York Small Business Enterprise Centre

Julie Williams is passionate about her community and living in Whitchurch-Stouffville. Although engineering was her initial career path, she wanted to make a change. “After taking time off to raise a family, I turned my storytelling passion into a successful portrait and event photography business,” said Williams. A former York Small Business Enterprise Centre client, today she is the official photographer for a number of high-profile organizations, including the Women’s Law Association of Ontario and the Canadian Association of Women’s Executives and Entrepreneurs.

Due to the pandemic, the majority of Julie’s business has been affected with her studio closed and events cancelled. “I’ll be honest, these have been among the most difficult and unique times since starting my business in 2007,” said Williams.

Today, she’s being innovative to maintain and generate new revenue and experimenting with videography to supplement her storytelling skills. “I am exploring creative ways to shift my business to e-commerce and product-based offerings, such as wall art, jigsaw puzzles, posters, postcards, and particularly coffee table photobooks on travel,” said Williams.

Julie is keen to give back to the community; whether locally or internationally. Williams is an advisory member on the newly formed Town of W-S Mayor’s Committee on diversity and inclusion. “I’m very excited about this initiative. In our virtual kick-off/meet and greet session with Mayor Iain Lovatt it was incredible to discover the knowledge and passion and experience that each member brings. I look forward to lending my storytelling skills to raise awareness and a voice and ear to those that have been impacted and experienced feelings of exclusion.“ Julie is also one of 35 start-up advisors in 11 countries in the United Nations Development Program’s Bluetribe Incubator Program to scale Cambodian startups.

Closer to home, Julie is raising awareness and funds for the Arts community, which already underserved, has been incredibly impacted due to COVID-19. Julie will be releasing her latest coffee table photo book, Volume I STOUFFVILLE Canada: Music Capital of the World. The book highlights her town’s successful attempt to break two Guinness World Records for the longest continuous 18-day concert. “My goal is to raise $5000 for the York Region Arts Council (YRAC). $5 from the sale of each book will go to YRAC. “

While COVID-19 remains a challenge for businesses, Julie shows it’s all about being inventive to re-imagine your business. “I have increased my presence on social media platforms – LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to connect and strengthen relationships and to promote local business and our Stouffville Community,” Williams said. “I am mentoring an apprentice through Acadium.com for three months to help launch my e-commerce platform and show her the ropes of what it’s like to be a female solopreneur in these unique times! Stay-tuned!”

While Ontario slowly returns to a new normal, Julie plans to continue offering new services, working with the arts and entrepreneurial community in York Region and above all, keeping her creative juices flowing.

To learn more about Pretty in Pictures, visit prettyinpictures.ca

 


Did this story inspire you? Do you have a business idea, or an existing business you want to grow? The York Small Business Enterprise Centre is your one-stop shop to help start and grow your business. Get in touch with a Small Business Consultant today.

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