A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS: meet ELLE & ARABELLA OF WEEKEND CREATIVE
NAME: Arabela espinoza and Elle Mitchell
LOCATION: San Francisco Bay Area, CA
This photographer and art director duo is known for their fun and playful editorial imagery, working together daily from their own studio in the Bay Area. While being partners, they’ve learned the power of community when starting a business (and having someone to lean on when challenges arise). Creating eye-catching brand designs is their specialty, adding a fresh and unique element to advertising. Although there’s endless potential for these two, they hope to grow the educational aspect of their company while continuing to generate passive income with larger companies.
Meet Elle and Arabela, the women of Weekend Creative.
Hi both! Thank you for taking the time to speak with me and share more about your business. After having came across your stunning photos on instagram, its So great to connect with the minds behind the designs.
To start off, can you each tell me a bit about your background and how you combined those skills to create Weekend Creative?
“We met in college at San Jose State University, Elle was studying graphic design and Arabela was studying advertising. After meeting in a studio lighting class, we started working together at a local magazine where we worked on fashion editorials. We decided we wanted to create work together outside of the publication just for fun which led to us shooting for It's-It Ice Cream, our first client.
While neither of us majored in photography, our graphic design and advertising backgrounds helped to train our eyes. We approach projects differently than many photographers because we are looking at the campaign as a whole and thinking about the audience. We also focus heavily on art direction and set design.”
“Just start and don't wait for the perfect time because it will never come. It's ok to start small or start on the side, but make a list of steps and take it one step at a time.”
Working independently at pop i’m wondering how having a business partner compares……
Can you tell me how you think working together has been particularly helpful in your success?
“Well to start, we wouldn't even have a company if we didn't have each other. We naturally fell into our separate roles as art director and photographer which means that neither of us has to do it all. Having a partner means we have accountability, we push each other, and we have someone to lean on.”
Accountability is key….it certainly makes projects more manageable, especially since you both have created more distinct roles.
Could you tell me about a project you've worked on together that you particularly enjoyed or stood out to you?
“We like to do fun shoots on the side with products we love to hone our skills. One time we posted an image we took of a product and that company reached out to us after seeing the shot. We ended up working with them on a shoot and it was one of the most fun shoots we have done because we were really inspired and every shot felt easy. Those photos are some of our favorites, and they have led to a lot of new clients.”
although owning a business is rewarding, it definitely isn’t easy at times….
What are your favorite and least favorite things about owning a business?
“We enjoy being our own boss and being in control of what we do. We get to take on projects that we are passionate about, and we can have a somewhat flexible schedule. It's really rewarding when you can see your success and know that it came from hard work. Our least favorite part is dealing with tough clients and having to negotiate prices. It can be discouraging when people don't see the value in creativity. It's also hard to not have a steady paycheck or guarantee of future work.”
A problem many newer businesses face is getting the word out and really building clientele. For me, staying in contact with previous work connections has been really helpful…..
What do you think has been the most helpful in getting your name out there? (social media, word of mouth, etc)
“Social media has been really helpful, we have had clients find us on Instagram and through Facebook groups, but a lot of our clients have come through word of mouth. When our clients refer us to others, there is already a level of trust there which makes the whole process easier.”
sOCIAL MEDIA WAS HOW I FOUND OUT ABOUT YOU BOTH AS WELL! i THINK IN A CREATIVE BUSINESS, SOCIAL MEDIA (PARTICULARLY INSTAGRAM) CAN BE HELPFUL DUE TO ITS VISUAL NATURE.
What OTHER advice would you give to creative business owners starting out?
“Make as many connections as you can and build up your community. Just start and don't wait for the perfect time because it will never come. It's ok to start small or start on the side, but make a list of steps and take it one step at a time. Set long-term and short-term goals with specific plans on how you will achieve them so you can see and celebrate your progress. Focus on yourself and don't be distracted by the success you see in other people. Also, be legal and get a separate bank account. ;)”
gREAT ADVICE! WHEN WORKING IN A CREATIVE BUSINESS, IT CAN BE EASY TO GET WRAPPED UP IN THAT SIDE OF IT RATHER THAN THE BUSINESS SIDE SOMETIMES. plANNING AND BUDGETING REALLY HELPS KEEP THOSE COMPONENTS IN CHECK. sINCE YOU BOTH HAVE HAD SUCH GREAT SUCCESS,
What are your future aspirations (either immediate or long term) for Weekend Creative?
“We always have a hard time answering this question because while we have ideas of what our business will be like in the future, we feel that we won't really know until it happens. We are certain that we want to continue to create beautiful images, hone our skills, and share our knowledge with the creative community. In the short term, we are trying to build a sustainable business which means more consistent clients and more passive income. In the long term we want to expand the educational aspect of our company, move to a bigger space, and work with larger companies.”
tHAT’S AMAZING! i AM EXCITED TO SEE HOW WEEKEND CREATIVE WILL GROW IN THE FUTURE. cHEERS TO BIG THINGS AHEAD! tO END OUR INTERVIEW, I’D LIKE TO CLOSE WITH A COMMON pOP INTERVIEW QUESTION…..
Where do you BOTH seek inspiration FOR YOUR WORK?
“Everywhere! We love Instagram and social media in general, but we're really inspired by our friends and people around us. We also get inspired by random things like a trip to Whole Foods or a texture we see, or a color pairing.”