A big welcome to Catherine O’Donnell who is one of the two directors at Rock and Rose Photography based in Surbiton, this business is another of the wonderful local #incredibleindependents. Today Catherine shares more about her fantastic business.
1) Why did you start your business?
In 2011 me and Orli were made redundant from our photography jobs. We were both managing our own studios for a company that had been running for many years. The recession hit a lot of businesses hard and before we knew it we were on our own with mortgages to pay and no income. Our clients stayed in touch with us despite us having no base and we both worked as freelance photographers for a year. We had discussed the idea of opening our own studio, but it seemed like such an impossibility! There’s just so much to consider, from local competition to rent and rates as well as finding a location that would work for us. Photography is our passion and it meant everything to us so we were brave and just went for it and here we are 7 years later having just found out we have been awarded ‘Most outstanding children’s photographer in Surrey’ in the 2019 SME awards!
2) What do you love about running your own independent business?
The best feeling when we come into work every day is that the studio is ours. All the magic that happens here is because of us and our hard work and passion. Seeing our clients full of emotion because we have captured that first milestone or special moment for them is just incredible. It’s really an honour to be creating artwork that will stay in so many family homes for years to come. Being our own boss has meant that both me and Orli have been able to have children and still have the flexibility of working around our family life which we are incredibly fortunate and grateful for. Most of all every decision that we make is ours, our creativity is stopped by no-one and the sky is the limit!
3) What is your favourite product or service you provide and why?
This is a tough one! For me I would say it has to be our newborn sessions. Photographing newborns is amazing! Newborn babies are so tiny and perfect and I adore seeing the parents love and reaction as we work through the day together capturing those first photographs, tiny feet and toes, little hair curls and dimpled cheeks. We safely and gently position our newborns sleeping and use some beautiful hand crafted (sometimes by ourselves) hats, headbands and props. We often create bespoke images for clients based on their favourite things from colours to flowers and even their hobbies. There are always many tears shed in their viewings as we show our clients their beautiful wall art too.
4) Let’s spread the indie love, name some other independent businesses you support.
We absolutely love our neighbours Hair by Mitch who have been incredibly supportive to us over the years. Big shout out to Stacey from Surbiton Sitters who is not only a lovely human being but runs an incredible business helping families throughout the local area with all their childcare needs and last but not least (as there are SO many incredible independents who we work with) So Talented London who have recently launched their model agency in Surbiton and who we are working with to capture amazing children and teen modelling headshots for.
5) Which is your favourite social media platform and why?
In terms of business for us Facebook is incredibly important, we share our client sneak peeks there and it allows us plenty of contact with potential clients and is a great platform to show off our work and launch our latest offers.
A bit thank you to Cate and Orli from Rock and Rose for taking part in this interview and sharing more about their wonderful business. They took some lovely pictures for our family when our kids were smaller and they have pride of place on the wall – time for some more I think. So do check them out if you want some lovely memories to be captured. As always please continue to support the #incredibleindependents out there – there are so many and they really appreciate your business!