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1) What is the very first prop you made?
Give us some details… and looking back at it now…
Oh.My.Goodness. The very first prop I made was for Heather Lynn Photography, way back in 2009. It was a crocheted hanging sling. I worked for hours on it. Thankfully, it worked. Looking back on it now, I can see a hundred different ways I could’ve made it better.
2) What got you into the photography prop vendor world?
Heather Lynn Photography. We belonged to the same message board and became friendly outside the group. Conversation turned to her photography. That of course led to the topic of knitting. I offered to make her a couple of items. Things, just took off from there. I was extremely lucky to hook up with some fantastic photographers. They are to credit for my success. I wouldn’t have gotten off the ground without their advice, and help.
3) Share some love… please name your top 3 professional photographers who you love working with…
This is an unfair question. It would be impossible to limit my response to only three.
I work with a ton of great photographers! I will give you four, these women are not only superb photographers, they are also terrific women. I am blessed to call them friends.
Gina, from Peahead Prints.
Keri Meyers Photography.
Amanda, from Pumpkin Pie Photography.
And, of course, Tracy Joy Photography. Tracy is the hardest working, mom, wife, photographer, business owner, blog writer, awesome camera bag designer…. The list is endless. Tracy, however always makes time to check in with you to see how YOU are doing, and what SHE can do to help. JoCo <3’s Prop Insanity.
Again, there are so many more photographers I love working with! I could write a book for you.
4) Let’s have fun… any extraordinary talent, or obsession, that you’d like to share with us? IE: can you touch your tongue to your nose, or do you snowboard, maybe run marathons or like to mow the lawn in your bikini ?
Hummm, obsession? I am a yarn hoarder! That, of course is a given. Okay, I am ashamed to admit; I am a smut book lover! I love to read. In the last year, I have read over 200 books. I have been know to pull an all nighter reading, when a favorite author has released a new book. I have no talents! Actually, my talent is clearing out the house when I am cleaning, and listening to music. As soon as I start singing along, off key, the kids and husband run! LOL. Have you ever heard a dying hippo? That’s me.
5) What are all of your shop links, so we can cyber stalk your goodies and shop often! ?
6) Tell us about YOU… personally. Are you a wife, mother, sister friend. Do you enjoy sports, wine tasting, avid book reader. We’d love to get to know YOU better…
( I suck talking about myself, lol)
I live in Maryland, with my husband and four kids. I am originally from The San Fernando Valley, California. Anyone familiar with CA. knows, I am a “Valley Girl”. I went from beaches and The 405 traffic, to a farm. First, I am a mom. I am blessed with four beautiful, smart, healthy children. I am married to my best friend. Truly! I know people say that all the time, but, let me tell you, this man is a saint. He supports me when I am neck deep in orders, and the house is falling down messy, around me with a smile and an, ” I got this”. He must love me deeply to put up with all my crazy!
My husband and I ran our first Savage race in 2013, we just completed our second race in October. This time, we brought our 16 year old son along. He ROCKED IT!!! His, cross country team, just went State finals, earlier this month. He placed 24th in the state!! My oldest daughter is getting ready to leave for boot camp in April. GO NAVY! My two “littles” are the source for humor in the house. My 10 year old daughter, thinks she has her own reality TV show, I swear that kid loves to ham it up.(though, she has my singing ability, dying hippo, remember?) My six year old son, my baby, still tells me every day that I am a “beautiful mommy” and he will “always be, my baby boy” I love that kid! That’s us. A wonderfully boring, everyday family.
7) *Favorite Prop Image
8) Any fabulous formative info you can “share” with fellow vendors who are just starting out? We could always use inspiration… so we’d love a “pep talk” !
I am NO expert!! This is a hard business. Bottom line; it is about who you know. You can have a great product, but if it is not being photographed well, by a well known photog it is hard to get exposure. The social media fads change so fast. Flickr used to be the best way to get your product out there. Facebook was also a great tool. Those of us, who worked our rear ends off to gain fans in the thousands, now, no longer have the full audience of all those fans. I too, am just now rebuilding my business. I took a year off to spend much needed time with my family. I worked most of 2009, into 2010 building my business with long hours. Networking, blogs, giveaways. I must have giveaway more then I sold, in the beginning. I worked, 2011-2013, all day, seven days a week. I was so grateful for the success of JoCo and love what I do, however, it came with the expense of my family.
I am starting over from square one. My advice; know your craft-make a high quality product. Get “in” with a well respected photographer. Know your audience, and stick with marketing to them. Know how to price your items. It is a balance, pricing your items accordingly. You do not want to price yourself out of the game, however know your worth!! If you price yourself too low, in the long run you are hurting your business.( Don’t forget about the small stuff you have to factor into your price; packaging, labels, printer ink, tissue paper, stickers…. it all adds up.) Customers will often look over items that are priced “cheap”. Stay out of photog message board drama. Come on, you all know what I am talking about. Sometimes, it is hard to do. It might not seem like it, but it is a small community. Back too, “it’s about who you know”. Don’t fall into my mistake; all work, no play. It is SO hard to say, “no” to a rush order or work all weekend long to get caught up. You need time for you. Everyone understands. Oh, and have fun! Stick with it. If you are new to this, only a couple months or six months in, it takes time.
9) How did you “name” your prop shop? We love to hear how all of these creative shop names came to be…
Creative? Not mine. LOL JoCo is short for Joiner Company. HAHA. Boring I know. When I opened my Etsy shop I needed a log in name. I went with something easy, JoCo6. (There are six people in my family) Real, original! I didn’t realize I couldn’t change it later. So, JoCo stuck. Looking back I was so clueless! I should’ve come up with something fun and unique.