Focus On

Focus On: Brianne of Beyond the Lynk

I believe in a world where we cheer one another on and we don’t see any other entrepreneur as a competitor. (It’s why I love the Rising Tide Society so much!) I love when I see other business owners support one another and I can’t possibly count all of the times I’ve been inspired or motivated by another business owner. It can be a lonely world, sitting in a corner of your home, balancing the roles of parenthood, wife, photographer, creative and just overall human with obligations to friends and the house and hobbies and passions. It feels a lot less lonely when you celebrate all the other people who get it.

Our first Focus On is a spotlight on Brianne Lynk, the owner of Beyond the Lynk in Upstate, NY. Enjoy this peek into her business, her balance and her dreams. Be sure to follow her, cheer her on and stay tuned for more entrepreneur spotlights every two weeks.

Focus On, Beyone the Lynk, Rising Tide Society

Hey! My name is Brianne Lynk and I am married to my best friend and we have two kids together, Jameson who is just about 4 and Emersyn who is 11 months. We are located in Upstate NY and have always lived here, born and raised. I am the owner of Beyond the Lynk, I started this in July of 2018.

This was supposed to be a hobby of mine to make things for myself and my kids, I love matching them and wanted to be able to create on my own. It quickly turned into a business when I shared a photo of my very first piece. I was 6 months pregnant with our daughter at the time and business picked up rapidly. Looking back, it is kind of crazy how fast it grew and how much I worked while pregnant, with a toddler and then right after giving birth, during the busiest time of the year.

I was a nanny for several years prior and in June I found out I would not be returning in the Fall. My boss was a teacher and the kids were headed to school full time. I was taken aback and really worried about bills and bringing another life into this world in a few short months. I had my machine and materials waiting for me to open then for an ENTIRE year; insane, I know. I needed that boost of losing my nanny job to get me to pull everything out and learn. I also longed to be a stay at home mom, I did not want to rely on my husband or put all the pressure on him to pay our bills, so this was another way for me to bring in something, even if it wasn't going to be a lot, I had a little bit of money that I earned. It made me feel less guilty about shopping for the baby or buying myself lunch when I really needed that Panera salad.

Focus On, Beyone the Lynk, Rising Tide Society

I would say I spend anywhere from 25-50 hours per week working. The hours vary based on my daughter napping, my son's school and sport schedule, my husband's work schedule, whether or not I have someone to hang with the kids for a little bit or not. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes, like any business answering emails, phone calls, messages. Creating invoices, creating new designs, launching those designs. I have a Rep Team and working with them has helped a bit with advertising, I still do a lot, but they help get my name out there as well.

Work life and personal life balance is something I try to work on daily. I have told my son that if I am working and he wants to spend time with me I will stop what I am doing, within reason, and spend some time with him. This also goes for our daughter who can't quite tell me, but she sure shows it. I try to work the 2.5 hours Jameson is in school, as long as Emersyn is napping. I also try to get up a bit before them to work some in the morning and then again at night when they go to bed. The holiday season is really hard, it is so busy then that I struggle with stopping what I am doing to spend time with my family. My husband works a crazy schedule so that is another struggle I have, thankfully, I have my parents close by to help out. I would say on a scale of 0-10, I am at about a 6 or 7.

The biggest challenge in owning my own business is telling people no. I do not like to turn down work, I love what I do and I want to do it all for everyone. I have learned over the past 14 months that sometimes I have to take a step back and say 'no.' Family has to come first, I have to have a life outside of work, breaks are needed-- and with that, taking breaks is my second biggest struggle. I. Need. Vacation.

Focus On, Beyone the Lynk, Rising Tide Society
Focus On, Beyone the Lynk, Rising Tide Society

My proudest moment would be the huge wedding orders I have received. While party packages are my favorite thing to do; who can not love matching family tees, party decor and then seeing everything come together, weddings are a HUGE deal and someone trusting me on their biggest day, makes me feel so lucky. I have also done a few fundraisers, and I really love doing those as well and giving back to a family in need.

The hardest part of this business would be realizing that not everyone is always going to be happy. I took an order, did my proofs, had things approved, sent photos throughout the entire process, was told to keep going just to have spent 30 hours on said project and told "it's not what I wanted," and from there getting a negative review. moments like that make you want to stop, but going through the conversation and contract, I knew I did everything that I could, sometimes, things are not meant to work out and you have to reflect on those moments to learn and grow for the next time.

It is extremely important for me to support other small business owners, especially local ones. I always try to shop small and local first. My children are brand reps for a few of our favorite small shops (Doodle & Jack, Elle Belle Baby, BabyMeBeautiful.USA, Stone & Blush, & Tiny Trends Bowtique) I support local photographers, always, I never go to the corporations for photos, and when a friends or family is looking for something I always try to recommend small over a big box store!

Focus On, Beyone the Lynk, Rising Tide Society
Focus On, Beyone the Lynk, Rising Tide Society

I would love to open up a store front one day. I would say that is in the 5 year goal range, not only to host my products, but to bring in items from many small shops. I would love to have all of my favorite shops in my store. A shorter term goal would be to have my business offer more items to complete outfits. I am not sure if that will be collaborating with another business, learning something new, or brainstorming with someone else and having them join my team.

I love what I do. Looking back on that day I was told I would no longer have a nanny job I wish I didn't cry the whole way home, I wish I knew I would be doing something knew and exciting. I love being able to create, work from home, have my kids with me and do something I love. Join my Facebook VIP page (Beyond the Lynk- VIPs) for exclusive giveaways, sneak peeks and fun games! Planning a party or family trip? Love graphic tees or home decor? Be sure to contact me for a custom order!

Focus On, Beyone the Lynk, Rising Tide Society


How can people find you?

Website: https://etsy.me/2WmbDUn

VIP group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1058651680987732/?ref=share 

Facebook page: Facebook.com/beyondthelynk

Instagram: instagram.com/beyondthelynk

Email: beyondthelynk@yahoo.com


Focus On: Diana Wei Fang of The Finer Points

I believe in a world where we cheer one another on and we don’t see any other entrepreneur as a competitor. (It’s why I love the Rising Tide Society so much!) I love when I see other business owners support one another and I can’t possibly count all of the times I’ve been inspired or motivated by another business owner. It can be a lonely world, sitting in a corner of your home, balancing the roles of parenthood, wife, photographer, creative and just overall human with obligations to friends and the house and hobbies and passions. It feels a lot less lonely when you celebrate all the other people who get it.


Our next Focus On is a spotlight on Diana Wei Fang the owner of The Finer Points in Washington, DC. Enjoy this peek into her business, her balance and her dreams. Be sure to follow her, cheer her on and stay tuned for more entrepreneur spotlights every two weeks.

Focus On: Diana Wei Fang of The Finer Points, Washington DC, Entrepreneur spotlight

Introduce yourself! 

Hello! My name is Diana Wei Fang and I own The Finer Points. I aim to partner with small businesses and help them to achieve their goals, whether that be in social media, event planning, or general admin skills (you know those clients waiting for you to return their email and you will get back to them… when you have time. Who can relate?). I’m based in Washington, DC, but I have clients from all over!


When did you start your business? What inspired you to do this?

I started my business in April of 2019 after my friends repeatedly told me I should start my own business. It was a moment where I had a personal failure, that gave me the push to “just do it”. I’ve always had a desire to partner with other creatives and small business owners, but it was my friends who dreamed on my behalf first.


About how many hours a week would you say you spend on your business?

I spend roughly 6 days a week, 50+ hours a week on The Finer Points. Learning the newest marketing strategy, engaging on social media, and networking are most things I do that aren’t “seen”. I also research a lot of products and platforms for my clients to see if there’s a better system for them. I like to test things out before suggesting them to my clients.

On a scale of 1-10, how balanced would you say you are between your work and family/personal life?

I try to never work on Sundays. It’s a rhythm that works well with my schedule. However, work-life balance isn’t something I strive for. For me personally, once I understood that this wasn’t achievable, I was able to be more present in my daily life. If I’m working, I try to be fully present and work. Since I’m single, I don’t have to run home to make dinner for a family or have kids to put to bed etc. However, I do try to be fully present when I’m with my friends and their families. If I’m babysitting so my friends can have a night out, or having dinner with friends, I try to put my phone away. My clients all know that I will get to their emails as soon as I am able. Waiting a few hours to hear back from me will not make or break a business deal. Am I perfect at this? No. Do I check my phone if I’m the first one to arrive at a restaurant? Yes. Having a start-up means there’s always something to do. But I aim to live life to the fullest. I also outsource a lot of things that gives someone else income, while allowing me to do more productive things. For example, I have a travel agent. Instead of being distracted by alerts of when flights are cheapest and deciding when the perfect time to purchase a hotel deal is in the middle of the workday, my travel agent does that for me. Small thing, but MAJOR in terms of staying focused throughout the day. I also hired an accountant and a lawyer within the first 30 days of starting my business. While I do my own bookkeeping, there are things that I allow for my accountant and lawyer to handle so that I can stay 100% focused on my clients. Decision-fatigue is real and protecting what I’m distracted by allows me to be present when I’m working.

Focus On: Diana Wei Fang of The Finer Points, Washington DC, Entrepreneur spotlight

What would you say is the biggest challenge in owning your own business?

Mental acrobats has been my personal biggest challenge. Even though I’ve worked with organizations, creatives, and small businesses for 14+ years, it’s daunting to do this without the backing of an established organization behind you. Am I as good as I thought I always was? Have I been pretending this whole time? Then I take a deep breath and remember the facts: I successfully fundraised HK$18.6M for a non-profit child advocacy organization. My previous organizations have been awarded for “best social media” in their respective categories. I have invested blood, sweat, and tears into these businesses and they have thrived. I am not a fraud.

What has been your proudest moment/greatest victory as an entrepreneur?

The fact that I haven’t folded yet, is probably my greatest moments. It’s a daily choice to keep doing what I do. To get up and partner with another business’ vision – to give my all so that they’re thriving – it is not easy. But yet, I wouldn’t trade these moments for anything else. I’m proud of how The Finer Points is doing as I’m entering into my 6th month of business. I’m grateful for the clients who took a chance on a brand new business owner.

What is the hardest part of being a business owner?

If I want to be isolated, it’s very easy to do so. I have to be intentional about meeting with others and imparting all that I’ve learned for the next entrepreneur and small business owner. The lie that I’m alone can be an easy one to believe. The reality is, I’m not. In Washington, DC alone, there’s 140,000 small business owners out of 633,000 residents! Community is out there. Support is out there. Just have to put myself out there. Also, networking. Talking about myself and what I do is VERY hard for me (these questions are helpful).

How important is it to you to support other entrepreneurs and business owners? What are some ways that you try to do this?

Oh man. This is so important and probably my favorite part of being in this community. Even before I had my own small business, I have loved to partner with others. Besides engaging and liking their posts on social media, I try to hire and buy from small businesses as much as I’m able to. That travel agent I told you about? Small business owner. My accountant and lawyer? Small business owners. The photos hanging in the house I live in? You got it- they’re small business owners. I’m intentional about who I may see when I go out as well. If it’s an event where photos will be taken, I will for sure be wearing something from a small business owner - you never know who will see the photo! I love cheering on someone else’s success. I’m even trying to get a hashtag going, #makeDianajealous. I want to see you living your best life. Post them on social media because then I get to cheer you on!

Focus On: Diana Wei Fang of The Finer Points, Washington DC, Entrepreneur spotlight

What are your one-year and five-year goals for your business?

One year goal: just make it. Real talk. Haha!
Five year goal: making the business scalable.

What else would you like to share? 

I just want to say, it’s okay to ask for help. It’s a form of self-care. Just because you’re a small business owner, doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself. You are doing better than you think you are.

How can people find you?

Email: hellofinerpoints@gmail.com

Instagram: @thefinerpoints

Website: thefinerpoints.co


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Focus On: Kristina Dowler, Virtual Assistant and Photographer in Stafford, VA

I believe in a world where we cheer one another on and we don’t see any other entrepreneur as a competitor. (It’s why I love the Rising Tide Society so much!) I love when I see other business owners support one another and I can’t possibly count all of the times I’ve been inspired or motivated by another business owner. It can be a lonely world, sitting in a corner of your home, balancing the roles of parenthood, wife, photographer, creative and just overall human with obligations to friends and the house and hobbies and passions. It feels a lot less lonely when you celebrate all the other people who get it.


Our first Focus On is a spotlight on Kristina Dowler, the owner of K. Dowler Photography (and eventually Dot the I’s Outsourcing), in Stafford, VA. Enjoy this peek into her business, her balance and her dreams. Be sure to follow her, cheer her on and stay tuned for more entrepreneur spotlights every two weeks.

Introduce yourself!

Kristina Dowler. K. Dowler Photography (and eventually, Dot the I’s Outsourcing). My business started as family photography.  But now, the primary focus of my work actually winds up being my virtual assistant services for other small business owners, though. I’m located in Stafford, VA, but I work with clients all over the country as a virtual assistant (VA) and content creator. 

Primarily I help clients with blog writing/SEO optimization, social media content creation, Pinterest management, and client management (workflows, scheduling, etc). 


When did you start your business? What inspired you to do this?

I received my first camera from my grandmother my senior year of high school. She bought a “fancy camera” for our trip to NYC and then didn’t learn how to use it. So I did. I walked all over NYC taking photos of show posters and I was hooked. In college, I started to take things more seriously. I had a few mentoring sessions, second shot some weddings and took a ton of promotional photos for friends and their recitals, projects and so on. It went from there. I closed the business when I got married and started working in an office but then realized I wasn’t going to go to graduate school and re-opened the business. A few months later, we moved into our townhouse. That summer, I started noticing there was a need for people who could write and manage calendars, bookings, and other behind the scenes work among business owners. I met with another photographer here locally about my photography actually but during our chat, came to realize my skills could be used other ways. After that, I started connecting with business owners and offering virtual assistance. It grew from there. Through word of mouth, a great blog post by Nicole Starr, (and lots of luck), I grew my VA work to a place where I could leave my office job and stay at home with my son when he was born in January 2018. That was such a blessing and absolutely terrifying at the same time!! 

I still offer photography services but, to be honest, the VA work pays the bills (well, my part anyway). I’m in the process of designing some templates and other means of passive income now too as I move towards wanting to work less so I can be with my son.

As far as what inspired me? My son and my husband. Especially once I knew I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to find a way to be home with him when I could and still provide. I love writing; I love organization; and the skills I had at my day job of a research assistant really fit well into this kind of work. I’m not sure if I was inspired or if it just happened to be a good fit for me. But, once I knew I was really helping business owners have time for their families, lives, projects… I was hooked. A side note...I wanted to be a therapist and work with those suffering from trauma for the longest time, and still do. I want to help people. My whole life has been built around serving and loving others. Right now, in my life, this is how I’m helping people. (I will tell you it took therapy of my own to come to terms with that!). 

K. Dowler Photography, Virtual Assistant and Virginia photographer

About how many hours a week would you say you spend on your business? What are some of the behind-the-scenes things that your business requires that people may not realize? 

Whew. Let’s see here… David goes to daycare three mornings a week for 5 hours each time. So that’s 15. I usually still try to work during his naps in the week, so anywhere from 8-12 more hours. So that makes… 23-32. I’d say safely, I work at least 25-30 hours a week. Most of that is working on client work and not necessarily building my own business. One of the goals I have for the fall and winter is to spend some of the time David is not in daycare (his naps!) working on building resources for other business owners, future VAs, and clients. 

People think that all I do is sit at a computer all day and sit on social media. I spend a lot of time there, yes. But I do so much more than spend all day surfing Instagram. I write blogs, I optimize posts and websites to help my clients reach their clients. I do write social media captions… but I also spend time researching, interacting with posts, and finding ways to make my clients stand out. I create graphics, write newsletters, and send way too many emails. But it’s all worth it to know that my clients get to have breathing room in their own lives. 

On a scale of 1-10, how balanced would you say you are between your work and family/personal life? How do you try to balance both worlds?

Oh my goodness…. I’d say I’m maybe a 7. My husband would probably say less! I really struggle with this. I’ve always felt like I have to be doing something - even before I went full-time with this. And now, I feel like I always have to be on, always have to be perfect, and available. That’s not the case and that’s how I’ve gotten burned out before. We took a big trip to Disney this summer and I realized just how burned out I was. On that trip, I vowed to make changes. I’m definitely still learning to balance things, but I try every single day to be better.

A few things that helped majorly:

  1. Take your work email off your phone! I met with a friend at lunch the other day and he was flabergasted I don't’ have it on my phone anymore. But it’s so freeing. I will say I do still spend too much time on social media on my phone, but at least I’m not sucked into work every second. When I have emails on my phone, I’m more tempted to check them and feel like I have to pull out my laptop and work. Which is terrible - especially when it’s just me and my son! 

  2. Daycare! I didn’t know if we’d wind up using daycare for our son. But now that we’ve started, I can’t imagine going back. Those 15 hours are golden for me. I can work, knowing I won’t be interrupted or have to stop. I can focus and be totally in office mode! It’s hard to come out of it some days but when I see how much I accomplished, it’s amazing.

  3. No work in the evenings. I’m still really struggling with this one but evenings are the only time I get my husband and son in the same room at the same time, except on weekends. And as I get ready to start playing cello for a new show, that will change. I have to heavily safeguard my evenings as family time. Some weeks I’m really good at this. Others, I’m not. When I’m sick or have lost day work hours, I will cram a few hours in the evenings. But I always feel guilty. So… take my advice, and just WALK AWAY until the morning. 

  4. Have off days. While I’m still working this out too, I try to remember the days that David isn’t in daycare are about him and me. Sometimes this means we catch up on errands. Others we spend all day playing outside and doing the things he loves. Some days it’s a combination. But having the bulk of the day to  take care of the house, errands, and be with him make me feel more in control the rest of the time. 

  5. No more work on vacations. Unless it’s an emergency (and let’s be real, I’m not a doctor so my work isn’t really an emergency), I’m making an effort to not work on vacations. This means I have to hustle leading up to it but vacations really need to be my time to relax and be with family! I didn’t work in Disney this summer and it was beautiful. For all of us. I could be present, I didn’t need my phone, I slept better even. 

I’m not perfect when it comes to balance. I started therapy in June for anxiety/anger stemming from postpartum life and work and I’ve learned that my boundaries have to be stronger so I have room to breathe. Everyone’s will look differently but know that there’s no wrong way to create space in your life. And I promise, the world will not end and your business will not die if you walk away for a day or two… or even a week. Taking time away is HUGE. 

What would you say is the biggest challenge in owning your own business?

I have two: Balance and TAXES! I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that way! It’s hard to feel like I can take time off. But I didn’t start working for myself to work all the time. I’m still struggling with that, but I’m trying. I know when I take my time off, relax, and refocus, I’m a better mom and business owner in the end. I feel like the other part of this is learning to set boundaries for myself and my clients. I’m the kind of person who feels like I have to respond as soon as I see something or someone will leave me/not want to work with me. But I have to give myself room to breathe. Email has to be turned off, you know? I have to learn how to say no. People will live and I’ve found that my best clients are the ones that really understand boundaries - mine and theirs. 

And taxes! People don’t realize that not every cent I make goes to us. Every single time a transaction comes into my account, a portion goes into another account to pay my taxes. I got hit with a big tax bill last year because I forgot to pay state taxes quarterly (thanks mom brain). It’s nice to have flexibility and all that, but we really aren’t millionaires!  I’m not in this for the money for sure! It’s frustrating at times to see money just disappear that way, but I know it’s necessary. 

The other thing is the anxiety that comes. I love the flexibility of what I do but sometimes it can feel like I don’t know how the next day will go. For a long time, I struggled to create a schedule because of my son. He didn’t nap well, or once he did, it changed again. That’s motherhood, right? But it has been difficult for me to adjust. I struggled to figure out how to balance things for awhile. I’m still not perfect, but I think it’s much better than it was. I have to learn to feel less guilty when I choose one over the other, even knowing at the heart of it is that my son is the most important thing. 


What has been your proudest moment/greatest victory as an entrepreneur?

Being able to go full-time was huge for me. I didn’t think I’d be able to do it after a few things fell through, but I’ve rallied. I’ve found amazing clients and knowing that I support them while they support my family is an incredible feeling. Anytime I get an inquiry because of a current client, my heart swells. I LOVE knowing my clients are happy - so those are always victories to me! 


What is the hardest part of being a business owner?

I think for me, one of the hardest things is remembering to keep my business separate from my emotions. I don’t mean that I can’t be friends with the people I work with. Because I totally am. But learning to separate something they don’t like from myself is hard. I take a lot of that personally because I love this job and my clients so deeply. So when I hear something (even a minor tweak needs to be made!), I feel like I’ve failed. People are handing me pieces of their business and I want to do everything I can to help them. I want everything to be perfect and I worry a lot about not being perfect. I don’t want to let anyone down. 

I think the other thing is just people’s expectations. People think because I work from home, I can do whatever I want whenever I want. And while I do certainly have more flexibility than so many other people, it’s not always like that. I still have responsibilities. My work still has value. Knowing that my work means something to me should be enough, but sometimes it’s nice to know other people know I’m doing something real, too. 

How important is it to you to support other entrepreneurs and business owners? What are some ways that you try to do this?

So important! My whole job literally revolves around finding ways to make my clients’ lives easier. From implementing better templates, workflows, or schedules to taking blog writing off their hands entirely…. Whatever it is, I want to find it. Outside of my actual work, I try to support local businesses whenever I can by buying and eating locally! 

What are your one-year and five-year goals for your business?

Long-term goals for me are really to develop more templates, resources, and some small education pieces for other business owners, future VAs, and my clients. I’d love to redo my website and get my VA business branding/website/social media moving forward. I think things like redoing pricing and more procedural updates are always on the calendar, too! I’m almost to a place where I really can’t take on more clients so that’s an exciting achievement too, I think. 

I’d also like to find more ways to utilize my Psychology degree… whether it’s just helping other business owners realize mental health is important or what. But I think finding ways to encourage them to take care of themselves is always a good thing! 

Our biggest long-term goal is moving my business to North Carolina (Manteo). We’d love to move our family there in the next 3-5 years and I think my business is key to that happening! 

What else would you like to share? You can share anything here!!!

Being a business owner is hard. Every day is hard - even the good ones. There’s so many things pulling you in various directions. I try every day to be a good mom, business owner, VA, wife, housekeeper, sister, daughter… and the reality is we can’t be great at everything. We can be good at one thing at a time. So try to keep your focus where it matters in that moment. If I’m with my son, I try to be 100% with him. If I’m working, I try to really focus on what I’m doing. Trying to do too much at once will make everything really hard. So find ways to make things easier on yourself! That looks differently for everyone, but whatever works - go with it! And never be afraid to ask for help. Whether it’s childcare, therapy, or just a giftcard for a meal out - use your village.

Despite the hardships of being a working mom, I love every minute of it. I’m thankful for the flexibility I have. I’m thankful I can be with my son. I’m thankful I can squeeze in doctor’s appointments or extra cuddles when he’s sick and not have to worry. But there’s also a lot of fear in what I do. If my client load changes, our paychecks change. A sick day for me can mean I’m behind a whole day on multiple people’s calendars. It’s a lot - it’s a balance. Really, I think entrepreneurship is about balance at the end of the day. We just have to learn to get better about it (and really prioritize what matters most to us). 

My family is my priority. Although some days it probably doesn’t seem that way to them, I do this for them. I do this so I can be there and support our family without the stress of a 9-5. But my job isn’t a 9-5 so that comes with it’s own challenges. I wouldn't be able to do this without my husband, Ryan, or my parents/sister/grandparents who help regularly with David. I do this for my son, I really do. It worries me though that someday he’ll think all mommy did was work. But I hope that I get better about building in margins so he remembers the fun stuff - not the times mommy had to sit and work.

Seriously though, a huge thanks to my family. I love them all to the moon and back and I just want to thank them for loving me even when I feel crazy because of what I do. And a huge thank you to my clients, without them, literally none of this would be possible.

How can people find you and reach out to you?

kristina.dowler@gmail.com

www.instagram.com/kdowler15

www.facebook.com/kdowlerphotography

www.kdowlerphotography.com


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Focus On: Gina Marie Beauty, Makeup and Lashes in Frederick County, Maryland

I believe in a world where we cheer one another on and we don’t see any other entrepreneur as a competitor. (It’s why I love the Rising Tide Society so much!) I love when I see other business owners support one another and I can’t possibly count all of the times I’ve been inspired or motivated by another business owner. It can be a lonely world, sitting in a corner of your home, balancing the roles of parenthood, wife, photographer, creative and just overall human with obligations to friends and the house and hobbies and passions. It feels a lot less lonely when you celebrate all the other people who get it.

Today’s Focus On is a spotlight on Gina Maria, the owner of Gina Marie Beauty in Lake Linganore, MD. Enjoy this peek into her business, her balance and her dreams. Be sure to follow her, cheer her on and stay tuned for more entrepreneur spotlights every two weeks.

Focus On: Entrepreneur Series, Gina Marie Beauty, Lake Linganore makeup artist, makeup artist, MUA, lash extensions

Tell us about you and your business! 

Gina Dziak is a certified makeup and lash extensions artist and the owner of Gina Marie Beauty. She is known for on-location makeup services for occasions such as weddings, parties, photoshoots and more! Gina also has a studio located in Lake Linganore, MD where she not only offers makeup sessions as well as makeup tutorial classes, but also lash extension services.


Aside from weddings, what are other opportunities people can use to get their makeup and lashes done? 

I’ve had clients for all kinds of special occasions, including Prom, Galas, Confirmation, Birthday Parties, Boudoir photo shoots, Family photo shoots, Maternity photo shoots as well as Baby Showers, Bachelorette Parties and more. Some lash clients start out by coming to me for a special occasion, but most are everyday women who just love the way lash extensions make them look beautiful and feel confident.

What is your goal with wedding day makeup? How do you want to capture the bride, her style, etc? 

My goal for wedding day makeup is to keep it classic looking, but most of all making sure that each of my clients’ makeup look reflects what they love and are the most comfortable wearing for the occasion. It’s very important to me to have a makeup trial session with my brides to ensure that she can tell me or even share photos with me of makeup looks that she would like to try for her special day. Some clients will show me a Pinterest photo or a picture of a celebrity, but others wear very little makeup on a daily basis. I spend time sharing color palettes and suggestions on what I believe would make their features pop, leaving them feeling gorgeous all day/night long.


What will the wedding makeup process be like between you and your clients? 

I always talk to my clients about their skin type, makeup likes and dislikes as well as whether or not they have a particular look they’re going for, for the occasion. Some ladies know exactly what they want or have a makeup inspiration photo from Pinterest or Instagram. When that happens, I show them makeup from my kit that will give them the colors they’re interested in and we talk about how it will look on them. As we all know, no two people have the exact same features, so makeup will never look the same on any two people even if you use the same makeup artist and makeup. That’s one of the most exciting things about makeup, so many options and opportunities to change it up! Once I have a clear idea of what the client wants, I get started on my makeup application process. Clients can expect this to take 60-90 minutes on average depending on the occasion as well as their skin.


What is your favorite part of a wedding day?

My absolute favorite part of the wedding day or any day with my clients is the reveal! There’s nothing like seeing someone’s face light up and hearing their excitement as they express how amazing they look. A happy client is EVERYTHING to me.

Photo Credit: Powerful Portrait Photography

Photo Credit: Powerful Portrait Photography

Photo Credit: Grace and Grey

Photo Credit: Grace and Grey

What three words would you use to describe you as a person in general and as a makeup artist?

As a person in general, I believe I’m best described as thoughtful, loyal, creative and fun. I’d use the words good listener, patient and classic beauty to describe me and my style as a makeup artist.


Why do you think lash extensions are so important? Why do women love this experience?

I believe an awesome set of lashes completes a makeup look, but can also make a statement all on their own. As a makeup artist, I offer a variety of strip lashes to clients who are looking for lashes the day of a special occasion. As a lash artist, I offer lash extensions in a variety of looks for any client who wants to wake up and look like she’s already put together without having to spend time on a ton of makeup. I’ve witnessed lash extensions bring women confidence, an instant pick-me-up or even a revival much like any other spa-like experience. Another reason why clients love lash extensions is that it makes them look and feel more youthful. Lastly, bye-bye raccoon eyes! That’s right, no need to wear mascara ever again!!


What is the lash extension process like? 

A lash extension appointment with Gina Marie Beauty is a spa-like experience. My clients feel relaxed to the point that some fall asleep and wakeup when it’s over. My goal is to offer the experience that each individual client needs. That means that some will chat with me the whole time like a couple of friends on Girls Night Out and other times they’re there for the lash nap, quiet me-time they so desperately needed when they scheduled their appointment.


Have you had certifications and trainings for makeup and lashes? Why are those so important? How do you keep the process safe, clean and sanitary for your clients?

I’m a certified makeup and lash artist. I continue to take classes to learn new techniques and makeup trends. I’d advise people to be sure they’re hiring someone who has been certified and taught the proper way to keep makeup and makeup application sanitary. I’m constantly cleaning my makeup brushes, beauty blenders and makeup palettes to ensure the safety of my clients and the quality of my work. The same goes for my lash clients. Proper cleaning of the tools as well as a client’s natural lashes is imperative for the safety of the client. Always choose your lash artist based on their technique and sanitary practices to ensure your own eye safety.

Photo Credit: Photography by Virginia

Photo Credit: Photography by Virginia

When you’re not behind a brush or holding a lash wand, what else do you enjoy? What brings you your greatest joy?

I love family time the most. I’m a wife of 13 years and a mother of two children, ages 5 and 7. They’re my whole world. I also enjoy time with my closest friends, exercise, wine, books, music and time in nature. I feel the most joy when I’m making memories with those I love taking part in family traditions, movie nights, vacations or just a meal at ourfavorite restaurant(s).



How do you balance running your own business with your family/personal life and needs?

Balance? What is that? In all seriousness, I believe that when you start a business there’s a period of time where you will struggle to figure that out. It’s bound to happen because a business is much like adding another child to your family. It requires your time, energy, money, love, etc. to grow and thrive. I’m at a point now where I feel comfortable blocking off dates for family without worrying about whether or not it could potentially hurt my business or bottom line. Ultimately, for me; my family is my whole world and my business is my passion. It’s important to me to keep both things at the forefront of my mind and simply do my best to ensure that I’m being fair to my family as well as true to myself as much as I possibly can at all times.


How important is it to you to support other business owners/entrepreneurs? How do you try to do this?

I’ve always been the type of person to go out of my way to help others in any way I can. I’m no different in business. I believe in the power of helping others succeed as well as learning from those you admire in business (or even in life) to help motivate and challenge yourself to get to the next level and be your best self! I’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with many local photographers and a few makeup artists since starting my business in 2018. I’ve also cheered fellow entrepreneurs on in their own business ventures by collaborating with and sharing others’ products and services with my followers and friends. I believe in the power of using my voice and social media for good. That includes sharing the works of so many talented people so that more individuals can hire them for their needs. There are enough people in this world for all of us to have success. We get there faster by working together, not by competing with one another.

How can people find you and reach out to you?

Instagram: @gina.mariebeauty

Facebook: @GinaMarieBeauty1

Website: https://infoginamariebeaut.wixsite.com/website

Email: info.ginamariebeauty@gmail.com

Phone: 908-797-9157

Focus On: Jamie Redmond, artist and businesswoman from Syracuse, New York

I believe in a world where we cheer one another on and we don’t see any other entrepreneur as a competitor. (It’s why I love the Rising Tide Society so much!) I love when I see other business owners support one another and I can’t possibly count all of the times I’ve been inspired or motivated by another business owner. It can be a lonely world, sitting in a corner of your home, balancing the roles of parenthood, wife, photographer, creative and just overall human with obligations to friends and the house and hobbies and passions. It feels a lot less lonely when you celebrate all the other people who get it.

So, today, we’re introducing our new entrepreneur blog series, Focus On.
Our first Focus On is a spotlight on Jamie Redmond, a Syracuse, New York artist. Enjoy this peek into her business, her balance and her dreams. Be sure to follow her, cheer her on and stay tuned for more entrepreneur spotlights every two weeks.

Photo with Dog by:  Alice Patterson Photography

Photo with Dog by: Alice Patterson Photography

Introduce yourself!

I am Jamie Redmond, the artist and owner behind The Memorable Image. I create a line of greeting cards called the Animal Tales. They bring my images and stories together to hilariously explore all the lessons life has to teach us. I work out of my studio in Syracuse, NY.

When did you start your business? What inspired you to do this?

I started my business in 2013, but it took me about a year to find my footing. When I started out, I thought I would pursue 'serious' photography. But I kept finding myself drawn to creating these little images that were vignettes of daily life using toy animals. And then I'd pair them with these three sentence stories I was writing.

The Animal Tales began as a personal challenge to push me creatively. They were weird and quirky: I didn't think of them as my business. I created them for me. Each card is a little pep-talk commiserating over how amazing or heartbreaking life can be.

When I started the Animal Tales I wasn't in a particularly good place. My parents had died when I was in my 20s. I didn't know how to grieve that type of tragedy. So I threw myself into working for other people and design agencies.

When I started my own business, as busy as I was, it was like I had time to breathe for the first time in six years. And slowly that is when the grief hit me as depression. At the time I couldn't see what was going on, or how bad it had gotten, but during that time I started the Animal Tales because they made me laugh and captured my imagination. They pulled me forward.

Looking back now, I can see how each Tale was a pep-talk to myself and steeped in the legacy of my parents. My earliest memories are of my mom teaching me to read, she was huge proponent of early childhood literacy. My father would spin the most amazing stories every night, all pulled out of thin air based on the limits of my imagination. The Animal Tales became my way of staying in touch with and honoring my memories of them.

After I had been working on them for about a year I started showing them off at different craft and art shows, and they resonated with other people in a way that made the world feel just a bit smaller and more like a community.

The Animal Tales are designed to make people laugh and feel less alone in this bewildering boat of life. I like to think of them as sending hugs or high-fives in the mail.

About how many hours a week would you say you spend on your business? What are some of the behind-the-scenes things that your business requires that people may not realize? 

I spend about 50+ hours a week on my business. It is so much part of my life sometimes it is hard to tell if I am working or relaxing. Ideas come to me when I am just living life, and I have to ride that inspiration or at least record it which pulls me back into work mode.

But I thrive on the seamlessness of it. When I worked for other people I was always bringing the job home with me. Sometimes it was work to do at night, and sometimes it was sleepless nights because my mind couldn't stop running.

If I was going to be working that hard, I wanted to be doing it for myself.

One thing I don't think people realize is that some of the Tales take years to complete. I need to find the right props, the right animals, and sometimes when everything comes together and I have the image I may still struggle for the words.

Many of the Tales have two different stories, one that is light and inspirational and one that is dark and snarky. When I am ready to publish I have to decide which way the Tale is going go and that can be hard. I've had to learn to trust my instincts.

On a scale of 1-10, how balanced would you say you are between your work and family/personal life? How do you try to balance both worlds?

I'd say my work and personal life are balanced somewhere around a 5. I never feel like there is enough time or that I am paying enough attention to either one of them. It is a big struggle. But I am not unhappy with it, I just keep trying new things to see what makes me feel balanced, and learn from the times I feel stressed about it all.

What would you say is the biggest challenge in owning your own business?

FOCUS...Definitely focus. I have the hardest time not being distracted by the interwebs. It's a form of self-sabotage that I am really trying to be more aware of. Knowing what is going on in the world makes me feel like I have some sort of control through knowledge. But it doesn't actually give me control over anything and I'm not maintaining meaningful relationships with friends online. So for me, it is a big waste of time to get sucked into the waterfall of information out there.

What has been your proudest moment/greatest victory as an entrepreneur?

When I finally had the clarity to just focus on the Animal Tales. I moved away from what I was taught I 'should do' from fine art school, to what I wanted to do. It was very inspiring to have that clarity and confidence.

Jamie Redmond | Focus On: Entrepreneur Highlights by Wendy Zook Photography | Rising Tide Society, Artist, businesswoman, boss lady, community over competition, New York, Syracuse NY, the Memorable Image

What is the hardest part of being a business owner?

Time management. Knowing how much time a project will actually take. When I worked for design agencies I was really good at assigning multipliers to different designers: they would say a project would take them x number of hours, and from experience, I knew how to interpret that into actual hours.

I think we all really underestimate how much time any given task will take. I know my multiplier is three (tasks will take me 3 times longer to do that I think they will), but I am really resistant to using that when planning out my time. I convince myself I can do everything I want every day.

How important is it to you to support other entrepreneurs and business owners?

This one is HUGE for me. As a small business, I see directly how spending money with other small businesses affects them. It's like its own little economy. And I love having the stories behind what I purchase.

I actively seek out other handmade artisans, small bakeries (cake forever), farms, and shops because I want to contribute directly to someone else's dreams.

What are some ways that you try to do this?

I visit craft shows, participate in CSAs (for vegetables and flowers), go to farmers markets, seek out local bakeries and mom and pop toy shops for most of my animals.

What are your one-year and five-year goals for your business?

Ah, this is a tough one. In one year I'd like to see the Animal Tales find homes in 100 shops across the US. This year I really started to focus on wholesale in conjunction with my Etsy shop and craft shows.

In five years, I want to have a book published. Storytelling has always been my goal, and I'd really like to complete some of my longer works and combine them with my images.

What else would you like to share? You can share anything here!!!

Don't be afraid to indulge in personal projects and create for yourself. It feels like a ridiculous luxury to do that sometimes, but it is how you discover what really speaks to you. Don't be afraid to explore and pivot, but give yourself time to grow before you share it with others. Then give yourself more time.

Jamie Redmond | Focus On: Entrepreneur Highlights by Wendy Zook Photography | Rising Tide Society, Artist, businesswoman, boss lady, community over competition, New York, Syracuse NY
Jamie Redmond | Focus On: Entrepreneur Highlights by Wendy Zook Photography | Rising Tide Society, Artist, businesswoman, boss lady, community over competition, New York, Syracuse NY, the Memorable Image
The Animal Tales are designed to make people laugh and feel less alone in this bewildering boat of life. I like to think of them as sending hugs or high-fives in the mail.
Jamie Redmond | Focus On: Entrepreneur Highlights by Wendy Zook Photography | Rising Tide Society, Artist, businesswoman, boss lady, community over competition, New York, Syracuse NY, the Memorable Image
Jamie Redmond | Focus On: Entrepreneur Highlights by Wendy Zook Photography | Rising Tide Society, Artist, businesswoman, boss lady, community over competition, New York, Syracuse NY, the Memorable Image

Jamie’s Info:

Website: https://www.thememorableimage.com/

Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheMemorableImage

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thememorableimage/  @TheMemorableImage

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/TheMemorableImage

Email: Jamie@TheMemorableImage.com

*****
Note: Photos are by Jamie Redmond unless otherwise noted.