Mary and Jamie occupy one of our private office spaces… and a part of our hearts. They are two of our biggest cheerleaders, each attending every event we host when their schedule permits, inviting their friends and family members into our little slice of Lake Worth, and are the charmingly hilarious couple behind Key Moment Films and Calypso Wedding Films. We recently sat down with them in the Studio and asked a few questions related to the success behind their businesses, what a few of their secrets are to maintaining that elusive work/life balance we’re all striving for, and any tips they may have for small business owners looking to make the leap towards full time.
Current mood in less than 3 words
Mary: Stressed ouuuutt
J: Yeah, you’ve got me doing freaking highlights.
How did you discover that videography was what you wanted to do?
M: I found that what I did really impacted my family. I made a travel video; it was right after Jamie’s father had passed away and her mom was able to see her late husband and children over and over again and called me every single day saying how much it impacted her and that I had to do something with it.
J: There is a priceless emotional value. It captures something that you can’t put a price tag on.
How’d you take the leap from passion to full time job?
M: The economy sucked. I believed that anything I put my heart into I would be successful at, and my heart wasn’t in it. I was pushed to do something different.
Jenny: Where did you work before?
M: I was a car salesperson. It was during the recession and I couldn’t sell anything. I started questioning myself and my value. It pushed me to take risk.
J: I left a year and a half ago; I was a behavior analyst. We took the leap – our lives finally lined up and I was no longer on a work visa or tied down to a certain job because of that. My work directly impacted us.
M: Plus, she saw the potential of income, that she could make her own hours and make the same or more with a little less stress.
J: Don’t get me wrong, this job can be stressful, but now we are bearing our own stress, not another CEO’s. I don’t have to experience seeing people laid off – it was a negative and sad space to be, whereas weddings are typically a very happy place.
What’s your favorite part about your industry/your job?
J: Giving people something to cherish and something that is a part of their families. Something unique and special that brings them joy.
M: We all want to make a difference, and yes I make money, but we have a responsibility to capture those moments in a way that is something they will love today, tomorrow, in ten, thirty years.
How has Social House helped you with the way you do business?
J: It gets Mary out of her PJs every day.
M: I do brush my teeth and get dressed most days.
J: It is nice; I spent 12 years in an office setting. Coming here means I have coworkers even if we aren’t working on the same project. It has been nice having a community, getting out of the stagnant environment of a house is always helpful.
M: I really like changing space, it really helps, as opposed to working at home. The ritual of getting dressed and doing your hair puts you in a mind space you wouldn’t normally have at home. I’ve been working for this business for 8 years and this is the first time I’ve been able to come into an office. Just being able to get in a new space and avoid getting in a rut, having such a great place to meet other vendors and clients, and call our second home creates a cozy comfy routine.
J: It is welcoming but not too much like home.
M: When I’m here I know I’ll be productive – and I don’t have to do the laundry or the dishes.
Any productivity tips or secrets?
J: Boundaries and schedules are very important to managing stress and then harnessing creativity.
M: Jamie has really been focused on creating routines. I think that stress comes out of a lot of craziness, granted craziness I tend to create – and routines help alleviate that. Setting boundaries and giving ourselves days off.
Any tips for other creatives looking to start their own business?
J: Take the plunge!
M: It takes a certain type of person to be an entrepreneur. There’s a group of personalities that it works for. I guess the tip: you get what you put into it. You put in your heart and soul, you’ll get that back. That’s the biggest reward – you reap the benefits of what you give.
J: It is a lot of hard work.
M: I think the key to success is you’re just the last person to give up. OK, so there’s way I visualize it: it is like a people mover at the airport. If you stand still you will go backwards. You have to keep moving forward.
Your ah-ha moment?
M: There have been a million. One was deciding that Jamie could work for our company full time.
J: I think another was when we started to really perfect same-day edits. We were able to say this is what we are and this is what we are capable of doing.
Most challenging part of owning your own business:
M: Cash flow. For sure. Everything, especially in Florida, is so seasonal and cyclical.
J: Maintaining a healthy work/life balance. When you work for yourself it can completely consume you and you don’t realize it. It is critical, especially in a creative field. I see the importance in creating schedules and for us to maintain that. It is super important. If you don’t have that you’re not in a healthy head space and you’ll never be able to really free your mind and focus on something new or what you need to be working on. I worry about all the technical stuff on shoot days and that frees Mary up to be completely creative the day of. She is able to get her “stalker shot”, you know when you see videographers hiding in trees, and not worry about equipment being packed up that day.
Most rewarding part of owning your own business:
M: I enjoy the challenge. I think the most rewarding part is seeing what you get out of it. It sounds soooo cheesy and mystical but being able to create your own destiny you can make your life whatever it is pretty legit.
J: You just used cheesy, mystical and legit all in the same answer.
M: It is pretty legit!
J: We are very different people and we get very different things out of being biz owners. The best part is seeing what we put into it directly benefits us in some way. Being able to have the freedom to structure your life and how you want it to be. If you want to be a workaholic, you can. Go for it.
M: I took off Wednesday because I was having a shitty day and nobody wrote me up! It was awesome.
Most rewarding part of your week:
M&J: Happy hour. We’re super excited.
J: First Friday, hello, and it is right next door.
M: But seriously, one of our longterm goals has been to get our delivery time better, some videographers take up to one year to deliver. Our goal was to do it in a month and we’re returning now in 6 weeks and we’re so close! We’re not compromising quality, we’re just reworking our schedule and making sure it gives us time to focus on editing and moving forward.
What’s something that has happened while owning your own business that you never could have planned for or expected?
M: Becoming a successful entrepreneur really empowers you – especially being a female. I have a trade and craft that will always be mine. You gain so many skills related to your craft and feel so much empowerment.
What do you wish more people knew about you?
M: Something that is fairly new, but we do more than just weddings. We’re taking those skills and applying them to a commercial aspect. We do commercial work and it is incredibly valuable to use video as a marketing tool.
J: I’m super chill. I’m not scary!
M: She really isn’t! I’m more intimidating. My team [flag football] says I can be very intense and intimidating. But I’m always coming from a good place. I’m intense; I get it.
J: You’re passionate.
M: I’ve just made the mistakes and don’t want to see others make them when I already have!
Your dream job:
M: Millionaire. Doing nothing at all. If I had a gazillion dollars I would do more charity work. I would love to spread girls flag football around the country. I believe that playing contact sport, especially as a female, helps you understand what your body can take physically and what it is capable of. Being a female athlete has so many benefits.
J: I just want to sail. Captain of a sail boat.
Your favorite piece of work or project:
J: Favorite couple probably Blaire and Ed, I liked their vows. He promised to take care of her as much as he takes care of his patients.
M: You still get teary eyed when you talk about it!
J: I really do, but it was just so sweet.