Philippa Lawley-Barrett is a fabulous wedding photographer based in London with her hubby and gaggle of cats. Since getting married in 2015 her obsession with weddings has intensified, you have been warned.
House of Coco and Philippa bonded over gin on an early Friday evening, gossiping about chemistry meets with prospective clients, balancing full time work and side projects and monetising your passions.
HOC: So, you are one of our Girl Bosses who has both a full time job and your Girl Boss career. How do you balance it all?
PLB: Do you know what, I really like my day job. I know! Shock Horror! I work in the lingerie buying team at Debenham’s which actually sits very well with my work and compliments it.
HOC: But how do you manage clients wanting to talk to you?
PLB: I’m not going to lie I do do some sneaky email checking while I pop to the toilets but no more than anyone checking their own social channels. It’s more about finding pockets of time so when I leave my desk to boil the kettle or heat my lunch, or travel to work, I work on my blog or respond to emails.
HOC: Clever, how do you reel your clients in then? What’s your process?
PLB: I refuse to book in with clients over email. I always like to arrange a chemistry meeting at my house, with my cats. My home is my office and shows my style and personality off to my prospective clients.
HOC: When someone has come to your home, which to us is such a personal thing, surely they always book?
PLB: No, not at all. My clients get to know me and I get to know them – sometimes we click and sometimes we don’t, there’s no guarantee.
It’s just as important for me to meet prospective brides so that I can understand how they envisage their day and what would be expected of me as their photographer to ensure we are on the same wave length, so to speak. I want to do every wedding justice and sometimes, you Just know in your heart that it wouldn’t be fair to take on a wedding that you couldn’t, for whatever reason, give your all. I want to build mini-friendships with my clients to deliver a great service for them. To me, it’s not about just turning up and shooting it.
HOC: So all of this must keep you really busy how do you promote your business while concentrating on your day job, especially as you enjoy it?
PLB: I make the most of my commute; replying to emails and scheduling bits and bobs on HootSuite.
HOC: Are there any sources you go to for support with running your business?
PLB: In the wedding industry the Chosen Wedding Collective’s event The Hub seriously changed my life. I left buzzing and full of ideas for my business. There’s a lot of support for women in creative businesses as well such as the Female Photographer’s Association, AND Female Creative Association. I’ve also been going on training courses such as Shining Lights which have transformed how I approach my business.
HOC: You sound like you’ve got it all down. Is there anything about being a #GBOGB you are working on improving?
PLB: With working a day job and being obsessed about this work I often work too much and need to take time out! In wedding season I usually work all week and weekend but with the courses I’m going on I’m working on cultivating more of a work/life balance.
HOC: Yes, we can imagine it gets hellish (in a good way!) in the summer… Let’s wrap up on your ultimate Girl Boss?
PLB: Oh man, it’s got to be Queen Bey. You think about all these people in the press who must call ahead and get the paps down. Then there’s Beyonce and she walks out like ‘Here you go, world’.
For heaven’s sake, she fired her own dad – she is the girl boss idol, she is my girl boss idol. I love her. She did fire her own dad though…
HOC: On that note we wrap up with Phillipa running home to her kitties and hubby and then messaging us later about going to drive thru Mc D’s. Now that’s our kind of #GBOGB
*PLB used to work for Mdme Temperley and once ran out of her head office in her lunch break wearing her shorts dungarees which Mdme Temperley commented on hanging out of her balcony!