Entrepreneur to Watch: Elizabeth Kowal and Kim Mallory of ADORE pictures
Moms Kim Mallory and Elizabeth Kowal each run their own photography studio, Kim Mallory Photography and White Album Weddings. But when they saw a need in their community for something new, fresh and convenient and ADORE pictures was born.
What inspired you to start your company?
Kim: I am a custom photographer and my clients tend to budget for my services every 1-3 years. I was turning away a lot of smaller jobs because I was busy and I started asking myself, where do people go for those in between sessions, something that’s quick and easy? It got me thinking that a new type of studio was needed to fill the gap between what I do and department store studios – something modern and affordable. I called up my greatest ally, Elizabeth and ran my idea by her. We got really excited about it and pitched it to our husbands and they were quick to jump on the band wagon too.
Elizabeth: I have been photographing weddings with my husband for the last 9 years and we noticed many of our clients coming back wanting baby and family photographs. This was a whole new market for us and far more than we could offer at the time. Kim and I had been wanting to work together on a project and the idea of a retail studio was one that excited both of us. Knowing that there was a niche that we could fill we decided to run with it! We put our heads together and after months of planning and countless hours of work ADORE pictures opened on October 1, 2009.
Tell us about ADORE pictures.
ADORE pictures is a retail studio located in downtown Chilliwack. ADORE offers fun, fresh and affordable photography for everyone! With session fees at just $29.95 and no obligation to purchase it is virtually risk free. The studio is set up to accommodate new mommies and families with kids and furry kids. Each session is 30 minutes and images are viewed following the session. Clients are offered tea and coffee, kids are happy playing in the playroom and there is a private mother’s room for changes and breast feeding. ADORE shoots product photography and headshots for actors and realtors too. Our products include print packages, digital images, custom cards, collages and mounted portraits and photo jewelry. We also sell hats and tutus in the studio.
What’s your vision for your company?
When we started our business plan our idea was to create a photo studio that we could franchise. With this in mind we created a strong brand, and a business that we are able to duplicate to give someone the tools needed to own and operate their own photography studio. Every community needs a place to go for convenient and affordable photographs that are modern and fun.
What excites you about what you’re doing?
EVERYTHING! It’s wonderful to have a great staff and a great concept. It’s amazing when people walk into ADORE and comment “Are there more of these?” We are seeing our vision turn into reality and it’s so exciting for us. We’ll never forget when we put the finishing touches on the store the night before opening. We stood out front on the sidewalk looking into the windows and we were in awe of what we had done and what we could achieve together as a team. The sky is the limit!
What are some early examples of success?
We are six months into it and getting great reviews from clients and many of them are returning already! We are fielding franchise enquiries and everyone seems to know about ADORE pictures and what we’re up to and they are very supportive. The word on the street is that it’s a great place to go.
Tell us about some of your challenges.
Of course juggling family priorities, two studios, clients, marketing and everything in between is a challenge for us. We need to remind ourselves that it’s okay to take a day off, or be sick or just do nothing or we don’t stop working. We are lucky to have husbands who support us and are able to be there to help with the family and household! Our staff at ADORE are great too and give us the support we need to ensure that the studio runs smoothly!
What’s next for you?
We are in the process of determining if it’s the right time to hire a Franchise Consultant. Things are happening a little quicker than we expected and we want to be prepared when it’s time to take the leap into selling our first franchise. We are also both taking a month off this summer to travel (and maybe scout out some new locations along the way!). We are super excited to have a much needed break. It’s been a crazy ride!
www.adorepictures.com | Twitter: @ADOREpictures | Facebook
Way to go Kim & Elizabeth!! Great article. 🙂 xoxo
Thanks for the post!