One of our goals here at Photographer’s BLING Magazine is to the bring you the resources you need to take your photography to the next level.
This week we are featuring one vendor per day to introduce you to what we feel is the Best of the Best.
We know as fellow studio owners that when selecting props & inventory for your photography business there are many places to go shopping & the process can get overwhelming. When purchasing additions to our businesses, whether that be props or equipment, we want to add quality items to our inventory. We want things that will enhance our job and our talent and the experience of our clients.
Today we are pleased to introduce you to Sonja Ashe from AsheDesign who specializes in cutting edge template designs for today’s photographers.
Sonja has always loved design. She says she didn’t color in coloring books as a child, SHE DESIGNED THEM! After Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in fine art, Sonja took a job out of college as Assistant to the Art Director at a small design studio. Little did she know that would prove to be an invaluable one-on-one experience with a true master that would shape her future career.
After nearly 20 years of freelancing for larger corporations & colleges, including managing the print & on-air design of a local NCB television affiliate, she grew tired of the conservative nature of that type of design.
How Ashe Design was born:
While this hardly sounds like a way to start a business, she did JUST THAT! Sonja began simply by adding her snow globe template design to places like Ebay. Her original thought was to sell to consumers, allowing them to choose a template they liked. Sonja would customize the text and images and return to them a flattened jpeg image.
Her clients could then print these designs on their own at places like Snapfish and Shutterfly. Sonja quickly realized however that her client base was 90% photographers and a mere 10% general consumers. This was quite a revelation for her and shaped the way she does business today. As a result, they no longer serve general consumers and concentrate 100% of their efforts on professional photographers.
Running a business can be challenging, Sonja says.
“The aspect of my business that I find most challenging is staying focused on the tasks at hand. I find this challenging because I wear all of the hats and can get easily sidetracked when my attention is drawn to the most pressing item at the moment.
I’m also the type of person that is always thinking of ways to do something better. The thoughts come pretty easily; I just don’t have the manpower to execute. My sister says I’m like a squirrel. I call it adult onset ADD.”
Though staying organized and keeping up with the tasks of running a business are challenging, Sonja says she loves running her own business. She enjoys being able to work from home and not having to worry about asking her boss for time off for things that may not be important to him but are to her family.
“ this is one of the most rewarding aspects of running my own business”
Reflecting back, Sonja says she used to cringe every time she had to ask for time off, wondering if her boss was secretly keeping track and worrying that she would miss another important meeting. NOW she enjoys the freedom to attend all her families events, meetings and appointments, guilt free. Whether its a doctors appointment, school function, or an unexpected illness or snow day, Sonja is there for her family.
“Summers are the best. I bring my ice coffee, laptop, kids & dog (notice the order!) to my sister’s house and we design out by the pool while our kids play. We put sunscreen on the kids and build anti-splash towel walls around our computers. For this, I am truly thankful. “
What we LOVED
While we feel Ashe Designs has something to offer ALL photographers, we LOVE & have used her Birth Announcement templates in our studio and we feel her marketing templates makes the business branding process a cinch. They are fun, colorful, stylish & funky, and have consistently met our needs and satisfied our clients.
Sonja’s creativity can be sparked from the strangest places. From the way her drapes hang to an interesting pattern she sees in the wet sand, she sees instant textures and patterns all around her.
She also gets inspiration and excitement when she sees a perfect combination of colors and can envision them together with the perfect texture and font.
“ Combine those textures and colors with the perfect font and you’ve got a real hit. It’s endless really.”
Sonja said she was just born with an inner motivation and passion. She LOVES what she does and can talk about it endlessly, which she often does to her sister Becky. Sonja says Becky is a real good listener and as luck would have it, a GREAT designer.
During our interview Sonja related the following story to me which shows her humorous and loving side.
“As my business took off, it was quite obvious I needed help to meet the growing demand for my designs. My sister Becky, is a registered nurse by trade and an amazingly quick study! She picked up Photoshop very well. The teacher may have had something to do with it too…just saying.
Knowing how to use a monster of a program like Photoshop is only half of the battle though. Possessing design talent is the other half. Little did I know that underneath those scrubs was a very talented designer.
Now for the ironic part…
And it’s painful to admit this to you all…
Her designs sell better than mine.
Ain’t that a kick in the pants!”
Sonja is truly inspired by the photographers she has come to know. She has met some very talented professionals whose work is amazing. She is grateful that they have allowed her to be part of their circle.
She says she admires the work of Stephani Dennis the most. She said very often she will choose one of Stephani’s photos and design a template around it.
“ It’s just so easy when you have great photographs to start with. Her eye for composition is simply amazing in my opinion. Thanks for partnering with me and making my designs look good Steph!
Sonja says she is still working on bringing the balance to work life and personal space. She said her daughter just made a ‘wee me’ character of her the other day which was pretty accurate, complete with a snappy little haircut, bug sunglasses, fancy earrings and a LAPTOP. Her family rarely sees her far from her computer.
What would Sonja LOVE to have- Whats her Dream BLING Item ?
Sonja’s ONE dream bling item would be to have a family session with Stephani Dennis before her own children get much older. She says she is in LOVE with Stephani’s style an would be forever grateful to have her photograph her family. She knows some coordinating of schedules would have to be done though since they are on opposite coasts in Boston-San Diego.
Sonja gets further daily inspiration from the following message which shows the depth to this amazing artist, designer, sister, wife & mother
“Invest your time, don’t just spend it.
Time, much more precious than money, is there for us to invest or squander. Where you are in life and where you will go is largely determined by what you do with your time.
Spend time carelessly and you will pay the price. Invest your time wisely and you will enjoy a healthy rate of return. Those paybacks allow you to do more in the time you have to work with.
Today, please think about what you are doing with your time. Are you spending more than you need to on things that are not productive, inspiring, or important to you?”
Author unknown -but it is taped to her laptop so that she see it
Be sure to visit Ashe Design on Facebook and LIKE her for your chance to WIN some ASHE CASH in our up coming GIVEAWAY!!
To view her on Facebook click Here
To Email Sonja Directly: LLC Ashe Design firstname.lastname@example.org