We had the good fortune of connecting with Molly McCauley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Molly, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I always envisioned myself working in fashion. My undergraduate degree was in design, retail merchandising, and photography — and I studied and worked in London. After landing in Los Angeles in 2007, I worked in the industry briefly before realizing I truly wanted to pursue photography. In 2009 I started my MFA program at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, and because I had a part time job in the wedding industry, wedding photography kind of chose me. I love the wedding industry. I love the fashion aspect of designer bridal, and ultimately I realized it takes a certain type of person to thrive in the wedding world, and I feel lucky to be one of those people. So while there was no thought process regarding wedding photography in particular, it was more of a gut feeling to follow what I thought would make me most happy, and I’ve been taking chances and building my business for the past 11 years. Molly + Co has evolved into a luxury, destination wedding photography business for couples that are fashion forward, design driven, and want both themselves and their guests to have a truly unforgettable wedding experience.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I grew up in a house of creatives. My mom was an art teacher and goldsmith, my sister was a great drawer and has worked in event design, now shifting into interiors, and I was always encouraged to be creative. Because of some slower learning abilities, I always thrived in art class, or anything that had to do with presentations or projects. Naturally, I gravitated towards that in college as well. In a business and profession where you can be self-taught, I’m most proud of the education and training I pursued. My undergraduate program was strictly black and white film, and I worked for years in the darkroom. When getting my MFA, I was trained to really understand the technical aspects of photography while honing in on my fine art and creative side simultaneously. Going through graduate school taught me how to be proud and defend my work, and to truly develop my own style, even if it was different from everyone else. And now, in my business, I’m happy to have brought medium format film back into my life and work over the past year as a hybrid wedding photographer. There is a perseverance that is needed to build a business as an artist, and it can be tough, because everything is subjective, but I’m proud to have faced each obstacle and challenge head on, and with hard work, come out stronger on the other side. Nothing this meaningful and that requires so much energy ever comes easy, but in my case, it has been worth all the effect to be truly happy in my life and career.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
It’s funny, my answer to this when I first moved to LA and my answer to this now is so very different. When I first got here (14 years ago), I would say all the trendy spots like Venice Beach and The Grove or The Standard in DTLA, and now I’m just so much more laid back. For friends that are visiting for the first time, I always love to take them to the Griffith Observatory. It truly is one of the best views in LA, and just has such an imprint on people. Most friends or family that visit, will now get more of a locals vibe with spots off the radar a bit. Some shopping at The Row DTLA or lunch and a margarita at Chicas tacos. I’m a fan of rooftop movies too, especially during the holidays. I live near Kenneth Hahn State Park, and I’m always amazed when people in LA do not know it exists. It’s 70 acres of trails and nature, and we usually spend each morning there walking our dogs. A few of our favorite restaurants are R+D Kitchen in Santa Monica, and Jackson Deli in Culver City for the best sandwiches. An LA favorite of mine is the Pantages Theatre, and I see as many shows come through as I can.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
MAJOR shoutout to my coach and friend D’Arcy Benincosa who helped me make some major shifts in my business and mindset over the past 12months and ultimately help reshape my business into what it is today. I’m so grateful for her insight, guidance, and encouragement.
Other: Education Website: http://education.mollyandco.com/
all photos by me