If you had told me 19 years ago that this is where I would be, I probably would have laughed at you.
When I started capturing wedding and family images in 2004, I just loved what it felt like to create beautiful images. I wanted to capture memories for people in a very beautiful way, I wanted to make art out of people’s most important moments.
Never in a million years did I think I would be creating marketing content for businesses all over the world, but then with Oh Tilly Styled Stock Photography, I did just that. Then another pivot to helping local brands stand out from their competition. Oh Tilly Brand Photography was born. PS: if you’re searching for a Toowoomba brand photography expert or a business photography specialist in Toowoomba, you’ve come to the right place.
In all of my almost 20 years in business, I never once entered a competition, I never once sought validation from anyone other than my beautiful clients. After all, their happiness is my only true success.
But after several years of being nominated for the local Business Excellence Awards, I finally caved. Egged on by friends and mentors who assured me that I had what it takes, I completed the entry.
As a Gold Partner with the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce and a business owner with over a decade of experience, I simultaneously put my hand up to judge in the same awards. Of course, I was not able to judge myself! Dang it.
I was a bit overwhelmed and after seeing the quality of all the other entrants – intimidated.
We have such a diverse and talented community of business owners in our region, and I was also wildly inspired and proud. I would be honoured to work with all of them in the future.
Then on the finalist announcement night, they called my name, I didn’t even realize at first that I was a finalist, I just hadn’t expected that. Then another. A finalist in two categories. The caliber of other finalists was also intimidating.
I got my frock tailored and my hair and makeup did and went off to the awards night. I sat with some of my biggest supporters and wonderful friends Tracy and David Curless, Emma and Clayton Menyweather, Kurt and Emma Mirow and Laurel, Damon and Shefali from Little Pig Consulting. These people I am truly grateful for.
Of course the announcement for Professional Services Business of the year with less than 10 employees was named to someone else. A big group with a team of exactly 10. I didn’t think I could compete with them.
Then sole trader, I was texting my sleepy husband at the time (introvert who stays home for big events like these), and they said my name. They said my name! I jolted in my seat because it was such a shock. And I looked at my beautiful friend Emma and she said, GO! I’m so proud of you. I’m so glad they didn’t take a photo of me then, because I reckon my face was very confused and not flattering at all. Haha, total disbelief.
I went up and accepted my award, thank you to the Sole Trader category sponsors Serengetti Printing. A fabulous company that I admire and look up to. Then some photos.
I finally made it back to my seat to sit with my biggest cheerleaders and my goodness did they cheer! They lifted me up and told me how much I deserved it. True friends.
So here I am, The Focus HR Business Excellence Awards Sole Trader of the Year for 2023.
Huge thanks to The Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce and their championing local and small business.
To my wonderful husband, Jon, for always believing in me and being the home that I return to every single day.
To Kim Cahill for pushing me to enter and believing in my ability to take out the prize.
To Emma and Clayton Menyweather for being my biggest cheerleaders and champions for my business and my mission at Oh Tilly.
To my clients. Omg my clients. You are all the most wonderful people. Your brands light me up, your stories light me up, sharing a bit of your magic through my lens lights me up! I would be nothing without you.
Thank you, a thousand times thank you, I am honored.