Chelsea Royer of Juniper Tree Photography is a great local friend of ours (and a former employee!). She has been in the family and wedding photography business for years, and recently opened a cute boutique clothing and gift shop in Cosmopolis, Washington in order to expand on her business and her demographic in a new way.
There are so many ways to grow a business and Juniper Tree has taken on a greater lifestyle brand image in order to expand her product line beyond photography while still maintaining a focus on women and families.
Chelsea was first on my list of local business owners to interview and I hope you’ll enjoy this quick Q&A with her!
When did you start your photography business?
I started my business back in 2014. A friend had gifted me my camera and I’d taken it around the world and people had started paying me to take their photo. I developed a strong love for it in the 5 years I did it as a hobby and I decided it was time to take things to the next step. That’s kind of the dream, right? Make money doing what you love? And I decided that was that!
Who is your target audience?
My target audience are moms in the 25-35 year range with between 1 and 3 kids. They love beautiful photos, scenery, living in the PNW, daily planners, and simplifying life. It doesn’t mean I don’t serve people outside of that, but when I dream up who I’m marketing to, this is the person I focus on.
What has kept you driven along the way and continue to grow?
Mostly the love of entrepreneurship and the art of photography. I came to a point about a year ago where I’d decided I quit. That lasted for all of four months before I realized that was dumb. But I was overworked, underpaid, and burnt out and I knew I couldn’t continue moving forward doing what I had been. I changed my pricing structure and started educating myself more on business and utilizing social media to grow my client base and audience. I discovered that I love the business side of things, that marketing and creating a unique and wonderful client experience was like an exhilarating game to me and I fell in love with the process, with growth, and with discovering the limits of my abilities.
What inspires you to learn more and push beyond the status quo or “comfortable”?
The concept of “I can”. For a lot of my life I saw my future within certain imagined limits – either I listened when people said I couldn’t or shouldn’t or it was too hard and I told myself those same things. Then I did an exercise of Jasmine Star‘s. She had us make lists answering the questions, “What would you do if you didn’t care what people thought?” and then fill in the blank to, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…?” And I dared to dream. I wrote down a list and realized some of those dreams weren’t that crazy. I crushed my first goals and that gave me a confidence I’d never had before. And instead of telling myself, “I can’t, I shouldn’t, I’m not good enough, It’s too hard…”, I started saying things like, “I can do this. HOW do I do this? Why shouldn’t it be me to do this? What’s the worst that could happen if I fail? Why not give it a try?” These honest questions helped me realize that failure isn’t the worst thing that could happen and I started to fall in love, not just with success, but with the process as well. People like Jasmine Star, Jenna Kutcher, and Gary Vaynerchuck have been huge motivators and inspirations to me and I listen to their content on a regular basis.
What do you wish to see more of in the world of business and Grays Harbor?
More female business owners! And business owners in general who aren’t afraid to charge what they are worth. I see a lot of business owners in GH, home based and location based, who are underpaying themselves and undercharging clients and customers and are quickly heading towards burnout. As a customer, I love a good deal. But I also love a great customer experience and a confident, not desperate, business owner. And even if I can’t afford their product or services right away, they will be at the front of my mind when I can.
What are your plans for the near future?
The near future mostly just involves tweaking my business model and making sure I am coming from a place of sustainability. I want to expand to a second location in the next year or two, so I need to make sure I am setting myself up for success and not putting my family at risk. I want to get to know my clients better and also improve my art so that I can provide a product my clients are over the moon about!
Want to have your business featured in our Q&A series? Send us an email with the answers to the questions above! If your story is chosen, we’ll schedule a quick photoshoot of you and your business to be included in our article!