This week's feature brought an ordinary day of scrolling through Instagram to a complete halt when we came across their work for the first time. There to capture lasting memories of the day that so many dream about, Bows & Lavender will have you rooting for love every time. We're over the moon that Jessy Pesce took some time out of her hectic wedding-season schedule to give us some insight into what goes into curating a stunning collection of intimate moments for couples across the globe.
1. First off, tell us a little bit about you! Who is Jessy?
I am a 29 year old photographer based in Toronto, Ontario. I’m an INFJ and have always had a very go-getter attitude since I first started walking and realized that my feet can literally take me where I want to go. I believe firmly in a career that is fulfilling in all avenues of creativity & community. I am married to another Toronto-based creative who has recently partnered up with me and is now the other half to Bows & Lavender. This year, I took a break from booking international weddings and booked fully in my homeland and have enjoyed every second of shooting in my own back yard. Canada is beautiful, Toronto is my home!
2. What’s the story behind Bows & Lavender? What inspired you to pursue photography as a career?
Oh boy, the story of Bows & Lavender, how and where do I begin? My husband introduced me to photography when we first started dating in grade 11. I fell in-love immediately and realized the career of a photographer aligned with so many values of mine (like sleeping in and being my own boss, haha). Right out of high school I started shooting small gigs and earning a small income. I worked at Henrys, a huge Canadian camera retail store, and learned a whack-load about the gear and the technical side to photography. I graduated from OCAD University in 2014, with a fine art degree in photography which educated me in ways that I felt was lacking. I now have a strong historical and theoretical education that shapes my photography to this day. In 2015, I registered Bows & Lavender with a focus on weddings that weren’t so traditional in nature, this was right after my husband and I eloped! From there, I haven’t stopped learning, growing, networking and, of course, Instagramming. What drew me to weddings was a number of things; the people, the emotional connections, the pressure & the fact that every single one is so different. I find that each wedding is a new challenge, and my goal is to create & capture couples based on their energy and vibe.
3. We so admire your mantra, “You do you”. How have you been able to maintain this through your journey as a creative?
“You do you” mantra is the core of Bows & Lavender. In my creative pursuits, this mantra sits at the centre of every project I go into. In terms of weddings, my husband and I eloped to plain old city hall. We had the dress, the suit, I made my bouquet and rode the streetcar to the makeup studio to get ready. We did our wedding as we felt it was right. I ALWAYS encourage this with all of my couples and this rings true my brand. Luckily, I’ve been able to maintain this throughout my journey as a creative and continue to do so as this value is strong within my brand.
4. We love your perspective and photography style. What do you look for to get that perfect shot?
Finding the perfect shot is this far away dream that is always looming in front of me but I can never quite grasp. I think it’s because the ‘perfect shot’ is a new one I am after every single time I pick up the camera. In my opinion, a great photograph is a harmonious balance of light, moment & composition. Sometimes the light is unreal and the moments needs a little extra love. Or the moment is just right, but the composition is limited. The funnest part of capturing that perfect shot is that you can’t just make it happen. It’s serendipitous, and the perfect shot has to choose you. I love the quote “The world is full of magic, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper” and have used this constantly within my company. It means that the perfect shot is there, the magic is there, we need to open ourselves up to the opportunity and let go of all fear, and have the courage to go after it.
5. As a creative entrepreneur in an independent role, you’ve been able to establish an engaged following. What kind of advice would you give to someone hoping to establish their own brand?
Great question, and one that I am constantly working on. Shoot, a lot, and share your work. When I started out, I knew that there were hundreds of other wedding photographers. How was I different? What could I offer? And to be honest, everyone has a lot to offer, finding what makes you YOU is the part will set you aside from the rest. It’s important to shoot a ton and get an idea of what sort of patterns align in your work and what makes you excited. Once you find that pattern, place those traits into your brand values and make goals to have more work like that. When you’re starting it’s hard, but with experience you start to chip away at the things that don’t reflect your brand. It’s taken me three full years to have a vision, execute those goals and now, finally, I am starting to see my hard work pay off. If you’re just starting out and hoping to establish a brand, start off right by building a proper business plan, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and don’t let fear sit at your table of advisors. Just go for it.
6. What’s a lesson you’ve learned about building your business in front of an audience?
Be as transparent about your goals and values as you can, then from there keep consistent with those goals. This is something I have constantly worked on and have struggled with still to this day. I’d love to be Bows & Lavender the epic adventure photographer capturing couples skydiving while they say their vows---- but that’s just not me. The main advice I have is to keep your voice alive in your brand. Be clear and concise and above all be consistent. I have always shared my love for craft beer and meeting my couples in person, and now my new couples come to me ready with places to meet up to go for a drink and just to get to know one another. And I LOVE that. For my company specifically, my clients are just as interested in me as they are my photographs, so it’s been quite easy to share my work on social media with genuine captions that are “my voice” and are relatable. Also, know that your brand is enough. I find that it’s almost easier to get caught up in trends, re-branding, comparing to other creatives, then it is to remain consistent and stick to your main goals & objectives.
7. How do you #workit everyday?
Yoga, self-care, self-love (well, trying my best!). Being an artist is hard, self doubt is a friend of mine that hangs out in the shadows, so it’s easy to lose focus. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing (another mantra of mine!). Does that make sense? Haha, well I am an INFJ, so I need that time to be alone and connect with my purpose and values. When I do this, it truly fuels my creativity. Funny eh, you’d think “work more to get more work” but I am actually the opposite. It’s important for me to slow down and enjoy the journey and I encourage all creatives to find what works for them and pursue it, wholeheartedly.
Thanks to Jessy for sharing her journey with us. If you're as captivated by Bows & Lavender's work as we are, and have an occasion to celebrate, check them out on Instagram and on their website!