Name: Rachel Gallow
Business Name/Occupation: Poppy and Peony Photography
When did you know starting a business was right for you? Tell us about your business: My son was born premature. He was smaller than a cereal box, wrapped in wires, monitors and breathing tubes. Now he's an incredible, healthy, bouncy two year old. I compare pictures from the NICU with pictures of him now, and my heart can barely contain itself. It's impossible! When he turned two I knew I had to document our story, really document our miracle. And everyone has a miracle, don't they? Everyone has a story worth cementing. Remembering makes you grateful. Remembering makes you love even BIGGER... pictures help us remember. So I combined my marketing background with my passion for photography and waalaaaa... Poppy and Peony Photography was born.
What is the most disheartening thing you have encountered in your career as a military spouse?: Oh, you know, the moving. The starting over. The 'having-to-prove-yourself' and make all new connections, all the while trying to hang picture frames on new walls, navigate new (scary) streets, meet the new neighbors and unpack a thousand boxes...
It's all so daunting. (I'm exhausted just typing it out.)
What career challenges have you faced because you are a woman?: Geez.
The juggle. Finding the balance between it all. The doting wife, the nurturing mama, the organized homemaker, the smiling FRG volunteer, the compassionate friend and brunch hostess, the kind daughter who regularly phones home, the dog-poop-picker-uper... and the photographer in the midst of it all.
What advice would you give a woman, in particular a military spouse, interested in staring her own business?: Jump in. Absolutely do it. The military takes a lot away from us (WAY too much, sometimes). Take a little back. It makes this wild life even more beautiful.
What is the most challenging thing about being a military spouse and business owner? What is the most rewarding thing?: Let's start with the good...
Meeting the most wonderful people. Being invited into a new family circle for a few minutes. Capturing their special moments is so rewarding.
The flip side, of course, is when the people I fall in love with, the kids I watch turn from bumps in a tummy to wild little toddlers move away... or I move away.
Goodbyes tear me up.
How did it feel when you made your first sale?: So great! I called my mom 5 seconds after.
What is one obstacle you have faced as a business owner, or on a personal level, as a military spouse, that you would have never expected?: Feeling confident. Busting into a new city and feeling overwhelmed by all the incredible, existing talent in a new town. Wondering if I'm good enough?
What is one business goal you hope to accomplish by the end of this year?: Incorporating graphics into my work. I'm a sucker for typography. I've been completing even more courses and learning under the covers, in the bathtub and at red lights. By the end of the year I want to offer design work/personalized invitations and announcements to accompany my photography.
As a military spouse, or business owner, I know one thing for certain. It is . . .: Keep growing. Keep learning. Find your little niche in this big camouflage world and brighten your corner. Ask people about their story. You'll be better for it.
What strengths do you possess, that you did not know you had, until you became an entrepreneur?: Silly, I know, but smiling and talking to strangers. A real, genuine smile breaks down SO many walls. People have so much capacity for love and kindness and I can't even tell you how many times I've smiled at someone in a parking lot and ended up standing and chatting with them next to the cart corral and then taking their family picture a week later. We're all a little lonely, aren't we? Talk to strangers! (But make sure your kids know not too. Ha.)
My biggest fear is . . . : Not being enough. Is that too deep? :) Put plainly, just spreading myself too thin and disappointing others, especially my family.
My greatest accomplishment is . . .: Biggest accomplishment? That's easy,
marrying the man of my dreams. Finding my soul mate in this crazy, huge world.
My Mike pushes and encourages me, and I couldn't have started this thing without his support.
When I grow up I want to be . . . : A soft landing for the people I love.
A source of love, joy and comfort.
In 2050 I hope women are/can/have . . .: Complete confidence. Want it? DO IT!
What is your legacy?: Little moments matter.
Moments make up our story.
No two stories are alike.
(Isn't that amazing?)
Savor small moments!