A trio of photographers who started their own business more than four years ago are finding success by capturing babies, families, engaged couples and others in natural settings that highlight their authentic selves.
Co-owners Jennifer Gustines, 26, Tara Showen, 33, and Lisa Mercer, 29, launched the Charles Town business Tiptoe Studios in mid-2008. Their motto is, “Where life tells the best story.”
We asked Mercer to share with us some of what makes Tiptoe special.
Here are her answers in her own words:
Business name: Tiptoe Studios, 217 W. Washington St., Charles Town. Phone: 304-995-6743; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: tiptoestudios.com.
What hours and days is your business open? “Right now we are by appointment only but we hope to start regular business hours several days a week.”
What sets your business apart from your competitors? “We are a team of photographers, so whether it is a regular family shoot where one of us is there to help out with the kids or a wedding where we position ourselves not to miss any special moments, having than more than one photographer around is a huge help.
“We are also committed to our customer service. We want you to have a wonderful Tiptoe experience from start to finish. We strive to maintain relationships with our customers. We love to see them out and about and be able to chat.”
Please tell us about yourselves. “We are all locals that have been in the Jefferson County area for the majority of our lives. We took several photography classes and seminars basically for the camera functions. Everything else has been a learning process where we have spent many, many hours practicing and online looking for answers.”
How many workers do you employ? “Three. Our newest photographer in Charles Town, still in training, is Chasity Askew. We also have Lindsay Hall. Our intern is Ande Compton.”
What is a part of your business that too often gets overlooked? “What often gets overlooked from a client’s perspective is all the behind-the-scenes stuff – the time we spend editing images, scouting out exciting new locations, marketing at local fairs, researching editing techniques.”
What has helped you grow your business? “We all try to bolster each other. We lean on each other in the aspects of new ideas, promotions, growing. We are lucky to have a great partnership, to be able to bounce ideas off one another.”
What future plans do you have for your business? “We want to take over the world! Tiptoe Studios in every state!”
– Compiled by Christine Miller Ford