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blush asheville

Being a Part of the Experience {Special Olympics Asheville}

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Being a Part of the Experience {Special Olympics Asheville}

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I was watching the news on a Sunday morning…oh wait, we’ll back up. Wendy and I had been talking about how we might go about giving back, and doing it in a way that makes a personal impact. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against donating to causes that I believe in. I love to peruse gofundme campaigns, and to participate in fundraising events. However, as much as I know those funds are contributing to the betterment of xyz, they feel a little on the side of indifference. Does that make sense?

We left our conversation to brainstorm on how we might contribute to an effort wherein we could be an integral part of the experience.

So, back to that Sunday morning. I was watching WLOS, our local ABC affiliate here in Asheville and there was a story on a kickball tournament for our local Special Olympics chapter and I spit out my coffee! Literally, down my shirt, onto the couch. My husband turned around and looked at me with the quizzical expression of “Dear lord, what now?” across his face.

I grabbed my cell phone and immediately texted Wendy “I HAVE IT! (insert fireworks and heart emoji here) Special Olympics! What weekends are you free in Jan/Feb?” She was in like Flynn! We mapped out an outline of the best way that we might organize such an event and stay in keeping with the theme of making a difference with the athletes. I didn’t want to turn and burn like you might a photography marathon, but I also wanted more than 2 or 3 people.

The heart of this business is to empower our clients in their own vitality. I can’t think of a better organization to partner with than Special Olympics to meet that purpose. Can you?

When I met with Carla and her team, they were so gracious for the opportunity. One of the things they had mentioned was that so many businesses feel that the only way they CAN contribute to Special Olympics is monetarily, which of course going into the new year is no easy feat for most businesses in Asheville. The real meat of it is they are open to events like this one, wherein all parties not only gain exposure, but help to educate the general public and bring awareness about special needs to the community.

I am thrilled to be making a difference here in Asheville. Not only will we be able to make new friends and create some beautiful portraiture, but French Broad Imaging has agreed to contribute the printing for the athletes (they will each receive a matted print from their session with us), Wendy of Blush Asheville (pictured left) is contributing her artistic services so that every athlete looks their absolute BEST for their portrait and I am chomping at the bit for January 23rd to be NOW! We are going to have so much fun!

I’ll be sure to share all of the funness from our portrait party on the 23rd. Follow our Facebook and Instagram (@catfordcoates) for behind the scenes from 10:00-3:00 on January 23rd!

When asked “Why” our sponsors had this to say:

  • “Those with learning disabilities are so often overlooked as people with thoughts, feelings, and ideas of their own. My job, my purpose, is to not only acknowledge but, to empower them in their own self. It isn’t just about being pretty. It’s about knowing your own grace and owning it.” – Cat Ford-Coates, Studio 828 Photography
  • “I see the beauty within from every girl. If I can make one more smile with a touch of lip gloss and a little blush, then it is one more day I can be blessed by the best job ever.” –Wendy Ballance, Blush Asheville
  • “We are part of this community. We want to help the people in our community, and especially those with special needs. Thank you for the opportunity!” – Tony Hood, French Broad Imaging

Are you interested in sponsoring this event? Reach out below. We’d love to talk!

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Being your Brand

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Being your Brand

Being Your Brand: I spend a lot of time with clients discussing how cohesive imagery impacts their brand. I also spend much of that time discussing how self-hate can play a big part in when you book a portrait session, what you will choose to wear for your photo shoot, and how you want to be portrayed. I am no exception to that rule.

In 2016, we have some really great opportunities that are coming up for us and I wanted to come into this new year strong. Part of that plan included a photo shoot with Wendy from Blush Asheville to promote a really exciting event we have coming up later this month with the Special Olympics.

During the shoot, of course we had fun and laughed a whole bunch. I even got super excited about my hair and makeup.

I am officially the goofiest #LaraCroft photographer in history…

I am officially the goofiest #LaraCroft photographer in history…

SERIOUSLY Y’ALL, WENDY BLOWS ME AWAY ALL THE TIME. I CAN’T EVEN TELL YOU. YOU JUST HAVE TO EXPERIENCE IT FOR YOURSELF.

 

And then I found myself really getting down on myself about the weight I’ve put on over the past couple of years. Don’t get me wrong, I recognized it, in a big way a few weeks back and am making the effort. Walk/running, putting the pizza on the back burner, more water, the whole shebang. That doesn’t mean it isn’t disheartening. But luckily, Wendy looked at me and said “Girl, you are a WOMAN, you have curves! Embrace it!” and she was absolutely right. It isn’t about having the perfect body. It isn’t about looking the way I did five, ten, even twenty years ago. It is about loving me for who I am today.

I am so incredibly lucky to be a portrait photographer. It is my job to help women feel good about who they are, right now. It is never about trying to be anything other than better than we were yesterday. I am grateful that my team understands that too. Thank you, Wendy.

So, how do you go about “being your brand” exactly? In my world, almost everything that I do involves my brand, somehow. It is all about choices. What to wear, how I spend my time, who I spend my time with, what luncheons to attend, trips we take, purchases throughout the year, and opportunities that present themselves do so based on HOW your market perceives you.

Wendy’s brand is all about Blush! Sophisticated, successful, sharp. She has cultivated Blush for twelve years from it just being her, to contracting nine amazing artists to provide makeup artistry to over 150 weddings each season. Not to mention her services in television, and on set with photographers

Wendy’s brand is all about Blush! Sophisticated, successful, sharp. She has cultivated Blush for twelve years from it just being her, to contracting nine amazing artists to provide makeup artistry to over 150 weddings each season. Not to mention her services in television, and on set with photographers

Me personally, I love a ripped jean. Like 1992 ripped jeans. I am a child of the 90’s so, the grunge era and I, we go way back. As much as I LOVE some Pearl Jam I simply cannot, as an entrepreneur dress at that level of comfort any longer in my life, at least not publicly  . Haha! Does that mean that I can’t incorporate some fun into my style? Of course not but, if I am going to be ready for every great opportunity that COULD be available to my business then I had better be prepared to run with the big dogs and so should you. What does your brand look like? Mine is urban, chic, powerful, and honest. With that kind of vocabulary, you won’t catch me at a photo shoot, or even on the street in a lazy anything. Does it mean I will be in a suit? Nope. I gave my last two suits to Goodwill about a month ago. They lived in my closet for five years and I never. wore them. once. My warpaint now is glamour. Plain and simple. Am I a goofball? Sure! That doesn’t mean White House Black Market isn’t all up on my vision board and my leather pants…they are here to stay.

I am living my brand and so should you. Be prepared for success, it just might work out that way.

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