Today we’d like to introduce you to Keli “Danielle” Farley.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
When I was fresh out of college, I moved to a city for a guy that I had been dating long distance for almost two years prior. After a year of living together, we realized we weren’t working out and broke up. A week later, he returned to what was now my lone apartment to pick up his mail. When I opened the door, he immediately noticed that I had completely redesigned the space we shared to the point that there no longer was any evidence of his existence. I realized that if I could make myself feel better by changing my space, I could make other people feel better too. This was the beginnings of my love for interior design.
A year or so later, I decided to serve my country in the United States Air Force. While I was completing my 8-year commitment, with the little downtime I had, I found myself watching HGTV a lot (and Sex and the City for that matter but that’s a whole nother essay in itself). When I had two years left, I knew that I was going to go to design school, become a bona fide interior designer with credentials, and that’s exactly what I did. But what I didn’t know was that while in school, through numerous project requirements, I would be exposed to photography, my new love interest. I even bought myself an entry-level Nikon DSLR camera and thought I was the stuff! A true professional photographer… NOT!!!
After graduating, I worked as an interior designer at Houston’s 4th largest profiting architectural firm and I loved it. But the daily grind of getting a husband and 2 children ready every morning, dropping said kids off at 2 different schools, fighting Houston traffic for an hour, working against impossible deadlines, heading back home to fight more traffic while stressing to pick my babies up before daycare closes, preparing a balanced and delicious dinner, homework, baths and completing my own work I’d have brought home from the day that didn’t get finished WORE. A. SISTER. OUT!!! And thus, to save my sanity and to prevent me from destroying the very thing I loved the most… my family, I quit.
So now what? What do I do? I was born in the 70’s and had always been taught that there was more to a woman than just being a homemaker. I was expected to be independent! But honestly, I just wanted it to be okay that I stayed home without feeling like I was selling myself short. I also didn’t want people to start to think less of me.
That is until one day there was a family gathering being planned at my house. While cleaning and trying to make our home look respectable, I came across my DSLR camera that had been tucked away and forgotten. So much so, that when I plugged it in to charge, it took almost an hour to even get a blinking light. But once it went solid I immediately started taking pictures. I took pictures of my husband, of the kids, of the house, of the car, of the kids in the car. Man… I forgot how much I LOVED this thing! And I’ve been snapping nonstop ever since.
And that my friends is how Washington & Associates Design & Photography got off the ground!
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I have been pretty lucky when it comes to obstacles and challenges. The software programs that I was knowledgeable in and used for interior design are the exact same programs I use for photography. However…
My main struggle has been money! Professional photography is not cheap and lots of equipment can be required. I could take out a loan but I don’t know… something tells me I can do it piecemeal and it will be okay.
Another challenge I have faced has been coming up with how to write contracts. Seeing that I offer more than one service I have to have more than one type of service contract. Thank goodness for industry-specific Facebook groups that can offer good advice and ideas.
The last obstacle I faced (thus far) has been figuring out how to get people to pay me while I was still developing a legitimate portfolio. It took a lot of pro bono work in the beginning. But you know what? IT PAID OFF! Not only did I get to practice my craft but it gave me a lot of material to work with for my website and social networking pages.
Please tell us about Washington & Associates Design & Photography.
Washington & Associates Design & Photography specializes in photography to include portraits & headshots, family photos, special events, merchandise/food, and architecture photography. We also specialize in interior design to include occupying your empty space with furniture, draperies, accessories, and other decor. We can simply update *or* completely redesign your space layout, furniture selection, color story, and lighting. We also do occupied staging for real estate agents upon request. Lastly, we do logo and website development to include creating simple logos, branding, and website design that is engaging, functional and organized for small business owners.
I am most proud of the lives that I have impacted with my business. I have witnessed my clients see themselves in a different and beautiful light through my lens. I have also seen my clients fall back in love with their homes. Also, to see a client be so distraught and disappointed in their website, then see that drive and motivation return to their spirit after I’ve revamped their digital front door brings me a lot of joy!
What sets me apart is the professionalism I learned from being an officer in the Air Force. I truly understand the concept of responsibility and accountability. When you have been responsible for the 34 other lives on your aircraft and are now dealing with thousands of dollars of your client’s money, these concepts are of utmost importance.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
One of my favorite memories from childhood is when me and all the other kids on my street in St. Louis would be hanging out during the summer trying to see who was brave enough to jump on the back of the UPS truck when it drove by everyday. None of us was EVER brave enough but we could all talk a good game!
- Silver Package: 1-hour session to include 5 edited digital images is $125.00. Great for head shots and portraits!
- Gold Package: 2-hour session (with 1 outfit or background change) includes 10 edited digital images for $240.00. This is our most popular package!
- Platinum Package: 4-hour session (with 4 outfits or background changes) includes 20 edited digital images for $360.00. Great for parties/events!
- Website: www.washingtonandassociates.design
- Phone: 281-620-1614
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @washingtonandassociates
- Facebook: @washingtonandassoc