Sometimes, you stumble upon a Dayton Gem and can’t believe you never knew it was there. And sometimes, you trek through a way too cool old building to find a sunny little space full of awesome. Armed with a bottle of Pinot Grigio and some fancy schmancy plastic cups, I recently did just that.
Tucked away in the up and coming Davis-Linden building, you’ll find the just-barely-revealed-to-the-public Goodness and Grace Photography Studio. As my velvet heels made their way up the stairs to this new space, I couldn’t help but ooh and ahh over the industrial charm of the sprawling building. Once those fancy schmancy cups were full of the aforementioned Pinot, I sat down with my friend, Shana Lloyd, the Goodness & Grace owner for some girl talk and to hear about the big plans for the studio.
[Girl Talk omitted, because, duh]
Shana, this place is gorgeous. I’m guessing it was a blank canvas when you moved in, where did you find the vision to bring this to life?
Thanks! No disrespect to the Davis Linden Building, because I swoon daily walking into the warehouse but it was definitely blank and dusty. The first week of renovations was all about cleaning, sanding, spackling. I had a vision that didn’t necessary equate to warehouse chic. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about the industrial look and can’t wait to shoot in and around the building, but we wanted our place to be a little bit of magic in the center of it all.
The vision was pulled from various different sources of inspiration. Working with other portrait and commercial studios in the past, years in retail fashion marketing, I definitely knew what I loved and what I didn’t love, what I would do differently. I wanted to create a place that had all the comforts of home, with intricate details and energy I just wasn’t seeing elsewhere- energy that would inspire my clients, both portrait & commercial as well as myself. In short, I wanted to create a happy place. The new studio is really something special. We initially set out to create 3-4 separate shooting areas but then decided to create a workspace that could be used at every angle for our purposes and shooting purposes. We also have built in the flexibility to rearrange and create new areas at random if needed (and I am pretty random, so that is good.) Though the bulk of our business is outdoor photography, we can now provide our clients with an additional experience as well as a beautiful setting to meet with potential clients for consultations or product selection. The ideas don’t stop, so much so we’re already expanding and adding to our space. More on that later though!
So now it’s here, and it’s about to be to go-to creative space in the area, do you imagine that you’ll use it for more than photography?
You nailed it Nicole, it’s a space to create. Whether that is beautiful imagery or community, our new haven is really about building things that mean something. Portrait & Wedding photography is the bulk of our business and we are expanding into commercial, specifically fashion photography but we have also created a series of workshops that we are going to hold monthly that I’ve coined “Creative Wellness” – We’ve got a wide mix of topics and speakers planned with the goal of empowering visual artists, whatever their trade to live their dream and build a career that is gratifying and successful. Something I’ve always been passionate about is speaking, teaching, mentoring and now I have the opportunity to do that in an industry I truly love. Exciting times ahead!
Our first is coming up this March 23rd and we’ve partnered with Dayton legend Andrew White of IndigoLife Media and Samantha Elder of PR In Pumps. The topic is personal branding and the struggles creatives face in breaking through the noise. You can learn more on our Facebook page here.
I’ve seen you progress as a photographer over the past year. Now that you have this space, will you focus on specific kinds of photos?
Girl, I am all over the place. I am still learning every day and frankly, I have no clue. I want to explore everything and anything I can get my hands on but I realize I also have a growth strategy for my business that needs my focus. Wedding photography is definitely on my heart though, I am inspired daily by amazing artists all around me and find so much joy in photographing them so I have definitely been zoning in on that area and will continue. But we are full service photography studio and with my schedule, existing clients and destination jobs, expansion is on the horizon. Over the next few months our goal is to grow our team to 5 photographers with diverse styles and areas of expertise.
We recently did an inspiration wedding shoot that has peaked the interest of many vendors, publications and talent. I was initially just so excited with the idea, but when we set out to bring it to life and then saw it happen because of our amazing friendors, it was surreal. We’ve build some amazing partnerships in Dayton. Something Old Dayton, Sherwood Florist, Blush Boudoir, Cake Hope & Love and many others have really helped to build our little business. Dayton is just so awesome. Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, focus. A lot is coming in the next few months as I mentioned. We are always evolving, I think you have to stay ahead in this business. We’ve been approached recently for several things like styling, wedding planning even renting our studio and we keep an eye on these requests to see where opportunity lies for the future. We want to meet the needs of various clients and so we will be launching several new products, collections and styles of photography for our portrait & wedding clients while expand further into commercial with our fashion clients. At the core of all is, a love for lifestyle photography. Images that are real, emotion that is raw and energy that is contagious – all of these being the common thread in our work, whoever the client.
So how are you bringing your biz into the business world? I know your professional background and just can’t imagine you staying away for toooo long…
Commercial photography has been a passion before I even knew I could operate a camera. In my past life, I produced multiple product shoots and was always curious about what it would be like on the other side. From styling to photographing, it has always been definitely a big interest. Last year the spark was really ignited when doing some work for Belle of Dayton, I knew when I was posing those bottles of spirits so that the light hit them just perfectly, I was going to do more of this. As I mentioned earlier, we are expanding our space and part of that will be to serve our product only clients. We’re cooking up some big ideas. There’s a hint in there.
And, girl…I know your love of community and how you build in an ability to give back to causes you care about. Tell the world how that fits in here.
At the heart of everything I do, is love for Dayton. Community is everything. When I first started on this journey I knew that I wanted to some how intertwine my passion for giving back into our business model. In August of last year with our rebrand, we share our mission to donate 10% of our session fees to Dayton organizations serving the community. We are able to help many, with our biggest giving campaign in November where we fed 100 families on Thanksgiving, providing a monetary donation that covered a full meal including Turkey to those families through the The Hope Foundation of Greater Dayton. Like many things, we are looking at this program for opportunities to broaden it as well simplify for our partners. In the meantime, we’re looking for volunteer opportunities as well event sponsorship and in kind donations requests where Goodness & Grace would be a good fit. Agencies looking to partner with us can email email@example.com
SO MUCH. With our opening this week and still many logistics to get through, we are excited about the next phase of this tiny but mighty business. The theme of this year, I can’t do it all. So the next few months are really going to be about growing the team, getting the word out, building our client portfolio, strengthening our brand and staying focused on community. We’ve hired consultants to help build strong product offering, expand our offerings, update our brand as well as develop a new website all with the intent of giving our clients the best experience.
Well, Shana thanks for chatting with me! All of us at DMM are so excited to watch Goodness + Grace grow!