For many aspiring business owners, the struggles of carving your way out of a full-time job to forge a business from your passion, are all too known. Yet there’s another, more subtle struggle that poses itself as “the fun part” and therefore gets neglected from the whole equation of building a business. Developing a brand and creating a logo is that fun part which can break down and stump even the best of business owners and entrepreneurs.
In a saturated market where you’re clamoring for attention, and your service no longer seems to be valued, your strength as a business not only relies on your skill or product, but your brand. Building a brand requires a sincere hustle of self-inquiry. It’s in this step where most business owners get stuck: figuring out how to genuinely extend and deliver value.
When we met the owners of UNWIND, the goal was to help them build a logo. But in the process, they discovered that creating a logo called on the “business owner” to dig deeper into their values, core competencies, and those moments of sublime that make the venture worthwhile.
In years of engaging with hundreds of entrepreneurs and business owners, we experienced this dynamic couple as the quintessential example of the “bootstrap entrepreneur” who juggles it all and nails the catch. And like power walkers hacking through unpaved path, they’ve relentlessly seized every step as an opportunity to turn their passion into a business. In our month-long engagement with Sarah and Alex, owners of UNWIND, they experienced a wild business growth spurt. They decided on a logo and received some clarity which enabled them to execute on dormant ideas that would expand their income channels. And . . .
It All Started with The Gratitude Challenge
Back in November of 2016, BoominGroup invited entrepreneurs and business owners worldwide to take part in a 21-day Gratitude Challenge. Participants were required to log three things they were grateful for every day, for 21 days. By the end of the challenge, they were introduced to what a lifestyle of gratitude might look like. And it was our hope to help instill this healthy habit, giving way for deep joy and fulfillment. It’s a similar practice we have at BoominGroup during our weekly team meetings in which each team member shares what they’re grateful for in that workweek.
The bonus of joining the challenge was the chance to receive a free logo by our creative agency, Booming Creative. It was through this engagement that we got to know more about Sarah, Alex and their business. We’re honored to share the story behind UNWIND, a photography business run by a power couple based in Sydney, Australia.
UNWIND’s beginnings, business challenges and triumphs are some that we all share as business owners and entrepreneurs. We hope their story empowers others to continue redefining their boundaries.
The Winner of the Gratitude Challenge: UNWIND Photography
When Sarah joined the challenge, alongside her husband, she had no intention of taking it as seriously as it unfolded. She went along with what her husband Alex egged her on to do. Little did she know that the subtle shift of giving daily gratitude would change her life. She also never expected to win anything from a raffle, much less win the very thing her business had needed for years: a well-designed logo -and the branding consulting that goes into developing a logo.
Each time Sarah and Alex set out to take their business to the next level, they simply felt STUCK for not having a logo or visual identity. This prevented them from escalating their marketing reach. With a stroke of good intentions and great relationships, they stumbled into a stream of events that paved a way for their business to grow.
Meet the Power Couple Behind UNWIND Photography
Sarah and Alex met in Japan, in 2008 through the JET Program. Sarah immediately noticed how odd it was for Alex to take pictures of anything and everything, all the time. But Sarah eventually began to recognize that Alex’s photos were more than just pictures; they were pieces of art – unique and capable of telling a beautiful story while conveying a simple meaning. He had perspective in his blood.
Alex’s love and passion for capturing images was infectious. Sarah also began to capture every moment she could. And together as friends, they began their journey into photography.
The Birth of UNWIND Photography
As time progressed, Sarah and Alex’s relationship grew from friendship to love. It was during this time that Sarah began to encourage Alex to share his talent. It was a long process before Alex agreed to turn his passion into a business. Like many who engage in art purely for personal fulfillment, the idea of putting a price tag on your passion or something you love is very difficult.
After a few long months of planning and researching, Sarah and Alex decided to come up with a business name for what they playfully called their “first child”. Naming their business was more challenging than they had expected. There were endless angles to consider: Does it align with our aesthetics? Our mission? Our values? In 2009, after much thought and countless lists, UNWIND was born.
The Service of Giving You Back Your Moment
UNWIND captures the essence of Sarah and Alex’s relaxed and easygoing vibe, both as individuals and as a couple. On top of their skilled craftsmanship and love for photography, the vibe they deliver during their sessions is paramount to the service they offer. And for those who have ever been involved in a photo or event shoot, you can attest that the energy and comfort level makes or breaks the entire experience.
By creating a vibe that’s organized, relaxed, and easy-going, UNWIND gives clients back “their moment” allowing them to frolic in the breeze, party like it’s 1999, or simply, stay present in the moment. When clients look back at their pictures, they find themselves reliving a newfound angle of their special day, often surprised by scenes they never knew they wanted to capture. Clients receive a brand new narrative on their moment from completely unexpected perspectives, giving UNWIND the additional edge: capturing moments most taken for granted.
UNWIND wants its clients to understand the importance of slowing down and taking the time to capture beautiful moments as effortlessly as Sunday brunch.
Selfies vs Professional Photography
With smartphones and selfies, it has naturally become difficult for professional photography to maintain the stage it had historically, in this digital, DIY culture. Yet, a certain style of professional photography has also emerged and is reclaiming its seat in modern, contemporary family life.
While selfies are powerful and legitimate in their own right, they don’t replace the function of professional photography. But as a couple with two young daughters, Sarah and Alex understand both the cost and true value of the professional experience. They understand where in priority photography falls within the household budget. For this reason, UNWIND always strived to make their services available to everyday families and charge only what clients could afford to pay. Their commitment to the art of photography is what drives them to take their services to the next level while finding ways to redefine the structure of affordability. At the end, they want clients to know that they are taking more than just snapshots, they are creating art and an artful experience.
Small Business Challenges
As business owners of UNWIND, Sarah and Alex are also full-time parents with day jobs. Sarah is a teacher and Alex, a former teacher in California, recently shifted careers into nursing. In our interview with the couple, they shared some of the challenges they face as a small business in Sydney, Australia.
Anna – What are the challenges of growing your business?
Sarah and Alex – Money and time. The most important way to expand a business is to invest in high-quality equipment and have ample time to advertise. This is difficult as a family with young children and full-time busy work schedules. Another challenge is identifying the next steps for growing a business. Booming definitely helped with this. After attending the webinar in which Kathy outlined 4 dimensions for running a business, we now have a foundation on which to direct our business operations and daily tasks.
Anna – What challenges do you face in your local area?
Sarah and Alex – UNWIND is based in Western Sydney, which is 1 hour and 20 minutes from the city. One major challenge is finding work locally. The majority of our clients either live in the city or more than 2 hours away. The cost of gas, commute times, and childcare expenses make it difficult, from a business sense, to reach our ideal clients without charging a premium.
Anna – What are three main things keeping you from growing your business?
Sarah and Alex – Money, time, and a logo. Money and time are constantly a battle for most businesses. We’ve also been wanting to advertise, but without a logo we haven’t had a way to capture people’s attention and effectively advertise.
Through the logo creation process, Sarah and Alex never faltered on what would be best for the business. Even though they had strong personal preferences on how the logo should look and feel, they made decisions based on how their ideal clients would receive it. Sarah and Alex were great business partners who followed and trusted the process. They took the time to get feedback from their community and celebrated each step of their progress. These business partners made thoughtful, but swift and confident decisions. This is normally a sign of a business that’s aligned with its owners’ values and purpose.
Anna – What’s extra special about your company?
Sarah and Alex – As a husband and wife team, we offer better value for the customer because they only pay for one photographer but they get two. The benefit of having two photographers is that both photographers can be on opposite sides of the room and ensure all special moments are captured equally. While one photographer focuses on posed shots the other photographer focuses on candid shots. Two photographers also allow for different styles. Also, because our personalities are different, and because of the nature of photography, we each “see” different things that have photographic value. I might notice how the light strikes a subject in a certain way, and Sarah might notice certain interactions between people.
Our loving relationship is shown through our work by allowing us to work collaboratively and truthfully. Alex and I are able to produce high-quality photographs because we can lovingly tell each other to do something a different way and the environment remains calm and relaxed.
Our love for each other helps to provide a comfortable environment because customers can feel the positive vibe between us, helping them to relax and enjoy themselves.
Unwinding to Get the Final Logo
When developing a brand, business owners must be willing to go through the inevitable process of self-discovery. Designing a logo is just one tiny piece of branding, yet it sets the stage for your identity and how others recognize your business. Through branding, you discover your unique value proposition and what you must do to make good on the promises that your brand offers. Interestingly enough, there’s a sound correlation between the speed at which business owners make confident decisions on their branding, and their ability and willingness to self-inquire. For Sarah and Alex, unwinding to reach their core seems to have already been embedded in their business values. Congratulations to Sarah and Alex for taking this power step!
Sarah and Alex – The logo is a combination of camera lens and eye. The idea is that what makes us in not our camera gear but our eye and our vision. It also represents the idea that our business is a combination of the two of us.
Build a visual presence that speaks to who you are. Visit Booming Creative.