We had the good fortune of connecting with Kaylah Key and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kaylah, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
to be completely honest, my husband came up with the idea! during the pandemic lock down, I got on social and used skills that I was taught to start meeting people nationwide. through that networking, I was able to start connecting others that weren’t as comfortable on social acquire work and new clients. our industry has a variety of agencies that represent models, actors, stylists and photographers – but I’m not aware of an agency that reps your logistical support: producers, coordinators and production assistants. we’re now 1 year in to a business that started during a pandemic and showing no signs of slowing down!

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I’ve been in the commercial advertising industry for a little over 17 years. Starting at 19, a detail assistant on a team submerged in the mktg dept for a Fortune 500 company – making copies, pushing paper and hanging prints on the wall in time for meetings. It was definitely the grunt work, but this is where I learned the nitty gritty of what goes into a preprint production cycle. I got married at 21 and moved to Germany, where my husband was stationed (#blessed). Even though it was my choice to leave the team and partnering photo studio, the owner and other decision makers held a spot for me and said I always had a job at the studio.
When I returned, my role was the studio manager at the photo studio, no longer a part of the preprint design team – maintaining daily operations and learning the way of photo production, even the tedious nature of film cameras in the commercial world.
Eventually I shifted to studio producer when the position opened up and the owner had the “hey, I’m gonna need you to do this” conversation. Talk about feeling like a fish out of water. I wasn’t a people person and didn’t want to talk to people all day on the phone – but as time went on – I revealed to myself that it was a perfect fit. Once I got comfortable, I jumped all in. Talking to people and puzzle piecing projects together based on budget and efficiency became my passion. I thrived in making something work for all parties. We gained the e-comm business for a fashion company and our studio team built the process from the ground up. We pulled the double shifts and late nights to perfect it…. It took a few years, but towards the end, it was a machine. Working with 30 – 40 freelance people on a daily basis and running 5-6 ecomm sets + a few print sets. When the fashion company started to slowly pull things back in-house, our days of hustle began to decrease and we were seeing the end of an 8 year run.
As business kept slowing and the owners’ health decreased – the end of my first job that started my career was in sight. It broke my heart. People I had worked with everyday for 15 years would no longer be in my daily life – the relationships you build in this industry become career long partnerships. These are the people that stand beside you, support you and help you out during your next phase, whatever that may be.
So after 15 years of working alongside the same group, for the same company, I found myself on my own. I’ve never had a formal interview or a resume for that matter. In this industry, your portfolio and work ethic are your resume. But 2 months later, a coffee meet-up led to an awesome opportunity as Head of Photo & Video Operations.
My main tasks were to build a studio from scratch – people, equipment and processes. Myself and the art director built a team of 19, including 3 interns over 3 months. This was a company that didn’t have a background in marketing or photo production so our team guided them every step of the way. We developed processes and work flows so efficient, we were meeting our weekly goals within 6 months of full phot production. We just started to build out our video team and that’s when we got the news in late July 2019 – the company was reshifting its focus and the entire marketing team was let go. Back to square one!
Thats when I sat down with my husband and we decided freelance was our path.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
to be honest – I’m very much a home body. my ideal time with a best friend is sitting on a patio (whether its at a house or restaurant), having drinks and eating good food. there’s also the element of live music!!! I’m a huge fan of red dirt country, not a mainstream person, so if there is a hole-in-the-wall bar with a local country artist – I’m in!

lame, yes. but when you have 3 kiddos at home, building a forever home and establishing yourself as a business owner – a chill week is everything I could ask for!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
my husband is my number one supporter. he pushes me to reach for goals way outside of my comfort zone. he’s knows I won’t back down from a challenge and I dont do well with failure – so here we are! my kids come a close 2nd as I want to show them that they can achieve whatever they work for. but they also know its work, hard work. and they need to understand that things / success are not given, its earned.

I also have a kick ass group of industry friends that have become my 2nd family. I feel strongly about needing a support group within the industry that you have chosen. they understand your mentality and thought process, they lend an ear without judgement when you just need to vent and they understand when you just need a moment. I strongly believe that you should surround yourself with the people that lift you high, cheer for you and love you. these people know exactly who they are and I hope they know how truly appreciative I am of them.

Website: theproducersagent.com

Instagram: theproducersagent

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kaylahkey/

Facebook: kaylahkeyproductions

Other: I have 2 businesses Production Only: Kaylah Key Productions Agency: The Producers Agent alt website: kaylahkey.com alt IG: kaylahkeyproductions

Image Credits
Daniel Simpson Photography

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.