We had the good fortune of connecting with Cali Stewart and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cali, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
As the daughter of an entrepreneur, starting my own business was just a matter of when and how. I knew from childhood that I would pursue photography at some level. Before I set out to start my business, I sort of became a sponge for knowledge. I spent countless hours listening to what industry professionals were saying and trying to gather as much information as I could to get going in the right direction. I learned that there is really no one right way to be successful. Doing something you love and making a successful business out of it is pretty much an art form in itself. Right now I am still figuring many things out but I sincerely believe that with persistence and dedication I’ll get to where I want to be.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I focus on maternity, newborn, and family photography. My clients are everything. I am at the point now where I am getting to watch families grow up together and I cannot emphasize how special that is. Recently, I have started putting more focus into creating wall pieces and other one-of-a-kind printed pieces for my clients. In the middle of our very digital world, I really want to encourage everyone to show off their families with tangible pieces.
On the business side, I’ve spent a lot of time learning about marketing. There are so many different opinions out there on what is the “right” way or the fastest way to structure and grow your business. Starting out, it was really overwhelming trying to sort through the options and figure out what would work for me. Even now I feel like I still have so much more to learn. So far, I have learned that I just have to pick a lane for myself and move forward with one approach at a time. When I realize something isn’t a good fit for me or my business, I take a step back and make adjustments. It comes down to being willing to make mistakes in order to find my own path.
Ultimately, my goal is to do what I love while also fully serving the needs of my clients. I make it a point to over deliver on expectations and really devote individualized time and attention. I want to make other people feel special with the gifts that I have.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
There’s a cute little vintage inspired store in downtown McKinney, called Rockin’ A B full of things for both babies and kids. There are so many cute books, particularly books I remember from my childhood. Additionally, they have stuffed animals, toys, and adorable outfits. They also sell online but if you’re ever in McKinney, it’s definitely worth the visit!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have been influenced by so many people both personally and professionally but there are a couple of people that stand out. Within my personal support system, my mom has been my number one supporter and encourager. Any time I am facing a problem she is right there ready to help me research or do whatever it takes to find a solution. Professionally, I was very influenced by a well-known newborn photographer, Ana Brandt. Her online trainings were some of the first investments I made before starting my business. I was really inspired by her work and story. Watching her really solidified the direction I chose for my photography.
Cali Stewart Photography