Name: Jo Bryan
Name of Business: Jo Bryan Photography
Length of time in business: since 2017
Location: 269 Purchase Street, Rye
Number of kids and ages: I have 2 kids. Amy is almost 21 and graduated from University of Delaware this year. In August she starts her dietetic internship at North Shore Hospital, LI, as part of her journey to becoming a Registered Dietitian. Jack is 19 and has just completed his 2nd year at Elon University where he’s studying Business.
Pets: We have 2 cats Ben and Sophie
Before starting this business what was your career: CEO @ StayAtHomeMom! Before marriage and children I worked for Citibank and Bank of America in London and Brussels in various roles ranging from Senior PA to Software Installation, Training and Project Implementation, traveling throughout Europe.
Why did you start the business: I moved with my family from the UK to Rye in 2005 and just before the relocation opportunity came up I had been thinking about returning to work. With a newly found interest in website design, I started a local course and loved it. The move happened quickly and when we arrived in Rye I was fortunate to be able to continue as a SAHM. I felt the children needed the stability, and my flexibility, even more now that we had no immediate family support around us, and the financial cost of childcare just didn’t make sense. Like all families who move overseas or away from home, it takes time to settle and make new friends. I soon became involved with the local expat group, Expat Connection, and in 2007 took over the running of the group and later built the website RyeExpats.com to help families thinking about, or moving to the area. I’ve always loved taking photos and grew up with a camera permanently in my hand! Although I never got around to taking professional courses, when a family member died in 2011 he left me the pick of his ‘pro’ camera equipment. I decided to go back to the basics and take the camera out of ‘auto’ mode, joined a few photography groups, threw myself into on-line courses and attended several workshops and conferences throughout the U.S. I designed and built a website and started to receive inquiries from local families and organizations looking for a photographer. I soon realized how much I enjoyed meeting new people and being able to capture their personalities and connections.
In early 2017 I heard about the opportunity to take over the lease of a beautiful, calm and welcoming space in Rye, and the timing coincided with my youngest leaving for college later that year. Reality was quickly setting in that I was about to join the 'empty nester club’ so I decided to take a leap of faith, 'step out onto the skinny branch' and give it a go. Having a dedicated space to work out of also gave me the opportunity to offer professional indoor headshot and portrait sessions, especially when the weather wasn’t co-operating. Sleepless nights and moments of doubt, quickly followed by moments of sheer excitement and joy, took over the next 6 months, and in June 2017 the business was officially up and running - a proud moment and very special day and my new ‘Happy Place”!
What do you love most about what you do now: I love everything about what I do, even the many hours I spend preparing session images after clients have gone home and working weekends! I also get a great deal of joy from capturing connections between people, whether it’s the candid moments I freeze when they’re not looking, being the fly on the wall capturing moments at events, or encouraging families to get close…..really close, cuddle and show me how much they love each other! Awkward moments soon become relaxed and natural and that’s when the magic happens. The biggest compliments I receive are when a client tells me I’ve really captured their family’s personalities, and when they apologize after their session - for all sorts of reasons - and are then so happy with their images, not realizing that those in-between moments that were captured are always the best, the ones they weren’t aware of! Uncooperative kids (and the occasional husband!) can still produce amazing photos, and no-one would know!
What did you have to do to start this enterprise: learn about the legal side of setting up a business, find inner strength and belief in myself, trust my heart, but especially my gut - it’s always right!
What were the biggest challenges you faced: 1) Social media! 2) Moments of doubt and fear of failure. How did you overcome those challenges: 1) Learning that ‘done’ is often just as good as, and less stressful than, ‘perfect!' 2) Learning to pick myself up during moments of doubt and to keep going, believing I can make a success of what I love doing and achieve my dream goals. Reminding myself that it takes time to build a business. I couldn’t have done this without the support and encouragement from friends, a local entrepreneur group, and our amazing community. Thank you everyone!
What is the thing that has surprised you most about this venture: Rediscovering strengths I forgot I had.
What is your best tip for fellow entrepreneurs: Surround yourself with honest and positive people. Find an entrepreneur group of people who understand what you’re going through. Bounce your ideas around, however crazy they might sound, share your fears and dreams, hold on tight and keep going!
Your website: JoBryanPhotography.com
Instagram: jobryanphotography, loverye10580, and jobryanphotoart
Jo is kindly offering a special for all Ryemarkable Moms! A 30 minute professional headshot session for $100! Email Jo for more details! Jo@jobryanphotography.com