Rayesky realized that when a talent comes naturally, whether floral design, photography or another creative field, there is an intimidation when it comes to setting prices. “I had to overcome that hurdle,” Rayesky explained. “There was a wedding we did two years ago. When all was said and done, we made $3 an hour while working 80 hours. It’s insanity--working on four hours of sleep."
Valuing her input as a senior who has completed the program, Allison and Matt asked for suggestions on how enhance the experience. While Senora has noticed that potential clients are nervous about the cost, she has experienced herself that participation in the program is worth much more than the money value. Included are multiple shoots, which can include headshots, couture session, family session, senior session, and custom sessions, depending on the model level a senior chooses. Hair and make-up are also included. “It’s really worth all of it,” Senora said, “and it’s documented the end of junior year to the end of senior year and you change a lot, so it’s cool to document the entire time instead of just senior photos.”
Ellis found that Allison was able to work magic with her stoic father and two small dogs. “She was able to get my dad to smile,” marveled Ellis. “She’s amazing with animals, she was amazing with my senior, father she was great with my daughter and with my camera-shy husband. We couldn’t be more pleased.”
Colin’s participation in the Senior Model Program began a life-long friendship. “I don’t consider them photographers who work for me. I really consider them our friends,” shared Lisa. “The photos are so beautiful, but what’s more important to me is that they bring out a very natural beauty in my children. The pictures I love aren’t standard pictures of them for their senior photos. They’re looking down. They’re looking away. That’s what I love. They’re the moments we’re going to cherish forever.”
Being behind the bar and managing the bar staff are only part of Ryan’s responsibilities. He also creates new cocktails using local, fresh and sustainable ingredients, designs educational seminars for his staff, maintains inventory, and helps with whatever else is needed for the restaurant. “I get to use some of my background from school and apply it, but it’s still customer service and I still get to talk to people,” said Ryan. “It’s such a small place that you can’t just have one title. You’ve got to do more.”
Then another blow came. Shortly after Chris moved to Taos, he committed suicide. “I was even more devastated,” revealed Mary. “That’s why caring for all of these people is so wonderful. It got my mind off of myself and onto caring about someone else. He used to call me his shining star, so that’s how I came up with the name for my company. I felt like he was guiding me.”
Kurt has also passed down an entrepreneurial spirit, continuing a family tradition. Two of his four children are business owners, with a chiropractic office in Bayfield and a Crossfit Gym in Sante Fe, and Kurt believes his other two may end up with their own businesses as well. “They got some business background from me,” shared Kurt. “All four have noticed how much I enjoy working for myself. I think what appeals to me most about owning my own business is the freedom it gives me. The more I put into it, the more I get out of it.”