People often say partnerships don’t work. But the minute I began talking to Maggie Hendrix and Cheryl Weaver, I knew that this was a partnership that will more than last…it will flourish!
Maggie Hendrix, of Maggie Hendrix Photography, and Cheryl Weaver, of Cheryl Weaver Photography, met in the small town of Searcy, Arkansas. They became friends after Maggie hired Cheryl to photograph her maternity and newborn sessions of her first child.
A little while after Maggie hired Cheryl, Cheryl moved away for her husband’s job. The two kept in touch and Cheryl even encouraged Maggie to buy her first camera and learn about photography. They continued to talk on the phone, helping each other, providing advice and even critiquing photos when needed. A friendship grew!
Then Cheryl found out her family would be moving back to Searcy.
“When I found out we were moving back, I laid in bed stressing about moving back because Maggie had started her business,” says Cheryl. “I was worried there wouldn’t be enough business for both of us and I wanted to support my friend!”
As if Maggie could read Cheryl’s mind, she called Cheryl and told her not to worry about the move and that there was plenty of business in Searcy for the both of them!
Once they were in the same town again, they started doing weddings together but kept the other parts of their business separate. They were trying to keep their individuality while still working together, but they found out weddings weren’t where their passion was.
They were walking around downtown Searcy one day looking for furniture. In the back of the store they were in were some stairs. Curiosity peaked for both of them and they asked what was up there. The owners showed them and both of their jaws dropped!
“The space was open and there was so much light!” Maggie said. “We both had a vision immediately!”
They talked to the owners, found out the space had been vacant since the 70’s, and worked out an amazing deal that they couldn’t pass up!
“We weren’t really looking but when we found this place and found out the price, we couldn’t pass it up!!” said Cheryl.
They began renovating and putting their own dreams into action. Through this process they continued to talk about what they both wanted and it always seemed to be the same.
“It was as if the same vision for the space was put into both of our heads,” said Maggie.
Lots of demolition, painting, sweat and long days were next, but with the support of both of their husband’s and families, Cheryl and Maggie designed a space that they both love!
Below is an interview with both Maggie and Cheryl! They were so much fun to talk to and I can tell they will be continue to be partners for many, many years!!
Check out what they had to say about their studio and business below and check out their work here.
What are each of your individual business names and what is your brand together?
Maggie Hendrix Photography at www.maggiehendrix.com and Cheryl Weaver Photography at www.cherylweaverphotography.com. Our brand together is Zoe Portrait Art and can be found at www.zoeportrait.com/blog.
How do you showcase each of your businesses and your business together? We have our individual websites and we showcase both of our work on our Zoe Portrait Art blog.
How long have you had a studio? We opened in October 2010 so we are very close to our one-year anniversary!
Where is the studio located? The studio is located in an upstairs loft in downtown Searcy, Arkansas. Searcy is a college town of about 22,000 people.
How would you describe the look of your studio? Contemporary and modern. Bright, fresh and eclectic.
Did you enlist the help of a designer or did the two of your do it all yourselves? All Us!! The idea behind it was all us, however we did hire a contractor to do the demolition and electrical stuff that we couldn’t do. But we painted, laid the floor and did many of the other things!
Your studio was vacant for many years! Did you utilize some of the materials left from the previous owners? The space used to be a gun shop so there were tons of cabinets. We kept some of the cabinets but painted them to give them an updated look. We also kept an old iron sink.
What all was involved in the renovations? There was a lot of brown paneling that we took down hoping to find exposed brick, which we did! There was a drop tile ceiling that we took out to expose the beams. We did a ton of painting and chose white so that it would look clean and fresh. We also replaced the floor with a laminate that allows us the ability to move furniture without scratching the floors.
What are the pros of having a studio? The level of professionalism it gives us allows everyone to take us seriously. Having a studio also allows us to have balance and boundaries. When we worked from home it was way too easy to spend too much time on the computer. Having the studio allows us to go to work and then leave work behind and go home. It allows us to be very present at home. The studio is also very nice to have when the weather is bad and it is a great place to photograph newborns because we can control the light.
What are the cons? The financial aspect is scary but being together cuts that burden in half. But even with the extra money involved in having a studio, the pros far outweigh the cons because we have a storefront and that allows up to gain exposure and more business!
What is your favorite part of the studio?
Maggie – You can’t beat the light! It is magical! This is also a fun, inspirational place to come to work everyday!
Cheryl – I love the fact that I can come here to work everyday! It is like an escape from our home life!
If you could have anything that you currently do not have in your studio, what would that be? Diffuser panels. Sometimes the light gets a little bright because we have an entire wall of floor to ceiling windows. We are often hanging bed sheets to diffuse the light.
What is one tip you can share with other photographers who are thinking about opening their own studio? Be smart about your investment. Our studio looks high end but we were very frugal. Find a good way to get the look you want without going over budget. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Figure out what you will have to make each month to be able to afford the space.