We had the good fortune of connecting with Carrie Holmquist and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Carrie, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I have always been a business person first with a creative flair. My full time job prior to having children was running a marketing department for a small handbag and accessories manufacturer. My job was to listen to what the sales people had to say about what customers were asking for at the right price-point and convince the artistic team that is what they wanted to design. It was challenging to say the least, but I think my practical side spoke to the sales team and my creative side the artists. We managed to come up with beautiful, yet affordable lines of product that did well across different platforms. I started my photography business in 2013 when I saw a need for portraits that both told a story and looked organic. My children were in the entertainment industry as actor/models at the time, and the two professionals who I hired to take their headshots produced oversaturated, commercial looking images. I knew I could produce more organic, honest images, so I bought some better equipment and started taking their head shots myself. I wanted their images to reflect the child who would be walking into the audition with the seafoam green eyes, not someone with oversaturated bright green eyes! I started out working with the agent who represented my children and was put on their preferred photographer list. I also began getting clients through the moms groups with which I was affiliated. I took some classes and joined industry groups so I could improve my technical skills. My client base grew as I was recognized for my patience with young children and my ability to capture milestone family moments.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I have often heard people say that they go into business for the money, but I started my business because of my passion for people. Often, when you start your own business, it ends up getting so big that you no longer get to be hands on with what made you start your business in the first place. I have consciously kept the size of my business in check so that I can personally handle all client contact and photography sessions. I am proud that my brand is represented solely by me and when a client expects a great experience, I am there to provide it for them. I have learned lessons along the way. The primary lesson I’ve learned is that if I have to work hard to convince a potential client they need my services, that is a client who is not going to appreciate what I have to offer them. I would rather work with clients who appreciate me and my professional experience, than those who question me at every turn. I have been lucky to get to choose who I work with and those are the clients who come back again and again.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am a true nature lover and am outdoors whenever possible! I would take my friend to the beach and for hikes on the local trails to be in the wide open spaces. One of my favorite day trips is going up to Santa Barbara. The choices for home-grown restaurants and wineries are abundant and it is a town that is easy to enjoy on bicycle too. People are friendly and you get a wide array of ages and backgrounds.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to thank my husband, Brett and children, Avery & Grant for always being my biggest fans. Against their true interest, they have been my models time and again. They also sacrifice family time on weekends since that is often when I am with clients. They support me and my creative and business endeavors unconditionally.