Originally published in The District News August issue.
Many dream of starting their own business, but as any entrepreneur will tell you, that is the easy part. Inspired by her daughter, Ashley Daigle decided to get out there and do what it takes to pursue her dream of becoming a professional photographer. Fast-forward six months later: she’s running her own studio in Uptown Saint John and expanding into wedding photography.
Ashley’s interest in photography started when she was a little girl. She later rediscovered her love for photography when she had a little girl of her own named Kaylinn. Ashley purchased her first SLR camera to capture precious moments of Kaylinn growing up. What first started out as a hobby then became a business opportunity. ‘‘Friends and family were asking me to do their portraits and would pay me for it,” Ashley explains. “I then realized I was a natural and didn’t have to go get a formal photography education to make a living out of this dream.’’
Last fall, Ashley heard about the Saint John Community Loan Fund’s Enterprising Women Program and decided to apply. This free 20-week training program is designed for women who want to start their own business. ‘‘If it weren’t for this program, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” says Ashley. “Even learning the simplest things like networking has opened so many doors for me.’’
Not only do participants get to learn about business, they also receive support from the program coordinator and other classmates. ‘‘It didn’t matter what I was feeling that day, I felt so empowered and inspired after each class,’’ Ashley emphasizes.
Today, Ashley is planning her next business move by upgrading to a new camera that will allow her to expand into wedding photography. As for her old camera, Ashley already knows exactly how to put it to best use: passing it down to three-year-old Kaylinn, who already shares her mother’s passion for photography. ‘‘I just love seeing her photos and how she sees the world. Our passion for photography is something special that we both share. It will always be our thing that we do together.’’
Visit Ashley Daigle’s Facebook Page at facebook.com/PhotographyByAshleyDaigle
The next Enterprising Women Program will start this September. Deadline to apply is August 21st. For more information, please visit loanfund.ca/programs/ or call (506) 652-5601 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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