Women in Business Profile: Michelle St. Clergy-Chaque Bonne Memoire Photography & Art
Michelle is an artist, and her photos are her canvas. She has an eye for every perfect angle, and a sense of how to show everything in its best light. I am very honored to profile her business in our Women in Business-Women Helping Women series.
See more of Michelle’s portfolio, or contact her through her Facebook page, or her website: http://www.cbmphotographyandart.weebly.com/
Michelle’s responses to our questionnaire:
How do you best describe your business?
My business has been recently designed specialize in Real Estate and Commercial photography. However, I still accept session contracts for Portrait photography.
What is the best decision and the worst decision that you ever made about your business?
My recent conversion to specialize in Real Estate & Commercial photography is the best decision! My worst…well, I can not say that any of my business has a “worst” as all of my experiences have been rewarding for the growth of my company.
What was the best and worst advice that you received from someone else about your business?
The worst advice is when someone says that a photography business in our market will not make it due to over-saturation of photographers. The best advice is to be “you” and sell “your” product! There’s no one like YOU!
What was the catalyst that led you to start your business when you did?
My husband was deployed when I really picked up my camera more (because I had a newborn baby then) and my long-term hobby started to unfold. It was in 2012 that I decided to advertise as a “photographer in training” and offered small, low-priced, package options just to gain more experience behind the lens.
What was the hardest part about actually opening your business?
Oh geez, getting all of the business aspect of it in order.
What do you wish you had known before starting your business?
Accounting tools that are affordable to small business owners and easy to manage I still struggle with this!
What is your best advice for someone considering opening her own business?
Don’t speak your dreams to people who are not fully supportive of your destiny. Encircle yourself with positive people who will lift you up, encourage you in difficult times, and most importantly, pray with you.
Did you have a mentor, or a woman in business who inspired you (at any age)?
Yes, my lifetime friend and entrepreneur, Kitty Bruns. She started a business in her home garage, and is now one of Lake Charles’ most highly sought after Law Enforcement clothing and supply companies in the surrounding area. She was awarded by the Mayor of Lake Charles for her business contributions to the LEO’s in several parishes.
What skills do you think it takes to be successful as a woman in business?
Have continued faith and endurance that God will lead your path, and know that He will always provide. There will be times of hardship, for sure, but with Christ, all things are possible.
What has been your proudest business moment?
Having my art exhibited at the Capital One Bank Tower in Lake Charles for 13 months. The exposure was remarkable and the sales were a true blessing.
What are your plans for the future with your business?
Like I mentioned, I recently converted the main source of my business over to Real Estate and Commercial Photography. I am anxious to see this business unfold, with an abundance of job requests from our local MLS Real Estate members in the Greater Fort Polk area.
Do you have any recommended resources for women considering going into business? I do not have any resources for women, to say, in my pocket of “tools”, but I would be very receptive to gaining some knowledge of my own soon! I look forward to seeing where your journey may open doors for our local female small business owners.
What do you think has helped the most with the success of your business?
Having a very supportive husband and circle of prayerful family and friends.
Do you have any closing thoughts that you would like to share with other Female Entrepreneurs?
Never let FEAR overcome and destroy your FAITH in pursuing your destiny. Know that God has anointed us with our own special talents to be used for His good. The only way to know the rewards of your special gift is to share it with others. Whether it be a “behind the scenes” hobby or one that requires public interaction, research the endless possibilities of just where it can take you. And DON’T JUMP too quickly before you have thoroughly done your research and prayed. Failed attempts come from those who don’t stop and let God take control. I just recently resigned (with notice!) from my full-time desk job to fulfill my destiny. You can do it too!