We had the good fortune of connecting with Jason Trac and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jason, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My wife Taylor and I got married a few years ago. Like any other happy couple planning for their big day we started off bright eyed and bushy tailed, excited to tackle the monumental task of putting together this special event. We quickly learned that wedding planning was not as glamorous and fun as we thought it would be. In fact it was incredibly time consuming, cumbersome to navigate, and downright stressful at times. The number of options for us to choose from for every aspect or detail of the wedding was almost overwhelming. On top of that, it all felt so expensive! – vendors would charge exorbitant amounts for every add on / extra we needed or wanted! As we reflected on the planning process after the wedding, we thought to ourselves, there has to be a friendlier and more cost effective way to do this. From there we decided that starting a business would be a fun way for us to help others in the same situation. The big question was, what kind of business? We kept asking ourselves, how do people remember big events or happy memories in their lives? and the age old adage of “a picture is worth a thousand words” kept coming to mind. “Pics Or It Didn’t Happen” was born from there and the rest is history.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My family did not have a lot of money growing up and finances were always on the mind. My mom always pushed me to work hard, do more than everyone else, and excel in whatever area I could. She believed that putting in the work over time would eventually pay dividends. While I was in school for my undergrad, I felt pretty lost and didn’t know what I wanted to do long term as a career. All I knew was, I needed something that involved interacting with people and not being stuck in a cubicle all day staring at a screen. But it was hard to give it much more thought than that because I was always so busy studying, working, and being a typical college student. When I finished school I lucked out and fell into a Human Resources job (and before you say it, no it’s nothing like being Toby in the Office!) HR is a highly complex field with a lot of different sub disciplines and more importantly lots of human interaction. As I progressed in my career I learned a lot about working with people from all walks of life, becoming a facilitator to make things easier for a business, customer service and professionalism, and most importantly how to create win-win results. But my mom’s comments always sat in the back of my head and I constantly asked myself, can I do more? Those thoughts prompted me to go back to school to get a master’s degree and HR certification, I picked up a second job as an adjunct instructor at a local college, and I always dreamt of starting a business of my own. I worked on all of this while trying to balance a full time job, budding relationship, commuting in LA, and dealing with all of life’s surprises that were thrown my way. It was and continues to be a lot of work juggling everything and managing my time has been very difficult. But when the idea and opportunity to start a business came around, it wasn’t something I could pass up. So I took a deep breath, did my prep, and dove head first into it and have not looked back ever since. I think the biggest lessons learned from all of this is, 1) you can always do more even when you think you’ve hit a ceiling and 2) grit is an important part of success. Pics Or It Didn’t Happen is a people first brand that’s focused on amazing quality, customer service, and value. We always have our client’s best interests in mind and we’ll always outwork our competitors. We don’t mind doing the heavy lifting on our end if it makes things better for our clients – in fact we prefer it! When you’re happy, we’re happy. When everything goes well for you, that’s a win for us.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Los Angeles is hands down the best city in the world and one of the most interesting places anyone can ever visit. The weather is awesome all year around – where else in the U.S. does the sun shine almost every day? If you’re feeling ambitious (and don’t mind sitting through some traffic), you can go surfing in the morning, snowboarding in the afternoon, and end the day camping under the stars in a forest or desert. We have every kind of food imaginable to cater to every taste bud. Our city is the ultimate melting pot of culture and there’s always something to do or fun (trouble) to get yourself into.
If you’re coming to LA for the first time, you obviously have to visit some of the classic tourist attractions: Griffith Observatory, Santa Monica Pier, Hollywood Walk of Fame, and Rodeo Drive to name a few. You should definitely try to attend a sporting event – let’s go Lakers!, go to an amusement park like Universal Studios or Disneyland (not technically LA, but close enough), or catch some great music at the Hollywood Bowl. Definitely find time to have tacos from Leo’s Tacos Truck, brunch at Republique, or a nice dinner at Bestia. Drinks at The Bungalow – Santa Monica or Seven Grand are always great.
If you have more time to chill and explore, there are tons of interesting local LA spots like: the Venice Canals, The Last Bookstore, Mosaic Tile House, LACMA, Watts Towers, and the Sunken City. The San Gabriel Valley offers a wide assortment of every kind of Asian cuisine you can think of and it’s all bomb – check out Mama Lu’s, President Thai Restaurant, or Shin-Sen Gumi. If you’re not feeling Asian, The Standing Room (in Redondo Beach), Bludso’s BBQ (LA), and Rose City Pizza (in Rosemead) are also great. Enjoy some drinks at Clifton’s Cafeteria (and the secret tiki bar – Pacific Seas) or Boba Fiend (for that sweet sweet non alcoholic Boba fix)!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There isn’t one specific person, group, organization, book, or etc. that I would dedicate this shoutout to, BUT there are many people that deserve more than just a little credit and recognition in my journey. None of this would be possible without the help and support of my family and friends. The saying goes “it takes a village to raise a child”, well this business is my baby and that village is the support system that I have around me. Everything that we’ve accomplished thus far, from the design of the logo, to booking my first event, finding other small businesses to partner with, referrals to new clients, and much more is because of all of the amazing folks that are in my life! I couldn’t have done it without all of them.
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