Hey friends! Your editor-in-chief here and as part of our LGBTQ+ month, I wanted to introduce you to some of the incredible LGBTQ+ owned business we have met on our journey! Every week we will be introducing you to a few of them and today we wanted to start with Mallory Lane Photography! If you are looking for more LGBTQ+ owned businesses, head to our Vendors Tab and look for (LGBTQ+!) next to their name!
My name: Jenn Edwards
Wife's Name: Wendy Edwards
Pronouns: Mrs and Mrs, She and She :)
How do you identify: Lesbian, but I really hate saying it. I just like to be called a couple lol!
How long have you been together: We have been married for 5 years in November (and I literally just had to ask her... I'm terrible LOL!)
Tell us about your wedding: We got married at a courthouse in Iowa. She was in the Navy, I was still in College. It was before the Navy recognized out marriage, so we had to have a friend sign her out for permission for her to leave, I flew to Great Lakes where she was, picked her up, drove the 3 hours to the tiny county in Iowa, signed some papers, and then we came back and got to spend one night in a hotel before I left for home. It was another 9 months before the military recognized our marriage and allowed me to be a legit family member instead of a "cohabitant," which was what I was listed as on her paperwork until June 2013.
What do you do: I am a Wedding Photographer!
How long have you been in business and what's that been like: I've been open for about 6 years! Wendy for MUCH longer. However, it was really easy for me. I never planned to fall in love with another woman. Wendy always asks me if something happened to her if I would be with another woman, and I honestly couldn't say! I don't really see gender lines that way. The heart wants what the heart wants, and that doesn't have to be defined by any rules.
As and LGBTQ business, what is your biggest struggle: I don't think that I struggle too much BECAUSE I'm in a same sex marriage. However, there is always that uncertainty when working with clients. That's why i decided to be open about it within my business. It's not a secret that I have to hide, it's my life. I used to teach Middle School, and I was "forbade" from speaking of my sexuality or my family. It was like living a lie each day. My students would ask me about my "husband" and I wouldn't be allowed to correct them. It was really really really.... demeaning? I didn't enjoy it. So, I made the decision that, even if it turned away people, I would be open about my relationship. At the same time, we're not those rainbow flag waving people.... I don't view our family differently than any other. We are the same. e have nothing to be proud of... we just like to live our lives, binge watch netflix, and drink wine after the toddler goes to bed like any other family out there!
My business struggles come from my anxiety disorder. I was diagnosed with GAD when I was in college, and its something that is really hard to deal with as a business owner. Depression and panic attacks are always on my horizon, and the ups and downs of the business world are very emotionally draining. My family is my strongest support through this, and I love them all for it.
Whats been your favorite session or wedding: Anyone who knows me knows that I am terrible at picking favorites. I just am literally unable to do it!! So choosing a favorite session or wedding is just not going to happen. I fall in love with every couple and every family in their own uniqueness and their own way of loving one another. It's a huge reason I love my job so much! I am an emotionally driven and invested person, and I bring every ounce of that to my business, which is both good and bad. It causes me to love my job and my clients, but also causes the heartbreak when I don't think things are going exactly how I planned.
What advice would you have for someone looking to become a photographer: For someone starting out, I would say the best advice I can give is to find themselves and not compare themselves to others. To not covet the successes of the people around them, but to find success in each and every step of the process. Only then will you FEEL good about what you're doing and love your job.
What sets you apart from other businesses in your area: My dedication to my clients is what really sets me apart. I strive to make people happy, and I genuinely care for each and every one. They aren't just strangers to me, they're a part of my life.
Favorite guilty pleasure: My favorite guilty pleasure is shopping. I have a problem. It's really hard for me not to shop us into a hole of debt and despair.
Words you live by: Every moment has a silver lining, and if you focus on that you'll find your way through the tough times.
Tell us one other business owner that you love and why: I love too many business owners to choose just one to talk about. Every one has influenced me in a unique way that to say that I love one would do injustice to the others! Judith Soule from Fresh Look Photography for teaching me business and to trust myself. Markia Nicole form Markia Nicole Hair and Makeup Artistry for always making me smile and brush off the bull. Aloha Kelly for being such a kind person and willing to help out when she can. Kimberly Denn for being one of the kindest people I have ever met in the wedding industry. The list goes on and on!