A long time ago, wayyyy before summer grad photos and fall family photos and now finally winter hockey photos (on May 4th to be exact) Finelite Photography attended the Warman and Martensville Business Excellence Awards. For the third year in a row, we’d made it to the Finalist position in the Customer Service category, and for the third year in a row, I had every expectation that we’d be clapping for another business when they won the award. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not due to a lack of confidence in what Finelite provides for our customers, but rather a statement on the quality of business that get featured in WMBEXA. To be quite frank, they kick ass.
So, as in previous years, I visited with the lovely people at my table and ate a delicious dinner, and then grew nervous and jumpy while the Customer Service Award video vignettes played. I waited at the end for one of the other amazing businesses to be called as the winner – always the bridesmaid, right? Not this year!! WE WON! Holy crap, we did it! (If that’s not grainy selfie worthy, I don’t know what is.) ——>
I made it up to the mic without tripping, read through the speech I wrote in the car on the way over (just in case!!) and was back at my table before it sunk in. That award told me that people saw what we’ve been trying so hard to accomplish. They saw the effort and the service and the extra stuff that makes us awesome, and we’d been acknowledged for it. It’s a pretty amazing feeling.
Here’s my speech, just in case you want to relive the magic with me.
A little backstory on Finelite Photography. I am what you would call a reluctant entrepreneur. I didn’t start my empire at the young age of 6 by selling lemonade to fund my real dream of owning an ice cream cart…. nah, that wasn’t my jam. I was perfectly happy to be in the employ of others for my teenage and young adult years. I went to university to study art. It is still something I love, but I never expected oil painting to pay for my retirement. I took a job at a photography studio after graduating because it was a choice between that and a job in a lumber yard. Although I love the smell of fresh sawdust, the photography job was the clear winner. At least it was art based, right? I moved to Saskatoon and started my life in photography as a relatively unskilled and definitely underpaid photographers assistant. I learned about business and I learned about people. I learned photoshop and discovered that those aptitude tests from high school weren’t lying after all. (They always pointed me towards computers and art, but I could never see a way to combine the two.) After nearly 10 years, the photographer I was working for decided to retire. By this time I was comfortable with all aspects of the business, shooting on my own and doing the bulk of the editing for both of us. I couldn’t imagine starting over with someone else, and my new husband and I had just moved to a city outside of Saskatoon. Warman didn’t seem to have many photographers compared to the amount of people who lived here…. could be an opportunity… so I did it. Started a business, won your hearts (ha!) and I make a full time living doing what I love.
I’m so proud to have built this business and so grateful that I get to do photography every day. I’m especially excited that browbeating… er… adding my husband Jared to the mix at Finelite has allowed us to expand our services even further. Through him, we’re able to check more boxes for our business clients, covering them right from their photography through to web design, graphic design services, and web hosting. We’re the one stop shop that I know our clients crave.
So, on this snowy November Thursday, I want to once again, say thanks to all of our clients, past and present. Thanks for being awesome and allowing us to hang with you, and thanks for trusting us with your families and your businesses.
Lastly, our son Cole says thanks to the Prairie Sky Chamber of Commerce for sending home a trophy. Because to a 5 year old, trophies are everything. He made me this special breakfast the morning after WMBEXA.
Lucky charms in a wine glass. Yep. Pretty lucky indeed.