Some blog posts are really more for my own documentation than anything. This happens to be one of them. I’ve been quite the busy bee working on getting the studio up and ready for business. This has been such an amazing journey so far and I wanted to document it along the way. This week, I will be finishing up painting all of the furniture that needs painting and hanging the reveal wall shelves. Once that is done, I’ll be able to start hanging photographs, which I’m incredibly excited to do.
This has really been a dream come true and I just wanted to take a few minutes to share how God has really worked in our lives over the last few months. Many of you know, I’ve been in business awhile. It’ll be 8 years in March. I’ve always worked from home, doing the majority of my shoots on location until almost two years ago when I decided to delve in glamour and move away from weddings.
Back in early July, I realized that I had never actually give my business to God. I don’t know why it never dawned on me. I’ve given every area of my life to Him but for some reason, the thought never occurred to me. One night, while laying in bed with the thousands of thoughts that always run through my head as I try to fall asleep, it finally hit me and right there, I committed my business to God. I can’t say anything happened right away, but looking back, I see things just started happening.
Now, my business, thank God, hasn’t struggled, but I certainly hadn’t been reaching the goals that I had hoped to be reaching. I guess you could say that doors just started opening. Later in July, I received a call from Greg Sessions, who runs the Bridal Fantasy Show here in Jacksonville and Jacksonville Wedding Styles. He was looking to establish a relationship with a photographer going forward because the photographer he had been using moved away and I had been recommended to him. While I no longer do weddings (with the exception of destination weddings) I thought this would not only be a great networking opportunity, but also an opportunity to get in front of women from all over Jacksonville and St. Augustine and show them what I have to offer.
That was just the beginning. Over the last few months, I’ve noticed so many things that I can’t help but know God’s hand was working at. Being pregnant with our third baby, it was becoming more and more difficult to clean the house and get ready for sessions. I was working from my living room, which has worked well over the last couple of years, but not only was the cleaning burdensome, I had to kick my husband and kids out every time I had a session, which made for a long, and many times, frustrating, day for my husband. And, as is typical with having a 3 year old and a 1 year old, as soon as they came back home, the house was a mess again.
Of course, a studio has always been a dream of mine; to have a dedicated space to call my own for my business that didn’t involve my home, though I still love my home studio, but for this stage of our lives, it’s quite a hassle. Anyway, one day, out of the blue, I got an email from my friend, Jill Stonier, who is a makeup artist at Jill Stonier, Professional Makeup Artist, that I hadn’t talked to in a year and a half or so. It wasn’t intentional, but I had a new baby, she had a lot going on in her family, including getting married, but also a death in her family, etc. You know, these things just happen sometimes, but then you reconnect and it’s like the time was never gone. Anyway, we decided to have lunch and afterwards, I told her I’d love to see her new studio if she had time. I fell in love with it and was so super jealous (in a good way) of her beautiful studio space.
Now, mind you, a studio was nowhere near my scope of where the business was going in the near future. I had this grand idea of purchasing a beautiful new home with a built in studio space so I could continue working from home. However, God always works in ways we don’t imagine or plan. It’s funny and amazing and scary sometimes. I don’t totally remember how it came up, but before I knew it, I found out there was a store front available right across the street and caddy corner to Jill’s studio! Again, I wasn’t serious about a studio space and took a look at the pictures of it, but didn’t think much of it. Then, I found out there was someone willing to share the space and that peaked my interest. All of a sudden, I found myself making a call to the Landlord and that same day, I met him up at the space, which at the time was a sports store. I fell in love and felt it was the right fit. My husband, Colby, and I prayed about it a ton, talked about it a ton, did a bunch of talking about it, etc and decided to make the leap.
Things have come together so beautifully and I’m so excited for this new chapter in the Jen Shannon Photography book. I’ll be sharing the space with Francesca Cooper of The Eventful Gals. We are so incredibly excited, nervous, scared, happy, and hopeful about what the future holds. Our Landlord is amazing. We couldn’t have asked for a better space, landlord, etc. We’ll be hosting a grand opening on November 10th from 6-9pm. Anyone who wants to join is welcome.
For now, here are some pictures of our work in progress. We officially open at the new location November 2nd! Cheers to dreams coming true and God working in all areas of our lives!