We had the good fortune of connecting with Mary Elizabeth Fabian and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mary Elizabeth, what principle do you value most?
That we have the ability to make our community a better place as business leaders. I went into owning my own business really hesitant – not wanting to make decisions that could negatively impact my family. My dad’s company had survived the dot com collapse in the 90’s but they had been hard times. I was afraid to find myself in the same situation with my husband and kids. I also knew this could be an incredible thing if I kept focus on the idea that as I created success I could help make my community a better place. It doesn’t matter how successful I may be, if I’m not using that success for positive change it doesn’t hold the same value.
I believe that as business owners we have the ability and knowledge to help improve our community. As a survivor of Domestic Violence, I’ve used art to create conversations about domestic violence and my business as a platform to promote it. I also focus energy on supporting Foster Youth in Colorado. There is a privilege gap for kids in the foster system and one of the stories I’ve heard from those who aged out is how few images they have of their childhood. This becomes generational – those kids don’t have images to share with their kids. That’s something I can help with – and so I do! From Santa sessions donated to offering portrait sessions with foster families and for seniors – l work to give these kids tangible moments from their childhood that they can share as adults.
The bonus for this has been that the majority of my customers end up being very like minded. So, I get to work with amazing people who also work hard to improve our community. Of course, there are other things as well, but being your own boss means you create the rules. Why not create a better version of the world while we are making them?
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
From an advice side – I got my degree in business. This has helped me so much as I plan and grow MAJECK. I encourage all creatives to go out and take business courses. It is such an investment in yourself. A lot of my growth came from word of mouth and my background in business marketing and finance. I reinvested almost everything in Year 1 so that there wouldn’t be business debt. Education, retreats, break out classes – I constantly was learning new skills that would improve and support the business and its clients. I tell new creatives to never stop learning. I’ve even begun to offer retreats to help creatives learn and renew their creativity!
Creatively, I believe there is magic in every moment and I embrace that in my art. I’ve had a camera in my hand since I was ten when my older sister died – a defining moment for me. Being a memory keeper became a big part of me because we only had a handful of pictures together. I respect that photographers have that role and it’s a responsibility. My experiences have helped make MAJECK what it is. A compassionate photography business that focuses on honoring clients exactly where they are. Anywhere there is love, I want to be there – capturing those connections.
I’m here to #createMAJECK. It’s this concept I have of approaching clients authentically and meeting them right where they are. From there we just flow. Kids giggle, teens smile and joke, couples relax and play with each other. At the end of our sessions my goal is for people to say, “that was fun” or “I was so nervous and I didn’t need to be!” As I get in my car and overhear that at the end of my time with someone it’s like an auditory high five!
My clients know my work as true to life, emotion filled with rich color and an emphasis on accurate skin tones. Coming from a diverse family, this has always been really important to me. I’m high energy and love working with people and I’m not afraid to laugh at myself which makes it easy for more reserved people to warm up to me.
I’m at the point where I’m looking around shocked that this has grown the way it has. I have an admin team and an associate, we expanded to include video. But it wasn’t always easy. I worked a lot of long hours those first few years – and anything worth achieving is worth working for. My first holiday season in business my last session was at 3pm on Christmas Eve and my next one was at 4 the day after Christmas. This year, I’m taking three weeks off to spend with my family. The challenge of work/life balance is constantly a struggle. But it’s about choices and boundaries and I’m getting better every day.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I LOVE Colorado and feel like to really experience it you need more than a week. We’d probably wake up and have breakfast on Day 1 at Mountain Shadow’s in Old Colorado City, then go out to Mueller State Park and do one of their trails. From there we’d head to Wilkerson Pass for a sunset session and down towards Mount Princeton for a night. We’d spend the next day at the hot Springs and then drive out towards I70 and the Breck area. There’s a great pizza place in Frisco and we’d eat at a pull off at the Dillon Reservoir. The next day we could head over to Clinton Gulch and hike around the reservoir – it has some awesome views and so many wildflowers! On our way back to Colorado Springs we’d stop at the Mother Cabrini shrine, there are great views from there and it’s just a peaceful spot. The fifth day we’d wake up late, relax and head to grab coffee before hitting up a favorite spot where I just lay out and read in Cheyenne Canon. Then, dinner at Paraviccini’s in Old Colorado City. Day 6 we’d get some history in with a tour of Rock Ledge Ranch and the Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum, that night we’d either eat my home made gumbo or head over to Havana Grill for some great music and dinner! On Day 7, it would be a rest day – which is hard for me because I’m a non stop kind of girl.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Oh my gosh – there are so many people I could, should and do thank all the time. My husband, James, pushed me to pivot and focus on my photography as a business – believing it could be successful. Alice, my oldest daughter who works with me and is never afraid to bluntly tell me I need to reconsider a concept. My kids and godchildren, who never complain about me trying new concepts on them first. My mom and dad, who gave me my first film camera at 10 and a digital camera (with a floppy disk), when I turned 18. The small business’ who took a chance on me and had me capture their products for marketing campaigns. My amazing associate and friend – Katharine – who enthusiastically pushes me and tells me how pretty images are when I’m covering my head with a blanket and dealing with imposter syndrome. She’s also an incredible artist both in photography and painting. Suzanne, who told me she thought I should put all of my eggs into the photography basket because I could be successful. All of the photographers and artists who have inspired me to grow and mentored me.