Part 4 in our "Why They Succeed" series...
There simply aren’t too many similarities between Hollywood and Chattanooga.
Sure, both are in the United States and we each have iconic topographical features looming over our skylines — naturally, we prefer Lookout Mountain to the Hollywood sign — but beyond those the list gets pretty sparse. Okay, okay...really sparse.
Goodbye, Los Angeles. Hello, Chattanooga.
Lanewood’s emergence on the Chattanooga photography scene is a homecoming of sorts. For Corey, anyway. The two originally met at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) where they both earned BFAs in Film and Television.
With degrees in hand, they moved to Hollywood, the eye of the film and television universe. A few years later, though, after sharpening their skills and picking up a world of valuable experiences, the couple began pondering what to do with their careers next.
But where to call home?
While on a cross-country road trip, working on a photo project that explored that concept — home — and covertly looking for a new place to set up shop, the couple decided to anchor their next professional phase in Chattanooga, Corey's hometown.
Growing (super) fast
Shortly after settling down in Chattanooga, the Critsers founded Lanewood Studio in mid-2016. As Emily tells it, they started by “running it out of our house, going on location for shoots, or photographing people in a makeshift studio in our dining room.”
But the lack of a bigger studio space didn’t keep the duo from racking up some of Chattanooga’s more well-known organizations — such as CityScope Magazine and the Chamber of Commerce — as recurring clients.
Less than two years after moving to Chattanooga, the Critsers finally got to open the studio facility they’d dreamt about when they left Hollywood. It’s massive, housed on the North Shore in the Chamber of Commerce’s INCubator facility.
Emily says, “we designed the space to reflect the studios we rented while working in Los Angeles. It’s such a dream to walk into our own space, to grow our company, and establish the systems to continue to grow.”
And what is one of the main keys to that growth?
Saying “no” to say “yes”
It may seem counterintuitive to some entrepreneurs to turn down certain opportunities. Yet Lanewood sees it as an essential tool to advance their business.
“As a small company, saying ‘no’ allows us to say ‘yes’ to the jobs we love and where we will do the best work.”
By being more selective, the Critsers do both themselves and their clients a favor. They’re able to invest more fully into their subjects while delivering higher quality results that their clients are happy with, and that they — the Critsers — are proud to showcase.
Picking like-minded partners
Emily and Corey are always looking toward the horizon, and they want all their support partners to be doing the same.
“I want to align our company with businesses that have the same values and optimism for the future,” says Emily.
In the Critsers’ words, when looking for an accounting partner, here’s what they needed:
A long-term relationship
A company big enough to be able to handle their needs, yet small enough to care about those needs
A company focused on technology
A group that can grow with them since they have big dreams
Given that list, we’re proud at Market Street Partners that they chose to include us in their growth plan.
If their home studio was Lanewood 1.0 and their current setup represents their 2.0, where do they see themselves 5 years down the road at their 3.0 phase?
“Oh lord,” says Emily as she ponders the question.
Corey chimes in quickly, saying he wants to “own and operate Chattanooga’s best photography and motion studio while being represented by an agency that has us traveling all over photographing for major clients.”
Emily agrees, but adds that she would also like to “bring work to Chattanooga” while helping “establish the Southeast as a place that produces world-class, creative work.”
We love those goals.
And at Market Street Partners, we look forward to helping make those Hollywood-sized aspirations a reality.
Be sure to read more profiles in our “Why They Succeed” series.