So welcome to the Sparky Jones Indie-Preneur interview series!!! YiPPY HOORAY HURRAH!
Each month there will be exciting new peeps for you to meet (our 1st one was with Upper Bench Wine + Creamery ) and hopefully these tales will inspire, invigorate + provoke some daydreams into action!!
Anyways....today i'm introducing you to Jarusha Brown, a lil lady that i met many moons ago at the rock climbing bluffs in our lil town funny enough. She was a friend of my then boyfriend + naturally being in my insecure early 20's i was weary of this broad! She was naturally gifted(annoyingly so!) at any extreme sport she desired, cute, super smart + down right hilarious!! The years past, we ended up at the same art school :: Alberta College of Art + Design and becoming roommates! And this is where I got acquainted with the other amazing side of Jarusha....the creatively driven talented side!
So we carried on in our busy lives on different paths but managed to catch up here + there, in fact we spent a lil time together just recently for a special lil project (AKA a Father's Day present)...so i thought it would be the perfect time to hit her up for some nitty gritty about her crazy adventurous life, so without further ado ::
Meet Jarusha Brown
So firstly ,’Jarusha’ is a pretty uncommon yet fantabulous name to have, what’s the story?
It’s an obscure Old Testament name. My parents won’t admit it but they used to be hippies - they nearly named me after a cloud formation.
Okay so all we know.... is that you are an indiepreneur with a wonderful name! How about you fill us in on the rest….
I came out of high school in Penticton wanting to be a mountain guide but after going to school for that for a bit I realized it was something I enjoyed for myself and didn’t want as a job. I spent some years climbing, and ski bumming around then decided I would go to South America and find my purpose in life. After 3 months in Argentina and Chile I still had no clue but had taken rolls and rolls of black and white film. After a local photographer commented on them when I got back I decided to pursue a degree in photography and wound up in Calgary at the Alberta College of Art and Design. In 2005 I officially launched Jarusha Brown Photography and began assisting other well established photographers to gain experience as well as shooting commercial assignments. I kind of stumbled into photographing weddings through one of the photographers I was assisting. It made sense to me; I love photographing people, I have always been interested in documenting and who doesn’t love an event so fun of love and happy, dressed up people? I admit I am a total romantic and I often tear up during the vows and the speeches After 5 years in Calgary and many weddings, magazine gigs and commercial jobs, I moved to Vancouver in 2007 and haven’t looked back. I now divide my work time between weddings, families, portraits, and commercial work (as long as it involves people and not objects on white backdrops!)
Wow, so all of this businessing goodness didn’t happen overnight! Why don’t you let us into some 'learning' adventures that you took to get to where you are today?
Well, I’m happy to say that my business gets busier every year so I must be doing something right! Which is encouraging since I feel like I’m one of those individuals who needs to make mistakes before I learn. I have definitely have had my share of under-quoting on jobs and not making any money, letting clients push me around and letting my clients take editing liberties with my work… Terrifying!
Use 3 words to describe your style?
Jeez, it’s so hard to come up with three descriptive words and not sound like a cheese ball…. Fun, natural, romantic? See?! Bright, artistic, amazeballs????
Now I wanted to focus on Marketing today, its such a huge component of any business, how do you tackle it?
I’ve dabbled in a few things but the most effective and easy way that I market myself is just by taking really good care of my clients. If they have a great experience and love the quality of my work, they refer me to their friends and family. I find it much more effective than online or print advertising or wedding shows, all of which are very expensive.
Did you have any fantabulous marketing ideas that ended up being complete flops?
I got sucked into doing a wedding fair once and advertising in wedding magazines or online. Again, super pricey and I never saw any direct sales from them. I, personally, would rather hire someone that a friend or family member has used before and loves, so word of mouth makes sense to me.
What’s one of your topsecret marketing weapons?
See the 2 answers above!
The one thing I’ve wondered is ::
As we seem to be in such a visually driven society, you definitely seem to be in the right biz! But isn’t it hard with so much competition ?
The photography industry is really going through an interesting time right now. With the accessibility of DSLR cameras and website templates, anyone with a camera can call themselves a photographer. In order to stand out in the crowd I think you really need to do all parts of your business well. From client care, to business policies and insurance, pricing, equipment, knowledge of lighting, your finished products and the experience you offer. I’m happy to say that my business is growing each year and I keep attracting awesome clients so it must be working for me!
Whats the best + worst part about running your own show?
Best:: working from home and not having to worry about having employees I enjoy editing photos from our quiet little apartment on English Bay and I don’t know how I would be able to manage multiple employees so it’s nice to just have to worry about myself.
Worst:: trying to keep to a regular schedule and not getting sidetracked by household chores. When that happens I end up having to stay up really late to finish my work.
Well we’ve talked a lot about business - why don’t you let us into the person behind the camera?
I’m a curious people person so photography has been a great way to get a glimpse into people’s lives, meet some amazing humans and travel and explore. I genuinely adore the act of photography (not so much the sitting at the computer part) and find it very satisfying as a creative outlet. My earnings constantly get divided between new equipment, skis and bike stuff, and adventures/traveling
introvert or extrovert?
what is your definition of ‘success’?
I feel fairly successful already in life. I earn a living doing something that I love, I have a wonderful partner, we love where we live and we are able to travel. Success in the future would involve more of the same…maybe with more travel. One can never travel enough!
Most indiepreneurs have an ultimate dream…what would yours be?
Lately my ultimate dream would be to spend part of the year in another country on a regular basis. I would also LOVE to do a month or more in an artist’s residency in Europe and push my creative self.
Lastly, with such hectic time schedules/seasons, how the shenanigans do you maintain a healthy balance/lifestyle?
Stress management is a constant battle. My summer and fall seasons are very hectic and I can get easily overwhelmed with the amount of work I need to accomplish. It’s a learning thing. I’m slowly starting to realize that my health is one of the most important things so regular exercise and eating well are becoming a priority. I also need to remember that it’s okay to say no - I don’t need to take every single job that comes my way. Maybe in another 10 years I’ll have a better balance figured out! Haha.
Here are some of my favourite snapshots of our lil project !
Here are some of my favourite snapshots of our lil project !
Location :: Skaha Climbing Bluffs
Photographer :: Jarusha Brown
Make up + Hair :: Jenny McKinney
Family :: Say hello to us!! The Mr, Moi, Beatrix Betsy, Daisy + Indie
Bea's Green Dress :: A lil dress that my Muma made for me when I was 3
You can have more of a look see at our Father's Day photo shoot over on her blog!
A Huge Thanks to Jarusha as she had a hard task of battling the wind, 3 little go go's + me and my awkward pants! Thank You SO SO SO much...lil lady you really are the bestest!
Also wanted to Thank Miss Jenny McKinney for my hair + makeup, and some good girlie chats!!
You can keep up with all Jarusha's travel, adventures + weddings over here ::
blog (absolutely Scrumptious!)
So next months Indie-Preneur interview is already in the works, can't wait for you to meet this beautiful lil lady!