You’re going to love today’s share on My Trade Story. Recently I had the honour of being a guest speaker at a HIA Women in Construction Industry Luncheon. This was a wonderful opportunity for me to share my story, but to also connect with many other like minded and very talented women in the industry. Carole was one of the ladies at the luncheon, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy her story.
My Trade Story with Carole Margand
My name is Carole Margand, I am originally from Switzerland (French speaking part) I arrived in Adelaide, Australia in 1999 and moved to Brisbane in 2003 and have been here ever since.
I am a Brisbane Architectural and Interior photographer and have been running my own business for 7 years now, first as a part time basis and full time for the past 3 years. I know employ my mother that looks after my administration and Marina as another photographer.
I have always been interested in photography but I guess in Switzerland artistic path are not very supported and encouraged so I ended up in commerce more precisely in Import/Export. When I arrived to Australia I did a bachelor of business management and ended up working as a National Account manager in Brisbane selling Architectural and Engineering Design software which was my first contact within the architectural industry in Brisbane and Australia. My mother particularly has always been very interested in Interior and my house was always filled with beautiful objects.
When the GFC hit I got made redundant and as much as I straight away found another position in a competitive organisation it started the ball rolling for me. I wanted more than ever working for myself and being in control of what happens to me in life… so I really started getting serious with my photography education and started looking for all possible ways to learn without being in a full time education system. I did an online diploma, weekend workshops, night’s workshops and spend many many hours on the net watching tutorials and practicing my skills.
After a few years at my new company I asked to go part time and they agreed which allowed me to really get started with clients etc. After 1 year part-time I quit and worked a couple of days for a friend of mine still selling software while growing my photography business. I guess for me the hardest part was letting go completely and trust that I could survive financially full time. The day I went full time I never looked back, business has been growing ever since and I couldn’t be happier.
I truly believe that if you put enough time and energy learning a skill, practicing it and sticking to it you can become good at anything.. I played sport all my life and practice, practice, practice has always been the only way to be good at something in the long run and that can be applied to anything in life.
Early on as many photographers go through I did any paid jobs I could get (many non-paid jobs too), kids, weddings, corporate etc.. but soon through my contacts I started doing more and more properties shoots which I really enjoyed doing, I particularly loved the fact that it combined my technical and creative skills together. I also really liked that it was dealing with people and companies on a business level which I was much more familiar to me than families.
I believe that a large part of my success is in knowing how to run a business, my background in business and marketing was a huge help to me. Knowing what to do to find new clients, knowing how to talk to people at a business level is very important especially dealing with high end architectural firms. My motto is to treat people the way you want to be treated so I always try to put myself in my client’s shoes and make sure expectations are set and that the work is delivered on time.
I also try to get involved with industry bodies such as HIA, QIDA and the Australian Institute of Architects and spend a lot of time reading books and magazine on Architecture and Interior. I am also very interested in what is happening at a local level with all the different developments happening right now in South East Queensland we live in a very exciting time for Brisbane. I really love the passion and involvement women have in the industry and event like the HIA luncheon are proof of it.
In 5 years I would like to see my business with a strong team behind me that can take on some of my local work and allow me to take holidays if needed. I also would like to be able to give back and teach the trade to other people as I personally found it almost impossible to get local help when I was looking for it. Also I would love to be shooting more international projects overseas and working on larger scale projects.
In my previous experience in Architectural and especially Engineering I have been to many meetings where I was the only girl there but I have never felt intimidated I think the opposite it can be an advantage to be different. When I first arrive in Australia I really hated the fact that I couldn’t blend wherever I went, as soon as I opened my mouth people would ask where I came from because of my accent and all the other questions that come with it and I guess I just didn’t like to be put centre stage every time and to have to answer the same question over and over. Especially I was trying to integrate and wanted to be an Australian like everyone else, well after 17 years here my accent is still as strong and I still get ask every day so I had to change my attitude and embrace the difference and I realised especially professionally that it has been a huge advantage for me as people remember me, even if they can’t remember my name they call me the French girl (even if I am not even French but that’s another thing I had to let go of)..
I think the key to good business practice is be genuine, to do your best is to any relationship with people is to be genuine, be yourself and look confident (even if inside you are scared), everyone is good at something and know things other people don’t.
If you would like to see more of Carole’s work, you can check out her Website.
Do you have a passion that you are working hard to pursue? I’d love to hear about it.