion stems back to high school really! ;) But most specifically, in college, when he helped me do the research to buy my very first digital SLR. So, with our dream to make Ryan full time became more and more clear, we decided to start asking tough questions and plan (as much as one can plan) for the future of our business and even our careers. Making the decision to do a full rebrand was a long time coming.
At the beginning of this year, we dove in! With the help of Lara Casey and Emily Ley (the AMAZING ladies behind Making Brands Happen), we certainly asked ourselves hard questions! We challenged our business decisions and why exactly we were doing what we are doing. We thought about what drives us and how we can make an even greater impact on the lives of others. We set goals for the future and created a plan that will hopefully take our passions and make our “crazy” dreams a reality! It is so exciting to reflect back on how we have gotten to where we are today and to think about what the next few years will hold. One thing is for sure, we are certainly grateful for every single challenge, obstacle and blessing that has been in our path! Thank you for being a part of our journey! Be sure to join in tomorrow afternoon at 12:00 p.m. EST for the BIG launch of our exciting new Brand over at http://www.LizandRyan.com!
Here’s to the amazing past and an even more amazing future!
Stay tuned for the AFTER!